1 Program Objectives
Creativity thrives at the intersection of the “possible” and the “not possible” idea. Creativity takes place when practical, reality-based thinking is unbridled by perceived limitations.
2 In Action
The Program Admin motivates the group to first choose a theme for their Hidden Treasures, project, the concept they wish to convey to their audience. Next, the children are encouraged to develop an idea for the project that is best-suited for illustrating or accomplishing the theme regardless of any limitations in skills, resources, time, etc… Finally, the children then design the project to reach as close as possible to their “not possible” idea.
Kids are taught to believe that creativity has to do with imagination. However, imagination is often set fantasy. This stems from the fact that kids are educated in a world that does not engage with the real world. A child’s educational system only begins to incorporate the real world, the stories of real people in real times, in their teenage years.
However, creativity is not defined by the impossibility of an idea, but its implausibility. It has nothing to do with reality or unreality; rather, it has to do with practicality or impracticality. Creativity is what makes the implausible possible.
An idea has three grades of possibility. The first is the impossible. In this grade, an idea defies certain absolute laws, such as physical laws, biological laws, etc… Fantasy exists in this grade. A fantastical idea remains just that, a fantasy.
The second grade is the possible. The possible idea is what can be done. Usually, in a result-oriented culture, what is possible is defined by resources and skills.
Finally, the third grade is an idea that is deemed implausible or “not possible”. This is not the same as impossible because a “not possible” idea is, at its core, a possible idea that is unfettered by the limitations of skills and resources. A “not possible” idea does not violate any absolute laws, but it does violate conformity laws that society has constructed. Creativity occurs in the formation and execution of “not possible” ideas.
Children are conditioned to automatically reject these “not possible” ideas because they are taught that anything beyond what they perceive as their skills and resources is deemed impossible. And anything impossible, should be ignored in practical situations. However, there is no creativity needed in achieving the possible; it is found in striving for the “not possible”.
If children are encouraged to abide by the “not possible”, to limit their minds to what they understand as their skills and resources, then a child in a children’s home would be limited to only a very few “possible” ideas because of their resource limitations (i.e. no funds, skills, education, support structure, etc…) Therefore, the possible ideas are few and the “not possible” ideas blend with the impossible. However, these kids in children’s homes are as capable of “not possible” ideas as anyone else.
To avoid this instinct to ignore the “not possible”, an individual should first identify solutions that are best suited for their theme or purpose. These solutions should be listed regardless of what is possible and what is “not possible”. The impossible ideas are the only ideas that can be eliminated at this point.
Once a good “not possible” idea is identified, the group must then see how close they can come to the “not possible” idea given the resources and skills at their disposal. In this way, creative solutions which bridge the gap between the possible and the “not possible” are discovered.
Hidden Treasures bridges this gap and encourages the “not possible” idea. First, by ensuring that the theme is the focus of the effort, not the project itself. The theme makes the quest for the “not possible” a meaningful quest. Without a theme, there is no incentive to consider “not possible” solutions.
Secondly, a theme must be explored without the limitations of possibility and not possibility. All ideas should be encouraged and an idea which best promotes or accomplishes the theme should be selected. The idea should never be classified as “not possible”. This classification tends to limit one’s creativity.
Finally, now the children must identify how best they can achieve the “not possible” idea. Coming short of the complete idea is acceptable, because there are real-world limitations. However, creativity is what makes individuals with real-world limitations achieve “not possible” solutions.
If a theme is to “Make India Trash Free”, this theme would require some very “not possible” ideas. If the children suggest that the solution is that every street have a trash can, and every citizen be incentivized to use it, that is a true “not possible” idea. Now the children can find ways to make this happen given their real-world limitations. Without the “not possible” idea, the solution becomes both ineffective and uncreative.
Hidden Treasures focuses on enhancing creativity by bridging the gap between the “possible” and the “not possible” idea.