Designing the drivers to boost Digital Creativity and enable Digital Maturity

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Marita CaninaCarmen BrunoEva Monestier

Abstract: With the world rapidly changing and the accelerated growth of emerging digital technologies, creativity has become more fundamental than ever before (Corazza, 2017). We live in a society where the centrality of humans in the future will strongly rely on their creative abilities as those who do not creatively innovate risk failure in any domain. Today, emerging digital technologies are reshaping individuals and society and, consequently, creativity is co-evolving too becoming Digital Creativity (Lee and Chen, 2015). We refer to Digital Creativity as the ability to creatively and strategically apply digital technologies to innovate, thereby harnessing human-centred technological innovation to solve complex problems (Bruno, 2021). This ability requires humans to manage a creative design process and develop new Digital Creative Abilities, including, among others, the ability to communicate and collaborate with others to solve complex problems, to understand the cultural and social potential of emerging digital technologies.In this transitional era, design plays the role of a guide by enabling and empowering people’s creative and design skills and mindset, educating them to face the complex digital transformation. Design education should train future professionals, both designers and engineers, to support companies in achieving Digital Maturity which requires adjusting and implementing the entire organization, including human capital, to continuously adapt to an evolving digital landscape. Therefore, the nurture and development of Digital Creative Abilities (DCAs) is becoming a compulsory step for design and engineering education. This is the purpose the Digital Creativity for Digital Maturity (DC4DM) educational model was conceived for. It aims to up-skill new digital talent - defined as Digital Maturity Enablers - enhancing their DCAs that contribute to the creative design process and empowering them to generate innovative and ever-lasting technological solutions. Within the model, 24 DCAs are collected and grouped along four main dimensions - namely Cognitive, Cross Functional Team, Digital, and Strategic Vision - according to the four key practices that require companies to increase their digital maturity level. As educators, the main research question that moved us was: how can we concretely train and develop these DCAs to educate the digital talents of the future to face contemporary challenges and harness digital transformation opportunities? Indeed, the DCAs at issue are numerous and, in most cases, can be exercised simultaneously performing specific activities. Hence the need to cluster such essential DCAs according to their underlying overlaps. A three-day co-design workshop, called Bootcamp, conducted with around 20 people among educators, researchers, and designers, experts in digital technologies, design futures, and digital ethics, helped us identify the most important groups of DCAs to be addressed in order to create educational activities to successfully train Digital Maturity Enablers empowering their Digital Creativity. The creative abilities related to ethical, sustainable, and future thinking are essential to steering the ongoing digital transformation. Thus, Digital Maturity Enablers should be aware of the importance of such abilities and consider them as actual “drivers” of change. The paper will present the process adopted and the results of the bootcamp which are six Drivers defined as clusters of DCAs that individuals need to acquire to become more aware professionals. Drivers provide people with essential abilities related to digital sustainability, sense-giving, technology foresight, ethics of digital tech, cross-functional collaboration, and complexity. Each driver has a learning objective that helps educators to provide and create educational activities to train the DCAs included in them. After a few iterations carried out during the bootcamp, drivers have been consequently refined and included in the Digital Maturity Toolkit to be tested in three Learning Labs with over 120 students from design, engineering, and business faculties.

Keywords: Digital Creativity, Drivers, Digital Maturity, Co, design, Digital Creative Abilities

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1003299

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