Creativity and Embracing the Shake

by | May 26, 2014

Episode 47: Creativity and embracing the shake

Released: June 2013: Updated October 2016

Following on from the previous episode, here we are going to ’embrace the shake’! We look at how creativity is in all of us and, if we use it, we can see the possibilities of inclusion. Two great videos and some thought-provoking material.


In episode 46 we looked at Creativity and Inclusion. We had good feedback and felt that this subject needed more. Creativity is really important to inclusion. We then went off and started doing our research. As we do. Several times we got to near finishing then ended up deleting everything and starting again. It was much more difficult than we thought. We came across a lecture by John Cleese on creativity, this is what he had to say:

“The reason it is futile for me to talk about creativity is that it simply cannot be explained”

John Cleese

John Cleese also says that ‘Creativity is NOT a talent—it is a way of operating.’ This seems to support the crux of the video we showed in episode 46 from David Kelley. David says that we are all creative. Just that creativity is trained out of us by education and work. Which is a shame as it’s so important.

Sir Ken Robinson gave a classic TED Talk in 2006 about how schools are killing creativity. He says we do not grow into creativity, we grow out of it! This has been viewed by over 17 million people. So, really worth watching.

Video transcript.

One of the stories that Ken tells in this talk is about Gillian Lynne—the genius choreographer behind CATS and Phantom of the Opera. When she was young Gillian was considered to have a learning disability. She went to see a specialist who may well have prescribed medication and told her to calm down. Gillian was hyperactive—she wanted to dance. Long story short—she did dance and was able to exercise her creativity because others allowed her to do so.

This raises a very important point relevant to inclusion. We often hear ’emphasise ability and what people can do’ rather than focus on impairment or what people can’t do. ABILITY not DISABILITY is a message that is used the world over. Rightly so. But, recognising the abilities of a person—finding what people can do—is often a creative act, either by the person directly or of the observer. Something that we, as volunteers and professionals in this field, should do and should practice. We should practice being creative in finding what people can do.

Take a look at this brilliant video called Embrace the Shake by Phil Hansen. Great video to emphasise this point.

We love the quote “don’t think outside the box, think inside the box.”

Although creativity is impossible to explain, it can be critical in exploring what people can do. Use your creativity to explore possibility.

“Learning to be creative within the confines of our limitations is the best hope we have to transform ourselves and, collectively, transform our world”

Phil Hansen

So, after a few failed attempts at this episode we’ll leave it there for you to think about. But what are your thoughts? How creative are you in your daily work? Let us know and share this episode with your friends and colleagues.

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About the author: Peter Downs

About the author: Peter Downs

Founding Director - The Inclusion Club

Peter is Founding Director of The Inclusion Club and Manager of Play by the Rules – a national initiative to promote safe, fair and inclusive sport. Peter has worked for over 25 years in the field of inclusive sport, disability sport and physical activity including 17 years managing the Australian Sports Commission’s Disability Sport Unit.  In 2013 Peter was fortunate enough to receive a Churchill Fellowship to study models of best practice in inclusive sport and physical activity.

See Peter’s contributions.