16 June 2011

Creativity on demand

Randy Hensley was the keynote at NELIG a few weeks ago. Many of us know Randy as an instructor at Immersion and have learned so much from him in that environment. What he spoke about at NELIG was creativity. He talked about the attributes of creativity rather than modalities. Some of the attributes he listed included creativity as starting from an unusual place, as problem solving, as visual. But one thing he said that has really stuck with me is that creativity is not something that you turn on. It is engaging in a series of processes.

Creativity is not something you turn on.

Randy talked about preparing people to be creative rather than springing something on them in the hopes of creative bursts. He points out that 98% of us don't get creative that way. Rather, we need to prepare for it. To marinate on the topic. To develop creative approaches.

I have almost always asked the teaching librarians to turn on their creativity, to brainstorm on the spot. As I think about the dynamics of our team, I realize that I was not tapping into their most creative ways. I am one of those people that can, and enjoys, brainstorming on the spot. I have had to learn to adapt the way I prepare for teaching and Randy's talk has also taught me that I need to adapt how I approach creativity with others. It makes me think about how I approach prep for teaching, how I prepare for meetings, and how I can really allow everyone to engage in the creative process.

But it also made me realize what I need for creativity. I need to feel safe to speak and safe to fail. I need to know that not everything I say will be taken seriously. I need a partner in creativity (Andy, thank god, has been my partner and a darn good one. Apparently he's a good blogger too.)

What do you need? What circumstances really get your juices flowing? Or don't? When do you feel the most creative?

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