Creativity in Collaboration

In a world based on infinite consumptions of goods, finding new and unlimited resources has started to become a dilemma. The success of the creative industry thus lays on its primary material which is human creativity, an ever-growing and endless source with multiple possibilities of outcome. The human creativity, at the core of the creative economy, produces goods which are vehicles of symbolic messages containing intellectual property and results of immaterial labour which generate knowledge through creativity and rigorous strategies.

Technology and digitation have completely revolutionised the way cultural goods are produced, distributed and experienced. As a matter of fact, the web has profoundly changed our economy by giving the tools to generate information to everyone.
The creative industries are in fact part of the emerging knowledge-based economy which main profit sanctuaries are, as explained by Levine (2011), ‘content aggregators and distributors’ (DeFilippi and Wikstrom, 2014). The primary audience composing the creative economy has thus moved from being passive recipients to active creators themselves. New technologies are allowing the creation of social cohesion and development and moreover of collective memory.

In force of the drastic change brought by the affluence of the worldwide web in our lives, the latest Creative Economy Report (2010) underlined the need for a ‘shift of focus from a traditional property rights approach to a long-term perspective in which benefits are generated by collective action and by creativity sharing. The recent trend towards “creativity in collaboration” rests on the notion that creativity is essentially a social process, not only involving individuals, but also a specific socio-cultural domain of knowledge and a field’. In this perspective, the non-profit corporation Creative Commons (CC) developed a system that enables creators to share their work within the copyright rules and to embrace the opportunities offered by the Internet to expand their network and collaborations.

Creative Commons Guiding the Contributors. From ‘Liberty Leading the People’ by Delacroix

In this scenario, projects like Wikihouse stands as promoters of a new industrial revolution, as a response to the current digitisation of our reality. WikiHouse is a collaborative project creator of the first open source building system designed for open digital manufacturing. Their service can be accessed everywhere (users can download simple and small Creative Commons licensed buildings plans), rapidly (each project can be assembled in about a day) and at a low cost. Most importantly, customers can personalise the designs through the website to best fulfil their needs and creatively cooperate with the process.

Starting from the current reality of our economy, which relies on the wisdom of the crowds and the internet of the things, WikiHouse sees the possibility of a democratisation of production and the realisation of a society where ‘the factory is everywhere and the the design team is everyone’ (Parvin, A. 2012). Their main aim is to overcome the housing crisis by reinventing a new system built on digital tools for a new sustainable, inclusive, resilient and scalable volume housing industry.

In times of revolution, ‘the primary question for the design professions thus becomes not what new products to make, but how to reinvent design culture’. (Margolin, 1998 cited in Galli, n.d.). Furthermore, to reformulate design culture and creating new mindsets it is necessary to totally embrace the current times and conditions ‘and deconstruct the circumstances rather than attempting to fix irrelevant problems’ (Galli, n.d). Basing on this philosophy, WikiHouse is perfectly answering the needs of the contemporary society by offering them a common ground of shared meanings and values, where creativity appears as a collaborative, rather than elitist, tool.


  • Bennett,T and Frow, J. (2008). Handbook of Cultural Analysis. Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Florida, R. (2002). The rise of the creative class. New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds. Oxford: Capstone.
  • O’neil, E. (2012). Open Source WikiHouse Disrupts Traditional Design. [online] Policy Innovations. Available at: [Accessed 17 Oct. 2016].
  • Unctad, (2010). Creative Economy: A Feasible Development Option. Creative Economy. United Nations.
  • Van der Pol, H. (n.d.). Key Role of Cultural and Creative Industries in the Economy. 1st ed.

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