Knowledge is not power.
Things have power and value only when they are hard to get.
The Internet provides the opportunity for anyone to access anything anytime anywhere – and for free.
So now when everyone can readily access and acquire knowledge – knowledge itself is without power.
The real power – the real force in this century is creativity.
The ability to take knowledge – the same knowledge that everyone in the world can access – and by thinking differently – do amazing new, innovative, exciting and imaginative things with it.
The issue is – can you learn creativity? Can you teach someone to be creative?
Can you -“create creativity?”
We are the sum of our experiences.
So when we come across words, ideas, concepts and information we churn them through our “interpreter” – our brains – which use the sum of our experiences to try to interpret the words, ideas, concepts and information and give them meaning and relevance.
If you say the word “training” to a crowd of people, each person in the crowd will interpret the word “training” and try to understand it, give it meaning and give it relevance based on their personal experiences with the word “training”.
A person involved in human resources for example might think of “workshops”, “training manuals”, “induction courses” and “professional development programs” when they hear the word “training”.
The word “training” to a sports coach will trigger thoughts of “running laps” or “lifting weights” or “stretching”.
To a person involved in the academic sector, “training” might mean “courses”, “programs”, “units”, “assessment”, “learning” and “problem solving exercises”.
However, to a creative thinker, the word “training” can mean all these things and many more besides – including things not obviously related to “training”.
Creativity is not thinking – it’s un-thinking! It’s doing the opposite of what most of us are trained to do.
Creative thinking is taking ideas and information and expanding them, exploding them and enhancing them.
Where most people put ideas and information into boxes, creative thinking requires the ability to put things in rectangles, pyramids, octagons, circles and tubes – upside down, sideways and inside out – and all at the same time – while standing on one leg in a bucket of blue Jello.
The big question is………..can you teach creative thinking? Can you “create creativity?”
The simple answer is Yes…but it requires some training in “un-thinking” and “un-learning”.
Here are just some simple exercises to try to help you to create creativity.
1. The “A rose but by another name is a truck” exercise.
Look at a common household object like a chair or a table or a door or a plate. It doesn’t really matter. Pick something that is ordinary and something which most of the time has a single, simple purpose.
Now write down everything you can think of – no matter how crazy it may sound – that the object you have selected can be used for, i.e. everything except for it’s more traditional accepted use.
For example a common chair could be used to stand on to fix something. Two of them placed back to back could be used for exercise equipment (e.g. “dips”). You could put a pillow on one and use it for a leg rest. You could sit backwards on it and have someone massage your shoulders in a comfortable position. And of course – if you absolutely had to – you can sit on it.
The aim of this exercise is to teach your brain to look at ideas, objects, concepts and information not as single, isolated things but as triggers to explore multiple possibilities, to embrace thinking without limits and to develop problem solving skills which are unparalleled.
2. The “Word un-association Game”.
Sit down with a friend or colleague and start to play the word “un-association” game.
We’ve all seen the “word association” game on TV. You say “car” and I say “petrol”. I say “school” and you say “teacher”.
In the word “un-association” game, you score points for how un-related your word is to the initial theme word.
So if your friend says “car”, you might reply “France”. You say “school” and they say “turkey”. The aim of the game is to teach your brain to reject the most obvious and immediate associations and to seek alternate words and thoughts vaguely or remotely associated with the theme word.
The key to creating creativity is thinking differently.
Where most thinking requires people to place things in categories or “boxes” to give them meaning, creative thinking requires “un-thinking” and “anti-categorization”: it requires you to not try and classify, categorize or theorize – it requires you to be imaginative and allow your brain to be fluid, dynamic and see limitless possibilities.