Tensions in Creative Products

Using the Value Square to Model Functional Creativity


The standard definition of creativity is based on a tension between originality and effectiveness. The paper explores how this tension pervades the functional creativity of creative products. To achieve this, the so called value square (“Wertequadrat”) developed by Helwig (1967) and Schulz von Thun (1998) is used. The value square balances a value with its countervalue. The author identifies two tensions – the tension concerning style and novelty and the tension concerning resolution and novelty – which both represent the tension between effectiveness and originality of the standard definition. Furthermore a tension within effectiveness is identified – a tension concerning style and resolution. The implications of these tensions on product design are discussed and as a conclusion a dilemma of customer insight is developed.


The Working Paper can be downloaded for free from Publikationen/CBS-Workiing Paper.


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