Post ISTP conference in Tokyo

Post doctor and Cluster 3 Leader, Ingunn Johanne Ness, is back from Tokyo and the International Society for Theoretical Psychology (ISTP) conference where she presented her work on Creativity and Innovation in Multidisciplinary Groups and how to facilitate these processes.



How did your presentation go?

Ingunn: It was an interesting conference with a focus on contemporary psychological debates. I found it really exciting to be able to be there and to present my work.It was an honor to be invited.


I also found the symposium I participated in truly interesting. It was entitled, “Participatory Creativity and Lifelong Development,” and was organized by Michael Hanchett Hanson from Columbia University, New York. The symposium examined the theory, practice and ethics of participatory creativity.


Within the paradigm of participatory creativity creativity is considered from the point of view of many types of roles, audiences as well as the actions involved in developing new points of view. This approach strongly contrasts with the traditional ideation focus in creativity research. Vlad Glaveanu, associate Professor II at SLATE, was discussant.


I must say that my presentation went well.  It included a new theoretical concept that adds to our understanding of how different people learn from each other and co-construct knowledge and ideas across disciplinary boundaries.



Why do you study creativity and innovation?

Ingunn: I find this area fascinating. I would like to be a voice in the field of participatory creativity. This is why I have been investigating how people with different knowledge develop innovative ideas together. In my research, I have seen how complex and advanced expert knowledge from different practices in a group can ignite imaginative thinking and how crucial this is to creativity and new problem solving approaches, both in organizations and, also, in school settings.




I think that often we are constrained by the limits of our own expert field. However, when we dare to connect this expertise to another field of expertise, we can expand our knowledge in new, exciting, creative and imaginative ways.


My curiosity on creativity and diversity was first stimulated when I was working in an Entrepreneur company in my early twenties. There I saw firsthand how people from different disciplines and cultures solved tasks in different ways and how exited they could be when they had to collaborate.


My educational background reflects this interest in collaboration, creativity and combining knowledge. I have a formal education with degrees from both a University and Business School. I took my Bachelor and Master at the Faculty of Psychology, Department of Education at UiB. I focused on knowledge processes and learning, as well as how people co-construct knowledge in joint efforts.


During my PhD period, I included in-depth studies of sociocultural theory and knowledge processes from the University of Oxford, Department of Education. At Business School, I took Master courses on Innovation and Management and was looking into theories on leadership and creativity. There I was introduced to the idea of CPS (Creative Problem Solving).


This varied educational experience has been useful with regards to understanding organizational and participatory creativity as a business field and the organizational context of the group work, as well as being helpful when exploring the particular creative processes in various learning contexts. I believe that creativity and innovation are crucial to enabling us to solve complex problems at both micro and macro/society level. This is why it is so important to put this on the agenda, as ISTP did in Tokyo.


How did you like Tokyo?

Ingunn: I loved it! Of course, it was hot and humid for a Norwegian – but Japan impressed me in so many ways. The people, the politeness, the logistics of dealing with so many people effectively, the food… I felt welcome wherever I went and hope I can go back to see and experience more of Japan.


What was the best part of this journey?

Ingunn: Unfortunately, most of this trip involved work and there was not much time to do other things. Professionally, however, I gained new insights into some contemporary debates going on in psychology, for instance, “weak robots”.  I also made some truly interesting contacts that I hope will become collaborators for SLATE. Japan has an amazing culture. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.  The amazing sushi also made quite an impression! Oh, and we made time for some karaoke – which actually was super for bonding and getting to know other participants at the conference in a fun and informal way.


Read more about Ness' work:



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