Parallel to the emergence of creativity psychology and design methodology in the US systematized creativity and idea finding methods, such as morphological tables, brainstorming or synectics, boomed in the mid-20th century. What is notable about these methods is that they interlinked a large variety of inventing and innovation methods from different areas, such as natural sciences, engineering, psychology, advertising, or social policy. Beyond that, they draw in their wake socio-technical efforts which puts systematic idea production and invention in the service of national, military and economic interests. The creative mind, that was searched for at the time, was intended to be productive for both the national economy and democratic society. In this session I would like to present and discuss the structure and some of the leading hypotheses of my forthcoming book on the history and practice of creativity methods in the mid-20th century.

Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis is a designer and cultural scientist with a specialization in design studies and design research. Since 2013 she is the director of the Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures at the Academy of Art and Design Basel and the founder of the Critical Media Lab Basel. Besides she is a Principal Investigator at the Cluster of Excellence “Image Knowledge Gestaltung” at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Her research interests comprise design epistemology, history of design and creativity methods as well as experimental design and media practices. Her current book project is dealing with the history and practice of creativity and ideation techniques in the mid-20th century.