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Creativity… can be taught

I have been teaching Innovative Thinking at Chulalongkorn University for 7 years. The content and activities carried out in the course have been constantly developed. In this article, I will talk about 4 techniques in developing creativity that I teach in class. All readers can follow these techniques to develop your own creativity.

1. Listening and Watching

In the movie 2012, there was a scene where a Tibet monk poured tea until it overflowed the cup. The scene is built on a Zen tale about an overflowing cup of tea. It means that when our brain is full of ideas and experiences and does not open to new ideas, we can never learn new things. It is similar to a cup full of tea which cannot hold any more tea we pour in. One of the ways to develop creativity is to go out and learn new things outside your expertise by listening and watching many things such as:

Visiting exhibitions or attending seminars    Today, TCDC holds exhibitions on a regular basis and it has a library filled with many good books. There are also other interesting exhibitions and seminars such as TEDXBKK,  IgniteBKK, Pecha Kucha with very diverse topics. If you cannot make it, some events are broadcast live or recorded, allowing viewers to see such events on the following websites: .  ,


Seeing movies that spark creativity or inspiration     I would like to suggest the following films:

Dead Poets Society, October Sky, Lorenzo’s Oil, Patch Adams andBean

Some of these films are based on true events; some are fictional. What they have in common is that they spark creativity or innovative thinking.


Most of the time, we watch movies for pure entertainment. From now, I would like to suggest, try watching it from a new perspective and finding out what scenes give us good messages that we can apply to our daily life and our professional life.

2. Writing

This technique is very simple. Required items are simply a pen and a small notebook that you can carry with you all the time. This is because good ideas can come to you at any place, any time. There is a saying that creativity is mostly like born at 3Bs: bathroom, bedroom and bus (while you are commuting). It is because you are usually relaxed in these places, a perfect setting for a good idea to originate. But if you do not write it down right away, it will fade away just as quickly.

If you want to convey your thoughts or stories to others, you can write them in a blog for public viewing. Every student in my class is required to keep a blog to record what they have learned and tell interesting stories. Since pictures and video clips can be put in a blog, you should carry a camera with you all the time, which is easy as most mobile phones now have a camera feature. When you find something interesting, you can take a picture to post it in your blog or keep it for future use.

3. Playing

You should find a hobby that helps improve the dexterity of both hands. To be able to use both hands adroitly also improves your brain functions as the hands are seen as the other brain outside your skull. In Chinese medicine, it mentions nervous systems of each organ that are connected to each finger. So, exercises of your fingers also affect your inner organs. 

There are many hand dexterity exercises such as spinning a pen, playing yo-yo and twisting a rubik. In my class, I teach juggling, which is to throw 3 balls up in the air to catch and toss up again. Juggling has many advantages: to practice dexterity of your hands, to practice meditation when focusing on the throwing and to practice creativity in finding new forms of juggling.

Juggling is a skill achievable by everyone. It is not a special talent of magicians or circus performers. You can find a lot of videos teaching juggling in YouTube which you can learn and practice on your own. You can find juggling balls on Khoasan road.

4. Confidence

One of my favorite Wuxia novels is Duoqing Jianke Wuqing Jian authored by Gu Long. It details the adventures of the protagonist Li Xunhuan whose signature weapon "Little Li Flying Dagger" never misses its target. Although the dagger is forged from ordinary steel but it is ranked as the third best weapon in the kingdom as quoted at the beginning of this article. I think this novel provides a good metaphor for creativity. The most important factor in developing creativity is not from the outside (the weapon), it is something inside yourself (your inner energy or expertise in martial art)

So, let’s believe in yourself that you have brilliant creative ideas. You may lack material capital, but if you have abundant inner capital, which is confidence in your own potential and talent, you will always find a way to create new things.


Nowadays, the world is moving fast. New sciences increasingly originate. Traditional ways of doing business no longer work in this fast-paced, highly competitive era. Creativity has become one of the most important things when it comes to business. I would like all readers to say the following to yourselves out loud:

“I have brilliant creative ideas.” And make your dreams come true.

Translated by Siritharin Chareonsiri

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  • Published Date: 2010-04-01
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