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Conceptual Details

Outline of the Framework

The framework is built around the actions and properties of the mind and serves as an extension thereof. The mind and the framework have interfaces on two sides: Retrieving Artifacts and Understanding, and Expressing Ideas and Creating Artifacts.


Incubation is the central creative process of the mind. It is where new ideas are created through bisociation. This process cannot be externalized and automated. Therefore – in order to support creativity – the outside conditions for this process have to be optimized. We consider the outside conditions to be the knowledge that is available (or within reach) to be used for bisociation, as well as the ability to express thoughts and ideas.


Artifacts are pieces of information that represent knowledge (once) possessed by their creator, that can be used to recreate this knowledge.

Interface: Understanding – Retrieving Artifacts

Artifacts can be used to retrieve some or all of the knowledge encoded in them through understanding. The information in the artifact has to be understood by the mind in order to be turned into knowledge, which can then be used for the incubation of new ideas (either directly or after being stored in the long-term memory). How much knowledge can be (re-)created from the artifacts depends on multiple factors: The quality and information richness of the artifact plays the largest role. But it also makes a difference if the recipient is the same person as the creator and how long back the artifact was created. Depending on this, additional knowledge that is not encoded in the artifact may be retrieved from the brain.

Interface: Expressing – Creating Artifacts

Through the expression of ideas, thoughts and knowledge in general, artifacts are created. These can be collected, organized, shared and retrieved. The goal of creating artifacts needs to be to capture as much of the knowledge in information as possible.

The creation of artifacts itself can support creativity, as different forms of representing knowledge allow for different ways of thinking and additional information can be added by the system during the creation (through computation of models and augmentation). If the expression is immediate, a feedback loop can develop, in which the idea is improved while it is expressed.

Organizing Artifacts

The collection of artifacts serves as an extension of the mind and is supposed to increase its storage capabilities. But to turn information into knowledge again and to use it in the incubation it needs to be found. Finding artifacts is made possible by organizing them in a way that fosters this. The organization of artifacts can happen both manually and automatically and finding artifacts can happen both actively and without specific action by the user.


Communication is the interface of the system to the outside: To foster collaboration artifacts can be shared with others and artifacts created (or manipulated) by other people can be received.