Monday, 22 October 2012

Creativity is not a talent

The #edchat Daily provided me with so many fasinating educations links, and today I stumbled on an old talk by John Cleese on Creativity, worthy of being a TEDX talk. For half an hour I was captivated, found myself laughing in agreement and wondering if I was providing the environment to foster creativity for my own students.

Creativity is not a talent but a way of operating or a mood which allows their natural creativity to surface, these people have learnt to play and play for its own sake. Creativity is unrelated to IQ, everyone can be creative. However creativity is NOT possible in closed mode.

Closed mode is the mode we in most of the time at work. We ar active, and slightly anxious often in an exciting way. We are purposeful and get things done. Open mode in contrast is relaxed, less purposeful, more reflective, and encourages curiosity  In open mode we use humour and are more playful and under less pressure. We can play! The main characteristics of play are it's secludedness and it's limitedness, this sets it aside from daily life.

When we have problems to solve we should operate in an open mode. Yet once we find a solution we need to be able to switch into closed mode to implement and complete it. Both are important but importantly they should be used purposefully at the right time. Turning on the creativity requires setting up the right situation, and John has a recipe for that too. 

To get yourself into open mode you need five things:
Space - Time - Time - Confidence - Humour

Space: create a space away, sealed off from your usual daily areas.
Time: plan for a specific amount of time, an hour and a half weekly is good. 
In your space and time create an oasis of quiet, space and time to play.
Time: give your mind as long as possible to come up with something 
original. Successful creative professionals play with a problem longer, and are prepared to "suffer" the inner discomfort, tension to solve a problem. We often take the easiest route, the first solution. Rather defer the decision until required time, allow yourself pondering time.
Confidence: get rid of fear of making a mistakes and set the scene for the essence of play. While being creative nothing is wrong, always give positives, absolutely no negatives. The Japanese give the first opinion at meetings to the most junior, so they have confidence to talk about what they thought.
Humour: gets us from closed to open mode the fastest!

Creativity is the moment of contact between two separate ideas in a way that generates new meaning. Some ways to encourage it are to deliberately try inventing random connections, and use your intuition to judge it's value. Edward De Bono called it "intermediate impossibles," stepping stone to another idea.

I feel revived, regenerated and ready to set my students up to tap into their creativity, are you?