Take Your Foot off the Brake

 Recently, I had the "opportunity" to drive my daughter's sporty, manual-shift Subaru Impreza  on the hilly San Diego freeway. I had not driven a manual for at least a decade, and it was my first time driving HER car and my first time driving in San Diego – talk about being a little nervous. My first fear-based reaction was that I needed to be cautious and keep my foot on the brake. Ha, Ha. Well, long story short, it only took a few minutes to remember how to drive a manual and to remember how much I loved the feel of shifting the gears. As I merged onto the highway I was ready to take my foot off the brake!

Creative Confidence

As you begin working on your maker project this week, I wanted to introduce you to the concept of creative confidence. Creative confidence is at the heart of innovation (Kelley & Kelley, 2013) and essential to "making." Yet, the term “creative thinking” often makes individuals nervous out of fear of what others will think. I’ve been a creative thinker my entire life, yet I still get self-conscious if I let self-judgment sneak in. In “Reclaim Your Creative Confidence” (Harvard Business Review), Kelley and Kelley explain that resisting self-judgement is half the battle. When we are young, we are willing to try new things and as we get older, we tend to get more cautious because we learn to care more and more what others think. I've had to unlearn and relearn to play again in my approach to creative thinking.

This week we are asking you to make with a beginner’s mind. There is no such thing as a mistake in maker-thinking. There is a freedom to make and break.  Kelley and Kelley (2013) explain it this way:

“...Opening up the flow of creativity is like discovering that you’ve been driving a car with the emergency brake on - and suddenly experiencing what it feels like when you release the brake and can drive freely” (p. 5.)
Source: https://quotes4ever.com/thomas-edison-quotes/ 

Activity: Mindmapping

One way to let your foot off the brake is to try this Mindmap exercise (p. 214) when deciding on a project topic.

  1. On a large blank piece of paper or using one of the online tools mentioned at the side, write your central topic or challenge in the middle of the paper and circle it. The example pictured below is "A great dinner party for friends."
  2. Make some connections to that main topic and write them down, branching out from the center as you go. Ask yourself, "What else can I add to the map that is related to this theme?"
  3. Use each connection to spur new ideas. Keep going until the page fills or the ideas dwindle. If you think one of your ideas will lead to a new cluster, draw a quick rectangle or oval around ti to emphasize that it's a hub.
  4. Optional Show-n-Tell: Use the associated discourse space to share your mindmap and let us know what new ideas came from this activity. Think about "How might a mindmap change the direction of your maker project?"

  • Google Jamboard

  • Mindmup

  • Padlet

  • Miro

  • Lucid Chart

  • Coggle

  • In the shared mindmap example below, the result of this activity was that David threw a big dinner party in which guests changed tables after each course, enabling them to talk to everyone in the room.

    Source: Kelley, T. & Kelley, D. (2013). Creative challenge #1: Push yourself to think divergently and creatively. p. 213. Creative confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all

    (Activity Source: Kelley, T. & Kelley, D. (2013). Creative challenge #1: Push yourself to think divergently and creatively from Chapter 7; Move: Creative confidence to go; pp. 212-216. Creative confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all. New York, NY: Crown Business).

    Check out these additional resources:

    Cooper, B. B. (2014, April 2). Work smart: 10 surprising ways to transform your creative thinking. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/3028465/10-surprising-ways-to-transform-your-creative-thinking

    Creative Mornings: https://creativemornings.com/about

    Ho, L. (2020, March 30). What is creative thinking and why is it important? Lifehack https://www.lifehack.org/788835/creative-thinking

    IDEO (n.d). Design thinking for educators. https://designthinkingforeducators.com/

    Kelley, T. & Kelley, D. (2013). Creative confidence: Unleashing the creative potential within us all. New York, NY: Crown Business; supporting website at: https://www.creativeconfidence.com/

    Kelley, T. & Kelley, D. (2012). Reclaim your creative confidence. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2012/12/reclaim-your-creative-confidence

    Roffey, T. (n.d.) Makerspace for education. http://www.makerspaceforeducation.com/design-thinking.html

    Potter, E. (2019, March 12). How teachers can use the makerspace to foster creativity. https://matterandformedu.net/2019/03/12/teaching-creativity-in-the-makerspace/

    Schwartz, M. (2016, May 4). Makerspace: Bringing creative thinking back to the classroom. https://teacher-blog.education.com/makerspace-bringing-creative-thinking-back-to-the-classroom-7d29a062cbea

    Waterford Organization (2020, March 5). Classroom makerspaces: Boost creative thinking skills by giving students their own corner. https://www.waterford.org/education/classroom-makerspaces/