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"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."
Inculcate Creative Thinking
Many a times, question is asked," Can Creative Thinking be inculcated"? The answer is an affirmative 'yes'. The creative potential of individuals can be enhanced dramatically, under favourable conditions of high motivation, appropriate training and an encouraging environment. Koch, an American poet, was able to turn children into budding poets by creating a relaxed, informal, but highly stimulating environment. The behavioural psychologist B.F. Skinner claimed, `give me a dozen healthy infants, take one at random, and I'll guarantee to train him to become a doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, or even a beggar man and thief. There is, thus, little doubt that, creative thinking can be greatly enhanced, if individuals wish to be creative, shed various fears that block creativity, seek a challenging environment in which innovation is at a premium and strive hard to enhance creativity abilities through creativity techniques.
Change in Attitude of Superiors. The prime requisite to foster creativity in the services is the need for a change in attitude of those in authority. They should first be convinced of the need of creativity and should encourage what may be termed as "restricted creative thinking". This needs an environment for free exchange of ideas at the lowest level. The key to the creation of this type of environment is the absence of
criticism and use of authority to snub a person, when he put forth an idea not in line with the thinking of the leader.
Having studied the need for a creative environment, the three pronged attack to enhance creativity in the armed forces would entail the following: -
(a)Unblocking of individual creativity.
(b)Igniting creativity in-groups.
(c)Fostering an environment conducive to creativity.
Formal Training.The creativity of a person depends on a host of factors. Training capsule should aim at enhancing these factors and assist individuals in overcoming blocks, both personal and environmental. Training for development of creative thinking should be imparted to military leaders, once they reach the level of junior command, at schools of instruction, as well as at formation level. Emphasis at each level should, of course, be different. These could be:-
(a)Training at Junior Command.Aim of the training at junior command level should be to enhance personality traits, which help military leaders to develop creativity.
(b)Training at Senior Command. Aim of the training at senior command level should be, to enhance creativity abilities and removal of personal and environment blocks.
(c)Training at Higher Command.Aim of the training at higher command level should be, to engage military leaders on creative act through creative techniques.
A workshop should be conducted at all three levels, to develop creative thinking among military leaders. Themes for the workshop could be:-
(a) Creativity and problem solving.
(b)Creative problem solving and creative personality.
(d)Techniques of creativity.
(e)The creative environment.
Workshop should be conducted as per the guideline given below for inducing creative thinking:-
(a)Active involvement of learner.
(b)Positive, and democratic environment i.e. neither anarchy nor regimentation.
(c)Ego building behaviour by praising, accepting, and understanding innovative ideas or efforts.
(d)New learning based upon the already known.
(e)Learning strategies and experiences, consistent with the level of development of participants.
(f)Open learning environment with opportunities for play.
(g)Encouragement to curiosity and experimentations.
(h)Organising some open ended activities, not tightly structured.
(j)Opportunities for social interaction.
(k)Use of a creative teaching approach that emphasises self discovery and divergent thinking.
(l)Opportunity to interact with creative people.
56.Informal Training. This includes the non-positive processes of teaching and refers mainly to the creation of a teaching environment which is compatible with the formally presented principles of the positive teaching. Aspects of such training would be: -
Constructive feed back from trainees on the training process.
(b)Removal of instructor induced barriers, e.g. "Don't question our methods, just do as you are told".
Recognition of any incidental but significant innovative practice used by trainees during exercises.
Organized encouragement of extra-curricular reading in other disciplines to broaden outlook.
Encouragement of "constructive" hobbies opposed to "collective" hobbies.
GENERATING CREATIVE ATMOSPHERE
57.There is a plethora of management practices that can be used to create the work environment that enables creativity. Some of them are as under:-
Expect creativity. Innovations are directly related with a person's perception of being innovative. When leaders shoulder the burden of responsible for innovation, men shirk it. It may be because such environments may actually discourage or penalize men for innovation.
Challenge people. An individual needs to be challenged to elicit creative responses. But too much challenge may turn out to be counter- productive ,shutting off the capacity for creative thought.
Rewarding the deserving. When subordinates know that superiors reward new ideas, they will make an endeavour to generate them. The best way that superiors can make its requirements known, and believable, is to provide tangible rewards for creative ideas. More subtle, and less expensive, rewards such as organising semiformal gatherings of peers and superiors for professionals to present their ideas.
Get men involved. There is no denying the fact that great creative achievements have in common the feature, that the discoverer was deeply immersed in the problem. Infact, the best ideas have usually come in the areas where the discoverer had an indepth knowledge about.
Give your men time to ponder, meditate. There should be an environment of mental freedom, as well as freedom from external constraints, to let emerging ideas shape up in a concrete manner, even if they violate common wisdom or the constraints of time, money, and facilities. Men who are creative must have time where they do nothing, as viewed in conventional terms by some superiors .It is because, if men must always be "doing" something, they don't have time to ponder over for uninterrupted reflection on their work.
Recognize and utilise good ideas. Although leaders can't force creative thought in an individual, they certainly can be receptive to it and value it when it happens. The best way to express value for an idea is to implement it in the best possible manner in the quickest time frame.
Show tolerance. Creative men not only think differently but also exhibit nonconfirmistic approach in their attitudes and behavior. If such men are identified and appreciated in an org for what their ideas can do for the group, then a certain amount of tolerance for their unorthodox behaviour is the price that has to be paid. Sometimes creative persons are uncomfortably aggressive. They may be driven by ambition and are not very receptive to the challenges, be they material or managerial in nature.
(h)Ambience for constructive discussion. Men are imaginative in nature who can transcend old habits. They always put a concerted effort to make an abiding commitment to creative process, always setting aside the time and resources to nurture it. Such an ambience stimulates men to come forward with their ideas, giving superiors an opportunity to use those ideas to generate even better, more workable solutions. The creativeness of men ,to a great extent, is dependent on the extent to which they can communicate with others. One should encourage the men to put forth their new ideas and LISTEN to what they say. This not only creates an amicable environment where men feel that they are being given due importance ,but it also gives superiors access to info and ideas they might otherwise not obtain.
(j)Faith in subordinates.Men need good, clear channels of comns with superiors, particularly offrs. Men should repose such a degree of faith in their superiors that they can show case their creativity when they get a good idea. They need not fear that somebody else may steal the show and get the credit for their idea. Officers in their own capacity must encourage the surfacing of new ideas and be receptive to those who propose new ideas, even those ideas that are not feasible.
(k)Optimize Interpersonal Interactions.Leaders must put a system in place which increases ther channels of communication at various levels and break down interdepartmental barriers among its subordinates. There should be a forum conducted at regular intervals where in an individual can show case his talent or demonstrate any new idea which can be useful to the organization. Such activities not only give an impetus to the technical communication per se, but they also make soldiers well versed with the skills and achievements of their peer competitors. This environment instills a healthy competitiveness in an individual which is beneficial for the organization in the long run.
THE SERVICE OBJECTIVE FOR CREATIVITY
58.The objective of creativity in the Services may be defined as: -
"The need for all ranks in the Services to use curiosity, ingenuity, imagination and initiative to the fullest extent of their mental powers in order to carry out the tasks/ duties assigned to them in the most productive/effective manner."
59.A close examination of this formally stated objective reveals the following qualities: -
(a)It does not license a rejection of explicit orders or disregard for a given task.
(b)By demanding the maximum use of our ingenuity, imagination and initiative, it encourages the self-question "how should I do it?" or "how can I do it better," among all the subordinates who execute the task.
(c)It presumes that the superior who set the task has used the same ingenuity, imagination and initiative and has thereby satisfied the self-questions, "what should be done" and "why?"
(d)It implies that subordinates who sub-allocate portions of their total task are also satisfying all the self-question of `how,' `what' and `why.'
(e)It places no restrictions on permissible thought process but nevertheless blocks "wild" solutions by demanding that results be most productive/most effective.
51. `An explicit objective for creativity' which is to be demanded of the Service population is thus clearly desirable. Equally desirable is its clear understanding by all members of the population.