How creativity works – according to Pilobolus

Pilobolus at work.
Pilobolus at work.

I spent a morning with the amazing dance company Pilobolus at their rehearsal space in Washington CT, and spoke to its chief executive Itamar Kubovy for my latest Financial TImes column. Pilobolus believes that creativity emerges from the constraints imposed by the need to deliver a product. Perhaps uniquely for a dance company, its hierarchy is fluid and every dancer is expected to contribute to the creation of performances.

Creativity under this definition emerges from a collaborative process, from building on routines, constantly improving on and modifying the familiar. What matters most is how the group interacts. Does it collaborate well or poorly? If the latter, what can you do to improve the group dynamic? This is where the creativity process begins.

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