My research shows that creative activity is most importantly directed by how interested and involved a person is during the creative experience. It has also revealed, on closer examination, particular ways in which this experience can manifest itself as modes of creative engagement.

There is good reason to think that creative activities using a computer are inherently engaging, given the amount of time people spend at these activities, however, it is also possible for computer software to be boring or frustrating. Therefore, as designers or users we need to pay attention to the modes of creative engagement that different systems foster. When you are engaged in a creative activity, the theory suggests, you approach the task in one or more of the following modes.

  1. Appreciating – paying carefully attention to creative works and analyses associated ideas and theories.

  2. Directing – managing creative activities

  3. Exploring – searching through possibilities and assesses their creative potential

  4. Participating – involved in intuitive creative expression

  5. Evaluating – making curatorial judgments about appropriateness or value of creative works or practices.

In a well-rounded creative life people can experiences different modes of creative engagement as they pursue their creative activities.

An outline of the modes of creative engagement applied to computer music composition was published in 2001 academic paper.

Modes of Creative Engagement