Communication for Development and Social Change Through Creativity

  • Arpan YagnikEmail author
Living reference work entry


As we celebrate the 80th year of the successful Marshall plan, it is unfortunate that practitioners and scholars have struggled, since: to achieve the same level of success in development and social change efforts. This indicates a need to seriously assess the field and even introduce new and unique approaches to boost the efficacy of such efforts. But there is a general neglect of creativity in the field of communication for development and social change. Creativity is a powerful force with tremendous potential to enhance efficacy of development and social change efforts. A gardening analogy is apt to elaborate on the value and role of creativity in communication for development and social change. Imagine you have a piece of fertile soil where you are trying to grow a garden. You have good seeds, you sow them at the right depth, you water them, and you ensure that they receive appropriate balance between shade and sunlight. Despite everything, only half the seeds germinate leaving the idea of a flourishing garden biting the dust. This is the state of communication for development and social change. However, the one thing missing here was tilling. Tilling allows movement (upward and downward) and breathing, enabling and empowering a seed to transform into an independent plant. The element of tilling in gardening is what creativity is to communication for development and social change. Before the initiation of communication for development effort, planners and executioners should ensure the tilling of the soil, which translates to increasing creativity index of the target community or individuals because a creative individual or a creative community is relatively more open to the existence and acceptance of alternate or new ideas and behaviors. Creativity can substantially aid development and social change efforts because of its organic fit with the values of dialogue, participation, empowerment, social justice, and equality.


  1. Amabile TM (1997) Entrepreneurial creativity through motivational synergy. J Creat Behav 31(1):18–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bungay H, Vella-Burrows T (2013) The effects of participating in creative activities on the health and well-being of children and young people: a rapid review of the literature. Perspect Public Health 133(1):44–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coholic D, Eys M, Lougheed S (2012) Investigating the effectiveness of an arts-based and mindfulness-based group program for the improvement of resilience in children in need. J Child Fam Stud 21(5):833–844CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Csikszentmihalyi M (1996) Creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. Harper Collins Publications, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Florida R, Mellander C, King K (2015) The global creativity index 2015. Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  6. Garcia-Ros R, Talaya I, Perez-Gonzalez F (2012) The process of identifying gifted children in elementary education: teachers’ evaluations of creativity. Sch Psychol Int 33(6):661–672CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. George L, Yagnik A (2017) Creative aerobics: fueling imagination in the 21st century. Sage Publishers, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  8. Greene RR, Hantman S, Sharabi A, Cohen H (2012) Holocaust survivors: three waves of resilience research. J Evid Based Soc Work 9(5):481–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Jin Nam C, Anderson TA, Veillette A (2009) Contextual inhibitors of employee creativity in organizations: the insulating role of creative ability. Group Org Manag 34(3):330–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kern F (2010) What chief executives really want. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved from
  11. Kienitz E, Quintin E, Saggar M, Bott NT, Royalty A, Hong DW, Liu N, Chien Y, Hawthorne G, Reiss AL (2014) Targeted intervention to increase creative capacity and performance: a randomized controlled pilot study. Think Skills Creat 13:57–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lynch M, Sloane G, Sinclair C, Bassett R (2013) Resilience and art in chronic pain. Arts Health 5(1):51–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mefalopulos P (2008) Development communication sourcebook: broadening the boundaries of communication. The World Bank, Washington, DCCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Metzl ES (2009) The role of creative thinking in resilience after hurricane Katrina. Psychol Aesthet Creat Arts 3(2):112–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pace VL, Brannick MT (2010) Improving prediction of work performance through frame-of-reference consistency: empirical evidence using openness to experience. Int J Sel Assess 18(2):230–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Reiter-Palmon R, Mumford MD, Threlfall KV (1998) Solving everyday problems creatively: the role of problem construction and personality type. Creat Res J 11(3):187–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Romer P (1986) Increasing returns and long-run growth. J Polit Econ 90:1002–1037CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Runco M (2014) Creativity theories and themes: research, development, and practice, 2nd edn. Elseiver, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Sternberg R (2018) A triangular theory of creativity. Psychol Aesthet Creat Arts 12(1):50–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication, Penn State, ErieErieUSA

Personalised recommendations