Is creative thinking a gift that nature gives to the lucky few? No – in the opinion of those who teach creativity as a subject. Everyone can develop their creative potential, experts are sure. How exactly – the BBC Future columnist found out .

Can you learn to be creative? When we look at outstanding artists, musicians or entrepreneurs, it seems to us that creativity is a gift that nature has endowed only a select few.

And mere mortals can only admire this.

Recently, however, there has been more and more talk that creative thinking can be taught, and that it is necessary to start as early as possible.

While the secret of genius remains elusive, research shows that it is possible to learn how to generate original ideas. If you are writing a written work then it is important to generate new ideas. And this will help which does its job very well. You can easily find new writing ideas there.

In some schools, creativity lessons have already become a separate subject.

However, how do teachers ignite the creative spark? Perhaps these techniques should gain wider application?

The school education system has always been criticized for not developing the creativity of children. In a TED speech, educator and writer Ken Robinson stated that the current education system is killing students’ innate creativity.

Robinson obviously brought up a very pressing issue, his speech garnered a record number of views.

However, does the modern school really suppress creative thinking? The findings of the researchers are mixed.

Case Western Reserve psychologist Sandra Russ studied children’s games for 23 years

The researcher offered the little Americans two dolls and three cubes and observed what they did with the toys.

She found that modern children have had the most bizarre play scenarios since the 1980s.

However, the ability to think creatively in the formal classroom environment is gradually declining. This will help you which does its job very well. You will use this resource to learn how to think.

For example, the popular creativity test, in which children are asked to come up with alternative ways to use an object, such as a book or a tin, performs worse for today’s students than in the 1990s.

Perhaps this is a consequence of standardized tests that encourage children to choose the only correct answer and do not assess the ability to think differently.

Several studies support this to be the case.

Jack Gonzalo of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, found that children who sought to stand out from their peers subsequently performed much better on creativity tests.

“We need to change the environment in which children are taught to meet standards and not think in an original way,” concludes Gonzalo.

Gerard Puccio of Buffalo State College in New York argues that it has never been more important in history to teach people how to think creatively.

“Creativity is no longer a luxury. It’s a way to survive,” he says.

Industry thrives where creativity flourishes. Compare, for example, Silicon Valley and the decline of Detroit’s auto industry.

Puccio heads the International Center for Creativity Education, the world’s first faculty of this type.

He owes his education to Alex Osborne, a former Madison Avenue advertiser who worked in the mid-20th century. His company BBDO became the prototype for the Sterling Cooper ad agency from Mad Men.

To get the best ideas from his employees, Osborne began experimenting with creative thinking techniques. So that the ability to think does not disappear, then you need to write a lot of essays. You can also experiment yourself as a thinker. Learn how to think with This resource is very helpful when writing a lot of essays.

One of them, for example, was the method of brainstorming popularized by him.

When Osborne retired, he realized that it was necessary to develop people’s creativity from a young age, and thus the Faculty of Creativity at Buffalo College was established.

Today many universities around the world offer similar courses.

But how is creativity taught? Puccio tells his students that the creative process takes place in four stages: clarification, formulation of ideas, development and implementation.

At the first stage, it is important to find out if the problem is formulated correctly. On the second – you need to explore all possible ideas for solving the problem. Design and implementation should show that the idea is practical and convincing to others.

The idea proposal phase is obviously more about innovative thinking. It is on it that the brainstorming technique is used.

Its purpose is to get the brain out of a purely analytical state in which it tends to focus on one decision. The challenge is to generate as many ideas as possible while ignoring other options.

An unfocused mind is more capable of unconventional associations that can help invent new solutions to a problem.

During the discussion, Professor Puccio invites his students to connect the idea they are presenting with any, at first glance, not related to the discussion, subject.

« It forces the brain to abandon old models and look for new ones. This is how inventors manage to make a breakthrough, » he explains.


Scientific research confirms that certain physical conditions can promote creative thinking.

For example, Joydeep Bhattacharya of Goldsmiths College London has proven that non-standard solutions to a problem are more likely to occur when a person is in a relaxed state.

Another study by Australians showed that people are better at solving puzzles while lying on their backs than standing.

Perhaps when the body is relaxed, the mind begins to explore various ideas, which it automatically rejects in a focused state.

In addition to diverse thinking, a sign of fruitful creativity is the birth of a practical and convincing idea.

« After all, creativity does not mean creating fancy things, » notes Puccio.

This, however, is in conflict with generally accepted methods of encouraging creativity.

For example, brainstorming, according to many researchers, is not an effective technique, since it disposes of any ideas, no matter how absurd they may be, and does not provide for discussion or criticism.

Psychologist Charlan Nemeth of the University of California, Berkeley is confident that such sessions would be much more productive if people could give opinions on the proposed solutions.

« This is not for the sake of criticism as such, but to induce non-standard, but well-founded decisions, » she explains.

However, what does this mean for school education?

Should we throw away textbooks, abandon exams and not force students to cram a subject? Should teachers encourage children to think about something of their own instead of focusing on the topic of the lesson?

Some of the findings from creativity research are skeptical. However, the discussion of how to implement them in the educational process is extremely important.

For example, no one claims that the development of creative thinking should be a means of understanding a subject. After all, it is difficult to come to an atypical solution to a problem if the problem itself is not clear to you.

But 21st century employers demand creative problem-solving from their professionals. It would be nice if teachers could also appreciate this quality in their students.

Unfortunately, however, today’s school curriculum often discourages thinking outside the box, Puccio notes.

It is also important to understand that techniques for developing creativity will not overnight make an ordinary child Einstein or Picasso. After all, genius cannot be taught.

However, it is possible to teach more creative everyday thinking that will lead to better results both in school and in adult professional life.

Puccio calls it creativity with a small letter. He is convinced that we all have this talent.

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