In an increasingly digitized and automated world, we cannot ignore soft values. Innovation, creative problem-solving, and imagination are needed more and more. In the OECD’s Education and Skills Future 2030 project, creativity is identified as one of the key competencies related to learning and innovation to be ready for the 2030 labor market.
Reading the works of various researchers and researchers of creativity, it is obvious that
creativity is a super skill that can be trained by everyone. It is not a thing in itself but arises in the course of action. Creativity is not about people or places, it is about our daily actions.
I wrote a little more about creative thinking in my August post last year. One of my big beliefs is that simple drawing helps us to be more creative 🙂 This conviction has emerged through experience in observing both oneself and others and combining various scientific studies. As I research and teach visual facilitation on a daily basis, I have seen the great benefits of simple drawing to our creativity, both from a youth and adult perspective. But before I start about the relationship between creativity and visual facilitation, I need to talk a little about this technique. Surely among the readers here, there are also those who come into contact with me and visual facilitation for the first time.
Visual facilitation is a technique that uses keywords, images, and symbols to create meaning and support creativity. In fact, it can be said that it is drawing, but not to create a beautiful picture, but to think, communicate and collaborate. This is drawing as a tool for thinking 🙂 The same could be said about scribbling, but since different shapes and symbols are used here completely consciously and combined with words and short sentences, it is rather a conscious scribbling. A good child has many names, and it is certainly important to point out that this is a technique that can be learned as a tool for everyone and it has nothing to do with our drawing skills.
I have written about the usefulness of visual facilitation from several different angles, and if you are interested in it, I recommend you to look around my blog. Trust me, you won’t regret it 🙂 I’ll also point out some references to relevant entries in the text below. With today’s post, I want to focus primarily on the word creativity, especially from the perspective of children and young people.
I will point out 3 different perspectives on how visual facilitation contributes to the manifestation or support of children’s and youth’s creativity.
- Playfulness and DIY support creativity.
Various creativity researchers point out that creativity is something we do all the time. Creativity requires action and focus. In addition, creativity also needs a relaxed situation, the courage to make mistakes and playfulness when focusing. If we think about these words in the context of school, how many opportunities do we provide for these components to manifest in a regular lesson? Children’s notebooks must be flawless, drawing while listening seems to be bad, and various creative activities have gone digital. There is very little room left for playfulness and creativity, and with it also for actually interpreting your own learning. However, by using drawing as a thinking tool, we create an opportunity for these factors to manifest. Visual facilitation helps us bring more playfulness to our thinking process through drawing. Knowing that we don’t draw to make a pretty picture gives us the courage to make mistakes and draw an imperfect line. The game with shapes and symbols in turn creates a relaxed situation where very important and deep thoughts are simultaneously dealt with through keywords and short sentences.
Estonian semiotician and writer Valdur Mikita has said that our body remembers that something primitive has to be done: “Writing by hand is also a physical activity by nature. Thinking with the hand — the physical component is what is important. There is something mystical about it, it gives impetus to thinking.”
I want to add here that from the point of view of both real learning and creativity, it is very important to bring images and symbols to the side of writing, i.e. to use the visual facilitation instead of the usual left-to-right and top-to-bottom writing, which allows the paper to be used much more widely and creatively. If, in addition to writing, we also use images and through this create schemes, we create connections and create an opportunity for something new to be born or to remember things better. By bringing symbols to writing and diagrams, we create an emotional connection and support the visual side of the brain. It is said that information without emotion is zero and this is because our brain thinks and works in images.
I have also written a few posts about it: “Note-taking” and “Communicating and Thinking Through Drawing”
2. Drawing as a creative activity helps to connect with oneself.
Estonian psychiatrist Anne Kleinberg, director of the Children’s Mental Health Center, says that children are very creative throughout childhood. This seems like a logical thought for preschool children, whose imaginations are very wide. But in fact
the big creative explosion is happening with teenagers. This is a time when one is very close to the subconscious in one’s development and has the opportunity to work through one’s childhood crises before becoming an adult.
Art and creativity are extremely important here. If you use the word “art”, it can frighten those who do not consider themselves to be the strongest artistically, and this is where visual facilitation comes in again. When children and young people have learned simple drawing as a tool for thinking, they have the opportunity to be more creative. On the one hand, it’s as if you’re doing art, because you’re creating yourself and drawing, but there’s no expectation that you should create a beautiful picture. Through conscious scribbling, the young person gets a tool to bring the thoughts in his head in front of his eyes. It is not just a download, but a tool that helps to find solutions. In addition to all this, visual facilitation also plays a big role in supporting our mental health.
I wrote more about it in two posts: “Scribble to be mentally healthy” and “Support your brain”.
3. Drawing and creativity contribute to entrepreneurship.
Estonian brain scientist Jaan Aru writes in his book “Creativity and wandering” that creativity is focusing on self-realization. It is a longer process in which a person realizes the desires, urges and ideas inside himself. Creativity is finding what is inside oneself and realizing it. One of the coolest features of visual facilitation is creating roadmaps- the whole images. They help us make plans to reach our dreams or create different visions. By putting together keywords, images, and symbols, we can create roadmaps for moving toward desired outcomes.
If we give young people a tool with which they can not only see their dreams, but also plan them, then we give them the super skill to grow into a more enterprising young person.
Along with creativity, entrepreneurship is one of the other important keywords in today’s education. We want young people to take the reins, to be the creators of their own future. Together with creativity and entrepreneurship, we lay the foundation for the birth of a self-directed person. If you are interested in reading more about it, read the post “Don’t just plan and visualize your goals in your head…” and you may also be interested in my master’s thesis.
There are many reasons for encouraging young people to use drawing as a tool for thinking. Today I wanted to focus on this from the point of view of creativity, because it is creativity that is considered one of the important factors in unraveling the complexity of the world. Be it our outer or inner world. And let’s be honest — most of what is written here also applies to adults. Simple drawing, the technique of visual facilitation, should be part of everyone’s toolbox. As adults, we can use it to support ourselves to be more creative, happier and more entrepreneurial. As a parent and educational worker (be it a kindergarten, general education or university teacher) we can be an example to encourage children and young people to scribble more consciously.
After all, it can be said that simple drawing begins above all with the courage to draw an imperfect line, because drawing is part of being human and it comes from within us.
However, many people have lost faith in their creative abilities (including children and young people) and therefore need support when taking the first steps. Therefore, it is important to know that visual facilitation is an easy-to-learn technique that is suitable for people of all ages and creates an experience of success from the very first steps. As a visual facilitator , teacher and resercher it is my great pleasure and honor to support all those interested in this journey.
If you now have an irresistible desire to start an exciting journey towards a more creative life, come and discover the world of visual facilitation with me through my 3-week online course “Magic of an imperfect line”