The thing that I enjoy most is playing with (my) kids as my full self expression comes out during those times. A favorite activity among them is teaching them and working with them to complete their assignments. Last week, my son got this assignment from his language class and more than him, I was excited about this assignment. I thought this is a great opportunity to teach him about a crisis situation and how to respond during an emergency.
I asked my son what he thought happened next but he wasn’t excited at all even though animals are his favorite subject. I decided to do a role play and we enacted the whole scene where I was the lion and he was inside the supermarket dealing with the situation. You can find a video in the link below
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My Son’s story — “The Lion entered the supermarket and everybody got scared. I asked all the people to move to safe places. I slowly opened the freezer to take the meat packets and threw them towards the lion. The lion ate the meat and then, we all escaped”. I loved his story and it was very creative.
I decided to take it to few of my friends who are of my age group in Facebook and asked them what would be the story after the lion entered the supermarket.
One friend said “I will open the chilli powder packets and throw at it. It cant take the smell and will run away”. Another friend said ‘I will switch off the power and throw all the oil on the floor so that the lion will slip and cannot move. I will then call the local Zoo officials to come and take the lion”. My best buddy Akilan said ‘I will show a picture of a Lioness and then, when this lion is drooling over it, I will escape”. Another creative version of the story!
It got me thinking and led me to reflect on what was leading to the creativity. Each answer had an assumption and it was the breaking of the assumption through a ‘new definition’ keeping the context alive that led to the creativity. Below are the assumptions
- My son — Lion was hungry and it is going to eat all of them (It is a normal Lion)
- Friend 1 — Lion is going to attack everyone (It is a normal Lion)
- Friend 2 — Lion is going to attack (It is a normal Lion)
- Akilan — This Lion is not a normal Lion.
The first three answers were very logical and creative but Akilan’s answer was super creative because it broke the standard assumptions about the Lion and instead, it ‘redefined’ lion in a new way. Also, he understood the context of this exercise which is about creating an imaginative story.
I remembered a quote that my Brain Sciences Professor at London Business School shared in the class — ‘Ask not what is inside the head but what the head is inside of’.
If I ‘redefine’ Lion using the following criteria, my story will also become very creative.
- It is the most friendly lion in the city
- It can speak French
- Selfies with this lion are the most viral in twitter
This ‘redefinition’ criteria needs to fit the context and objective of what we are trying to achieve as a whole. If we observe infants, they do two things 1. Be fully immersed in their activity which is full of new definitions — mobile phone will be used as car, paper will be used as house etc. 2. Check in with their parents once visually or through physical touch. What they are doing, in essence, that makes them so creative and wonderful are Redefining things and staying connected to their source.
My learning — To be creative in any situation, we need to do the following
1. Understand the assumptions
2. Redefine the status quo using criteria that fits the context plus purpose
3. Tell a compelling story
4. Last but not the least, Spend some time with kids regularly
In fact, there was an unfortunate incident in a Delhi Zoo last week when a young man fell inside the tiger enclosure. The man was killed by the tiger after the crowds started throwing stones at the tiger and in turn, the tiger became furious. The following question is not just relevant for creating an imaginative story but also to save a life.
What will you do when you see a lion in the supermarket?