What is your vision of creative leadership?
It made me very sad when Robinson (2011) stated, “…one of the primary reason so many people believe they are not creative stems from education and especially the systems of mass education that have evolved since the Industrial Revolution.” This is very unfortunate, as school should be the last place that students lose their creativity. It also puts a lot of pressure on the teacher. There seems to be a trend that the best teachers are the most imaginative, creative and therefore the most innovative. What does that propose for the teachers who aren’t as innovative? We borrow from each other, which is wonderful, but there have been times as a teacher that I have felt so incredibly inept simply because I didn’t feel creative enough as far as my class is concerned.
What was so freeing about this reading was that it didn’t leave the innovation up to the teacher. We just need to allow for imagination and creativity to happen. To emphasize that risks are okay. Teachers are encouraged to credit value to suggestions and brainstorming sessions instead of demeaning ideas. What a relief!
Even as a student, I was labeled as “creative” because I could draw. Well, I could translate my ideas into a recognizable format onto paper by way of goofy cartoons. However, compared to other “creative artists,” I was widely intimidated and I dropped the practice. Part of this was because the label of “art” and “creativity” was too encompassed. I really appreciated Robinson (2011) encourages that we broaden our perspective on imagination and creativity. These concepts extend out to all subjects; which in turn means that everyone has something that they are good at, and it is of value. Diversity in collaborative projects makes for a well-rounded understanding in the innovation.
Robinson (2011) talked about Pixar as a company how it motivates its employees to expand their creativity. (By the way, did you know that Pixar has a cereal bar? Some say “Toy Story 3” was fueled by sugary cereal). I was curious as to what other ideas were being used to inspire creativity in employees. The Business Insider (2013) offered an interesting article listing 12 ways some tech companies get their employees pumped up. Ranging anywhere from a year-long sabbatical company-wide to celebrity lectures, the opportunities are amusing to say the least. But this is the new idea that is emerging.
My vision for creative leadership starts with relaxing my need for control. It is difficult, because as a teacher, you are responsible not only for the academics of the students, but for their very safety. We take a lot upon ourselves. While still maintaining my students’ well-being, I need to extend trust in my students in the area of creativity. Google allows its employees 20% of their work time for side projects. They are trusting that out of that time, something incredible can happen. It’s entirely possible that nothing by goofing off is going on, but the risk is worth it to the company. And to be perfectly honest, I think that in most jobs, people are already spending at least 20% of their work time goofing off. Perhaps knowing that this time is specifically theirs makes a difference.
I also came across an interesting article about 7 things to do to help your own creativity (Ciotti, 2013). These were some very useful ideas! I especially liked the idea about daydreaming AFTER you have already started your project. I never considered the idea of daydreaming being useful, because I usually get in trouble when I do it. However, the concept of daydreaming incubating ideas makes sense. It channels that imaginative process into a focused area! The brain is amazing thing, but often requires awareness at the very least to utilize its real potential.
I am glad that we’re at least aware of the need for imagination, creativity, and innovation. The businesses are making great progress. My hope is that the education will quickly catch up. I guess it can start from the inside with the teachers. But Robinson is right, innovation is more effective when it is embraced by the leadership.
Business insider. (2013). 12 ways tech companies boost creativity. Accessed at http://www.inc.com/ss/how-tech-companies-boost-creativity#0
Ciotti, G. (2013). 7 ways to boost your creativity. 99u: Insights on making ideas happen. Accessed at http://99u.com/articles/16136/7-ways-to-boost-your-creativity
Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds: learning to be creative. West Sussex, UK: Capstone. [Accessed on Kindle].