Sunday, 1 October 2017

How to be a Creative Genius

Ever wanted to be a creative genius?  It turns out we all were once!  We spend a lot of time educating children but in reality they hold the key to something that a lot of us strive hard to achieve.  What is it that they have that us adults have lost?  In their book Break-Point and Beyond George Land and Beth Jarman ask 'when were you at your most creative?'  The answer normally is when the environment allowed it - there were no boundaries to thinking, there was a collaborative approach to the team, when there was no fear of having a bad idea or that idea not working, and when team members supported and added value to others creativity.

98% of children aged 5 are highly creative.  Only 2% are by their mid twenties - NASA Study
This ad in a BA flight magazine prompted an investigation in to George Land and Beth Jarman. 
Why do we become less creative as we become more educated? 

Kids are naturally intuitive and experimental thinkers.  They can have far-reaching ideas and imagine how to achieve them.  Boundaries to their creativity can be non-existant because experience does not govern.  Adults, by comparison appear to be re-wired to operate within the limits of our experience and 'expertise'.  This in itself can deters us from adventuring beyond our comfort zones.  We develop a fear of the unfamiliar.  Knowing how things go together and work set the patterns in our life.


Buckminster Fuller said All children are born geniuses, but the process of living de-geniuses them.  He also encouraged us to experiment outside their comfort zone, leave our preconceptions behind, dare to be naive, and not to be afraid of mistakes.

We need to shake off what we think we know and find confidence in starting afresh.  In Phil McKinney's innovation workshops one rule is that no one can discredit another's idea until they have offered five reasons why that idea will work.  The environment has to be right for the creative processes to be effective.

Break-Point and Beyond

Break-Point and Beyond examines how our inner creative geniuses can be harnessed in business to enable companies to stay in front of their competitors, adapt ahead of the technology curve, increase market share or even regenerate wholesale to survive and adapt.

From working with kids in architecture workshops, it become quickly apparent how flexible and creative children's minds are when tackling a design task or experimenting with materials or structures etc.  From a design perspective there is a lot that can be learnt from kids and the processes they apply to working individually and in groups.  They have an ability to make connections between seemingly disparate elements of design where I as a grown-up design-professional would not immediately recognise the connections.

How the creative genius of children can be captured and bottled has been a study point from I have taken from these workshops.  George Land and Beth Jarman's book does a lot to explain and quantify how this might be achieved, optimising the creative environments and processes.

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