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Creativity: Creativity in Complex Military Systems

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Army values creativity and encourages individuals to employ creative thinking in problem solving and planning. This reflects an understanding of the phenomenon as an individual attribute and fails to account for the systemic nature of military organizations and conflict. A systems-focused concept of creativity that defines creativity as an emergent outcome of a complex system comprised of expertise, process, and environment offers a better lens to evaluate military creativity. This definition further illustrates how the potential and nature of creativity depends upon the operational perspective. The purpose and ecology of strategy allow strategists to reinterpret the environment and develop novel ideas and logic to drive operational planning. Operational artists use similar skills to synthesize contextually-dependent operational forms employing tactical functions congruent with the logic of strategy. The unique ecology of operations, combined with its primary purpose, promotes organizational learning and experimentation in pursuit of novelty. The teleological focus of tactics combined with its prescriptive doctrine favors adaptive behaviors over creative ones. A better understanding of the nature of military creativity will allow commanders and staffs to better understand how novelty influences armed conflict. A better understanding of the system that yield military creativity would enable commanders and staffs to structure their operations process to fully exploit the potential of their formations.

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,05 Jul 2016,25 May 2017



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Approved For Public Release;

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