Creativity and innovation are two much-talked about concepts which are difficult to pin down and define, let alone teach, so I was intrigued and excited by the prospect of a ‘Skills for Success’ session centred on these ideas. However, thanks to the wonderful representative from TeachFirst, I discovered that learning and practising creativity is not only possible, but also fun and rewarding.
session began with an introduction and a group discussion on the questions
‘What is creativity?’ and ‘Where do ideas come from?’. It was fascinating to hear different views on
how we can be creative, although it seemed most people were in agreement that
it involved doing something original, against the norm, and unexpected. We also watched a brilliant short video by
Steven Johnson about the birth and development of ideas, whose main message was
that the more we connect with others and share our ideas, the better the final
result or innovation will be.
the main part of the session, there were a series of fun individual and group
activities which helped us to understand and practise different aspects of the
creative process. First was getting
ideas down ‘on paper’ – which for this exercise was writing down as many words
as possible associated with winter. Next
we practised ‘pooling ideas and forcing links’ by discussing in small groups
which words we had written down, and sorting all the ideas into
categories. Borrowing ideas was the
third (and most fun!) stage, where we each created a tin foil sculpture
inspired by a word which someone else had written down. Finally we worked in our groups once again to
tell a story, which had to involve all of our sculptures and had to be linked
to the original theme of winter.
of these activities showed me the importance of confidently writing and voicing
my ideas, as none of them would have worked if any of us had simply kept our
thoughts to ourselves. This may seem
obvious, but it is an extremely important message to many perfectionists who,
like me, would rather wait until they have the ‘perfect’ idea before sharing
what is going on inside their heads. We
live in a world full of difficult problems, and employers are looking for
graduates who can contribute to creative and innovative solutions. Rather than letting this scare and intimidate
us, we should remember that having the courage to share our ideas, and risk
‘failure’ or ‘looking silly’, is what creativity is all about.
(Student Ambassador for Faculty of Arts and Humanities).