Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Creative disobedience

Opening keynote for NASDAP15 was Dr Welby Ings, professor in design at AUT. He spoke about how to creatively disrupt what we currently do to carve new territories in our roles as educators, and to do this through disobedience.

Creativity is to do with your ordinary disobedience - we need to look at what is ordinary and prescribed and move beyond it. This may mean reducing the input and effect of our social editor - the voice that restrains us and constantly moderates our decisions based around what other think of us.

Often we use the excuse that we are not creative, yet Ings says we are all creative, we are naturally drawn to the creative. He took the example of story telling, when told, a story we all create a picture. We are naturally drawn to this - as an example take two images: an old decrepit house compared to a flash new building. We are more drawn to the house as it generates creative thinking, we immediately start creating stories or asking questions - who lived in the house, what has happened there, why is it in the state it is currently in? We are drawn to the interest of this building over the new building as our creative mind wants to explore the stories.

If you want to work with creative thinkers we need to shut up our social editor and trust the creative thinkers. How about the example of using a fairy tale to sell newspapers, an unlikely marriage yet
this unlikely marriage enabled the following award winning video

One of the hallmarks of a creative person is the ability to tolerate ambiguity, dissonance, inconsistency and things out of place. But one of the rules of a well run corporation is that surprise is to be minimalised. Yet if this rule were to be applied to the creative process, nothing worth reading would get written, nothing worth seeing would get painted, nothing worth living with and using would ever get designed. - Ralph Kaplin

Creativity gets distorted in schools by it being confused by developing something aesthetically pleasing. The other is confusing aspect of creativity we like to apply is 'small steps' designing - where we like to take pieces of others ideas and combine them to make them our own, rather than creating own own ideas. Ing says this is like designing a kitchen by picking bits of ideas from others (magazines, webpages etc) and adapt these ideas for our own. He argues this is not creative thinking.

Rather than looking for things we can adapt, we need to look for things we can create. Creativity is the knowing you have without knowing you have it. Organisations often lose creative thinkers after a couple of years in the organisation. To hold them we need to put aside consultation and bring to the fore co-creation and use teams to co-create. Leaders need to allow their team to challenge ideas in a protected, safe environment and be willing to attribute these ideas to those who have brought them forward - at the end of the day a fundamental driving desire of people is the desire to be valued. 

Teams should be asking the following questions:

What do you see as the main issue?
What do you see as the options for dealing with this problem?
What is your preferred option and why?
What are the benefits, costs and risks of your preferred option?
Who else needs to be involved?
What will it take to execute your plan?

Our challenge therefore is to be allowing ourselves the space and time to consider the issues facing education and allowing ourselves to boldly think of creative, disruptive solutions to these. 

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