The Quantum Mousetrap

Mark Eduljee's blog about Social Media Insights Intelligence and his FlightSim Movies

Posts Tagged ‘Begin from the end’

The art of creativity

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

To every educator, parent, manager, and person of authority, view this. It’s a 19 min clip from the TED archives.

Summarized, it’s a 2006 presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, and he makes “an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity”.

As with all things, this is generally true, but not entirely correct… some of the most creative ideas and products have come as a result of educated minds using knowledge to create wondrous (or hurtful) products, services, art, poetry, policy, philosophy, religion, technology etc. — Facebook being a relatively recent example of technical creativity, but, whether it’s a creative or destructive force is still open to debate ; )

Do you think you are creative? I’m betting that 90% of you reading this are probably nodding your heads. Sure, you’ve done creative things.  Aaahaa!! But has the level of your creativity been so profound as to fundamentally change the human condition? Probably not. Don’t get me wrong, creative output does not have to be on a cosmic scale to be valuable. Does that make you any less creative in your own right? Certainly not.

But here’s the question that’s really going to bake your noodle: Can you (or better yet, should you) hold your school or university responsible for not making you creative ENOUGH, or worse, squeezing the well-spring of creativity OUT of you? Hmmm…Is it a schooling or College problem? Or is it you? Can, and should, you hold yourself responsible for not unlocking, nurturing, growing your own creative potential? Or worse, allowing others to suppress it? Isn’t creativity just a state of mind?

Here’s a test… point me to one person you know, for certain, who is absolutely incapable of being creative. And I’ll show you the unicorn I keep as a pet in my back yard.

So what the difference? Why was Edison creative enough to solve the problem of night-time darkness, and the Wright Brothers insightful enough to stitch together a wood and cloth contraption that fundamentally made the world a smaller place to live in, while scores of humans “lead lives of quiet desperation”? (Thoreau)  BTW did you know that Orville and Wilbur owned a bicycle shop! They were not aeronautical engineers. Oh – wait- Aeronautic didn’t even exist at that time. Hmm…What were they thinking? Fly like a bird. Sheesh! Hey gear head! Just peddle your bike, will ya!

I think they made a choice…They made a conscientious choice to move, act, and think in creative ways. I am absolutely convinced through my own life’s experiences that one must first choose to exercise their right and option to become a creative person. I will not blame my teachers, parents, circumstances or…..

Here are 10 ways to become a more intentionally creative person.

  1. Banish fear: The primitive brain does not allow thoughts to flow when it is afraid – afraid of TRex, afraid of failing, rejection, ridicule. Whatever. Give yourself a break and trust yourself some more.
  2. You are not what others define you to be: I’m sure you can come up with ‘n’ number of notes from Parents/Teachers/Managers/Friends/Critics etc. about what they think or thought of you, or your capabilities or capacity to think, act, behave. Here’s what to do with that information (for that is all it really is) listen, digest, and then move on. Use their thoughts, opinions, reviews, or insights as a foundation for the next step, not as a wall to hide behind.
  3. You know more that you think you know: Really. Believe it. “Oh, I don’t know how to bake a cake for my Mother!”. Really? Are you telling me that you are incapable of finding the information, or a friend, to help you to get over that hurdle? Knowing is not only what you have in your head. Stop finding excuses.  ’nuff said.
  4. Dig to get to root cause: The Wright brothers asked the question: “What makes controlled flight possible”. That was their question. That was their root cause. It focused and channeled their creative energy and drive. It was what inspired them. To be “bird-like”. It was not “how do we build an airplane?” The result was an airplane, not the other way around.
  5. Manage frustration: Accept that being creative is a process. It takes time. Allow the process to run its course. Getting frustrated and impatient for the end only weighs it down. A calm brain can think, tap into its reservoir of knowledge, see options, focus, go deeper.
  6. Learn to be a bulldog: Don’t let go. Dogged persistence. Being creative will test your resolve. It demands persistence and commitment. Sink your teeth into it. And relish the feeling while you are about it.
  7. Give up. But don’t walk away. Seems to contradict the one above, but this is more strategic. When you find any of these laws breaking down, take a hike. Give yourself a break.  Go play a game of racquetball, feed the goldfish, wag the dog. Whatever. Take your mind off “it”. Give up and let your subconscious take over for a while. It will call you back when it’s ready and has an answer for you. It works every time.
  8. Identify needs, not wants. This is a big one… too often the drive to be creative short circuits because it goes something like this: Identify goal/wish/wants –> whoosh! –> get into problem solving mode. STOP! First, figure out what the real need is. Wants are emotion-based objectives. You can’t think clearly when emotion is involved. Needs on the other hand define the desired end-result.
  9. Begin from the end: See the end. Focus less on ‘how’, and more on ‘what’. Options and alternatives that were not apparent in the whoosh mind-set then become available. Walking backwards from the end releases unconventional/new/alternative/hybrid ideas. The result can be sheer brilliance. “Why didn’t I think of that!!?” … Why didn’t you!?
  10. Insert your own guideline here: Be creative.