How is Montessori related to creativity?

In his article The Montessori Mafia, Peter Sims raises some interesting questions about the creative elements behind the success of selected Montessori graduates, and asks about what they imply about creativity in general.

First, the issue is not about Montessori schools per se (or Waldorf, or any other alternative educational system). It is about what creativity is and how can it best be nurtured in the young so that it survives in adulthood. It is also about how we may be able to rekindle creativity in those who have grown beyond Montessori. The key is to investigate what works and why.

What makes alternative educational approaches so creativity friendly? Follow Peter Sims as he explains the shortcomings of traditional educational methods (emphasis mine):

(Students) are given very little opportunity, for instance, to perform our own, original experiments, and there is also little or no margin for failure or mistakes.  We are judged primarily on getting answers right.  There is much less emphasis on developing our creative thinking abilities, our abilities to let our minds run imaginatively and to discover things on our own.

So why is this important? Peter continues (again, emphasis mine):

But most highly creative achievers don’t begin with brilliant ideas, they discover them.

Peter describes how Google started out as a project to index the information out on Web as a “library collection” – a project that turned into something far greater! The ongoing process of discovery made all the difference. Peter makes a similar observation about Amazon’s culture of experimentation and discovery, how it leads eventually to undiscovered vistas.

Peter’s final words:

We can change the way we’ve been trained to think.  That begins in small, achievable ways, with increased experimentation and inquisitiveness.  Those who work with Mr. Bezos, for example, find his ability to ask “why not?” or “what if?” as much as “why?” to be one of his most advantageous qualities.  Questions are the new answers.

Peter, I almost agree with you. Questions are the start to finding new answers. Generating good questions is a key skill. Yet, one needs all of the steps in the Creative Process in order to avoid accidentally killing the very ideas you want to create!

Remember, the Creative Process = 
       Clarification (Questions)    +    Transformation (Ideas)    +    Implementation (Actions)

Bezos (Amazon) and Page & Brin (Google) did more than just ask questions: they effectively went through the entire Creative Process (and did it often) to make their discoveries.

And, with the right training and coaching, you can too! Call us today at 416-873-8671 to find out how our distinctive three-step Creative Process program draws out the untapped collective creativity in your organization, leading to improved performance – e.g. by streamlining processes and eradicating bottlenecks – which increases your revenues and your bottom-line profits!

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