Understanding Creadox through the Semiotics of Cooperative Transactions


Mathilde Sarré-Charrier
Laboratory Dicen-IdF,CNAM,2 Rue de Conté, 75003 Paris


In an environment of unpredictability, organizations envision the future of society to guide their decision-making and actions. Within this framework, they employ creativity applied to future studies to address the lack of certainty on a long-term time horizon. During the divergence intentionally a very high quantity of ideas is produced, in this creative process where the future is expected to be different than the present. And even if breakthrough ideas and originality are fully expected at the end in the main deliverable, it happens that novelty tends to disappear further after the convergence. This risk of losing originality is an issue that can be compared to the "creadox", a neologism that refers to a rich divergence phase which, paradoxically, barely leads original ideas at the conclusion of the convergence phase. This problem is at the interplay between practice and research. And, this paper explores this phenomenon by the means of the Semiotics of Cooperative Transactions theoretical framework, which includes concepts for analysing in detail creativity sessions dedicated to envisioning the future. We focus on transactions characterized by the transformation of ideas into concepts and then into valuable deliverables. We examine how ideas are materialized in the documents produced during the creative process, and we illustrate it through a case study involving unpredictable issues and future societal evolutions. We conclude with the territorialization of the original ideas, that includes the way they are materialized into artefacts and documents all along the creative sessions, a dimension to explore in further research to avoid the “creadox”, to better address the challenge of maintaining originality in the creative process when envisioning the future.

December 18, 2023
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