Creativity Support Tools: A Grand Challenge

Professor Ben Shneiderman

Duration: 01:03:18

Recorded: 8 June 2006


Creativity Support Tools is a research topic with high risk but potentially very high payoff. The goal is to develop improved software and user interfaces that empower users to be more productive, and more innovative. Potential users include software and other engineers, diverse scientists, product and graphic designers, architects, educators, students, new media artists, and many others.

Enhanced interfaces could enable more effective searching of intellectual resources, improved collaboration among teams, and more rapid discovery processes. These advanced interfaces should also provide potent support in hypothesis formation, speedier generation of alternatives, deeper insights through visualization, and better dissemination of results.

For creative endeavors that require composition of novel artifacts (computer programs, scientific papers, engineering diagrams, symphonies, artwork, poems, etc.), enhanced interfaces could facilitate evaluation of proposed designs, prevent unproductive choices, and enable easy backtracking.

A US National Science Foundation-sponsored Workshop on Creativity Support Tools (June 13-14, 2005, Washington, DC) brought together 25 research leaders and graduate students to share experiences, identify opportunities, and formulate research challenges. Two key outcomes emerged:

  • Formulation of guidelines for design of creativity support tools

  • Novel research methods emphasizing Multi-Dimensional Indepth Longitudinal Case Studies (MILCs)

In this talk, Ben gives an overview of creativity research, demonstrates current software, suggests ways to improve design of creativity support tools, and proposes evaluation strategies.

About the speakers

  • Professor Ben Shneiderman

    Department of Computer Science; Institute for Advanced Computer Studies; Founding Director Human Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL), University of Maryland

    Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has taught previously at the State University of New York and at Indiana University. He was made a Fellow of the ACM in 1997, elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001, and received the ACM CHI (Computer Human Interaction) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. He was the Co-Chair of the ACM Policy 98 Conference, May 1998 and is the Founding Chair of the ACM Conference on Universal Usability, November 16-17, 2000. Ben Shneiderman's interest in creativity support tools led to organizing the June 2005 NSF workshop and to chairing the June 2007 Conference on Creativity and Cognition.

    Further information on Professor Ben Shneiderman

Related events

  • Creativity Support Tools: A Grand Challenge

    Thursday 8 June 2006 14:20 - 15:30

    Creativity support tools aim to develop software and user interfaces that empower users and collaborative teams to be more productive and innovative. Potential users include software engineers, scientists, designers, architects, educators and others.