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Michigan State University

How to Jumpstart Your Hidden Creative Genius

Michigan State University via Coursera


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Despite what you may think, there is evidence that everyone has the capacity to think creatively. This course will teach you to be much less predictable in your thinking and have the confidence and ability to generate unique, workable ideas to solve complex problems. Society impels us to conform to its written and unwritten rules for thinking and behaving in a certain way, which makes too many of the ideas and solutions we generate fairly predictable and ineffective. The first part of this course is about you. I want to convince you that you were once insanely creative and explain forces around you caused you to lose most of that ability. If you think you are already plenty creative, then know that you're not as creative as you could be and, conversely, if you believe you don't have a single creative bone in your body, I will do my best to convince you you're wrong and share ways you can get your high level of creativity back. Asking you to think back on some of the societal forces that negatively impacted your upbringing may be hard to hear, but it’s important to understand these often unseen forces so you can do something to counteract them. The second part of the course is for learning several tried and true brainstorming and problem-solving "tools" you can use that will help you be your most creative self. Please note: Portions of this course may include readings, media, and discussion around topics based on emotional experiences from your youth. The title of any element that may be a trigger will be indicated with a "TW".


  • How You Once Had, But Lost, Your Best Creative Self
    • This week we’ll look at what creativity is and isn’t and I’ll explain how several creativity-related terms like ‘imagination’, ‘innovation’ and ‘incubation’. Creativity isn’t something that only applies to artistic endeavors. When businesses are looking for help coming up with creative solutions to their complex challenges, I don’t think they’re searching for oil painters! I’ll explain how we all had, then lost, all or most of our creative ability. Your best creative self is in you, it’s just buried and needs to come out. (Note: TW = trigger warning)
  • How to Get Your Most Creative Self Back
    • This week I'll share things you can do to release and reclaim your buried creativity and get back to doing and thinking things the sorts of creative things you used to do intuitively when you were a kid, but now shy away from. I'll also touch on the beliefs and assumptions you we all make about ourselves that restrict our potential.
  • Creativity In The Workplace
    • Here I'll compare a creative and non-creative business culture and explain how you work can crush innovation. Organizations and individuals who adopt a creative, entrepreneurial mindset [aka, an innovative mindset] are much more likely to come up with truly great ideas and workable solutions.
  • Use Problem-Solving Methods to Solve Complex Problems
    • Learn about problem-solving methods for tackling complex challenges, ones that seem to have no solution. There are many such methods, and we’ll be focusing on one of the more popular ones in the workplace, Design Thinking, which is a step-by-step problem-solving framework that is based on human centered design, a mindset that involves empathizing with the end-user, the people affected by your solution, to ensure it works for them.
  • How to Brainstorm GREAT Ideas
    • I’ll teach you some tried and true brainstorming techniques for coming up with great ideas as well as how brainstorming in groupsworks, and doesn’t. I’ll also touch on a few techniques for organizing and prioritizing all those crazy ideas you came up with!

Taught by

Karl Gude


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