January 26, 2009

John Cleese on time, place and flow of creativity


John Cleese provides a ten-minute insight into what many of us know already, but fail to acknowledge:
  1. We do not know where we get our ideas from (but we do know we don't get them from our laptops).
  2. Sleeping on an idea can help make its reappearance later so much better.
  3. Ticking things off and keeping all the balls in the air means you will not have any creative ideas.
  4. In our frenzied connected world we need to make some time to make some mood for creativity: a tortoise cocoon from which we can check it's safe to come out into a self-created oasis in our lives.
  5. We need to set aside time and place where interruptions are not allowed - we need to create boundaries of space with a starting time and a finish time, separate from ordinary life, and only then creating a space and place where we can play.
  6. The problem with some teachers is that they may not know that they are not very creative, and therefore they may not value creativity even if they can recognise it.
  7. If those in charge are egotistical and wish to claim credit for the work of others, then they shall directly or indirectly discourage others from being creative.

I've consistently found No. 1 hard, No. 2 happens all the time and is why I don't respond well to tight tight deadlines, No. 3 is my weak spot while No. 4 tends only to happen once everything (and everyone else) is satisfied. No. 5 I achieve well and is the reason airplane commutes were invented. No. 6 is harsh on most people I know read and comment on this blog but true for oh-so-many more. No. 7 is proven every day in blog posts from some leaders and educators whose wordcount on 'me' and 'I' is top heavy at the expense of 'you', 'we' and 'us'.

And you?

From Tessy

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Great to see you blogged this, too bad the organization didn't want to post the whole video online - it was a really enjoyable presentation. A nice break from the 'usual suspects' you tend to see at events lately.

Cleese’s ideas not only make you analyze yourself, but they also have very interesting implications for teaching and learning. Not only as No. 6 suggests that some of us (probably myself included) need to learn to value creativity better/more, but also the other ideas suggest a need to restructure students learning space to give them the chance for creativity. With all the technology around them and methods for them to be in constant communication are we helping our students find those creative spaces, the “cocoon” from which to pop out of safely? Especially at levels of higher education, students have as many things to juggle as full-time working adults. Can technology help them find these spaces eventually or will the pressure of being connected at all times when the technology is on hinder students’ creativity? Cleese’s talk is quite thought provoking for ourselves and education. Thanks for sharing it!

I think there's a huge point about putting the tech away when you realise that it no longer facilitates any better than paper and pen, or nothing at all.

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I wrote a response also. http://writehanded.wordpress.com/

Very thought provoking at this time in Scottish Education when the wheels of CfE are beginning to turn. Very soon we will see who are the creative teachers (They will blossom) and who are those who think what worked 30 years ago still works (they will complain and moan.) It also highlights what we are beginning to see in the higher echelons of LEA's where Directors of Education are high-jacking the ideals of CfE for thir own purposes...to try to cut costs, teacher numbers etc.

Tech is nothing without a good teacher. I hope the system can keep up though.

With all the technology around them and methods for them to be in constant communication are we helping our students find those creative spaces, the “cocoon” from which to pop out of safely? Especially at levels of higher education, students have as many things to juggle as full-time working adults. Can technology help them find these spaces eventually or will the pressure of being connected at all times when the technology is on hinder students’ creativity? Cleese’s talk is quite thought provoking for ourselves and education. Thanks for sharing it!

This is the thing - I reckon that technology in my life, at least, is getting in the way of the more creative moments. Note how blog posts here have become few and far between. It's got nothing to do with time and everything to do with thinking energy. We. Need. To. Slow. Down. To. Think.

Brilliant. And dead on. Time to think turns into a need for time to write turns into a need for time to read. And the cycle begins again.

Maybe I should just start scheduling "meetings" with others where/when we don't meet and spend our time in our heads instead.

No. 6 is the elephant in too many rooms.

Ok Ewan, so now I have to re-post this beautifully like you have, a summary, a discussion... invitation to share.... I am going to steal the whole post and pass it off as my own :)

Don't we also have a dichotomy forming here regarding modern pedagogical thinking as regards cooperative learning and creating groups. Watch the Cleese clip alongside Dan Heath's presentation on Sticky Ideas, with his comments on "meetings and committee's". I can think of several times when groups in classes have killed the creative process as the individual has been subsumed by the group and the deadline.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is a teacher, speaker and investor, regarded as one of Europe’s foremost experts in digital media for public services.

His company, NoTosh Limited, invests in tech startups and film on behalf of public and private investors, works with those companies to build their creative businesses, and takes the lessons learnt from the way these people work back into schools and universities across the world.

Ewan’s education keynotes & MasterClasses

Module Masterclass

Do you worry that your school or district could better harness its people, digital technology or physical space? Do you want some actionable inspiration, a mentor for a learning journey with your staff?

In a keynote or masterclass we can give them concrete ideas based on experience, enthusiasm fired by a vision of what can be, and backup before and after to make it happen for them.

Recent Posts

    Archives

    More...