Why I Do This

The first thing I did when I sat down to write this post was stare at my screen for ten minutes. Then I thought, “I am an expert on creativity, why is this so hard?”

It’s my first post on the Creative Dave site! It’s got to be good, right? Well, of course it’ll be good. But it needs to be useful – new and useful.

Hey, that’s pretty close to the academic definition of creativity: new and useful.

So, let’s start with a story. I have a small patch of grass in my front yard that will not grow. It’s less than a square foot, but nothing will grow.

About a month ago, we had several bare patches of grass, and I wanted to cover them. After all, that’s where to dog pees, and I don’t want her to come back inside all muddy.

Now, they’re all filled in, except for that one patch. I’m hoping it’s not radioactive or something.

I have worked in schools my entire career. The students I work with are great. They’re entertaining and funny, and I’ve been around long enough now that I’ve seen many of them become adults.

But the biggest problem I see is that most of them don’t know how to be creative.

But the worst part is, it becomes a cycle: We don’t teach how to be creative, we ask them to be creative, they fail to be creative, and they wind up thinking they’re not creative. If they’re not someone who just intuitively knows creativity, they get this message reinforced for 13 years in school: You’re not creative.

And then they go into the workforce, where 77% of CEOs say they can’t find the creativity and innovation skills they need.

I wonder why?

The reason my grass won’t grow is because there’s a problem with the soil. Nearby, I have a patch of grass that is thin and stringy instead of strong and luscious. It’s because of the soil.

In my classroom, I can teach students to be creative within the context of my computer science class.

But what if I could go in and improve the soil?

That’s why I do this. That’s why I studied how to “Activate Your Genius Mode,” and that’s why I’m trying to get this program into the hands of schools, students, and businesses.

Most people struggle to be creative not because they’re not creative people, but because they haven’t learned how to be creative.

So, here’s the useful part: You may have heard of my Creativity Formula: Creativity = Psychological Safety + Curiosity + Divergent Thinking.

The single biggest factor in being creative is in learning to make and capture connections. The more curious a person is, the more connections they can make between two seemingly unrelated things, and the more ideas that gives them. Then, they need to learn to capture their ideas, and what to make of them. That comes more naturally to some people, but scientific studies have shown this is something people can improve over time.

Turns out, curiosity is great fertilizer. For your mind, that is. Not your grass. And if my grass isn’t growing by this weekend, I’m going to dig up that section and start over.

If you’re one of the 77% of CEOs who need to get more creativity and innovation out of your workforce, send me a message. If you’re a school leader who wants to improve the soil for your students, send me a message. I’ll look forward to hearing from you.


Get the book, Activate Your Genius Mode, to learn how you can elevate the creativity of your school, students, or workforce, with the Creativity Formula.

Visit the Conjunction Media Store to purchase

Contact David about speaking or workshopping at your school or business event.

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