060: What Is Creativity Michael Hanchett Hanson

060: What Is Creativity Michael Hanchett Hanson

The Impossible Network logo
The Impossible Network
060: What Is Creativity Michael Hanchett Hanson

Guest Overview

What is creativity – It’s a big question. I’ve worked in the creative industries all my life, yet I’ve never considered creativity to from a psychological and developmental perspective until I sat down with this weeks guest Michael Hanchett Hanson – author and founder and director of the Masters Concentration in Creativity and Cognition program at Teachers College, Columbia University,

In part one of the interview, we cover the impact of Michael’s upbringing and the dual influence of his mother and father, his mentors and his early ambitions growing up in Texan Bible belt.

Michael deconstructs the social, material and temporal components of creativity. We discuss genius, distinctiveness, and exceptionality.

Michael breaks down creativity and explains the impact of education on creativity and the value of deep learning, and explains the domain-general and domain-specific theories of creativity.

Michael debunks the notion of out of the box thinking and provides an alternative mode and we discuss the value of constraints in creativity.

Finally, we cover the serendipity in his journey and how he applies creativity in his life.

I hope you find value in this vibrant and vigorous exploration of creativity with Michael Hanchett Hanson.

Thanks to Courtney Rennicke for the recommendation

What we discuss 

  • His early upbringing in Texas
  • Growing up in the Bible belt
  • Michael discusses his father’s intellectual influence
  • His Mother’s aesthetic influence
  • Michael describes his mentor Howard Gruber
  • Pendergast regime and prohibition
  • The safety of his upbringing
  • School life in Texas
  • The supportive role of his mother
  • Being a cognitive voyeur
  • Studying architecture
  • Distributed cognition
  • Gruber’s definition
  • The social material and temporal distribution of creative work
  • Symbol making animals
  • Genius – the Latin definition
  • Genius is in the work
  • Genius is not in the person. The genius is in the work as it coalesces socially, materially, in temporarily.
  • Ken Robinson
  • Clayton Christensen
  • The role of education and creativity
  • Is being creative domain-specific or domain-general?
  • The role of the depth of understanding
  • Divergent thinking
  • Structure
  • Procrastination
  • How Michael is creative
  • Curiosity
  • When we need to avoid creativity
  • The intellectual, philosophical and aesthetic.
  • The network of enterprise
  • Principles
  • Tough choices
  • The Impossible Question
  • The role of grace
  • Effort and work



Links in the show 

Howard Gruber 

Jean Piaget 

Thomas Aquinas

Beyond Good and Evil

Edward Clapp Project Zero Harvard 

Robert Lustig 

The Mud club 

The Infidel and the Professor

The courage to create 

Creativity and constraints


Don’t Stop Here

More To Explore

Scroll to Top