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Future Resilience #7 — Creative Thinking

Might Creative Thinking be the most coveted skill of the future? According to Powers (2018) because technology lacks vision, imagination and creativity, and technology is only going to grow, it probably will be.

Author of Creative Bootcamp and Redesign Your Mind, Stefan Mumaw, defines creativity as “…problem-solving with relevance and novelty.”

  • Relevancy: Relevancy in this context is finding a genuine problem to solve within a given context. The NoTosh Design Thinking phases of Immersion and Synthesis help us to find problems to solve that are worthwhile and will make an impact. Prototyping and Feedback tests the “fit” of our ideas within the context.
  • Novelty: Novelty is when we’re able to solve a problem in a unique way. Ideation invites us to enter into divergent thinking to explore novel solutions.
NoTosh Design Thinking Process Map

Putting it together, creativity is really just solving problems in original ways (Petrone, 2019).

This means that if we want to develop “future resilient” young people, we must build capacity in them to think more creatively. As educators, we must also refuse to settle for solutions that had success previously and force ourselves to think more divergently.

That’s exactly what the teachers at Wirreanda Secondary School did in 2018. Having already grappled with Critical Thinking, they decided on 3 questions:

— What is Creative Thinking?

— How might all subjects employ Creative Thinking?

— How might we assess Creative Thinking?

Through their work with NoTosh over a year, they developed an online tool in Trello to ensure that all staff in their school would be able to employ Creative Thinking in their lessons. This included developing 8 Creative Thinking dispositions: Risk-taking, Persistence, Articulation, Uniqueness, Empathy, Connections, Curiosity and Perspective.

Should we all be doing more to explore creative thinking in schools? Ever since Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, our educational institutions have encountered an awakening — Might we, our schools, be the cause of our young people’s lack of creativity? In 1968, George Land tested 1,600 five-year-olds for creativity. He also performed the same test at NASA, on scientists and engineers. 98% of the 5-year-olds were deemed as “creative geniuses”. Shockingly, when he ran the same study with children aged 10–15 years, the percentage dropped to 30% and 12% respectively.

The main takeaway from this experiment was that non-creative behaviour is learned. Creativity is not learned, but rather unlearned.

Image Source: fritzR

I hear often from teachers that their young people show no creativity. Quite frankly, I’m not surprised. Prior experience in school has shown young people that individuality is at best unwanted and at worst, wrong.

We must create “space” for our young people to employ creative thinking in school. Here are some ideas to create a culture of creativity in your school:

  1. Be a bit silly sometimes.
  2. Encourage diversity and uniqueness.
  3. Release young people from holding on too tightly their own ideas.
  4. Use right and wrong sparingly.
  5. Expose young people to a broad range of perspectives.
  6. Be a “Yes, and…” teacher.

Check out an interesting example of this in Harrison Metal’s experiment; Factory vs Studio:

Factory vs Studio

And, when the space is primed, you’ll be ready for some tools to develop Creative Thinking.

It seems counter-intuitive but Creative Thinking requires constraints and it requires context. The first step to Creative Thinking is determining the arena. The ‘How Might We’ tool is great for defining the challenge ahead.

Once the challenge has been defined, our Lab has some great tools to encourage divergent thinking, including:

  • 100 Ideas in 10 Minutes
  • Crazy 8s
  • Morphological Forced Connections

Creative Thinking is an important element of Entrepreneurial Spirit. If you missed last week’s blog post on that topic, find it here. And, now, off you go to be creative.




We see a world in which people have the creative confidence to find their place in a team and achieve something bigger than they are. You can learn more in our Lab at

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Chantelle Love

Chantelle Love

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