Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Creativity for "Normal" Tasks

You may have noticed that one of my life themes is using my creative force, and encouraging others to use and develop their own. It's the same principle as exercise making your bodies stronger; feeding your imagination and working it makes you more creative.

No matter what subject I'm teaching, each week I try to come up with different relationships among the materials and concepts to get through to the students. Last year I was particularly pleased with getting my 13-year old students to not only memorize poetry, but to recite it and play with it. They did so with joy. Poetry is fuel for the imagination.

Last week I had my students, this time they're around 20 years old, come up with a list of 10 ways people use creativity in "normal" jobs. They worked in small groups and came up with good examples: setting up displays in retail, using recycled materials to make art, marketing campaigns, and making restaurant menus. However, one group of three young men made a list that stood out from the others and I am presenting it here. Remember, that in developing creative ideas, brainstorming, it's important to write down ideas first, decide whether they're good later.

Students John Barker, E .J. Yancey, and Dekota Marshall, from ECU's COMM 2210-02 came up with these ideas:

1. Turf managers figure out how to grow grass on different types of soil.

2. Use a hot water heater to make a grill.

3. Use vegetable oil to power a car.

4. Hook up PVC pipe to a truck with a water tank to make a sprinkler.

5. Use a mule to take out the trash, instead of walking.

6. Recycle copper to make other parts.

7. Use chewing tobacco instead of medicine to cure a bee sting.

8. Football coach makes players pull and carry huge tires instead of weights.

9. Use a chain and a log in place of a sled.

10. Cut up old t-shirts to use as rags in a garage.

In your next meeting, you might want to come up with a list of ways employees show creativity at work. Starting with small innovations in place may help you think of other ways to do things that may be much better. In any case, any activity that gets people to THINK is good in my book. Have a creative day!