Friday, July 16

Fading Creativity: How To Reignite Yourself And Your Kids Too

CreativityShortly after IBM released its poll of 1,500 CEOs who identified creativity as the no. 1 “leadership competency,” Newsweek published an article that was sure to disappoint. U.S. creativity scores are on the decline.

According to the article, American teachers warn there’s no room in the curriculum for creativity classes. But scientists are quick to point out that art isn't the only path to creativity. The creative process isn't about applying known solutions. It's about divergent thinking and cognitive skill sets, something that often becomes lost in the rote memorization that overcrowds curriculum.

However, it's not just about education in schools. Its about how kids play too. Video games, for example, require rote memorization much more for success than creativity. Immersive worlds require less imagination and much more memory of where certain advantage areas exist on a map and how to a mouse or game pad in a particular way to gain an advantage.

How To Apply Creativity Into Everyday Life.

The greatest creative sparks aren't born from what you have. The greatest creative sparks are from what you don't have. And, I might lump experiences into the mix along with the materials at hand. The same holds true for kids and adults alike.

Broaden Yourself. Try new experiences, things you wouldn't ordinarily do. Even experiences that seem ordinary can provide a unique perspective. Recently, Psychology Today ran an article on how living aboard can make you more creative. But if you apply a little more logic to Art Markman's post, you might not have to go very far at all. Even within your community, there are cultural and demographic differences that can stimulate your head.

For children, it's easy enough. Pull them away from the immersive activities and introduce more explorative activities. For adults, it might be more challenging. Break out of the routine by randomizing your weekend activities, restaurants, and even what you listen to.

Challenge Yourself. Don't take the easy road. The China Economic Review noted that business educators are placing a heavier emphasis on entrepreneurship necessity. Instead of attempting to copy what works (rote memorization and case studies), they are trying to teach the next generation of business leaders to solve problems with less.

For kids, it might mean creating their own game rather than relying on one they already own. Or, interweaving different lessons within a specific context such as learning math as Egyptians might have needed it to build the pyramids. For adults, it can be virtually anything from limiting the amount of time to get household chores done (but still get them done) to recreating a recipe (substituting duck for chicken, perhaps).

Question Yourself. Ask questions, even when things work. Almost every business problem-solving course eventually touches on creativity and innovation. One of those models was developed by Alex Osborn and Sidney Parnes. Their Creative Problem Solving Process always emphasized asking more and more questions in order to help clarify problems. And, they follow it up by providing dozens of answers to each one, even if it leads to more questions.

For kids, the warning sign to watch for is when they stop asking so many questions by middle school. When they stop asking questions, it's time to start asking them questions — even if those questions seem ridiculous (like what if clouds were made of Jello). For adults, the best place to start is often on all those challenges, dreams, and tasks that fall by the wayside. Make a list for each and start asking what you could do about taking care of it or making it happen.

Americans Aren't Losing Their Creativity.

People don't necessarily lose creativity as much as they lose the will to provide for it. Given how many hours people spend surfing the net, it's no wonder there doesn't seem to enough time in the day for anything else.

Sure, the Internet can be enriching in terms of making new connections and being exposed to other people's creativity. However, sometimes you have to unplug from what is becoming too familiar of an environment and set out to make your own way. Or, in other words, sometimes finding the answer without Googling it can lead to a better solution and always a richer experience.

Creatively Related Posts:

• Where has Creativity Gone? on Common Sense Gamer
• The Most Important Quality for CEOs? on The Creative Leadership Forum
How To Make Money Using Social Media on Six Pixels Of Separation

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