Saturday, April 02, 2011

10 Different Ways to Do Anything? Get Inspiration Everywhere

Every town should have a local circus school, if only to remind us that there are at least 10 ways to do anything. It's not just because I am a proud parent to two jugglers that I enjoy the regular circus shows. It's because creativity literally oozes out from under the doors of the place.

Today's show featured some 50 young circus students; and one of the challenges they clearly set themselves was how many different ways they could get them on and off the stage. Sure, they could have just walked on and performed their acts. But they didn't. They hopped on in burlap sacks, they somersaulted on in pairs (not easy, but possible), they walked on using colourful plastic cups as "binoculars" to peer at the audience, they rolled in on giant balls, they stepped in whispering mischievously to each other, they walked in on ropes that they were laying down in front of themselves as they went. And on and on.

They also used those methods to leave the stage, walking back on their rope, picking it up behind them as they went, always cleverly tying in the juggling, acrobacy, or high bar that they performed into their means of "transport" on and off the stage. 

I asked one of the teachers how they came up with all their ideas. She said simply that they get together and ask themselves the question - what are all the different ways we can do this? Then they have a lot of laughs and come up with the most amazing stuff, always keeping it very simple. Those plastic drinking cups were "binoculars", they were lined up as a colourful border at the back, then a border at the front of the stage between us and them, they were piled up into the most perilous tower (several times) in the middle of the stage, and then knocked unceremoniously over by a giant ball, and at the end the young performers toasted each other with them. 

Sometimes it's as easy as that, get some people together and ask the question - what are 10 different ways we can do this (get people on stage - or do our brainstorming, design this project, run this meeting, celebrate this achievement)?  For inspiration look anywhere, find some friends, and don't forget to ask the question.


Andrea said...

Great insights Gillian! Sometimes I get the feeling that the difficulty is not in thinking up different ways of doing things (just look at my family in the kitchen...each of us has our own way of preparing the same dishes), but in building appreciation and respect for the other ways things can be done (my way for dicing carrots is, of course, the best :-) Yet this diversity is what gives us resilience to deal with changing times and conditions.

Norcross Schools said...

I am always inspired by your posts. Yes, I applaud the injection of creativity into almost every process. Our Divine Creator exemplifies the very process.

Gillian Martin Mehers said...

Yes, there is indeed an interesting link between resilience and creativity/innovation. To be more resilient we need more creativity, and the openness to be able to try new and different things. Thoughtful!!