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4 Examples of Creative Tension

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I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Creative tension is the idea that disagreement and discord can produce more creative ideas and outcomes. The following are illustrative examples.

Intellectual Diversity

Creative tension suggests that teams with diverse opinions and intellectual backgrounds may produce creative results. Conversely, institutions that restrict membership to like-minded individuals or suppress unpopular opinions may stagnate creatively.

Tolerance for Disagreement

Environments where disagreement such as lively debate are viewed as healthy and constructive. Conversely, institutions that seek to protect everyone's feelings or that enshrine group harmony such as saving-face as a core principle would be less creative.

Pessimism

Creativity is often associated with optimism. The theory of creative tension suggests that pessimism may play a role. For example, a pessimistic evaluation of how far you are from your goals may spark more ideas than a warm optimistic feeling that everything will probably work out wonderfully.

Influence

Creative tension can be used to describe how individuals or groups with little formal authority in a particular context can rise to generate positive change by creating a sense of tension around an issue.
Overview: Creative Tension
Type
Definition
The idea that disagreement and discord can produce creative ideas and outcomes.
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