Creativity Myths, The Other Half

Myth 4: Fear Forces Breakthroughs

According to the research that Breen quotes throughout his article, “creativity is positively associated with joy and love and negatively associated with anger, fear, and anxiety,” meaning that when you are happy you produce more creative work.  Furthermore, according to the research, you are more likely to come up with a creative idea after a day in which you were happy than not.  Sounds less like rocket science than it does common sense, but again if we play this out across the field of education, workplace happiness and environment can play a huge role in how creative we are in finding solutions to classroom and curricular situations.  How do you feel when you are at work?  Does it bring you joy to be there?  I find that I work best when my environment is calm, but engaging, and there are people that challenge me.

Myth 5: Competition Beats Collaboration

With all of the tools we have available to us that push collaboration, nothing replaces what we can do in the direct company of others.  The myth here is that by pitting teams or individuals against each other, we gain in creativity.  We are in the midst of annual meetings in which we share how we use the district-issued technology in our classrooms.  The intent of the meetings is many-faceted: one one hand we as administrators need to assess the use of the limited technological resources we have in the district; on the other hand, the teachers involved truly get to see a glimpse of what their colleagues are doing.  The meetings usually play out with teachers fretting about what they will share (with a few angry emails sent our way), but then when the meeting begins each teacher goes well beyond the alloted 3-5 minutes, and the audience feeds off of it.  It becomes the type of meeting that we wish we had every month.  My point here in the comparison is that when we share, when we push against each other with confidence, the result is much better.

Myth 6: A Streamlined Organization Is a Creative Organization

Leaders of organizations that are undergoing major change, specifically in the number of staff or the size of budgets, need to pay close attention to the mental health of that staff.  The study showed that when employees understand that major changes are coming that may affect them, even measures taken to bolster creativity and productivity fail.  This one goes towards making sure we can check in with our colleagues and keep stakeholders abreast of what the goal is.


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