Constraints and Creativity: Classifying, Balancing, and Managing Constraints

Balder Onarheim, Dagný Valgeirsdóttir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


Constraints are everywhere, whether as fundamental constraints such as forces of gravity and the nature of materials or as constraints integral to humans such as cognition, knowledge, and personality. Thus, creativity always exists in an environment shaped by constraints. In fact, constraints are inherent to the very definition of creativity, as the two elements it requires -originality and usefulness -are constraints in themselves; thus, constraints can indeed be seen as a part of the concept of creativity itself. Moreover, contrary to common belief, constraints are not inhibitors of creativity -they can also be necessary enablers of creativity. In creativity, research constraints have become a common topic, especially on the rise in the last two decades. Many ways to conceptualize and understand types and categories of constraints have been developed, and in this chapter, these various approaches will be reviewed, presented, and unified. The chapter looks at classifications of constraints, the concept of balancing constraints in creativity, and constraint management, and presents a new model for “Classes of Constraints” through which current research efforts can be organized and understood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge International Handbook of Creative Cognition
EditorsLinden J. Ball, Frédéric Vallée-Torangerau
Number of pages14
Publication date2023
ISBN (Electronic)9781003009351
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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