Systemic creativities in sustainability and social innovation education

José-Rodrigo Córdoba-Pachón, Francesca Mapelli, Farah Nabil Adel Al Taji, Diana Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to aid educators in sustainability or social innovation to make sense of their creativity. We use a systems model of creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988, 1996, 1999) as an enquiring device to tease out issues that influence creativity within these realms. Data from semi-structured interviews with senior and junior educators in two geographical locations lead us to elaborate two systems models to reflect creativity. These models portray creativity as emerging from the alignment of and connections between creators, domains and field elements as suggested by Csikszentmihalyi. However, we also identify some intermediary or absent connections between the model elements which deserve further attention, as their uncritical pursuit could potentially exacerbate exclusion or marginalisation of junior educators’ personal values and interests. Therefore, critically and creatively informed learning could be better cultivated in these realms. This and other insights could have important implications for how creativity and its nurturing in education could be advanced in the long run.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-267
Number of pages17
JournalSystemic Practice and Action Research
Issue number3
Early online date30 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2021


  • Sustainability Education
  • Social Innovation Education
  • Systems Thinking
  • Csikszentmihalyi

Cite this