Demystifying Creativity

Creativity, MSU MAET

Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to hear a talk from Eepy Bird, better known as the folks who made the Diet Cola and Mentos reaction famous through an elaborate display that resembles fireworks and became a YouTube sensation and Maker Faire staple. What I found most valuable from their discussion of their process of developing an idea. They stated that what we think of as a wildly creative idea comes from a single, nebulous idea that often will take inspiration from somewhere else. They create about ten variations on that theme, or just new ways of looking at an idea or doing something familiar. Once of these ideas is then refined 100 times over, with little tweaks with each refinement. The creative end product is not a flash out of the blue, but a product of lots of hard work and reflection.

I often find the same to be true when designing lesson plans. I’m in the position where I have months to consider a single lesson and refine it to the point where it can be presented hundreds of times. The initial stages often take inspiration from many different sources, but it is the combination of the ideas and the ability to find connections between them, particularly between art and sciences, that allows for my expression of creativity. The end product is hopefully an organic synthesis of many ideas I’ve come across and a unique presentation in itself.

Henriksen, Mishra, and the Deep-Play Research Group’s (2014) thinking reflects many of these ideas when debunking the idea that creativity comes from divine intervention or is the sole domain of the genius. To summarize what I took from the article, I chose Elvis’ Blue Suede Shoes as inspiration.

The original lyrics to the song are on the left; my updated lyrics reflecting on taking inspiration from others on the right.

[symple_column size=”one-half” position=”first” fade_in=”false”]

Blue Suede Shoes

Well, it’s one for the money
Two for the show
Three to get ready
Now go, cat, go

But don’t you
Step on my blue suede shoes
Well, you can do anything
But lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well, you can knock me down
Step in my face
Slander my name
All over the place

Well, do anything that you want to do, but uh-uh
Honey, lay off of my shoes
And don’t you
Step on my blue suede shoes
Well, you can do anything
But lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well, you can burn my house
Steal my car
Drink my liquor
From an old fruit jar

Do anything that you want to do
But uh-uh, honey, lay off of my shoes
And don’t you
Step on my blue suede shoes
Well, you can do anything
But lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well, it’s one for the money
Two for the show
Three to get ready
Now go, go, go

But don’t you
Step on my blue suede shoes
Well, you can do anything
But lay off of my blue suede shoes

Well, it’s blue, blue blue, suede shoes
Blue, blue, blue suede shoes
Yeah, blue, blue, blue suede shoes
Baby, blue, blue, blue suede shoes

Well, you can do anything
But lay off of my blue suede shoes
[/symple_column]

[symple_column size=”one-half” position=”last” fade_in=”false”]

Make the Old New

Well, it’s one thing to be novel
Two, give it a use
Three, make it whole
Now it’s new new new

But don’t worry
About using other ideas as cues
Well, you can make it your own
Add connections to make it new

Well, you figure out
Which knobs to twist
but first you have to find
where the knobs exist

Well, do anything that interests you, but uh-uh
Lay off taking the narrow view
So make sure
To step back and try other avenues
Well, its no guarantee
But you can prepare to find the new

Well, being creative
doesn’t come from above
Don’t need to be a genius
it can be found in all

Start by making something, try an idea out
But uh-uh, try not to doubt
That it’s you
and your experience that makes it new
Stand on the shoulders of giants
To change it up and let it out

Well, you might think that the new
hasn’t been seen before
but behind that idea
Was more, more, more

Everyone can take
An idea to find a way
To vary the theme
and create something fresh today

Well, it’s new, new new, new ideas
based on old, old, old ideas
Yeah, few, few, few ideas
Are ever new, new, new at all

Well, look for new experience
To create the new through synthesis
[/symple_column]

References

Henriksen, D., Mishra, P., & the Deep-Play research group (2014). Twisting Knobs and Connecting Things: Rethinking technology & creativity in the 21st Century. Tech Trends, (58)1, 15-19.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *