Ideas, edges and Creat_ED


What is the best environment for generating good ideas? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently as I’ve been working on developing the unconference Creat_ED.

Creat_ED is a one-day event for individuals and organisations from education, technology and the creative industries who want to shape an alternative learning future. It’s taking place at The Barbican on June 21.

In his book, Where Great Ideas Come From, Steve Johnson offers a useful metaphor about the type of environment that allows ideas to flourish and develop: solids, gases and liquids.

Johnson explains that gases are way too unstable and chaotic for ideas to coalesce. Ideas exist but for just a millisecond before they disperse. They can’t gain traction.

On the other hand, solids are simply inert. There is no potential for new ideas to come about, as there is no mobility.

Unsurprisingly, it’s liquids that secure the Goldlocks ‘just right’ from Johnson. There is greater movement and flow for ideas to come about. In fact, he explains that it’s specifically the edge of liquids, as they reach boiling point, where idea creation is most fertile.

Creat_ED is working hard to create the right conditions for great ideas to come about. The ingredients include:

  • Space for chaos
  • Participants that have a mandate to be curious, to challenge and to act
  • A simple structure to make sure ideas can gain purchase
  • Remarkable people telling their stories and ‘stoking the fire’
  • A super-brilliant facilitator that can help us all to join the dots

I’m looking forward to being wholeheartedly part of this experiment and helping to bring about amazing, remarkable good ideas.

Tickets for Creat_ED are available at:

photo by: Jeff Kubina