The word "Creativity" is perhaps a conflation of "Create"and "Vital" and may be considered as a triad of curiosity, ideas, and courage.Yes, creativity requires courage. Creativity and courage are intimatelyconnected in a synergic relationship: creativity feeds courage and couragebrings creativity to life. Courage takesyour dreams from wish and fantasy and transforms them into reality. Being Creative is just how one is capable ofthinking out of the box and looking at the problems in a new way, with an openmind, which others may not have perceived and presented to the world. Animportant component of this social and economic metamorphosis is courage. Oneneeds to have the courage to be creative. Courage is an energy that you canconnect with when you find comfort in your fears, insecurities, or anxieties.
Let me elucidate what courage means as a child (student) andan adult (teacher). In a Canadian school, during an essay competition, thetopic given was Courage. Many childrenexpressed their own views on courage by writing details on it, its importance,advantages and so forth. Some expressed their views in 150 words while otherseven crossed 200 words and few reached 300 words. There was one ingeniouschild, who astonished everyone by just writing, "This is Courage!" and left thethick answer paper blank. When the teachers started evaluating the script theyfound this amazing essay written just in three words and were surprised andperplexed by the boy's boldness and his courage. Yes, this is courage! Theteachers after a lot of thinking and analysis were bold enough to select thisyoung creative boy, who had the courage to express his idea on courage in hisown creative way, as the winner of the competition. The boy later turned out tobe a genius and a successful entrepreneur. In this part of the world, do wehave teachers and students who would exhibit such courage? I keep it for yourimagination.
In Gujarat, once there was a brainstorming open sessionorganised by the association of electrical and electronic appliancemanufacturers. They had invited big shorts and experts from the corporate worldto obtain creative ideas on improving the designs of some electrical andelectronic appliances. Some school children were also invited to the session.Many suggestions came forth for design and efficiency improvement of theseappliances. The experts from the fan industry also gave different ideas forimproving the efficiency of ceiling fans. Then it was the turn of schoolchildren to give ideas. A sixth standard creative boy stood up among the largeaudience, and with his innocence voice gave a stunning statement which made thehuge audience dead silence and astonished. The innovative proclamation posed bythe creative mind was, "can we manufacture a fan, which can end suicides andsave lives in our country? Everyone among the audience was moved by thethoughts of the child. A loud applaud followed a moment of silence. Such a suggestionhad never come to anyone's mind in the past, including big corporate stalwarts,designers and engineers. His creative idea was appreciated and was eventuallypassed to the research and design department of Usha fan manufacturers wherepresently the idea is at the product development phase, and the designers areconsidering how to make a fan to collapse on weight bearing.
To be successful, it needs courage. Sometimes courage can beobscured by fears, self-doubts, and anxieties of throbbing early experiences ofyou daring to show up – which you may or may not be aware of. Perhaps no one encouraged you, as a child, totake on challenges so you can find your courage. Or perhaps fear was instilled in you, rightwhen you dared to take on a challenge, or you were rebuked or laughed at for abold statement you made in the class. Now lastly, as a student, a teacher or asa parent, we all need to honestly self introspect ourselves and pose aquestion, is our education system ideally designed for the young ones to becourageous, in order to promote creativity and innovations? I leave the answerto the education policymakers, parents, teachers and all other.
The author is the head of IIED Centre at NIT, Srinagar