NOW READING: Global Digital Citizenship—in 15 Minutes! (Creativity Fluency)

Global Digital Citizenship—in 15 Minutes! (Creativity Fluency)

Welcome to part three of the Global Digital Citizenship in 15 Minutes series. Each part in the series provides resources for exploring the 21st Century Fluencies and Global Digital Citizenship with your students in 15 minutes or less each day. If you missed them, here are the links to our two previous installments on Solution Fluency and Information Fluency.

In this article, we'll be suggesting some neat tools and tips related to the 5 phases of Creativity FluencyIdentify, Inspire, Interpolate, Imagine, and Inspect. To begin, let's take a glance at Creativity Fluency and discover a little more about it. You can also download the Creativity Fluency QuickStart Guide for a more in-depth exploration of the essential skills developed with this fluency.

Telling a Visual Tale

Creativity Fluency is the process of using artistic proficiency to add meaning to a product through design, art, and storytelling. It is about using innovative design to add value to the function of a product though its form.


We are living in an age in which artistic appeal is now fundamental to any product's success on the market. Our affection for aesthetically pleasing and innovative design goes hand-in-hand with our desire for instant consumer gratification. Also, the visual component that makes up our advertising and social networking must be more eye-catching and meaningful than ever before to get our attention and hold it. Exceptional art and design inspire and entice us like nothing else can.

This is one of the reasons why creative people are in a position to become very prosperous and successful in the global marketplaces of the present and the future. Creativity Fluency is a process designed to uncover that artistic nature in all of us.

Even those who don't believe they are creative can learn how to be with Creativity Fluency. That's right—you can learn to be creative.

Toss out the old belief of some people simply being born creative, and some not. The truth is there is untapped creative potential within all of us, especially our students. Like water in a desert, it's only waiting to be discovered.


Introducing Creativity Fluency to Students

Asking students to experiment with being creative is a surefire way to get their attention. You can let them loose with traditional art materials or design programs, and get them brainstorming in groups to build on some amazing ideas. There are other things you can do that are less hands-on but that are intended to instill the proper mindsets for unleashing creativity.

Become a role model: Think back to your own days as student. Which teachers got your attention; the ones who crammed as much information as possible into their classes, or the ones who inspired you with thought and action? The ones who taught you how to look, think, and create with your own inner power are the ones to model for today's students.

Look with new eyes: Good design means something different to each person. Great design will be talked about, studied, and imitated long after the original creator is gone. Encourage your students to study designs and discuss their personal meanings with each other. This will help them learn to explore varying ideas and to learn about respecting the creative abilities and views of others.

Use visuals: You can download our Fluency Posters here, and print off a copy of the Creativity Fluency mini-poster to hand out to each student. These posters showcase the fundamental meaning of each Fluency and the skills each one intuitively develops.

Approaching the 5Is as Daily Lessons

Each phase of Creativity Fluency can be studied as a mini-lesson to help students develop an understanding of its process. You can do this over 5 days, and devote a day to letting students explore each phase. Explore the resources chosen for each one below.


This involves distinguishing the elements and the criteria of the desired outcome. It’s about figuring out what you need to create and what limitations or restrictions you face.

Design is largely about solving problems. It begins with knowing the fundamental reason why we are designing something in the first place.

What are we trying to achieve? What challenge are we aspiring to answer using our creativity? Who is this for? These are some of the questions we face as we begin to apply creativity to a project.

In the article Design is About Solving Problems, James Young reminds us that when we look at someone else's design or art we are only looking at a result, and not a process. Our process has to be our own, and it begins with defining the challenge and forming a plan, brainstorming, and lateral thinking.


  • Explore The Coming Storm from National Geographic and see how the people of Bangladesh apply creative thinking to combat rising sea levels.
  • If you want to know how a designer thinks about a solution to a problem, 10 Ways Designers Solve Problems on Design Shack is great food for thought.
  • This article from Millo explores other examples of how both practical and innovative design is used to solve complex and challenging problems.
  • Introduce yourself to Dominic Wilcox and his incredibly imaginative book Variations on Normal, featuring designs for things that don't yet exist but would probably make life a lot more interesting and easier if they did


In the Inspire stage of Creativity Fluency, the adventure begins. Here is where you start stimulating your creativity with rich sensory input. This involves any action, encounter, or lively conversation that fires your imagination.

Tell your students to go ahead and explore what's around them. Flip through magazines, check out design-focused websites, wander museums and online galleries, look at Pinterest and other similar sites, explore a bookstore, or listen to inspiring music. There are thousands of ways to become inspired to move forward with a design process.



Interpolate means to find a structured pattern within known information. This is all about “connecting the dots” in the search for clear patterns and higher level abstractions within the sensory input.

Chances are, during your journey through inspiration, you've picked up some data that you don't need, or that doesn't fit the purpose for your design. It's the left brain's job to sift through what's been collected in the playground of the right brain, and decide what to keep and what to throw away. The left brain figures out the patterns and meanings (or alternate meanings) and sort of weaves them together.

This is where the dots get connected, and also when we compare our sensory input to the original criteria we defined in the initial stage of Identifying.



As you go back and forth between Inspire and Interpolate, your left brain has whittled down the data your right brain gathered during its journey through inspiration. Everything you need has been kept, and what you don't need is now gone. Somewhere in all that sea of sensory input is "the idea" you're intended to have, waiting patiently for you to find it. Imagine is the ultimate synthesis between the previous stages of Inspire and Interpolate. The unification of these stages results in the birth of your idea—your “Aha!” moment.




In the last phase, we inspect our idea and look at it with open minds and critical eyes. Now that it's a reality we can ask ourselves questions about the effectiveness and feasibility of the new idea, and if it can be accomplished within an existing timeframe and budget.

You might discover the answer is “no” on all counts. That's fine—it doesn't mean your idea is a throwaway. You can save it and use it elsewhere, or it may just need some tweaking (which could lead to new ideas). Like all the 21st Century Fluencies, Creativity Fluency is a cyclical process. You may need to toggle back and forth between the stages as you expand and adjust your process.


  • One of the ways that businesses scrutinize new ideas is with a SWOT analysis—learn how to do that here on Business News Daily.
  • PR Daily has 6 solid ways to analyze your creative ideas in this article.
  • Similar to SWOT, the SOAR technique uses a constructive approach to analyzing creativity and creative ideas.

Additional Resources to Enjoy