How can browsing the web
spark creative thinking?
The website Sevenclicks.org is a creative research tool that takes you on a path through the vast communal knowledge of Wikipedia. Creativity and broad thinking are stimulated by guiding the user from his initial search topic to unexpected, yet related subjects.
Sevenclicks is connected to the Wikipedia-server and lets you search for any topic from its database. Together with the desired article, a list of related topics is presented to you and after choosing one, you move on to the next article where another list of related topics is displayed to you to choose from.
This step gets repeated seven times. In this way the user moves further away from the initial topic and explores new subjects while still being able to relate them back to the original search term.
The goal is to encourage curiosity and to inspire users to explore.
“Browsing through Wikipedia I end up learning about topics I did not search for”
The project Sevenclicks stems from the question, how can we harness the creative potential from these click-journeys?
We offer a simple tool, that makes you get the most out of your research by structuring it for you and have all encountered topics on one page.
Now you can easily see the path and the connections between the topics. Leaving our initial topic realm helps broaden our thinking and knowledge. More importantly it can spark new ideas and creative solutions that leave the ‘obvious path’.
‘’Psychological accounts that consider convergent and divergent production as separate and independent dimensions of human cognitive ability allow one to think of creative problem solvers as divergers rather than convergers, and to associate creativity with divergent thought that combines distant concepts together.‘’
B.R. Lawson, Parallel lines of thought, Lang. Des. 1 (4) (1993) 357–366.
Creativity is mostly defined in Psychology by divergent thinking and combining distant concepts. Research shows that the ‘successful idea’ is commonly the idea that combines concepts that are thematically further apart from the initial given topic realm - so broader thoughts are linked to successful, creative ideas.
(See point X)
During testing and research for this application seven steps/iterations proved to be the optimal distance for topic exploration as within seven clicks you generally discover unforeseen
knowledge and links.
Yet, a pathway of seven subjects can still be recalled while the thematic links between the topics remain comprehensible. Thus they can be deliberately be combined towards a creative solution or idea.
Dutch Design Week, DAE Graduation Show / 19-10-19 - 27-10-19
26th Biennale of Design - Common Knowledge, Ljubiljana, SI / Symposium - 07-02-2020
Wikipedia is arguably the biggest accumulation of Communal Knowledge, and one of the most frequented websites worldwide. It contains more than 40 million articles in different languages. All of them are created, maintained and reviewed by the members of the global Wikipedia community.
It is a great source of knowledge, mostly used for quick fact checking and learning.
However, the sheer amount of available information can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate through. Purpose and usage are thereby limited by the design.
Many people experience getting lost within the mass of pages. You click from one hyperlink to the next and end up on an article without ‘knowing’ how you landed there.