Finding Creative
Virginia Smith Harvey
University of Massachusetts Boston
New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists
Outcomes of a Conference
fostering Creative Intelligence
We will redefine problems.
 We will ensure that we are solving good
problems and have good solutions.
 We will realize that knowledge is a double
edged sword.
 We will continue to grow.
 We will have a new sense of perspective.
 We will sell our ideas.
 We will defy the crowd. (Sternberg, 2002)
Being creative requires:
Thinking about things differently
Defining problems uniquely
Combining the unexpected
When was the last time you were
Last week
Last month
Last year
What was it?
What caused you to be creative?
We are creative..
 Because
it is fun
 Because it helps solve problems
We aren’t creative
 Because
daily life is facilitated by
 Because we aren’t taught to be
 Because creativity can get you into
 Because creativity requires that you
temporarily abandon logic, tradition,
and practicality….and temporarily
forget what you already know.
A great teacher finished his lesson, and
served his pupil tea. He kept pouring the
tea into his pupil’s cup until it
overflowed. “But master,” the pupil said.
“The cup is overflowing.”
“That is very observant of you,” the
master replied. The cup must be empty
to receive more tea. So it is with your
mind. You must empty it to receive more
Sometimes we must temporarily forget
what we already know….
Thinking of things differently…
 Psych
Corp accidentally made
50,000,000 blocks that are entirely
red on all six sides. If we help them
sell them at cost, and thereby
prevent a 5 million dollar loss, they
will translate and standardize their
instruments in languages other than
English and with diverse populations.
How might they sell the blocks?
Make jewelry out of them.
 Use them as ant house.
 Use them as packing material.
 Make baby rattles out of them.
 Use them as floaters in a fountain
 Use them as math counters in schools.
 Have a touring exhibit of 1,000,000 of
them in a tractor trailer to show people
how big a million really is.
Defining the problem uniquely
 What
metaphor would you use to
describe the practice of school
 What
metaphor would you use to
describe the training of school
 Arranging
flowers in a vase.
 Starting a revolution.
 Tending a garden.
 Building a house.
 Riding a roller coaster.
 Sailing a ship in a hurricane.
 Performing surgery with a jackknife.
 Bailing out the Titanic with a teacup.
 Sprinting a marathon.
 Having my blood sucked out of me.
How does this metaphor compare
with the metaphor you would have
used for the practice/training of
school psychology when you
entered the field?
What does your metaphor tell you
about how you define the “problem”
of school psychology?
Combining the unexpected
 What
are four activities you did for
fun as a kid?
 What are other fields you know
 How can you bring the above into
school psychology?
Expect unintended outcomes
 Guttenberg’s
printing press—more
Bibles, Reformation, European
expansion to the America’s,
 Non-categorical placement in special
education led to increased
assessment role of school
Schools no longer were based on the
factory work model (1:30 ratio, bells,
everyone at work simultaneously) but on
the high tech work model (cubicles with
computers, completely individualized work
activities performed autonomously, limited
on-site time, flex time, telecommuting).
 What aspect of school psychology would
be most important to retain?
 The
items you listed as threats
yesterday are actually opportunities.
 The
items you listed as opportunities
yesterday are actually threats.
 It
is a zero sum game.
 Nothing can be added to the training
curriculum unless something else is
taken away.
 Nothing can be added to the practice
of school psychology unless
something else is taken away.
 What would you take away?
 Our
job is to prepare the world for
the demise of school psychology.
 How would we put our affairs in
 How will we pass on what we do
 How will we avoid passing on what
we do badly?
 Sternberg,
R. (2002, November).
Teaching for successful intelligence.
Presentation given at The Future of
School Psychology 2002 Invitational
Conference. Indianapolis, IN.
 Von Oechs, R. (1992). A knock on
the side of the head: Increasing

Using Metaphors for Creative Solutions