Creativity – definitions, inhibitors and stimulants

The following videos were recorded as part of an exercise at the 2019 APAC Adobe Education Summit.


What the experts say

Let us look at some of literature from experts in this area. One of the educators in this activity was Dr Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen from Macquarie University who wrote the book Out of the Shadows in response to her PhD research based on fostering creativity in teacher education programs (Wade-Leeuwen, B. 2016).

In her book, she outlines a range of definitions of creativity from experts such as Professor Ellen Jane Langer (Harvard University), Ellis Paul Torrance (University of Georgia), Sir Ken Robinson (Author, Presenter) and Robert Sternberg (Cornell University) (Wade-Leeuwen, B. 2016)

Professor Langer says that creativity has dynamic qualities with the power to explore uncertainties that can reveal multiple perspectives during an activity (Dunoon and Langer, 2011).

Dr Torrance says that Aspects of creativity include uniqueness, fluidity, flexibility, elaboration, humour & avoidance of premature closure. He also defines creativity as the process of becoming sensitive to problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements & disharmonies.  (Torrance & Wu, 1974)

Professor Sternberg defines creativity as the production of new ideas, approaches and actions (Sternberg, 1999)

In his book Out of Our Minds, and in many of his recordings and presentations, Sir Ken Robinson defines creativity as the process of developing original ideas that have value (Robinson, 2011).

Stay tuned for a more comprehensive article to be published that will explore how some of the above definitions link with the interviews and other sources.


Dunoon, D. & Langer, E. (2011). Mindfulness and leadership: Opening up to possibilities. Integral leadership Review
Robinson, K. (2011). Out of our minds: Learning to be creative, London: Capstone Publishers
Sternberg, R. J. (1999) Handbook of Creativity. New York: Cambridge University Press
Torrance, E. P. & Wu, Y.  (1974) Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Personnel Press, Ginn. Xerox Education
Wade-Leeuwen, B. (2016) Out of the Shadows: Illinois: Common Ground Publishing

Swinburne – Rush Creative Jam


On Tuesday December 10, the Adobe Education team hosted a Creative Jam event at Swinburne University in Melbourne based on enhancing digital literacy skills with a focus on video production with Adobe Premiere Rush. This event involved staff from the Swinburne Learning & Teaching Unit as well as the Student Engagement team.

The day began with in introduction and overview by Professor Sarah Maddison (Pro Vic Chancellor – Academic Innovation & Change).


Professor Maddison reminded everyone that Swinburne officially launched as an Adobe Creative Campus on 28th November 2019. This has provided access to the entire Adobe creative cloud suite of software for free to all 56,000 students and 2,000 + staff at Swinburne University. They are the first university in Australia to take up this initiative and within the first 25 universities globally.


Professor Maddison said the purpose of joining this program is all about boosting digital literacy at Swinburne. Part of the agreement will lead to a range of initiatives over the next three years including a new Digital Literacies Hub in the main library to be launched at the start of semester one 2020. This Hub will be hosted by digital literacy coaches made up from Swinburne students who are exceptional & passionate Adobe uses with an aim to help students and staff make the most of their new Adobe tools. There will also be a series of innovation grants for both teams and individuals to help boost the use of Adobe products in the learning teaching process.

Swinburne are also about to advertise for a new Associate Professor for Digital Literacies position who will oversee the management of the Creative Campus initiatives.


Professor Maddison said one of the main reasons for this initiative with Adobe is to prepare graduates for the future world of work. Swinburne staff and students are encouraged to not only use the Adobe products for teaching and learning but also for their own personal use to help enhance their personal passion projects. She said that the skills developed within the use of Adobe apps help train Swinburne students for the future world of work.

Following Professor Maddison’s introduction, it was up to Brian Chau (Adobe Solution Consultant) and myself to lead the Creative Jam.


After an overview and a Premiere Rush bootcamp, the Swinburne staff were given just under 3 hours to plan, film and edit a 1 to 2 minute video based on the topic – Digital Literacy.


The finished videos were quite impressive, especially considering none of the staff had used Premiere Rush before and, for many of them, it was the first time they had been part of a video production team.

Creativity at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College – Victoria


Monday 9th December, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College in Melbourne invited me to kick off four days of professional learning with a keynote session on Creativity in Education. The school has over 1,500 students from 7 to 12 and this session involved over 200 of their teaching and admin staff.


During this session we looked at some of the recently announced results that came out of the 2018 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. PISA is well known as a tool for measuring 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges. It has been running since 2000 and the 2018 survey was the seventh round of international assessment.

The 2018 assessment had a focus was on reading in a digital environment and also collected extensive data on students’ attitudes and well-being. The section in PISA that I was most interested in for this presentation dealt with the topic Getting ready for the digital world. Some of the key points that came from the assessment included:

  • In a world shaped by artificial intelligence, education is no longer just about teaching people something, but about helping people build a reliable compass and the navigation tools to find their own way through an increasingly volatile, uncertain and ambiguous world.
  • Tomorrow’s schools will need to help students think for themselves and join others, with empathy, in work and citizenship.
  • We cannot ignore how digital tools have so fundamentally transformed the world outside of school.
  • People who cannot navigate through the digital landscape can no longer participate fully in our social, economic and cultural life.
  • In the 2009 PISA assessment, about 15% of students in OECD countries, on average, reported that they did not have access to the Internet at home. By 2018, that proportion had shrunk to less than 5%.
  • The amount of time that 15-year-old students in OECD countries spent on line outside of school increased between 2012 and 2018 – by an average of more than 1 hour per day (on both weekdays and weekends).
  • Students now spend about 3 hours on line outside of school on weekdays, on average, and almost 3.5 hours on line on weekend days. For young people, the digital world is becoming a sizeable part of the real world.
  • In the past, students could find clear and often singular answers to their questions in carefully curated and government-approved textbooks, and they could generally trust those answers to be true.
  • Today, they will find hundreds of thousands of answers to their questions on-line, and it is up to them to figure out what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong
  • Reading is no longer mainly about extracting information; it is about constructing knowledge, thinking critically and making well-founded judgements.

Following the keynote session, I ran an Adobe Character Animator workshop with the IT & media teachers.

We also had a quick play with the new free augmented reality iOS app Adobe Aero …


A special thank you goes to Monique Dalli (Director of Professional Learning) for inviting me and organising this week of professional development activities.

The resources I shared for this event can be found on the Adobe Education Exchange via –


Lego Robotics champions from NT & WA visit Adobe


Some of the brightest student minds from around Australia were in Sydney for the First Lego League  robotics championship. A team from regional WA and Darwin reached out to me to see if Adobe could host them last Friday morning.

For a number of these students, it was not only their first Adobe experience, it was also their first time in a major city.

I gave them a tour of the office …

Then we got stuck into some of the Adobe apps such as Aero & Spark Video to produce this …




Big Day In Junior – Newington College


On Monday 2nd December, Newington College was the venue for the final Big Day In event for 2019.


My sessions involved working with Adobe Aero to create an Augmented Reality video experience with a dinosaur then include that video in a video stork made by each student with Spark video on an iPad.


A special thank you to the Australian Computer Society Foundation for organising another great year of Big Day In events.

Adobe Make IT Roadshow – February 2020


From innovative and effective design to navigating the future of the invisible interface of voice recognition, our experts are ready to share their extensive knowledge including updates from Adobe MAX about product developments and releases

Adobe Make IT 2020 will feature a special Education session for K12 & Higher Ed in all cities other than Canberra

Whether you’re a designer, developer, animator, educator, marketer or creative director, Adobe’s MAKE IT Roadshow is the event for you.

9:00am – 12:30pm

  • Perth: 11th February – Pan Pacific Perth
  • Adelaide: 13th February – Adelaide Convention Centre
  • Brisbane: 18th February – Sofitel Brisbane Central
  • Melbourne: 20th February – Telstra HQ Melbourne (242 Exhibition St)
  • Sydney: 25th February – Telstra HQ Sydney (400 George St)
  • Canberra: 27th February – National Gallery of Australia

Register Here


Graduating from Australia’s first Creative Campus – Swinburne University


On Thursday 28th November, it was an honour to be part of the graduation event (Grad X) for the Design Faculty at Swinburne University.


During this special event, it was publicly announced that Swinburne has become Australia’s first Adobe Creative Campus.  This means that every student and teacher at the university gets access to the Adobe Creative Cloud applications for their personal devices.

Swinburne has joined an exclusive group of over 20 universities and colleges globally who share a commitment to ensuring their students have the digital literacy skills required in today’s digital world.

Click here to see the official press release.


It was a delight to hand out a number of awards to design graduates during various stages and venues at this graduation.


Part of the graduation event also included giving the students an opportunity to to do a drawing competition with the new Adobe Fresco app where the winners could win a $250 gift voucher. Special thank you to Adobe Solution Consultant Brian Chau for help running this competition.


Find out more about the value of the Adobe Creative Campus program via this video case study from the first university to take up this program – The University of Nth Carolina, Chapel Hill.