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Can Creativity Be Taught?

Yes, creativity skills can be learned. Not from sitting in a lecture, but by learning and applying creative thinking processes.

Welcome to njanam. Here we are going to address #creativity in a series of posts, which will help you to regain your creativity.

George Land’s Creativity Test

"What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned."

In 1968, George Land conducted a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old who were enrolled in a Head Start program. This was the same #creativity test he devised for NASA to help select innovative engineers and scientists. The assessment worked so well he decided to try it on children. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age.

The results were astounding.

Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98% Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30% Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12% Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%.

Why aren’t adults as creative as children?

For most, #creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.

Components of Creativity

Expertise, Thinking and Motivation, certainly Creativity Starts.

Creativity is a skill that can be developed and a process that can be managed. Creativity begins with a foundation of knowledge, learning a discipline, and mastering a way of thinking. We learn to be creative by experimenting, exploring, questioning assumptions, using imagination and synthesizing information. l side by offering weekly tips, tricks, and hacks that show off your knowledge of the industry.


Knowledge - Technical, Procedural and Intellectual.


Skills to think, degree of Flexibility, Imagination.


Intrinsic - Influenced by work environments

Extrinsic - tangible Rewards

source: T.M Amabile, Harvard Business Review Oct. 98

Teaching Creativity

Every great leader is a creative leader. If creativity can be taught how is it done?

In 1956, Louis R. Mobley realized that IBM’s success depended on teaching executives to think creatively rather than teaching them how to read financial reports. As a result, the IBM Executive School was built around these six insights.

First, traditional teaching methodologies like reading, lecturing, testing, and memorization are worse than useless. They are actually the counter-productive way in which boxes get built. Most education focuses on providing answers in a linear step by step way. Mobley realized that asking radically different questions in a non-linear way is the key to creativity.

Mobley’s second discovery is that becoming creative is an unlearning rather than a learning process. The goal of the IBM Executive School was not to add more assumptions but to upend existing assumptions. Designed as a “mind-blowing experience,” IBM executives were pummeled out of their comfort zone often in embarrassing, frustrating, even infuriating ways. Providing a humbling experience for hot shot executives with egos to match had its risks, but Mobley ran those risks to get that “Wow, I never thought of it that way before!” reaction that is the birth pang of creativity.

Third, Mobley realized that we don’t learn to be creative. We must become creative people. A Marine recruit doesn’t learn to be a Marine by reading a manual. He becomes a Marine by undergoing the rigors of boot camp. Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, he is transformed into a Marine. Mobley’s Executive School was a twelve-week experiential boot camp. Classes, lectures, and books were exchanged for riddles, simulations, and games. Like psychologists, Mobley and his staff were always dreaming up experiments where the “obvious” answer was never adequate.

Mobley’s fourth insight is that the fastest way to become creative is to hang around with creative people –regardless of how stupid they make us feel. An early experiment in controlled chaos, The IBM Executive School was an unsystematic, unstructured environment where most of the benefits accrued through peer to peer interaction much of it informal and off-line.

Fifth, Mobley discovered that creativity is highly correlated with self-knowledge. It is impossible to overcome biases if we don’t know they are there, and Mobley’s school was designed to be one big mirror.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, Mobley gave his students permission to be wrong. 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. For Mobley, there were no bad ideas or wrong ideas only building blocks for even better ideas.

—Read the full article by August Turak at

Regain your creativity. Good luck!


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