18 MAY 2020 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS asbointl.org LEADING & MANAGING CHANGE Fostering Creativity and Innovation How to empower others to seek new ways of doing things. By Karen Starr, Ph.D. E ven in our standardized and very regulated education systems, a strong emphasis is placed on nurturing the creativity, unique talents, and interests of individuals. Innovation, inventive- ness, and creativity bring wide-ranging benefits, so it’s paradoxical that even though we can teach across all learning areas, when it comes to cultivating originality, imagination, and ingenuity, we are often at a loss. Recognizing that the world needs creativity and new solutions—and individuals gain satisfaction from pur- suing their own interests and ideas—how might we enhance creativity, resourcefulness, and good ideas in ourselves, our students, and our colleagues? Here are some considerations. Allow Unstructured Time Because children learn and make sense of their world through play, it’s important to allow them unstructured time to do as they choose. As adults, however, we seem to ignore the importance of discretionary, unscheduled time to engage in activities that allow free-ranging thought. With cluttered lives and busy calendars, people often have little time to think, let alone to do anything “playful.” It’s surprising how many good ideas occur to us while we are cooking, walking the dog, working out at the gym, or even showering—times when we are in our own thoughts and can simply daydream. We should give these sorts of activities the credit they deserve; they enhance TIERNEY/STOCK.ADOBE.COM Trust, flexibility, and respect for individuals make for happy workers and learners who achieve more.