Module 3: Creativity (html version)

Our project

Sustainable development for the inclusion of migrating and refugee populations can only be attained if women are involved, as mothers, as teachers, as entrepreneurs and/or when a gender sensitive policy environment is created for them to influence community and social policies at the higher level. Women are the primary victims of the intertwined causes of conflicts, underdevelopment and migration. To address these issues, in a sustainable and humanitarian way, migrants should be offered assistance in building a new life in the respective host countries by developing, testing and implement new concepts of train the trainer programs for online training offering migrant women the opportunity to develop their entrepreneurial skills. That is the aim of the 241 project.

01 Introduction

What is creativity?

Creativity is the ability to: 

  • create something new from nothing, using imagination and original ideas.
  • find new ways of solving problems and approaching situations.
  • stimulate your mind with new things as sounds, sighs, conversations, tastes, people. 

Creativity requires constant cultivation and exercise.

You will be surprised of what your brain can produce and perform!

In this module you will find tips, suggestions, tools and inspiring material to cultivate your creativity and implement your project!!

Why creativity is so important in our lives?

Watch this TED Talk with the actor Ethan Hawke…

Now…Test your creativity!

The Alternative Uses Test is a great way for measuring your creative thinking. It asks you to think of alternative uses for a simple object: as an example, a brick can be used: 

  • As a step;
  • As a paperweight; 
  • As a book holder 

Test yourself!

Choose an object among the three shown below, list as many alternative uses for that object as you can think of.

  • a plastic fork
  • a paperclip
  • a tennis ball

Go here!

02 Have a growth mindset

Fixed vs growth mindset

Everyone is characterized by two contradictory features: 

a conservative tendency, made up of self-preserving attitudes, or an expansive tendency, made up of instinct, curiosity for novelty and risk. 

Professor Carol Dweck uses the term “mindset” to describe such tendencies:

  • fixed mindset: You perceive your abilities as innate and unchangeable.
  • growth mindset: You perceive your abilities as something you can improve through practice. 

If you have a fixed mindset:

  • You view failure as permanent
  • You see criticism as a personal attack
  • You are likely to choose easier tasks and put in minimal effort: if talent is fixed, why should you bother to improve? 
  • You are likely to give up when you face an obstacle
  • You focus on measurable accomplishments
  • You are less likely to take creative risks

If you have a growth mindset

  • You view failure as a chance to learn
  • You see criticism as a chance to improve
  • You are likely to embrace challenging tasks and work hard to improve
  • You view obstacles as a chance to experiment and solve problems
  • You make a journey for continual improvement
  • You take creative risks to improve

Extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation

Motivation is fundamental to nourish Creativity as well: 

why we do what we do?

According to the extrinsic and intrinsic motivation theory:

  • extrinsic motivation: pushes people to do specific things because of the outcome that will result by doing that task. Their behavior is driven by external rewards, such as money, fame, grades.
  • intrinsic motivation: pushes the individuals to act because of the interest and enjoyment in the task itself. 

Why having a growth mindset is so important in our lives?

Listen to the professor Carol Dweck

Watch this experiment with the professor Carol Dweck and some children…

Test yourself!

The test consists in matching correctly some personal features to two categories: facilitators to creativity or barriers to creativity.

Go here!

03 Tap into your creativity

Golden rules to enhance your creativity

  1. Reward your curiosity: Give yourself the opportunity to explore new topics and to ask a lot of questions. “What ifs” and “Whys” create curiosity, which allows you make connections, gather information and develop opinions.
  2. Engage in new activities: Do things that you have never thought of doing, explore and learn. The best things happen outside of your comfort zones: being open and doing something new will give you a new perspective and inspire new ideas. 
  3. Talk with other people: Exchanging opinions and experiences with other people can bring new ideas and perspectives to the problems that you are attempting to solve in your own work.
  4. Build your confidence: Make note of the progress you make, comment your efforts and reward your creativity. Insecurity can suppress creativity, which is why it is important to build confidence. 
  5. Limit your need for approval: Stop worrying about what other people think! The desire for recognition can work against creativity: if you are pressured to conform, you will tend to suppress your creativity and curiosity to adhere to social norms and expectancies. 
  6. Have a positive outlook on life: The overwhelming feeling of positivity makes individuals more flexible in their thoughts, which enhances the creative thinking. 
  7. Overcome negative attitudes: Focus on eliminating negative thoughts or self-criticisms that may impair your ability to develop strong creative skills. Negativity blocks your ability to recognize that everything is a process. Even the ideas that seem like bad ones could be useful. 
  8. Fight fear of failure: The fear to make mistakes or fail can paralyze your progress. Remind that mistakes are simply part of the process. The key is not to feel defeated when you hit a barrier!

How to tap into your creativity?

Watch these suggestions to improve your creativity…

The 5 why technique is another simple and effective tool for solving problems. 

Its primary goal is to find the exact reason that causes a given problem by asking a sequence of “why” questions. 

Test yourself!

The test consists in figuring out a product/project/service you are interested in developing and trying to look at it using the six thinking hats technique.

Take your time (even days) to add ideas, up to its final shape.

Go Here!

04 Discipline your ideas

Suggestions on how to plan your work

Every aspect of a creative project, from the original idea to its conception and design, requires utmost diligence and preparation

To reach your objectives, you should carefully plan your steps and then turn them into actions

Planning: means setting goals, identifying the actions to meet these goals, anticipating results, creating visual releases for your ideas. 

Acting: means communicating, accessing resources and support, negotiating, dealing with conflicts and criticism, taking risks and being persistent. 

  1. Acquire domain-specific knowledge: If you have a rich understanding of the topic, you will be able to think of innovative and creative solutions to problems. Nonetheless, high levels of domain-specific knowledge may be restrictive because it provides parameters and standards which contain creativity. 
  2. Set a new goal for every milestone you achieve: Growth-minded people are constantly creating new goals. Personal growth is never finished, as there is always another goal to reach or another project to tackle.
  3. Cultivate a sense of purpose: Ask yourself the following question on a regular basis: “is what I’m currently working on a part of a major goal?” If you frequently say “no” to this question, then take time to re-evaluate your priorities. 
  4. Record or brainstorm your ideas: Stimulating yourself with new things can give rise to unexpected ideas. There are many ways to record them: idea folder on the desktop; memo’s on the phone; voice messages to yourself; recording device; notebooks; post-it; a creativity journal
    Brainstorming can be a powerful tool as well: write down all your ideas and possible solutions; next, focus on clarifying and refining them in order to arrive at the best possible choice.
  5. Explore multiple solutions: When you face a problem, try to look for a variety of solutions. Take some time to think of as many ways as possible to approach the situation. This simple activity is great to build both your problem-solving and creative thinking skills.
  6. Use mind maps or flowcharts: A mind map is a good way to connect ideas and look for innovative answers to questions. A flowchart tracks the presentation of the project from start to finish. It will help to visualize the final product and eliminate potential problems

How to discipline your ideas?

Watch these directions for creating a mind map

Watch these directions for creating a flowchart

Test yourself!

  • Choose a central topic or word linked to your project idea. 
  • Record your ideas! Choose your favourite way!
  • Go through all the notes you took and organize them in a mind map, linking all related terms or ideas around the central word. Go here!
  • Turn your mind map in a flowchart, where you can regularly return to. Go here! 

These techniques allow for branching ideas and offer a very visual way of seeing how these ideas are linked. 

Thank you very much for taking on the Course!!
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