Monday, May 31, 2004

Teaching Creativity

I have been thinking a lot this week about thinking.

In particular, about creative thinking. Can we teach creative thinking skills, or do we just work to strengthen the abilities of those who already developed that particular mass of gray matter?
I am sure there must be studies to determine weather or not creativity is genetic. I wonder how conclusive they are.

Is it nature or nurture? How much effect does a creative environment play in raising children who will become innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs? In a group of children who have always been trained to follow directions, who are the ones that decide to make their own path? Have they always danced outside of the circle? Did they suddenly revolt one day against the established rules? Or did they slowly discover their creativity while working to make things better for the group?

My experience leads me to believe it is nearly impossible to get innovative solutions or original ideas from some people. I wonder if the ability or desire to create, for these folks, has been neglected or was it squelched? Perhaps it never existed. In the case of suppression, can a resurrection be enabled?

As we look to build the next generation of Cleveland's artists and entrepreneurs, it will be helpful to understand inspiration. How can we foster higher level creative thinking skills in an educational system that is based on rote learning, directed thinking, and teaching to standardized tests?

I would like to hear from people who have been recognized as being creative, as to their own upbringing.
When did you realize your creativity? What motivates you now?

Growing up, I recall being contrary. In school, I was the student who always asked "Why?". I would argue an answer on a test, and blame the teacher for asking a bad question. I would look to solve a problem without following the directions. I still will not follow a recipe exactly as it is written. (Not surpisingly, my kids really like it when we order out)
I have been accused of being innovative and a troublemaker simultaneously. My motivation is maintaining my sanity. If I don't give myself a project to work on, a problem to solve, I start to get bored, which leads to depression. That's scary.

I know many of you who read this weblog.
You are creative people.

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