Getting to the origins of human creativity is complicated, but earlier this month I gained some fascinating insights when attending another RSA packed-house presentation in London.
Entitled, ‘What is Creativity’, the 60-minute delivery was slick, revealing (did you know Dick Cheney doesn’t have a pulse!) and highly rewarding. And it was rewarding for the speakers too; I was not the only buyer of their accompanying book release ‘The Runaway Species’.
By page 22 I was gripped by their clear, concise and incisive perspective on how the brain operates.
Predictability V Surprise
“Brains” the authors explain, “Seek a balance between exploiting previously learned knowledge and exploring new possibilities. Over eons brains have achieved an exploration/exploitation trade-off that strikes the balance between flexibility and rigour. We want the world to be predictable but not too predictable. Too much predictability and we tune out; too much surprise and we become disoriented.”
And that’s when it struck me how for nearly 15 years, our business simulation design team has been grappling with exactly that relationship. Equipping people with the skills to deal with uncertainty is critical if we are to have a fit-for-purpose and sustainable workforce. But in creating those set of circumstances we must first construct a balanced surprise/predictable learning environment.
Doubtless, the bedtime-read into the origins of human creativity will reveal many more gems which I may well share again. But don’t wait for me. It’s a belter of a book for anyone with an interest in neuroscience, creativity or education.
Key Learning Points: Understanding ourselves and our creativity is a journey that also helps us to understand what makes us human. The Runaway Species not only makes the complex readable, but also opens a fascinating world that exists between predictability and surprise.