Amazing creativity?

Clown skull -Muniz“The key question isn’t what fosters creativity?. But it is why in God’s name isn’t everyone creative? Where was the human potential lost? How was it crippled? I think therefore a good question might be not why do people create, but why do people not create or innovate? We have got to abandon the sense of amazement in the face of creativity, as if it were a miracle if anybody created anything.” (Abraham Maslow)

So this week I’m going to practice thinking of creativity as the norm and I’ll report back if I see the world differently…..

21 Responses to “Amazing creativity?”


  • Geez, Jon, but you’ve aged a little since I last saw you?

    Creativity is everywhere, if you stop to look for it. Its like the force, and like the force, only certain individuals seem to be masters of it…

  • Hey Fred, good to see you here.How are your creativity adventures going? Yes, do you see my new dental work – cool eh?
    I am, like most parents, amazed by my kids’ creativity…. so I wonder how would we retain that as we grow up … same question that Ken Robinson posed http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/66 imagine reworking the education system to allow that AND keep the rigour in the traditional numeracy and literacy syllabi

  • Well, you dont ask for much do you Jon? Its bit of a conundrum. I was thinking about it yesterday. To be creative in a field like biotechnology, one usually requires years of hard study to understand the technologies. Yet its this disciplined process of knowledge accrual that eventually grinds the creative spirit to a fine powdery substance that cannot be snorted! Maybe I can solve it before I reach your advanced state of dental decay…

    Yeah, I started drawing classes this last week. I had to draw a bowl. When I was done, there was a mild resemblance to the original, but the angle of perspective was not correct. I thought, how is it possible that I cannot draw what is right in front of my eyes. Instead I end up with an idealised version of what it should look like. This experience has lead me to the conclusion that most problems are solved the same way – by not seeing it as it exists, but rather as it already exists in our minds eye, ie. impossible to create.

    So thats my challenge for the next while – to learn to see what really is and not whats already in my mind…

  • That’s interesting – I guess you know ‘The artist’s way’ by Julia Cameron?

  • Quote from JFP: …imagine reworking the education system to allow that AND keep the rigour in the traditional numeracy and literacy syllabi

    Lordy Jonno, big ask! Imagine reworking the political will to accommodate syllabi that Actually Work -and release well-rounded, productive, talented, intelligent, literate, willing, enthusiastic members of society! That would require a huge paradigm shift at governmental and societal levels away from just embracing the currently perceived Politically Correct ‘will of the nation’ and social experimentation, into embracing directions that will benefit society as a whole, all the time! A STUNNING concept!

    The enthusiasm, curiosity, inventiveness and sheer creativity of children is a magical thing to witness -and something we as adults *have* to be willing to foster. We need to be able to identify as soon as possible a child’s enthusiasms, interests -what their particular ‘bent’ is, and encourage the development of those special talents, all without stifling the latencies by imposition of arbitrary ‘rules’ or trying to impose our own ‘ideals’ on them.

    Maybe in 20-30 years, the kids will have retained their own Creativity sufficiently that society can benefit, and change. Can we recapture our own lost/stifled/suppressed creativity? I reckon so, as long as we are doing something that we passionately believe in. Regrettably, misdirected passion leads to as many false starts, inappropriate social experiments, sometimes shameful acts as inaction.

    A tough nut to crack Jonno. I’m going to have to think on that one :)

  • WoW!!! My first visit to TED! Sir Ken’s talk -amazing. Thanks Jonno :) I’ll be back!

  • the more i search for signs of organisational creativity the more that i am convinced that it is not enough to simply have creative ideas. it looks like you need to be able to do more than just think creatively for example you need to be able to articulate these thoughts, withstand the hail of criticism and sometimes you need to be in a position of power to allow your creative idea to grow into a creative artefact. so maybe as adults we are just as able to be creative as we were as children – but the context is so different to that which we experienced as children that maybe we need to explore the social process of creativity within this new environment to understand how our creative thoughts could be transformed into creative artefacts???

  • Great point, Heather…. this reminds me of some fun/serious stuff from Pentacle about the innovation process – breeding fast/strong rabbits..

    RABBIT model
    http://www.pentaclethevbs.com/PETs/Rabbit/RabbitsFunnels.htm
    Healthcheck
    http://domino-212.pentacle.co.uk/healthcheck/innovation_hc.nsf/questionnaires/innovation+healthcheck?opendocument

    I think exploring the social processes of creativity offers a lot of scope… any thoughts? I can think of Ralph Stacey’s Complexity and Creativity in organisations for a start – http://www.amazon.com/Complexity-Creativity-Organizations-Ralph-Stacey/dp/1881052893

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