8. Creativity and Failure

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work"
- Thomas A. Edison


Creativity is the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile. Wallas (1926) presented one of the first models of the creative process where creative insights and illuminations may be explained by a process consisting of 5 stages:

  • preparation (preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual's mind on the problem and explores the problem's dimensions),
  • incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally to be happening),
  • intimation (the creative person gets a "feeling" that a solution is on its way),
  • illumination or insight (where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness); and
  • verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied).

Creativity Techniques

There are three groups of creativity techniques:

  1. Aleatoricism introduces chance into the creative process;
  2. Improvisation encourages spontaneity and free thought; and
  3. problem solving has a wide range of tools and methodologies that can support creativity.

Problem solving creativity techniques include:

More general approaches for inspiring creativity include:

  • Linking (word association);
  • Black Box (inputs and outputs);
  • Parallels (past solutions);
  • Variation (focus on a single tool);
  • Additive Examples (combinations).

Schools are often criticized for not being environments that support creativity and free thinking, and establishing the trust and mindsets in teachers and students that support creative thinking can be challenging in institutionalised environments.


Innovation is the development of new solutions, products, services, and ways of doing.

Innovation is not just improvement but doing something different rather than doing the same thing better.

Through Technologies education, students develop the ability to be innovative, using their design thinking processes and creativity to develop novel innovations to solve problems and develop opportunities.


Computational Thinking to find the perfect partner http://www.bbc.co.uk/taster/projects/bitesize-computational-thinking

App Making

Tutorial Activities

Activity: Paper Tower challenge (a ream of paper per tute and lots of sticky tape)
Using no more than 20 sheets of paper and some (not a lot) sticky tape, create a free standing tower as tall as you can that is not sticky taped to the floor, roof, or anything else.
You challenge however is to come up with a creative solution, it is the create process, as detailed in the lecture, that you should focus on.

Discussion: How could such a design challenge develop in students capabilities in each of the five process and production steps

Discussion: How could such a design challenge contribute to developing student thinking skills in

Systems Thinking
Design Thinking
Computational Thinking
Futures Thinking
Managerial Thinking

Discussion: How could such a unit be integrated with other learning areas

Discussion: Students share unit outline ideas and collectively discuss ways in which they can be improved