Enhance Creativity in Australia

Read the full detailed article by Michael Michalko, Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School About Creative Thinking

  1. You are creative
  2. Creative thinking is work
  3. You must go through the motions of being creative
  4. Your brain is not a computer
  5. There is no one right answer
  6. Never stop with your first good idea
  7. Expect the experts to be negative
  8. Trust your instincts
  9. There is no such thing as failure
  10. You do not see things as they are; you see them as you are
  11. Always approach a problem on its own terms
  12. Learn to think unconventionally

Creativity is paradoxical. To create, a person must have knowledge but forget the knowledge, must see unexpected connections in things but not have a mental disorder, must work hard but spend time doing nothing as information incubates, must create many ideas yet most of them are useless, must look at the same thing as everyone else, yet see something different, must desire success but embrace failure, must be persistent but not stubborn, and must listen to experts but know how to disregard them.


The National Cultural Policy was due for release at about the time of last May’s federal budget, but Simon Crean, Arts Minister has said he is waiting to secure funds, a spokesman for Mr Crean says he remains committed to launching it by the end of the year.

The Australian Major Performing Arts Group will seek assurance that the delayed National Cultural Policy at least will maintain funding in real terms, as the government attempts to pull back $2 billion in grants.

Harold Mitchell, chairman of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Art Exhibitions Australia says budgest are always under pressure but the government should not shy from its commitment to the arts.

“Government should remain supportive of the arts because it is so important, and (funding) is not at a very high level anyway, compared to many other things we do”

Goals of the National Cultural Policy are:




Matthew Westwood, Call for funds for cultural policy

National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper


Changing Education Paradigms, Sir Ken Robinson

Understanding the creative mind is certainly a very difficult and abstract topic. To simply put it, creativity is most easily considered in terms of outcomes, e.g. dramatic improvisation and artistic artefacts, but also innovative business ideas and scientific breakthroughs.

Creative thinking is a complex thought process that calls upon many different cognitive functions and and involves many many different regions distributed throughout the brain. There is no single part of our brain responsible for our creativity.

There are certainly no step-by-step instructions for having a good idea, yet multiple psychology reports suggest that our ability to think creatively is influenced by many things, including the environment in which we are surrounded by.

  • Creativity is often regarded as something that is purely spontaneous and less compliant to a teacher’s influence than skills such as planning, calculating and communicating. However, teachers can play a critical role in fostering creative thinking processes through the use of environment and strategy.
  • When we visualise, our brain activity can resemble that associated with real experience. This suggests visualisation is a potentially powerful educational tool. For example, enhancement of generative thinking can be achieved through visualising changes in context.
  • Creative thinking may depend on our ability to use a range of cognitive processes in different ways and crucially, to move between these ways as appropriate.


Sir Ken Robinson, PhD is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation. He is also one of the world’s leading speakers with a profound impact on audiences everywhere. Seriously, his talks are awe-inspiring, watch them here!

Dr Paul Howard-Jones, Fostering creative thinking: co-constructed insights from the neuroscience and education

Creative inspirations are often reported to emerge spontaneously, especially when we are not distracted or focusing on the problem at hand. Knowing how to generate these “insight moments” are an important component of creativity for better problem solving and innovative solutions.

It is known as the ‘eureka’ or ‘aha’ moment. Many ‘eureka’ moments are emerged at the unlikeliest of places, whether it be in the bathtub (for Archimedes the mathematician), or at a strip club (Richard Feynman was known to scribble equations there). It can be said that “Creativity is the residue of time wasted”.

A relaxed and positive mood enhances the brain activity required for the ‘aha’ moment to take place in our brain. Pleasure can play a big part in this process as it can enhance positive mood.

Evolution has developed areas in our brain with the purpose of providing us with a pleasurable sensation, what neuroscientists call the “reward circuit”. It is the Nucleus Accumbens, part of this circuit which provides the motivation and passion to what we want to do.

This chemical is called Dopamine (also known as the chemical of desire) is released when we enjoy or about to enjoy something. So we feel good!  It can be seen as a direct correlation between how pleasure affects our creative brain; that is, when we are happy and we feel good, our brains are more open and relaxed, which will in turn allow us to think more clearly and perhaps get that moment of insight.

As Daniel Pink states

“The future belongs to…creators and empathisers, pattern recognisers and meaning-makers. These people… will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.”

Everyone has the capacity to be creative!


Check out the BrainArt Project, to spread the word about “Life Pleasures & the Brain” through various artistic forms, the project is about awaking, learning and balancing this aspect of our lives. Nurturing creativity through exploring our pleasures.

An interesting article on Eureka Moments by Silvis Damiano

There is little evidence about left brain vs right brain and creativity. Theories of  left-brain/right brain learning theories are not based on credible science and most certainly unhelpful in understanding creativity when used to categorise individuals. But have you ever heard of convergent thinking and divergent thinking?

Psychologist J.P. Guilford first invented the terms convergent thinking and divergent thinking‘ back in 1967.

Convergent thinking is the ability to the ability to apply rules to arrive at a single ‘correct’ solution to a problem such as the answer to an IQ test problem. This process is systematic and linear.

Divergent thinking (or sometimes ‘lateral thinking’) is the process of generating multiple related ideas for a given topic or solutions to a problem. Divergent thinking occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner.

There is good evidence that divergent thinking is what creative problem solving depends on!

Traditionally creativity has been understood in terms of the accessibility of concepts in our long term memory systems so divergent thinking tasks have been widely used. Concepts are connected in our brains in ‘semantic networks’.

Here is an example of a semantic network, with each concept ‘node’ of the network accessible from the concept ‘street’ via other node:

Individual differences in creativity are due to differences in whether these kinds of associative networks were ‘steep’ or ‘flat’, psychologists have proposed.

Those with ‘flat’ networks have numerous and loose conceptual connections, enabling them to be more creative.

Those with ‘steep’ networks tend to have more logical, linear associations between nodes.

Below is an image of someone with a flat network which quickly and creatively hops – node to node – from peacock to Rolls Royce. Something someone ‘linear’ in their thinking would struggle with.


Mark A. Smith Ph.D, Creativity and IQ

A lovely Infographic by PaintersofLouisville.com, an exploration of the truth behind colours, and how we subconsciously react to them.

Enhance Creativity in Australia

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