a very unsexy subject

Summary: Creativity Workshop

On thursday, the 27th of September at the Sana Metropolitan, Henriette and I conducted a Creativity Workshop as a preamble to SHiFT06. I had very much looked forward to doing this workshop as it had a lot of firsts associated with it. First I had never worked together with Henriette. Second, I had never lead or created a creativity workshop. Third, this was the first SHiFT ever happening in Lisbon, and it was happening due to the initiative and hard work of a handful of very enterprising Portuguese geeks.

In brief, we had a few breakdowns and a great workshop.

We went into a discovery process of what it is that creativity is guided by the findings of Mihaly Csikezentmihalyi as reported in Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention after we all shared what our goals and agendas for the day were.

Discovery is always a fun process for me; I do like to pick people’s brains and be challenged to be both present and thinking. Being present while leading a workshop means that I am listening while I am listening and that I am sharing my on the spot – as it happens – thinking with the participants while keeping an eye on the goals and living through my agenda. Yes, it is a tall order. For me, anything else would not involve play and it would not be fun.

I was particularly impressed by the level of authenticity, sincerity and engaged thinking that all participants brought into the workshops. At the end of the day we did a round of checking against the goals for the day. While the big sparkling fireworks of creativity were not discovered during the workshop, all got an added insight and expanded their own view of creativity, myself included.

We started with the premise that we do not know what creativity is, and that it is not important to know what it is in order to create. According to Mihaly Csikezentmihalyi creativity ca be understood as the result of interaction in a system consisting of three different elements: Domain, Field (the people “established” in the domain) and the Individual. These three elements are embedded in what we call Culture. The point is, although the individual is the one “doing” the creation, it is in the interaction with the other elements that the novel creation gains acceptance and/or assimilation into the domain.

The breakdowns had to with the organization and the communication around the workshop, at the last minute somehow it all came together. My thanks go to Pedro, Hugo, Bruno and André for the opportunity we had to work together, and to Henriette for her continued support during the preparation and during the workshop.