Creativity revisited

Why this obsession with creativity?  I do not sell mine, after all, why is creativity so important to me?

Never mind.  Not interesting right now.  I want to present John Cleese’s excellent observations about the necessary elements for creativity as concisely as possible.  I need it in a tiny nutshell, to add to a pitch to help me sell my program, which provides exactly those conditions to theoretical elementary school kids.

The great John Cleese describes five essential conditions for creativity:  place, start time, ending time, confidence and humor.   

For young children, who are naturally creative when given the slightest chance to be, we’ve reduced the formula to this:

Have fun and help each other.

You can’t have fun if people are bothering you.  Don’t bother anyone.  If you can’t help, don’t hurt.

When it’s time to be quiet for a minute or two, be quiet.

Place for creativity: how about a room filled with art materials and a camera stand to shoot frames? With a recorder to make soundtracks and a computer to assemble the animations.

Time:  ideally about two hours.   This allows for set-up and clean-up and leaves 90 minutes or so for time concerns to disappear.  The kids now have all the time in the world for leisurely play, letting things develop in their time, being comfortable with not much happening sometimes.  

Asked what she liked best about the workshop, the Idea Girl said “it gives you plenty of time.”    

Confidence is necessary, because if you think you can’t dance, or sing, or draw, or animate, you probably won’t be able to.  

What gives a person confidence?  Someone smiling and giving a thumbs up when the idea is presented.  

What takes away confidence?  Critical comments, ridicule, skepticism, indifference to your best efforts. 

The last part, humor, happens naturally in a room where children are playing, relaxed, involved, having fun, trying out the craziest ideas they can think of, not worried about anyone bothering them.  

It’s not unusual to hear participants laughing at the end of a session.

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