Creativity: The proof is in the pudding…

I had a student tell me something ingenious the other day, “It’s best to have at least an ounce of creativity or passion. Without that, no amount of knowledge can create something amazing.” I of course responded with some probing questions:

  • How do we make sure we have it? Ask your learners…
  • How can we buy it? Yes. But it is expensive…
  • How much is it worth? That like saying how much is the Nike Swoosh worth…
  • How can we learn it? There is just no substitute for old fashioned experience…
  • How can we find it? The proof is in the pudding…

This came up in a discussion of the best way to learn and or teach yourself how to do something. We were talking about this in relation to learning how to design web pages, but the notion can carry outside of that scope. Students often feel that they will be able to prove their experience to potential employers with transcripts and diplomas. But does this really show that they know how to do “x” ? No it doesn’t. They (i.e., employers or future clients) want to see your expertise in a specific area. Students seem to think that they need to get more certificates framed on their wall so that they can get ahead in the web design field or any other… but always tell them that they don’t.

50% of every interview is determining if the candidate will work well with the others on the team. The other 50% is just figuring out if they have potential. How do you show that potential? They need to see what you can do. Having a 4.0 GPA in your computer science degree and some letters of recommendation might get your resume high up on the stack but if you don’t have something to back up your piece of paper the interview is over. It really is that simple. There is just no substitute for proving your experience. This is why all of the job listings say 3-5 years of experience are recommended.

Practice makes perfect which is what we have all been hearing since we have been young. This may be nothing new but deep down we all at times believe the lie that some are presupposed for expertise. Someone like Bill Cosby must have been afforded some sort of natural comedic talent and not hours and hours of practice. The proof was in Bill Cosby’s pudding. He showed it all prime time TV.


About DaveHallmon

With experience in web, graphic, and instructional design, Dave maintains a balance between what is efficient and effective in every message. He always focuses on the why and how rather than "just doing it" to get the job done. By day he works at a leading university designing online courses that support 9,000 students in 64 countries. He works directly with faculty to brainstorm, design, and develop their online instruction utilizing the Adobe suite. He also teaches for the university as an adjunct faculty member in the area of web design. By night he is a devoted husband, father, freelancer, and adventurer of the outdoors. His other interests include LifeHacker, Science Fiction and Hayao Miyazaki movies, Settlers of Catan, and coffee with friends. He currently lives in St. Louis and has an M.S. in Instructional Design and aspires to pursue a professional degree in content marketing and strategy. Visit the links below for more information about his interests and design work.
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