Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
"Good artists copy, great artists steal" -Pablo Picasso
"Everything is a remix" -Kirby Ferguson
My research program is motivated by a fundamental puzzle of creativity: people only ever have access to old thoughts (whether in their heads or in the world), but somehow great creators find a way to forge them into really new and useful ones. Great creators have mastered the art of turning knowledge into creativity. Consider how motion pictures were invented: Thomas Edison leveraged his knowledge of phonographs to “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear” (Carson & Gorman, 1999). My research explores how we can better understand and support knowledge-based creativity.
My past work has focused on understanding how people use sources of inspiration to generate creative ideas, and clarified the role of making connections between conceptually distant ideas. In ongoing work I am building knowledge-based creativity support systems, both applying and generating new insights for theories of knowledge-based creativity. My long-term research goal is to develop a robust theory of knowledge-based creativity embodied in artifacts that augment human creativity.
I'm always looking for interesting people to talk to or work with: if you have ideas, brickbats, feedback, or project ideas, please drop me a line!
- My Design Studies paper on analogical distance and creative inspiration was featured in several news outlets, including phys.org and Fast Company!
- We successfully demoed our guided crowd brainstorming system at HCOMP 2014!
- We submitted two papers on our social ideation system and system for mining analogies with crowds to CHI 2015.
- New paper from my dissertation accepted to Design Studies! Check out the paper.
- My new work on social-computing-powered idea generation was accepted as a demo at HCOMP 2014. Check out the extended abstract.
- I presented work from my dissertation at Cognitive Science 2014. Check out the paper.
- I successfully defended my dissertation! (July 1)
- My dissertation research was recognized with a Tim Post Award for research excellence!
- My master's research on analogies and ideation in an expert design team was featured on National Geographic, Fast Company, and Business Insider
- I joined the Protolab with Steven Dow at Carnegie Mellon's Human-Computer Interaction Institute