Review: Can Creativity be Taught?

pointing finger marks news & reviewsStory: “Can Creativity Be Taught?” by August Turak
Site: Service and Selflessness at Work blog at Forbes.com
Nutshell review: worth a read

In an essay published 22 May 2011, August Turak asks if creativity can be taught. Although his slant is decidedly business oriented, the aspects of creativity he discusses can apply to creative artists as well.

To summarize–

  1. asking questions in a nonlinear way can unlock creativity
  2. we don’t so much learn to be more creative as become more creative people
  3. becoming more creative people can require a process of unlearning rather than learning
  4. one way to stimulate our own creativity is to hang out with other creative people
  5. the better we know ourselves, the easier it becomes to step “outside the box” of our own blind spots and biases

Turak’s last point is this one:

“Every great idea grows from the potting soil of hundreds of bad ones, and the single biggest reason why most of us never live up to our creative potential is from fear of making a fool out of ourselves.”

I would argue this is two separate aspects of becoming more creative. First, we have to “fail faster” or “fail better”—that is, accept that success often follows piles of failure. Thus, we must never, ever give up.

And second, we must take risks. Big, difficult risks. Yes, it takes courage. Where do we find that courage? Why do some artists find it and others don’t?

What do you think?