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Unleashing creativity

How do we keep innovation flowing?

Unleashing creativity blog post - Thrive Learning (1)

Fresh. Distinctive. Unique. Does that sound like the elearning you’re used to?

You might’ve guessed it by now, but at Thrive we do things a bit differently when it comes to the way we approach and deliver learning. That means being forward thinking – always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

To do this, we need to keep those creative juices flowing at Thrive HQ! Helping us out is Richard Hyde. He’s kindly been running sessions for us to unleash our creativity – and we’re fairly certain his approaches can help you get more creative in your L&D department too.

So, what does a typical session look like?

Getting in the mood

First up, a quick exercise to snap us out of ‘work mode’ and get us in a creative headspace. This could be anything from having a chat about the different traits that make someone creative, to coming up with a vision for a fictional company from three randomly generated words in a minute. Try it!

A quick look at the theory

Next, we’ll often take a look at what experts think about creativity. In our first session with Richard, we talked about Sir Ken Robinson’s iconic TED talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” and whether the traditional way we’re all taught for the first 16 years of our lives actually stifles our creativity.

Interesting, right? But there’s so much more we can take from this…

  • Being creative means that we have to accept that sometimes we’ll be wrong.
  • We have to have the freedom to fail when trying new ideas, or we’ll never come up with anything original.
  • We’ve got to be willing to just give it a go, and explore what’s possible!

Luckily, we have room for all these things at Thrive. Module creation for our off-the-shelf elearning is an iterative process where we all have the freedom to experiment. Whether it’s a brave new graphic style or a new way to present content, if it doesn’t work, it’s not a problem as long as we’ve learned something from it.

Where art meets learning design

One of the key themes in these sessions is looking at where art meets learning design, and how we can learn from each other to make something special. The parallels we’re seeing are really intriguing.

Every session, Richard talks us through one of his art projects, from initial brief to the finished piece, and what he has learned during the process. Recently, we looked at how creativity can be found in connecting previously unrelated things.

This juxtaposition isn’t just a concept that works well in art, we can apply it to learning design too. Watch this space…

Focusing on the practical

One of the main takeaways for us is that creativity is something we all already have within us. As a team, we’ve built up loads of great skills that help us to create our content. But, seeing as we use these skills every day, it’d be all too easy to get comfortable, even complacent, in the way we do things.

So, we’ve shaken up a few of our processes. We’re now:

  • Embracing pen and paper over laptops in meetings. Post-it notes are our new best friends. We’re all more present, and keeping screen time to a minimum doesn’t hurt either.
  • Using brain-writing over the traditional brainstorm. Here, an idea is written down and passed around for the rest of the team to build on. Everyone’s voice is heard, and working together we come up with more, developed ideas. Win win.
  • Bringing UX and design thinking into our learning design with empathy mapping. Thinking more deeply about not only who our learners are and what they want, but also what they might be thinking, saying, feeling and doing before we even start researching a subject.

Sometimes it just takes a small change in what we do day-to-day to unlock a whole new level of creativity. But why are we bothering? Innovation. These sessions aren’t just helping us think about how we can be more creative, but how we can innovate our products and processes too.

What do the content team think?

Justyna, Graphic Designer: “These sessions have been great for opening up new avenues for our creativity. They’re hands-on, we’re not just sat listening. They really help us think about our modules in a different way.”

Connor, Learning Designer: “These sessions give us space for self-reflection. We’re not only looking at what we’re going to do differently in the future; they help us look at what we’ve already done.”

Megan, Head of Learning Design: “The sessions let us step out of our day-to-day and give us a different perspective on what we do. Even though some of the concepts seem a bit obscure, Richard always pulls it back to an elearning context and how we can actually apply it to our roles.”

Although these sessions are great fun for us, probably the biggest benefit is what they’re doing for our elearning content and, by extension, our learners. We’re sure that what we’ve learned will be reflected in our past, present and future off the shelf content. Thanks Richard!

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