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light bulbImagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

I describe Brainware as being about creative learning, the idea being that you never stop learning and that you never stop learning how to learn. In other words, learning at its best is a creative, playful adventure, in which the individual is constantly exploring new ways of doing things and pushing back the boundaries of what is possible. This is far removed from the dull practices of rote-learning and the slavish adoption of approved 'study techniques'.

We are creative when we take particular thoughts and ideas and connect them together in a novel way so as to produce something which is fresh, interesting and possibly valuable. Edward de Bono uses the term 'lateral thinking' to indicate this process of moving away from the conventional, predictable wisdom and coming up with a completely new way of looking at things. The German artist Joseph Beuys claimed that "Every human-being is an artist", with the implication that we are all creative beings. It is also evident that there are ways of enhancing our creativity which are worth exploring. Consider the following:

  • Mind-mapping can provide a useful way of laying out and structuring ideas so that it becomes possible to discover new connections and new possibilities.
  • Edward de Bono recommends the use of various lateral thinking techniques. For example, there is the simple method of picking out a word at random, say from a dictionary, and using it as a trigger to stimulate the creation of new ideas.
  • Roger von Oech, author of 'A whack on the side of the head', introduced the useful concept of 'soft thinking' as an important ingredient of creativity. Whereas much academic thinking is 'hard', i.e. rigorous and focused, if we wish to be creative we need to switch to 'soft thinking'. Here we are more likely to be playful and wide-looking. (For some related ideas see Visualisation, Inner Game and Zen Buddhism.)
  • The author John Mortimer has said that when embarking on a new novel he takes a bottle of wine and goes for a long hot bath. This would appear to be his way of engaging in 'soft thinking'. It also serves to demonstrate that your creative moments can often appear out of the blue, when you are unthinkingly engaged in something else.


Explore and extend your own creativity by trying out various methods and approaches. In particular, develop your Inner Game and learn to be fully relaxed, playful and 'in your zone'. Also it is worth observing the way that highly creative people (artists, authors, scientists, etc.) enhance their creativity. Finally, investigate how a model of holistic learning can throw significant light on the nature of the creative process, with particular reference to learning.

Further Information

For further information on creativity see:

The Global Ideas Bank
Idea a Day
The Role of Creativity by Jon Erlendsson - Creativity Websites
Wikipedia page on Creativity
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Page last modified: 26 July 2012
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