© 2007

By Paul Henrickson,Ph.D

In these days there are millions of people on the migratory move, not because they desire to act like tourists who are motivated to see other more romantic places on earth, but because their life styles, more directly put, their life support systems, have been disconnected either through the catastrophes of nature, or political oppression or economic imbalance and as all the rest of the world is finally aware these migrations also spread an imbalance among those previously more settled societies. The need for alert creative flexibility is the key to survival. We have not been able to adjust our conflicting desires for stable social units and an absence of racial persecution, genocide and the economic demands of earth rape. World society is in a flux and there are those who, understanding, the psychology of survival know how to manipulate events so that the resolution is in their favor. One of the ways in which that is accomplished is through a flexible attitude not by changing your goals but by altering your approaches to those goals. But since to a great extent our educational systems, here, there and nearly every other place as well concentrate on training behavior rather than

encouraging the day dreaming creative mind to discover new solutions we find ourselves in a frightening bind as circumstances tighten their hold on our survival.

Practice in switching approaches to goals has not been a characteristic of education in any country in the world, at least not consistently over a significant period of time. It is this approach that several psychologists have supported and one in particular, Dr. E. Paul Torrance, lately of The University of Georgia, has over many years inventively encouraged the development of analytical tools and tasks which promote such an alternative thinking approach applicable to real-life situations. Forty some years ago when Paul Torrance was Director of The Bureau of Educational research at the University of Minnesota and I was his assistant we developed The Just Suppose Task which was a task that, it was hoped, would reveal the advantages to society of not only allowing but encouraging unorthodox responses to problems or concerns of whatever kind. It was an approach that required, at some point, decisions regarding the role of priorities in one’s value structure. For example, to what extent should social custom be in a position to determine the outcome of personal development? Are we, today, by and large, regretful that women have the vote, are members of legislative bodies, or make contributions in a variety of fields even though, to my knowledge, none on the contemporary horizon can match the political flexibility of Cleopatra in Egypt who was fluent in seven languages as well as in other devices. This is the sort of flexibility that an approach to education that is rooted in an understanding of creative thinking encourages. It is an approach to education that leaves up to the individual involved the choice of direction of growth and development and relinquishes the attitude that “daddy knows best”. When one uses the term “a spark of genius” they are referring to that enigmatic something that gives a completed meaning to something elusive. The approach to education that recognizes that the individual quite probably instinctively knows what is required for his development is an

education that will first allow experimentation and then encourage the development of the choices. It is an education that first of all shows respect and pays a certain honor to individual differences. In terms of contemporary social requirements such an education promises to develop a race of generously endowed leaders who will make judgments based on a greater variety of data than is customary from those leaders whose judgments are based on singular and narrow traditions. To my knowledge only The Creativity Packet offers to guide educators, educational school districts and organizations as well as business communities involved in product development and providers of required services in the identification of those individuals in their midst most likely to be able to provide creative solutions. Not everyone is creative, despite the claim of some, but probably in every group there is an under two digit percentage, probably not more than 4%, who might qualify for the designation and they, normally, behave like they would not like to be discovered. It is essential to the survival of our communities that we discover who they are, no longer treat them like outcasts for being different as we have repeatedly done and to make it possible for them to function productively in what hey do best. To that end the Creativity Design Task and The Just Suppose Task are designed. One of these is verbal the other is nonverbal and together they provide us with a pretty good idea of who is likely to behave creatively if given the opportunity. The original proposal The Creativity Packet offered has now become, in the light of recent developments involving travel inadvisable. Consequently a new arrangement has been designed which, while it will not provide the fine detailing of the earlier form, will make it possible for us to make important decisions and identifications. This new arrangement, in order for it to work well depends on the intelligent and “hands on” cooperation of “on line” staff members willing to adopt the self disciplined control expected of researchers in experimental psychology. There is one concept that seems nearly invariable and that is that the participants in these tasks should come from a well-defined group, that is, a group where there has existed some form of shared community structure, such as a class room, a club, a department, a production work place. A heterogeneous grouping of disparate individuals will likely not

provide us with the data we need and if such data were used would probably only distort the findings. The administrative and analytical costs for an appropriate grouping of subjects would be a minimum of $500 usd for a number not less than 35. The costs for larger groups is, on the average, $10 usd for each subject. The cost of the material and the physical preparation of the two tasks is the responsibility of the client but under the guidance of The Creativity Packet people. For additional information and discussion contact me, Dr. Paul Henrickson, at: .