Creative Confidence

Much of my work around creativity concentrates on building the confidence of teachers to be creative. One thing I do is use a very simple activity called the ’30 Circles’ challenge which I picked up from Tim Brown (CEO of It involves asking teachers to adapt a template of 30 circles in just one minute in whatever way they want to. Time and time again, I watch groups undertake this challenge and I am constantly amazed by the hesitation of the adults to begin the challenge. Of particular note is one group of senior leaders I worked with who used up 23 seconds before one brave member of the group made the first move to put pen to paper. During that 23 seconds, the of the group stared nervously at their own paper, at their neighbours’ paper and around the room, to see what others were doing before they would have a go themselves. When I do the same activity with young people, however, they attack it with enthusiasm and almost reckless glee from the minute I say ‘go!’. (It is worth noting that I did this recently with a group of primary teachers after we had invested the first part of the session building a strong learning community and they were much much more eager to get started!)

This TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert is an absolute delight to listen to and does a fantastic job in suggesting why and how adults lose their ‘creative confidence’. In addition, she comes up with a great plan for how we might help each other out and take the sense of risk out of ‘being creative’ for adults and our young people, for that matter.

It acts as a fantastic accompaniment to the sentiment of a wonderful speaker I met last year, Robin Widdowson, who started his talk with the statement,
“Creative pupils need creative teachers with the confidence to take creative risks.”

Anyway, make yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy learning about your very own creative genius…and how you can cherish it.

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