I Drive Myself
Yesterdays post on 10 Reasons Creative Folks Make Us Crazy — The 10 Dimensions of Creative Complexity got quite a response, particularly on a couple of forums. The most interesting part was that in the comments about the post it seemed that
- the folks commenting didn’t seem to have read the entire post, only the list.
- they also didn’t know this blog or they would understand that I count myself among the people who drive people crazy.
- they didn’t catch my personal belief that everyone is creative.
The fact is I drive myself
crazy crazier the more I think. The other fact is business schools need creative thinkers more than ever. The whole world does if we want to get anything to change around here.
With those thoughts in mind, I dug out a piece that explains my thoughts on creativity. I’m posting it because the bunnies prove that we’re all creative types.
We’re All Creative and the Bunnies Prove It
We were sitting on an airplane on the way to a meeting. Two editors, Beth and Chris, were by the window. I was leaning across the aisle in a discussion with them. The conversation was about Kindergarten Mathematics. Kindergarten is particularly tricky business because the kids can’t read.
Ã¢â¬ÅSo, 3 bunnies plus 2 bunnies equals 5 bunnies,Ã¢â¬Â Beth said. She and Chris were new. They were working and learning together. This was their first encounter with this golden oldie of a Kindergarten issue. How would they solve it once they knew about it?
Ã¢â¬ÅThat wonÃ¢â¬â¢t work.Ã¢â¬Â I explained. Ã¢â¬ÅYou see, it ends up with 10 bunnies on the page, which is pedagogically misleading for the kids. The numbers say 3+2=5, but the picture says 3 bunnies plus 2 bunnies make 5 more bunnies. We have to find a way to communicate 3 bunnies joining 2 bunnies by only showing 5 bunnies. Set the page aside. Approach the problem from a new direction.Ã¢â¬Â
Beth and Chris looked at me. They had thought they had already found the answer. Welcome to publishing where the truth changes regularly. They went back to work.
IÃ¢â¬â¢d fixed this problem for what felt like thousands of pages before. I wanted to give them space to find their own solution. So, I turned my attention to the guy in the suit whoÃ¢â¬â¢d been totally taken by our conversationÃ¢â¬âhe couldnÃ¢â¬â¢t see the page we were discussing.
I smiled and said, Ã¢â¬ÅIsnÃ¢â¬â¢t it amazing how some grown-ups make a living?Ã¢â¬Â He blushed at being caught eavesdropping. I smiled and shrugged saying, Ã¢â¬ÅNo worries. We get this reaction wherever we go.Ã¢â¬Â Then I read a unit of fourth-grade history.
In a while the two editors had found their way to a solution. It involved 3 bunnies playing and 2 bunnies walking up to join them. Basically they were rewriting pictures. Now the page worked mathematically, pedagogically, and visually. Beth and Chris had solved the problem creatively. Creativity was the only available tool.
Legend says that creativity comes only from Ã¢â¬Åcreative types,Ã¢â¬Â that a second group doesn’t have the Ã¢â¬ÅstuffÃ¢â¬Â to keep up creatively. Rumor has it that rooms are littered with towels that these poor noncreatives have thrown in because theyÃ¢â¬â¢ve given up trying. I say thatÃ¢â¬â¢s Balderdash, hokum, and piffle. DonÃ¢â¬â¢t believe it.
Beth and Chris arenÃ¢â¬â¢t the stereotypical Ã¢â¬ÅtypesÃ¢â¬Â that hear the word creative whispered as some geniuses do when they walk into a room. They donÃ¢â¬â¢t smoke cigars or wear outlandish clothes. They have no visible tics or strange compulsions surrounding hygiene. Neither leads a bohemian lifestyle, trains turtles, or romances with exotic old men who speak Esperanto. Yet they can be creative just as you and I can.
OR do you think that youÃ¢â¬â¢re not creative? Say it enough, and you might convince me. It’s a sure thing that you’ll convince yourself, but why would you want to? Unless you’re worried about driving folks crazy. . . .but then, that would mean becoming a hermit too.
It’s all in how you define creativity and where you choose to put the limits on your thinking. Isn’t it?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
10 Reasons Creative Folks Make Us Crazy