First published on November 2011.
Having worked with the creative industries in school through creative partnerships what I was struck by that the creative industries are outcome drive, the successful people in those industries are able to combine the self motivation, and discipline to work to a brief with a set outcome in mind and deliver at each project milestone. There is a drive for completion which requires a professional structure to the creative process. Within that process structure there is then the need for wide ranging, creative thinking which goes beyond what the creative brief is and is able to generate synergies and holistic approaches which require high order thinking skills. Great creative professionals are also collaborative and fantastic communicators in their chosen media.
I would argue that the best schools are planned and run along the principles outlined above. In order to allow children to develop their creativity, there must be certainty in the organization as well as clarity in terms of outcome and deadlines.
With that structure in place as students grow and develop their creative, higher order, thinking skills must be developed. This happens firstly through giving them limited options and modelling approaches, but year and year should transfer the creative process to the students. I have never seen creativity as the preserve of the creative industries, I have always believed that the highest achieving students are the most creative. The best mathematicians are creative, the best engineers are creative, the best entrepreneurs are creative, and many people will pay an awful lot of money for a creative accountant!
Creativity is therefore a product of good organisation, excellent motivation, some real knowledge or craft and critical higher level thinking skills. Every school should aim for its students to be creative in every subject. I have held fast to these principles in my educational leadership and expect to see structure and creativity in every classroom in any and every school I lead.
Images by Project - http://thisisproject.com/