Lessons from The Sensei (4) creativity

In the 4th of a series of Lessons I learned from a presentation by Garr Reynolds (my Sensei) I’d like to consider creativity in presentations. Delivering a presentation is more than reading a list of facts. Changing the facts into something valuable and memorable for the audience is creativity. Garr uses the following quote from Charles Mingus the jazz musician to explain his point.

creativity lesson

All too often in a presentation the simple becomes complicated. Without structure or direction the knowledge transfer is obscured by its delivery. The challenge for a presenter is to fashion a presentation from this complexity and deliver it with simplicity to the audience. Mingus and by extension Garr believe that this is creativity and what changes a presentation into a great presentation.

Frequently colleagues will throw their hands up at this point saying that neither is science about creativity nor are they creative. Both statements are incorrect. Science is the basis of creativity; searching for meaning from chaos and seeking to explain our understanding of this. And as Mingus points out, it is in simplification that the creativity comes. Everyone has this within them, many suppress it. One should consider the topic and message of the presentation and look for a theme, for a key, for a concept or analogy and in this simplification be creative. Don’t feel that everything has to be the same, rather express yourself in a way that appeals to you.

There are no rules. There is no key rather a lock that restrains. There is no end to simplicity and this is not about patronising the audience but finding a way to communicate. Consider Einstein explaining Special Relativity. Only he understood the concept, he had to make it accessible for others. Consider the issue from the point of view of the audience. That search is creativity.

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