Productive Stupidity

What do you think when you read the following statement?

"we don't do a good enough job of teaching our students how to be productively stupid"

It comes from an article I read the other day from the Journal of Cell Science called The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research by Martin A. Schwartz.

I laughed and nodded my head. I believe this crosses over into many educational platforms not just scientific research. 

It definitely relates to improvisation.

I just taught a workshop in London at the GIL 2019 Symposium called Impro Robots. It has nothing to do with actual robots or AI. I used the term to reference how many people are currently teaching improvisation in a robotic approach. Taking an art-form born from questioning conformity, challenging authority and creating a rehearsal room based on discovery, exploration and free thought and turning this into systematic curriculums built on rules based approaches while running students through impro drills.

The joy of walking into a rehearsal or classroom and discovering what is there, what is possible, what can we discover is being lost. 

Now, teachers must know the answer, students must be good to pass and rehearsals are based on successful end product.

We need to allow ourselves to be productively stupid again. To not know the answers and be delighted and curious by the questions.  To get back into discovery and move away from delivery.

What questions do you have about improvisation? What have you wanted to try? What do you want to say? What are you firmly held impro truths and what if you did the opposite? What would you explore if you could walk into a room with people willing to just play? No end outcome needed. No product. No need to impress or entertain the group. No pressure to know.

I challenge you to try it.

I'll end with another quote from the article for you to ponder.

"The more comfortable we become with being stupid, the deeper we will wade into the unknown and the more likely we are to make big discoveries."


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