This reflection is based on my knowledge of The Creative Platform – a didactic approach for unlimited application of knowledge in interdisciplinary and intercultural groups (Byrge, C. & Hansen, S., 2009).
There are an expectation and a goal on a national scale for Denmark to become the Scandinavian (or even European) hotspot for innovation and entrepreneurship. Following the Danish Innovation Strategy “Denmark – The Country of Solutions”, the reform of the primary and lower secondary school in 2013, stated that entrepreneurship and innovation had to be included in all subjects. But how do we teach innovation and entrepreneurship? First of all, we need to establish learning environments that foster creative thinking. The Creative Platform (Byrge & Hansen, 2009) offers a suggestion of how to do so. Albert Einstein, though undocumented, is given the credit for once having said: “We cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. The creative platform is both a didactic approach, but also presents a model with four pillars necessary to uphold that platform (a mental state). I will get back to the model and its four pillars later.
Firstly, Byrge & Hansen (2009) defines creativity as:
- An unlimited application of knowledge
- To play with knowledge in the search for other possibilities than the ones our pattern thinking normally would make us aware of
- The mean to cut across the limiting boundaries of subjects, professions, scientific, ‘not scientific’ knowledge, truths, lies, understanding and misunderstanding
- The discipline of sharing and applying knowledge across all professional, social, disciplinary and cultural boundaries.
When we want to create something new, we need for people to be creative. To create is at the top of human capacity. It involves the unlimited application of knowledge, that a person has gained through life. So why is it so difficult to come up with new ideas? The thing is; we create patterns in our brains — to cope — to save energy — (&) to save time. As we know it from habits, or the morning routines, that we perform with ease even though we are half asleep. Patterns also control our perception and thinking, which makes it difficult to perceive information in new ways, to conceptualise differently and to think and do differently. The key to the unlimited application of knowledge is to remove judgment from the learning process, that is done by:
- Skipping the dominating norms of communication: Examples of that could be: logical argumentation, the positioning of ideas, professional or personal persuasion, judgment, evaluation, criticism, praise, acknowledgment and other traditional discussion behaviours.
- Secondly, but additionally, we need to remove no from our vocabularies: In most learning situations, students experience fear of judgement, fear of saying or doing something wrong. So removing judgement from the learning environment is necessary for an optimal session of idea generating.
When teaching creativity, we need a learning environment that focusses on experience, because experience is the only place where our perception is not controlled by our pattern thinking. In experience, all our knowledge is at our disposal. The creative platform offers such a learning environment. The creative platform is a mental state, only achievable if held up by 4 pillars: Parallel Thinking, (being) Task Focussed, No Judgement and Diversified Knowledge.
THE FOUR PILLARS OF THE CREATIVE PLATFORM
Parallel thinking encompasses, that during group tasks:
- all group members must only have the current subtask in mind
- all potential disturbances must be eliminated or removed
- there must be deadlines for the subtasks
Additionally, all subtasks ends with a presentation. If you do these things, should be totally absorbed in your work, i.e., achieve the sense of flow, as described by Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi.
To be task focussed entails, that the creativity must be controlled, there has to be some rules to the task, that the students are engaging in. Thus, the importance of having a faiclitator (the teacher) becomes even more important, because someone has to make sure everyone is working within the frames/rules of the given task.
During a normal academic discussion, members often introduce themselves or their opnions, which leads to individual reflections. Social interactions easily leads to an atmosphere of judgement, thus should be avoided. When teaching according to the creative platform, introduction happens by small activities to create shared experiences (3D Cases). No judgement is allowed, bad nor good.
We know that 95% of “new problems” have already been solved, probably many times over (Altshuller, 2003) and that, the solutions are usually found within disciplines or industries that you didn’t even know existed. Studies also show, that the intersection between all disciplines, cultures and domains is, in fact, the only place where new knowledge is created (Johnsson, 2004). Therefore, the creative platform is only really doable, when interculturality and variety of skills and knowledge are
TASKS TO REACH (THE MENTAL STATE) THE CREATIVE PLATFORM
Using energisers to change energy-level within the classroom
Find someone with the same kind of shoes as you, raise right hand, when I say 1 — you clap your right hands together — raise the left hand when I say two, you clap your left hands together — when I say three, clap both hands together!
3-Dimensional Cases (3D-Cases) using both attitude, body & brain to create shared experiences
Find someone with similar or the same hair as you. Now you close your eyes, you will be given 30 seconds to think about your childhood dream. After the 30 seconds, the one with the biggest hands will start explaining their biggest child hood dream, afterwards, and when both of them are done — let them make name tags with their childhood dreams on (instead of the normal way of having your name and/or occupation/title) on there. The reason for this certain 3D-Case, is to give an example of a way to create a non-judgemental introduction of the participants (compared to traditional introductions).
The next step has to be figuring out, how to adapt or include the creative platform within the foreign language classroom. The reason for my interest stems from a sincere interest in the theory, but multiple failed attempts of finding any sources of implementation in foreign language subjects. To be continued (not here, but in life).