I recall hearing about a concept related to one's ability to work creatively. Essentially, the ability to do creative work was linked to the time between taking an action and seeing the result of that action.

As an engineer and software developer, this concept resonates strongly with me. The ability to quickly iterate through an idea and explore ideas is enabled by fast idea-result loops and substantially hindered by slow idea-result loops.

Is there a name for this concept / theory? Is there a common citation for this idea?

I would like to read a bit more and put this idea on firm footing -- such that I can reference it when giving talks on tool development for creative processes.


1 Answer 1


I found this paper that discusses 1980's work by IBM studying the response time of interactive computers.

J. T. Brady, "A Theory of Productivity in the Creative Process," in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 6, no. 5, pp. 25-34, May 1986, doi: 10.1109/MCG.1986.276789.

This covers the range of a fraction of a second to about three second response rates. I believe the same sorts of trends expand to longer periods before response -- minutes, hours, even days.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.