Can Creativity Be Taught?
No. He jumped “out of the box.” He wrapped his confection in fresh-baked, waffle-iron pastries from the vendor next door and delighted customers with a new cuisine. Hence, the invention of ice-cream cones.
Out-of-the-box, convention-defying ideas repeatedly capture the market (i.e., the McDonald brothers dared reduce their menu to one entree… And remember the quartz watch paradigm shift?)
We excel in teaching proven techniques, but can out-of-the-box creativity be taught? Or is it limited to those born with a knack for creativity?
August Turak tackled this question in his Forbes website article: Can Creativity Be Taught?* Turak’s mentor, Louis Mobley, transformed IBM’s Executive School by training leaders to think creatively, challenging them to ask radical questions that propelled IBM into electronic leadership.
What does this have to do with Christ-Centered Leaders? We claim Christ as the ultimate Creator. We claim He lives within us. Can we learn creativity from the Creator and teach that to others?
Yes! Jesus remains THE model for creative, radical leadership training. He trained twelve men who changed the world with out-of-the-box ideas and genius strategies.
Compare Mobley’s IBM leadership training model to Christ’s:
- Teach through experience rather than lecture only… Jesus didn’t simply tell his disciples to trust Him, He sent them into the storm so they could experience trust.
- Creativity has more to do with unlearning than learning… Much of Jesus’ training dealt with “new wine” mentality, unlearning the old religious order: “Who is your neighbor?…” What! It can’t be the Samaritan!
- It’s not about learning to be creative–it’s about becoming creative… In Christian terms, learning to create like the Creator means laying down our old natures to become one with Him—the Creator Himself—to eat His flesh and drink His blood—so we conform to His nature. For supernatural creativity to flow through us, we spend time in listening prayer with humble hearts, eating His words, and obedience that empowers us to be transformed into His likeness.
- Become creative by spending time with creative people… Here’s a shocking truth. None of us knows everything. And God designed us so we need other people. Spending time with other believers who know the Creator and follow Him, we learn from each other.
- Overcome bias… Remember the Pharisees? Preconceived biases or staunch opinions quickly extinguish the flow of creativity.
For a thorough outline of how to teach in a way that fosters creativity and real-life learning, see Interactive Teaching/Learning Challenge on our website.
– Mark 6:46-51; Matthew 9:14-17; Matthew 5:3; John 6:48-58; John 1:3, 10-14, 29; Matthew 11:29-30; John 4; Luke 23:34; Acts 2:36
*May 22, 2011. Please note, August Turak, places his insights concerning creativity into the context of Zen philosophy. At Christ Centered Leaders we uphold Christ supremacy in all things, who is Truth and the giver of all truth (Colossians 1:18; John 14:6).
Discover how to posture yourself in the creativity that flows from Christ’s presence, in Keith’s new book: Mastering the Art of Presence-Based Leadership.
– Patricia Tillman