This is session two, week four in cracking the creativity code. Part one discovering ideas, in this session we're going to talk about research. What scholars have discovered about creativity, and how you can use this research. I'd like to first point out, before we go on to discuss this and this is, of course, written in the book in chapter seven. Chapter seven is, what scholars know about creativity, a journey through the literature. Before we do that, many of you students may be very fond of nature. And as I am very fond of the amazing beautiful creatures, birds, animals, plant life that nature has created. And of course this has come about through evolution, a theory developed by Charles Darwin in his book On the Origin of Species. A theory known as natural selection. And the idea is that nature creates mutations, accidents, and some of accidents make the creatures better suited for their environment. So they can procreate. Some, most of nature's experiments and accidents don't work and they disappear. Some do. For example, the chameleon has the incredible ability to change its color. And it does this, we know now, by crystals underneath its skin that move and reflect light in different angles. So in many ways the creative process is like Darwin's Principle of Natural Selection. People create ideas, people toss ideas in the air and they try them. And some are really wonderful and work really well, and some work less well and they kind of disappear. Google comes up with an idea for Google glasses, and despite a lot of work and creativity, somehow it just didn't fly. The process is very similar to that of natural selection. You have to create an idea and get it out there and people have to try it before you know if it really works the same way that nature tries mutation and accidents. And sees if they work and if it really helps the chameleon survive, and thrive, and live to procreate. A researcher named Dean Simonton, spoke about how creative people are good at creating, generating new options. Tossing them up into the air before evaluating them, and this. Fits in very well with our definition of creativity. Creativity is widening the range of choices. And there's a key useable, useful principle here, and that is that, in the stage of discovering ideas, and throwing ideas out, tossing them in the air, sticking them on the wall on Post-it notes. That process is one where you must not kill the baby. You must not kill ideas before they have a chance to be born. So, in the ideation process, working with yourself, with a team, spur your ideas, stimulate ideas, let the ideas flow like water. But never, never kill an idea just after it's born. Bad idea. Get them all up there. And then later, time out, stop, look at them all, okay. Now we have to become responsible adults, which of these ideas can we really implement? Can we combine some ideas and improve them? Make them a little more realistic, bring them down to Earth. It's a much better idea, this is from research, much better process if you take wild ideas and tame them, if you take the tiger and tame it, than if you take a pussy cat and try to turn it into a tiger. A tame idea, trying to turn it into something wild and radical. So a strong creativity process, whatever that process is, and my students all write an essay developing their own creativity system. Whatever your system is, it should generate an endless stream of these kind of genetic mutations, these ideas. And some of the ideas will work, some won't. Failure is a necessary part of it just as it is for nature and it's natural selection. Nature creates endless mutations and most of them don't work, but some of them do and create this beautiful and amazing world that we have. So treat this process as one where failure is as important as success, in the sense that if you're not willing to accept an idea that doesn't work, even if it does look beautiful, then there's no point in having the idea in the first place. So let's think about the two different approaches, the two kinds of thinking that we need for creative thinking, divergent and convergent. This is a common creativity test, how many uses can you think of for a spoon? Take a couple of minutes. You can stop the video if you like, and think of all the things you could do with a spoon. You can use a spoon as a spoon to eat yogurt or cereal, or stir your coffee. But what else could you do with a spoon? How many different uses of it can you think of? This is a test of divergent thinking. Beyond the conventional use of the spoon, and of course when you look at a spoon, your mind is conditioned to understand that the spoon does what spoons normally do, just how we always use it every day. But beyond that, what could we do with it? Take two minutes, write down all the things you can do with a spoon. This is Zoom Out thinking. This is Divergent thinking. Now, convergent thinking and zoom in. Of all these things that could be done with spoons, which original and creative use that you've come up with, which could you implement to change the world? How could you change the world with a different use of the spoon? Here is a small idea. I know someone many years ago, who developed edible utensils. Forks, knives, spoons, a straw. That were made out of materials that didn't fall apart when you put it in liquid. But you could still bite it, eat it, and consume it, and it was part of your food. It didn't fly somehow, it was one of those mutations that didn't work, that didn't survive natural selection. Think about spoons that are edible instead of spoons that are plastic that we throw away and mess up our environment with tons and tons of plastic that take centuries to degrade. Imagine people stirring their coffee, and then crunching on their delicious, good tasting spoon. Divergent and convergent thinking. This is a problem that greatly bothers me and has to do with creativity in children. I recently taught a course in Shantou University, China, and some of the students came up to me, MBA students. They have small children. And we're disturbed that the children's creativity was being damaged by the rigidness of teaching in schools. This is not solely a Chinese problem, it exists in my country, Israel, in the United States, and all over the world, and gradually we're moving learning down into the lower grades in kindergarten today. Many kindergarten's teach children subjects. Teach them instead of letting them play and socialize. And a difficult dilemma arises here. Creativity, according to one definition is breaking the rules intelligently. How can we teach our children mastery? How can we teach them the rules, physics, math, geometry, all the hard things that they need to know? How do we teach them the mastery of Confucius? Confucius was a Chinese educator and philosopher who taught the importance of respect and mastery of subjects. How do we teach our children that? But at the same time encourage them to rebel? Encourage them to create new knowledge of their own? How do we stress the vital importance of old knowledge, and the crucial importance of creating new knowledge on your own. Confucius plus rebellion to create new ideas, and change the world. And can we manage this conflict between learning old knowledge, and creating our own new knowledge? In our book in chapter seven, we talk about this issue about creativity and to cite research done by psychologists who studied the creative process in artists. And the artists mentioned artists and architects, and designers. They both mention that creativity is really, really hard work. It's not just a matter of brainstorming and coming up with ideas. But implementing the ideas and doing it with rigor and with real excellence. Mastery and rebellion. These are very important combination of ideas not always easy to bring together. The slide shows me at a Confucian temple. I think this was in Vietnam, where Confucius is worshiped as part of the Chinese culture as a great teacher. And we need to keep Confucius and retain him, but add to him an element of rebellion and thinking for ourselves. And how in the world do we do that? There's an old tired joke, a violinist asked a passerby in Manhattan, excuse me, young madam, could you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall? He's carrying his violin case. And the passerby says, sure, practice. And that's kind of the message of the creativity research. This is a disturbing graph from research done by Land and Jarman. Done over 20 years ago, 23 years ago. It's a graph that shows creativity measured by the torrance test of creative thinking. And at the age of five almost all children are creative geniuses because they haven't learned the rules. So anything is possible and everything is possible and then we send them to school and by age ten, two thirds of them are no longer creative geniuses. By the age of 15, 10% are creative geniuses, 9 of 10 have lost it. And by the age of 30, 2% are creative geniuses. So there's something about our schooling process that destroys this creative ability. It doesn't destroy it, that's the point. It damages it, it makes it rusty. But it's still there, it can be revived. You can scrape the rust off. And that's why we wrote the book and that's why we are offering this course. You have neuroplastities but you need to exercise your brain, if you don't exercise your muscles they wither. If you don't exercise your creative brain it's creative ability declines. It's greatly worrisome that our public schools system, perhaps the greatest social invention in history. Sending everybody to school was designed originally to create factory workers to support the industrial revolution. But we have a knowledge economy today, but we still teach kids in the same linear, boring fashion. Why are we destroying our kids creativity when it's so vital for sustaining the knowledge economy and how can we reinvent our schools. My wife and I did a long trip, we visited many schools and there are schools who have figured it out, that can do it. We need to spread the word about how those schools are teaching children valuable skills but doing it in a way that ignites their creative interest and gives them a great fondness of learning. A Carnegie Mellon researcher, researched creativity, summarized that cognitive processes in creativity. He tried to answer the question, what are creative people like? And of course, they're very different. But he tried to find some common denominators. Creative people work really hard. They try really hard for originality. They're motivated. Motivation is the number one correlate with creativity. Creative people are flexible, they are very independent. They are not geniuses. They don't have higher IQs. They don't get better grades. You get good grades in school by repeating old knowledge. That doesn't always help you come up with your own new knowledge. I can attest to that, I think the years of grade-grubbing have impaired my creativity a lot and it took me years to overcome that. The fact that all the variables, according to John Hayes, that discriminate between creative and non-creative people, they're motivational. In other words, to be creative you have to want to be creative. Once you're motivated to become creative, you tend to do the things that actually make it happen. The question is, what's is the best way to motivate people for creativity in organizations where many businesses want the opposite. They want you to do the job you do the same way you always did it with excellence, no new ideas, nothing new, nothing fancy, nothing creative. Do your job. We want discipline. We want productivity. We want efficiency. This is a very famous study and it's very old. It's close to 60 years old, by Cooper and Zubek, and it makes a very important point that I want to share with you. So these two researchers took dumb rats and smart rats. Apparently you can tell which rats are dumb and which are smart. And they had a theory that if you enrich the environment of rats, then you improve their performance. And the gap between smart and dumb rats remains as you take them from a deprived environment to a challenging enriched environment where they have a lot of things to do that exercise their brains. So the left hand side that you see on your screen is the theory. And the top line is the smart rats and the errors that they make. Sorry, the bottom line is, thetop line is the smart rats, and the bottom line is the dumb rats. And the dumb rats make more errors, because the scale is inverse. That was the theory. What they actually found was on the right. So in a deprived environment, both dumb and smart rats perform the same because really, they have no reason to use their brains. In the usual environment the smart rats did a whole lot better. But when you enrich their environment, and you give the dumb rats chances to practice and use their brains, they close the gap. They close the gap. So in reality, smart and dumb rats both performed really well when they have a chance to exercise their brain. And dumb rats improve a lot more than smart rats when they have this enriched environment,and the enriched challenge. I think this makes a crucial point, which has to do with something called epigenetics. It's sometimes argued whether creativity is nature or nurture. Is it in our genes or do we learn it and acquire it? And the answer is, yes. The answer is both, because of something called epigenetics. There may be genes that make some people more creative than others. But those genes have to be turned on. And they're turned on by the environment, by stimulation, by exercising our brains. Now, this is sometimes called G times E. Genes times environment, or epigenetics, the interaction of our nature and our nurture. So surround yourself with creative people. Challenge yourself with problems. Give your environment a chance to turn your creative genes on. Very interesting point by a researcher named of Dan Ariely, and that is creative people may actually be a little more dishonest than non creative people. Because creative people like to tell stories, they invent stories, they have a good imagination. And sometimes it's a little hard to tell the difference between our imagination, the imaginative stories, and the actual truth. Something to keep in mind. If creative people invent stories, maybe they'd also invent facts, we're not sure. And finally, creativity is thinking in the box. Now we often hear the expression, creativity is thinking out of the box. But actually, creativity is more thinking in the box. And what I mean by that is that our creative thinking is always focused on solving a problem and meeting an unmet need. And there are always constraints on the problem, constraints of time, and money, and budget, and technology. There are always boxes, and the trick is to recognize which of the boxes are essential and cannot be changed. And which of the boxes can be ignored to develop a creative idea. I always like to quote a Brazilian politician named Jaime Lerner, who became mayor of Curitiba, a city in Brazil. He became mayor and discovered that the coffers of the city were empty, no money. And he had to collect the garbage and take care of the city, and the question was how can you do it? And he found creative ways, without money, to cut the grass in the parks and create a vibrant downtown, and get people from the outskirts to the downtown, and collect the garbage, and so many other things. And he said something very interesting. If you want true creativity, take two zeros off your budget. If you have those two zeros, you solve problems by writing a check. If you have no money, you have to come up with creative ideas that don't require money. And the lack of those two zeros creates a lot of great ideas. We also know that stress is not very helpful for creativity. Up to a point, when people are pressured, when they're motivated, their creativity and performance increases. Beyond a certain point, that stress really hampers our creativity, it reduces it. And that optimal point is one where the stress is actually not very high. A creative environment is one that is loose and happy, and a lot of joking and energy, and that's when the ideas really, really flow. So please read the chapter. I think you'll find some useful things in there. A lot of useful research. And we'll end this session, and go on, next, to session number three, which is about my favorite short story and movie, The Secret Lives of Walter Mitty.