Deviance is a variation of the norm, doing something different from what society expects. When someone is deviant, they usually receive negative sanctions from society, ranging from a dirty look to a prison sentence. Even if the deviance is positive, like a student who is extremely smart, it can be treated with a negative response; not being accepted into a group of friends or people being angry because they ruined the curve.
Creativity is the invention of a new idea or product. But what happens when creativity and deviance overlap? In my retail job, since I have been doing it for so long, I will often have “best practices” or ways of doing things that I have found work well, but differ from the way that the company wants things done. In these situations, I have 2 choice; do it my way and know I will have success, or do it the company’s way with uncertain results. There are possible ramifications to doing either. If I do it my way and fail, I will get in trouble, maybe even fired. If I do it the company’s way and fail, I may still get in trouble. The results in this situation determine whether I have been creative or deviant.
The article below discusses a Japanese researcher who continued to do work on a project after the funding was removed. He was successful in creating an LED and praised for his “creativity”. But it could have gone the other way for him as well, if he had failed. Society, in general, provides fewer sanctions for successful deviance than deviance that is unproductive or a failure.