By Muhammad Mursalin Larik – Electrical Engineering 2020
Reflections on “Creativity: Crazy Dreams Culminating in Concrete Actions by Rumman Ahmad”
In the conventional talks, most of the times we hear speakers asking to keep the electronic items away – but this time I sensed something different when he asked us (audience) to keep mobile phones right in front. Mr. Rumman telling the meaning of his name as “Anar” (Pomegranate) and the funny consequences he faced during interview started his lecture. By that time I knew the talk was going to be amazing and so it proved out to be.
First asking us the meaning of it, creativity was introduced as being something, “Creativity is the production of something novel and useful in any domain” and as, “Creativity is the front end of the innovation process”. These were some convincing definitions of creativity which I had never thought of in that way. The quote, “You could never step into same river twice”, was quoted to make us feel the shear need for the change. Today every morning when we wake up, there is something new. Our government as well as public is facing problems which are hindering us from succeeding. We are always trying to solve our problems with the same thinking and approach. The reason behind that is the lack of creativity or lack of implementation of creative ideas.
The reason for making us to leave the mobile phones on the tables was discovered for the purpose of online polling which took place within the room to know the views of the different people on the questions presented. Again this was the first time many of the people in the audience were experiencing live instant polling.
He defined the types of creative people: Clarifiers (Data gatherer), Ideator (Idea generator), Developer (One who develops plan) and Implementer (One who executes the operation). His explicit implication, as inferred, was that when all four of these, when work in a team, only then a model of creativity is produced. That’s what we call innovative technology; because without any one of the four, it is nonsense to even think of prolific result.
There were few polls including: “Who are the creative ones?”, “In which category of creativity do you think you are?”, “Choosing higher preferences of the categories” and after the last described poll, a fifth category was introduced. Integrator being the name; one who has no higher preference. Every solution is preceded by a vision or goal. Just follow your crazy dreams and you will reach your destination. Dreams are very important and must be placed higher. There are these dreams that have changed the whole perspective of the world around us today. We are somewhere in our minds doing the things which the Ideators and Developers do but we lack in the process of implementing them in to real actions. Examples of these types were given as Einstein being Clarifier, Advent being Ideator, Steve Jobs being Developer and Alexander being the Implementer.
Having come this far in the talk I was sorting my friends working along with me academic projects according to the categories described. And yes I was being – judgmental.
Now there are some habits and changes we must accommodate in order for creativity to take place. These include firstly not to discourage your child for thinking things that are out of the box and which sound weird. Affective skills required for handling change:
- Tolerate Ambiguity
- Accept Complexity
- Embrace Novelty
We came across some amusing examples which were good enough to keep us attentive throughout the talk. Sometimes we just ignore some ideas which we do not think of as ideas in the first place. When my little brother tells me that he wants to be “Spiderman”, I simply tell him that it is not going to happen; this is where we diminish the approach of creativity. When my friends tell me, “let’s make a drone”; I tell them it’s completely absurd to think of freshman making a drone, this is where novelty and innovation are militated. So we must not react immediately to any idea. We should never ever judge the idea from just judging it after the first impression. Each of us has a preference for different parts of the process, which does not have anything to do with ability. It is important to understand our own preference and how it affects us and those around us.
Technically, there are two modes of thinking. Divergence (we usually think of creativity to be it) and Convergence (When you have created a big pile of ideas, the creative activity does not stop there). Divergence is all about thinking wildly and seek wild and creative ideas. It also includes: Building upon other ideas, striving for the quantity and deferring judgement. Next stage, convergence, can be very different. In this a team has to thin down the idea set into a very small set of ideas that will be taken forward for further development. It includes: use affirmative judgement and advantages first, be open to novelty, work to build upon ideas and be deliberate, planful and systematic.
By the time the talk ended, we were ready to embrace novelty and encourage modes of creativity. The perspective of the culminating the creative idea into concrete action was changed. It was a very useful talk especially for the ones who want to be future engineers or entrepreneurs. Along with that our social awareness was also enriched. Came across some of the habits which must now be thwarted. And finally, what I learnt, stop scolding your friend for weird ideas (divergence) as nonsense and impractical; work to make that become practical by using convergence.