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Deliberate Creativity

Jim Riley

26th June 2009

Deliberate Creativity is one of the topics on Edexcel’s new GCSE Business Specifications (Unit 1 Section 2) that many of us won’t have taught before. However, I think it’s one of the most exciting topics because it can be used to engage the students in thinking, which is why I intend to start the course by delivering that section.

Professor Dennis Sherwood believes that people can be taught to be creative by using the technique of deliberate creativity. The idea is quite simple - look at what you know, and think about how it could be changed.

TV quizzes are an excellent example of how this has led to the development of new quiz shows. When ITV launched “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” how did the BBC respond to it’s success?

They developed “The Weakest Link”. How was this done through deliberate creativity? Well here are 6 things that you will know about “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”:

1) One contestant plays at a time
2) Contestant and host sit
3) Host is friendly to the contestant
4) Prize fund is always the same
5) Contestant can take their time
6) There is not always a winner

Now change them:

1) Nine contestants play at the same time
2) Contestant and host stand
3) Host is not friendly to the contestants
4) Prize fund varies from program to program
5) Contestant is pushed for time
6) There is always one winner

This is the format for the “Weakest Link”!

Continue to develop this idea, and you might come up with a format for:

1) “Deal or No Deal” - Host is friendly, but banker isn’t; Players work together; No quiz questions; Set amounts of money; No time pressure
2) “Golden Balls” - Host is friendly; Players compete against each other; No quiz questions; Different amounts of money; No time pressure
3) “Divided” - Host is friendly; Players compete against each other; Quiz questions; Different amounts of money; Very time pressured

I then use this as a basis for students to work in groups to develop their own format for a TV quiz show - they love it!

Jim Riley

Jim co-founded tutor2u alongside his twin brother Geoff! Jim is a well-known Business writer and presenter as well as being one of the UK's leading educational technology entrepreneurs.

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