To Boldly Go Beyond Creativity

Eric Braun Blog

We first released the 30hands Storyteller app in 2013 with a goal in mind – to see how we might help kids learn through a different kind of creativity. With about 1.5 million Starter users and a growing number of Pro users, we are thrilled at how teachers are using 30hands for better classroom learning.

In 2006, Sir Ken Robinson asked, “Do schools kill creativity?” Somehow, as much as we loved creativity – and we really do – we felt there was more to the conversation than that. Creativity can be a step towards greatness, but it can also ramble on with lesser results.


Of course, we can all list people who were creative geniuses, but what about creative failures? I suspect they outnumber the geniuses. What was missing to prevent the many from becoming geniuses? What turns someone into a Leonardo, a Miro, a Dickens or a Mozart?

In pondering this question, we affirmed that creative greatness comes from adding key spices to the formula, “iterative” spices, namely,

  • Deliberate Practice
  • Review and Reflection
  • Do-Overs
  • The Opportunity to Fail (with little or no risk)

The 30hands Storyteller app was designed with this pedagogy of Iterative Creativity™ at its core in order to get students to learn more while presenting their ideas. What they learn is the values of review, reflection, low risk “failure” and quality. Creativity can be greater if it is deliberate and iterative.

It’s a simple approach that works:IterativeCreativity2

  • Plan it.
  • Try something.
  • Review it and reflect.
  • Do it over and over again.
  • Improve the iterations.
  • Throw out the bad and keep the good.

These steps can be done when working with clay, paint, mud, dirt, tying flies, writing, mathematics, storytelling, explanations, presentations, and just about anything that is created.

Creativity can be greater if it embraces failure. In fact, it could very well be that creative failure is a direct result of not spending enough time embracing failure, ironically resulting in actual failure.

For lack of a name that we could identify with, we called it Iterative Creativity, and we designed it into our product. Not only did we design it in, but we also followed it as we developed the product. Those of you who are embracing Iterative Creativity know the power of its results. Be sure to share the magic with your friends and colleagues.

If you are currently using the Starter version of 30hands Storyteller, please consider keeping the value of Iterative Creativity alive by helping to upgrade your school iPads from the Starter version to the Pro version. This will give you much more learning functionality, time-savers for teachers and assurances that the product that you love and value can continue to advance. If you are already using 30hands Storyteller Pro, please drop us a note or a video letting us know how it is helping you students learn better.

Thank you for all you do to promote better learning for our children!

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