Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Diary of a creative person: day 9

Asking simple questions

At the end of a period of research for a new piece, Marc asked himself a couple of very simple questions about the landscapes that were to inspire his new work. How did each landscape differ from the other? What gave each landscape its uniqueness? Asking these questions enabled Marc to move away from his expertise and the complexities of composing and move nearer to the physical 'just is' qualities of the landscapes that were the focus of his works.    

The more involved in something we become, the more expertise we gain about something, the harder it becomes to ask simple questions. Our ever-increasing knowledge and experience leads to ever-strengthening and question-inhibiting assumptions about what things are, how things work, why things happen, etc. 

This is acceptable, even advantageous, when we are dealing with complex but well established processes and tasks. It enables us to do difficult things quickly. (Think about the life saving decisions and actions that go on within an accident and emergency department!)

Creative thinking, however, often demands that we put our established expertise aside for a while and develop a new expertise: an expertise in simplicity. 

Start asking the questions everyone is thinking but no one is asking because they do not want to look silly. Find out what questions the least experienced person in the room wants to ask. Ask non-experts to help you put aside your expertise by telling you the questions they are dying to ask.

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