I’ve spent the last two days at the stunning St George’s Park, doing some sessions on creativity for the FA. It feels a bit weird to be saying that, but hey, go me! (#10%Braver @WomenEd) I was there to do some sessions with the coaches in the Foundation Phase, who teach children from 5 to 11 years, and who work at all kinds of famous clubs. (It was fun trying to work out which clubs everyone worked for. I don’t know all the team colours so I had to discreetly sneak looks at the emblems on everyone’s chests.) If you’re interested in the kind of things we were exploring, I’ve set up an FA page on my website. The course was relaxed, calm, and playful, thanks to the great leadership of Pete Sturgess and his team. I’ll admit that I don’t know a huge amount about football, so I was in the realm of transferable skills. But when you work with people who have a different kind of expertise, they can ask you challenging questions, and you can throw in ideas they wouldn’t have considered. We don’t all come from the same angle, so we can learn from each other.
Pete organised a Treasure Hunt this morning, where the coaches had to find ‘Golden Nuggets’ (post its in tea and coffee cups) in the sunshine. Yesterday, as well as giving them lots of information, I got the guys to make Plates of Creativity in my session, in which an apple got tippexed with the word ‘Rewards’ (you probably had to be there to get the joke). I read them a beautiful poem by @ImSporticus called “A pass, is a pass, is a pass”, which sums up perfectly the way creativity does not need to be bounded by subject limits, and how technique and knowledge are not really what creativity is about. The point about creativity (for me, at least) is that you can have all the knowledge in the world, but you have to do something lots of times to get better at it. You have to play with it. Creatively. Since I’m not especially creative at cooking, I need to do more of it so that I can improve, and so this is my first attempt at an Invention Test for my new show CreativityChef™.
1. Take a bunch of children and observe them really closely.
2. Sprinkle on plenty of technique.
3. Add a dash of risk, lots of confidence boosters and plenty of choices.
4. Stir in some ideas that other creative people had before now.
5. Mix in a reasonable quantity of challenges, constraints and problems to solve.
6. Add the imagination, the visualisation, the things that aren’t really there.
7. Don’t forget the focus, or your mixture won’t rise.
8. Try a pinch of competition, if you like a spicy flavour.
9. Leave to cook for several years. (NB: You can’t do it for them.)