Friday, February 22, 2013

richard huntington's creativity steps

interested in creativity?
tina, of colour living, invited richard huntington, director of strategy @ saatchi & saatchi and author of adliterate, the uk's most influential advertising blog, to share his creative process.  

he came up with 9 steps.
here they are, quotes in italic.  note that richard's in advertising, and i'm a montessori teacher.  

1.  read weird stuff -  consume random stuff that interests and that might provide a lateral spark that helps solve a problem.  reading is always a plus!

2.  see the things others don't or can't see.  most of the time i am exposed to exactly the same stimulus as other people.  it's just that i am on the look out and listening for thoughts that others have ignored.  working with children helps with this - they see things very differently from our grown-up perspective.

3.  focus on what is interesting and not what is right.  this is not to say you don't want the answer to be right but that if you look for something interesting it might also be right.  whereas if you look for something right it will never be interesting.  my teacher self notes here that things such as capitalization and punctuation must be taught so children know what's right, even if they choose to abandon it in later creative choices.  
4.  go there.  ..searching for the real root cause of the problem and not settling for superficial solutions...why people do the things they do.  in montessori, we educate the whole child, social and emotional needs included. 

5.  be amused by the world.  enjoy the idiosyncrasies.  and everything else wonderful you can find.  

6.  everything can give you an answer.  he's not talking existentially, but using the environment to look for solutions to creative problems.  
(photos by nms from moma, nyc)

7.  think visually as well as conceptually.  this works in education!  venn diagrams, triangles, wedges, anything we can show children in pictures aids understanding.  this feeds clear thinking in general, not just creativity.

8.  find your creative routine.  ...things you do to force your mind into a creative place because your mind associates that routine (place, pen, lighting, smell, etc.) with producing something of worth.  he uses moleskins and montblanc pens in his routine.  

9.  use all your life.  we bring all our experiences to our work, which makes it valuable.  

thoughts on creativity?
joy to you!


  1. I think it's tough to be a creative thinker in traditional education. It's also incredibly tough to be a visual learner in this environment.My eldest daughter is both and she is constantly in trouble for "daydreaming". The teachers don't seem to realise that they need to engage the visual learners early in the lesson for they are the first to lose interest, when it is just a jumble of words written and spoken. The other challenge with creativity/education/modern life is time, or the lack of it. Both my girls can be left to their own devices for long periods of time and will draw, write songs and stories, paint. Creativity needs to be unattended it needs the time to boil and bubble without the demands of the school bell ringing for the next class, mum nagging for you to get ready for the after-school activity or the ping of a new message on facebook!

  2. Noreen, how brilliant you took this and adapted it to your teaching. Very apt and very insightful!

    I'm a huge fan of Tony Buzan's Mind mapping and like the ways in which he believes children learn best. Creativity inspired in the young (that's where we're all super creative)is of essence and I definitely subscribe to the Montessori philosophy.

    Thank you x

  3. I agree with Tina. And I love how beautifully it fits your teaching style. A creative routine is a fantastic idea xx


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