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by Terri Segal
I have always considered creativity to be an artistic and an intuitive process. I am creative when I draw, paint, drum, write, express through the arts. Nobody ever told me in school, nor in my home that I was being creative when I found a solution to a problem, made a decision, or came up with a new idea that I was excited about.
It wasn’t until quite recently that I realized my definition of creativity as being only an artistic expression is actually a MYTH. Creativity goes way beyond the arts, it intersects with every aspect of life, it is a skill, it is a thought process, and when used effectively, helps us embrace change and drive change.
We are wired to shut down new ideas before they have even had a chance, for fear that “it will never work, that it is a bad idea, that we will be judged.” As children, our creativity is free, we play and engage our imagination without inhibition, without limits. And as we grow up and enter the school system that tends to favour “one right answer,” our new and different ideas are shut down. As we become youth, then adults, then seniors, our creative thinking skills are not fostered and developed. We close our minds to possibilities, we stay within our comfort zones, we stop taking risks, we become afraid of the new, we maintain the same self-limiting patterns of thought and behaviour that repeats old patterns and keeps us within the confines of fixed mindsets.
The good news is: creativity, like any skill can be developed and improved upon! Scientific research shows that creative thinking encompasses two distinct thought processes; divergent (generating many ideas) and convergent thinking (analyzing, judging and selecting). We are trained to flip flop between divergent thinking and convergent thinking without even realizing it. We judge our ideas before they have had a chance.
Creative thinking separates these two thought processes. First, it is important to generate lots and lots of ideas, without judgement, without limiting ourselves. We allow our ideas to flow, we allow one idea to spark another idea, we make connections between two ideas that may not seem to have any correlation. The more ideas we allow ourselves to come up with, the more connections we make, the more possibilities we have to choose from and the more likely we will be to create a “breakthrough” solution to our challenge or opportunity. Only after many ideas have been generated do we engage in convergent thinking; we evaluate, analyze, choose and turn our idea into a reality.
Change is occurring more and more rapidly. Finding solutions to challenges and opportunities that do not have a prescribed answer or a blueprint or a map we can follow requires us to make use of our creativity and creative thinking ability. To fully embrace change, we need to give all of our ideas room to be heard and explored, we need to suspend judgement of ourselves and others and approach challenges as opportunities, with a creative mind-set; openness, flexibility & adaptability.
Terri Segal is one of our amazing presenters, and will definitely be offering something this year… we just don’t know what yet!
In keeping with our “Elements” theme this year…
Time is running out to save by paying your Mindcamp fees early! Anyone who pays in the next 10 days gets a 5% discount on their current fees: that’s nearly $35 to those of you filling half of a regular room.
Check your “Mindcamp Deposit Receipt” email for your current, un-discounted balance.
Click here to pay that balance right away by Paypal. If you pay before April 1 we will rebate your discount.
To pay your balance by Interac e-Transfer, email [email protected] for the correct amount.
Speaking of filling, Mindcamp is already 35% full! That means that more than one-third of the pie have already been taken. Don’t miss that last two-thirds of Mindcamp Pie! Register now!
by Tim Hurson
This year’s Mindcamp theme is The Elements of Creativity. But before we can tell you why, we have to start with the elements of everything else. There’s a close correspondence (some might say uncanny correspondence) between creativity and everything else.
In trying to make sense of the world, early human beings deconstructed everything else into four component parts — or elements — earth, air, fire, and water. That seemed reasonable since it was hard to find anything that wasn’t one of those things.
Thousands of years later, European alchemists looking for the Philosopher’s Stone decided they needed to add a fifth element to explain things that didn’t fit into those four categories. So they came up with a mysterious fifth element, which by the way, is where we get the word quintessential — literally the fifth essence or element. The fifth element became kind of a catchall. If something didn’t fit into either the earth, air, fire, or water buckets — let’s say time, for example — they simply plunked it into the fifth bucket. Pretty creative, really.
Which brings us to creativity. Ancient humans also had a limited view of the number of buckets that could contain human creative output. The Greeks thought there were nine — epic poetry, lyric poetry, elegiac poetry, hymns, comedy, tragedy, dance, history and astronomy — all of which were personified by beautiful young ladies. In case you’re wondering, the astronomy lady was named Urania — another pretty cool link between the elements of creativity and the other elements.
Other cultures, also thought it made sense to represent creativity with beautiful young women, like Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and nature.
Over the centuries, philosophers and scientists have done a pretty good job of refining our understanding of the elements of everything else. We now think there are 116 — that’s 29 times as many as Aristotle thought. But when it comes to creativity, we’ve only just begun to understand the contents of that metaphorical fifth bucket.
So that’s what we’d like to explore at Mindcamp 2014. What really are the component parts of creativity? How can we understand them better? How can we put them to use? How can we refine them? How come some people seem to be able to access them more often than others? Are there some elements of creativity still waiting to be discovered?
If you want answers to these questions — or if you have answers you’d like to share — this year’s Mindcamp might just be the place for you. In fact, we’d say that when it comes to thinking about creative thinking, Mindcamp is the quintessential (ideal, consummate, exemplary, definitive, best, ultimate) experience.