Have you ever ask yourself: How to actually be Creative? I guess one needs to be already creative to answer that question 🙂
I do believe that creativity can be developed. Fully agree with Sir Ken Robinson, that creativity is often a very hidden skill and that our educational systems has tremendous influence on its detection and development. I was so much inspired by his “Bring on the learning revolution” that I decided to revolutionize a bit my small environment. I teach MBA Classes, and I decided to infect my students with creativity – a scary word for well structured business mindset 🙂
For example, I said them – “why don’t you guys bring me not one presentation for your case study, but two. I need two considerably different answers. And I don’t care which one is right or wrong, all I care about – is your ability to define those standpoints, bring deep arguments and defend them”.
Fortunately, some students got excited with this idea, but there also were others, who said to me “oh, I am not creative at all, so, may I do as I usually do”. Well, it was OK for me to allow the “usual way”, but I faced an intriguing problem: they did not believe in their own abilities, while for me it is an unquestionable truth that everyone of us is somehow creative. I also believe that every single day we makes something creative, no matter how big or small it is. It is a matter of noticing and working on it. It requires practicing just like any other talent. But how to pass this belief? And how to explain, how to actually be creative? I was not ready for it.
I started Googling around, and the best I could find was the TED.com and some great quotations from some great minds. But, I needed to gain their trust by giving real examples from life and the only way to do so was to understand the whole process of creativity by myself and then build a certain framework with some practical hints.
So, I rewind the moments which I call the “Ahaa moments”, and started a very slow playback in order to distinguish every small bits of it. After few days I understood one fundamental thing: that there is no “Creativity” with a simplistic understanding of this word. I honesty did not create anything, and all my “Ahaa” ideas seemed to be ready before me. It was not like putting the building blocks. It was more like listening, catching and accepting.
It is like… Imagine here is the line, and before that, it is the World of known things. After that line – it’s World of ideas. So, I have been asking around questions to myself: why not I … What if I… But may be this way…
Such questions bring me to the edge, on the shore, right to that line. And then, all I do: is to stay still, slow down and “listen to myself”. I found one small secret: when you ask the question, the worst thing to do is either to walk away, or to answer it by yourself.
To my mind, great ideas are not made by thinking only. Actually, they are felt after thinking fails to invent something by itself. I believe that job of thinking is to ask great questions, and the job of feeling is to catch the “aha” answers.
Another small secret that I noticed, was that, If I bring the irrelevant things together, and I let them just be together, no matter how different they might seem, after a while I could detect a connection, a link, a sort of harmony existing somewhere in higher dimensions.
Here is a simple example: when I was a student, I had to go to the Army. Thank God I did not go there. In my times it was the Soviet Army. Not much fun! So, somebody told my Mother, that if I could play a wind instrument, then my Army life could become easier: instead of marching, just trumpeting.
So, I tried to blow flute and trumpet. Damn! that was so terribly difficult. The learning curve seemed never bending. But I have tried! I was not lazy! No, actually, finally I become lazy, because after feeling the sound of trumpet fairly well, I said – why don’t I sing that sound. Singing was easier for me, I used to sing from my childhood in the choir. And I started doing this mouth trumpet. Just like this…
Or, another example of connecting even bigger polarities. Music and IT. I tried to play guitar as well. Again, another horrible sight. My fingers were bleeding. No way – I said! Actually, whole problem was this left hand. And this hand does nothing! Only mechanical things, like holding a note or a chord. Well, right hand makes the music: emotions, tempo, dynamics. So, I said, why don’t a computer could replace my left hand, leaving me to control the music with just shaking. So, why don’t I make an iPhone app of a guitar so that a song is loaded in the phone, and all I do, with my right hand, is to shake it?
One more small secret: ones you have your “Ahaa” ideas, use them as the building blocks. In this case, guitar plus trumpet could be connected easily like this (Play and mouth trumpet “My Way”).
All these tiny secrets made me to believe in certain things:
- I believe that creativity is achievable
- I believe that noticing tiny details are the roots of creativity.
- I believe that we need both thinking and feeling.
- I believe that: if I see different, I have a chance to see myself.
There are a lot more that can be said, but I just have this timer ticking here..
So, to roll up my talk, I need to emphasize few things, which I do believe are worth to be spread:
- It matters that we understand and demystify process of creativity;
- It matters that we talk about it, share it;
- It matters that we expose our subjective perceptions without hesitation;
- It matters that we search for higher links to the things, which are dissimilar to us;
- It matters that we inspire others and make them believe that they can create;
It all matters!
And it’s fairly easy to do so, especially when it starts with just listening.
…and thank you for listening!