Joining me this week is Angus Fletcher.
Angus is a Professor of Story Science at Ohio State’s Project Narrative, the world’s leading think tank for studying the nature of stories and how they work. He’s also the author of Wonderworks, a book that explores the rich generational history of authors who laid out narrative and plot techniques that can help us understand how to overcome grief, stimulate joy or increase creativity. And it’s that last point, how to increase creativity, that has been Angus’ core focus for the last several years.
This is where our conversation is centered, around the premise that creativity can be taught, and that the way we currently do it – brainstorming, sticky notes, and prioritizing great ideas – is the wrong way to teach creativity.
In our conversation:
- We first define what creativity is – which is not about guessing the future correctly, but rather about being open to radically different possibilities.
- We also explore creativity as the flip side of anxiety and the relationship between those two extremes.
- We dive into how stories make you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. This is where we get into some very practical ideas that Angus has been rolling out and testing with the US military, Fortune 50 companies, and large educational institutions.
- We explore three narrative techniques to help you teach creativity. These are World Building, Perspective Shifting, and Action Generating. Angus shares some great examples of each of them that you can apply right away at your work!
Ultimately, creativity is about tapping into the potential within. That’s something that I care so much about; it is the key to unlocking learning organizations. Unleashing hidden creativity is how we transform great companies into unbeatable learning machines. The work that Angus and his team does really pushes the envelope and hones in on one of the cornerstone skills that we need to make a culture of learning a reality: teaching creativity.
So, if you’re ready to join me on this journey, please sit back and enjoy this great conversation with Angus Fletcher.
- The significance of stories – Angus gives us a brief background on his work at Project Narrative. (00:04:04-00:06:09)
- The universal story – Angus shares his personal take on The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. (00:06:10-00:07:40)
- How do stories make us feel part of something much bigger than ourselves? (00:07:41-00:11:46)
- How do we teach and train creativity? (00:11:47-00:14:50)
- What is creativity? (00:14:51-00:18:19)
- What is the relationship between creativity and anxiety? (00:18:20-00:23:23)
- How to identify productive sources of conflict and tension and how to create an environment where individuals embrace this. (00:23:24-00:26:57)
- Getting leadership buy-in. (00:26:58-00:28:50)
- Why brainstorming and prioritizing great ideas is the wrong way to encourage creativity. (00:29:42-00:33:52)
- We explore the three narrative techniques that help you teach creativity. (00:33:53-00:45:41)
- How Angus measures and demonstrates the success of his program. (00:45:42-00:50:49)
- We discuss how creativity is really about tapping into the potential within. (00:50:50-00:52:37)
- Angus’s plans for the future and where he’s headed. (00:52:48-00:54:23)
- Where you can find Angus on social media. (00:54:48-00:55:30)
Selected Links from the Episode
- Joseph Campbell
- Greg Bunch
- Jordan Peterson’s podcast with Angus Fletcher
- 3 Exercises to Boost Your Team’s Creativity
- A new method for training creativity: narrative as an alternative to divergent thinking
~ This episode is brought to you by The Learning Culture Experience~