Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 19 January 2007

Model 29

The Investing Model

A rather cute commercialization of models of creativity is this investment model. People buy low and sell high at the core of this model

(Robinson and Stern, 1997; Sternberg, 1995; Van de Ven, 2000). In other words, people look in unlikely places that others have discarded,

ignored, or are biased against, find value there and deploy that value till impressive results produce a high “sales” price for the deeds thusly

achieved. My problem with this model is, as just stated, it is shallow conceptually because the “buy low sell high” concept merely repeats

trite certainties already known about creativity for centuries–it involves unconventional surprising things. As just stated it has no new concepts

to offer. Its appeal is the idea of “investing” as risk-based deployment of effort and resources. Investing is exactly what creative people

do–in projects that may produce nothing in the end. The fame and fortune that comes from some rare creative works but not many

equivalent-looking others is a surprise just as the fame and fortune that comes from some rare investments but not many equivalent-looking

others. In this sense, creating is at least investing.

A better model, I believe, that is true to this model’s intent, is an options-pricing model of creativity. In options pricing people buy a right to

in the future trade something at a certain value/price. It could be the right to sell at a certain price or the right to buy at a certain price. It

could be when it rains next or when the first US female president is elected (or any other future condition specifiable in a contract form). Creativity

as options pricing is investment in something now for the sake of returns that may or may not eventuate at any of several possible

future dates. One reason creative people tend to involve themselves simultaneously in parallel projects–networks of enterprise–is they know

very well the chances than any one project will produce a hit are small. By managing a population of options-priced projects, they mix liberal

and conservative, long-term and short-term efforts optimally, given current likelihoods and information available about such likelihoods.



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