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Use Constraints as an Opportunity to be Creative

If you look deeper, you’ll find that some of the most inspiring art forms – haikus, sonatas, religious paintings – are fraught with constraints.”— Marissa Mayer, chief executive officer at Yahoo!

For the longest time, people held the belief that constraints are the barriers to unbridled creativity. Several examples were cited in this regard, right from educational institutions that levy strict rules hindering creativity to bosses who tend to micromanage their employees affecting innovation. But, in reality, that’s not how creativity works, and that is exactly what we, at JP International School, would like to discusstoday. We, at JPIS, recognized among the Top CBSESchools in Greater Noida, strongly believe that constraints, if dealt with positively and wisely, can very well ignite the creativity of the young minds. So, let us see today how constraints can actually be the opportunity an individual needs to be creative.

Various studies have linked constraints with enhanced creativity

Let us start the discussion by outlining two important studies that have established the fact that constraints are the opportunity to be creative. The first study was conducted in the year 1993 by Patricia Stokes, psychologist and science of creativity expert from the Columbia University. She made a group of rodents to press a bar using just the right paws, while other group was given the complete liberty to use their limbs. The former group, eventually, didn’t just learn to press the bar, but also found more innovative ways of doing it compared to the other group. It has been labelled the little c creativity that focuses more on solving problems using new ideas and resources.

The second study by Meng Zhu at Johns Hopkins University and Ravi Mehta at the University of Illinois was conducted in 2015. It aimed to establish that scarcity of resources can make people think more creatively about using the resources. Here, the researchers divided students into two groups, and asked them to suggest viable uses for a number of bubble wrap sheets that the university didn’t know what to do with. While one group received an abundance of the sheets, the others were made to face a scarcity of them. But, in the end, it is the latter that came up with more innovative suggestions.

Constraints can be usedas an opportunity to foster creativity

The thing is that most people tend to view creativity as only something that is artistic and inspires masterpieces. But, the truth is that there’s creativity even in getting some of the everyday stuff done.

When our teachers try to find more entertaining ways to make learning feasible for our students at home during the ongoing Corona crisis, or when the young buds start off with their home assignments, they are all being creative, and this creativity is stemming from constraints, as well.

At JPIS, we believe it is the environment that we give our children that fosters their creativity. When we challenge their minds to think beyond the ordinary, they look for ways to use the ideas and their resources in novel ways, and that naturally ignites their minds to bring out more creative solutions.

Creativity – A trait or a skill

It would be wrong to presume that creativity is a personality trait or an inborn ability. Rather, it is like an innate resource present in every child that has to be tapped by presenting them with tests and trials. And now, the lockdown period is the time when we can tap that creativity. Thus, when we set assignments for our children or when we give them activities to partake in, one of our prime concerns is to enable them to look beyond the conventional mold into something that makes them wear their thinking hat and analyze more deeply.

At the end of the day, the fact is that, in a world that is changing at a rapid pace, creativity and innovation become the order of the day and conventional quickly becomes obsolete. We, at JPIS, want our children to be the leaders of such future innovations and formulators of creative pathways, and thus, we ensure our teaching methods are always conducive to enabling that.