PJ Evans

Cues for Creativity

Posted on | September 7, 2017 | No Comments

I’m currently dipping in to the Creativity Toolkit MOOC from the University if Illinois.
Two aspects of the course so far have been useful. One is the distinction between stories and perspectives. The professors argue that creativity occurs not in advancing a story on the same trajectory, but when your perspective (or framing) of that story changes. This reframing may advance the story in the same trajectory but understood in a new way, or it can change the direction of the story completely. This reframing can be quite a deliberate process of reconsidering a situation and reminds me of Boleman & Deal’s perspectives on organisational issues through either a structural frame, a human resource frame, a political frame and a symbolic frame – each reframes an issue in different ways, suggesting new understanding and, therefore, changing the story of possible resolutions. The more frames and the greater diversity of frames amplifies the potential for creative stories to be generated.
The other idea from the MOOC so far is on cues for kick-starting creativity. These are:
The Impasse Cue: where your story has stopped moving forward and something drastic and creative needs to happen to continue that story in any direction.
The Dissatisfaction Cue: where you are dissatisfied with the direction of the story and need to change it. This may be changes in a career or pivoting an organisation in to a new direction entirely.
The Surprise Cue: where an unexpected change or opportunity arises that either forces new direction in the story or offers a compelling potential alternative story.
The Cross Talk Cue: this is where different stories are drawn together to create new stories – cross team and interdisciplinary working are the obvious ones here.

Of course, none of these cues guarantee creativity – the impasse becomes insurmountable, the dissatisfaction is simply ‘lived with’ and so on.
I’m particularly interested in the Cross Talk Cue and the potential for innovative and creative curriculum, learning and development opportunities that can arise from interdisciplinary working. I would also argue that this will become a more important area for higher education to position graduates not simply to meet current employability expectations but to thrive in VUCA environments over the long-term.
Image from Pexels and licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

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