LearnBytes episode #8 – Lara Kirk – Think like this for creative problem solving

Get notified of future episodes: YouTube playlist | Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Spotify | Google Podcasts | iHeartRadio 

Connect with the show on Instagram: @LearnBytes

In this episode

In this episode, Samantha is joined by her colleague Lara Kirk and a special furry guest!

In her race against the clock, Lara shares a beautiful quote on the definition of creativity and why knowing something is guaranteed to succeed would hinder, not help, her creativity.

We also hear how Lara stimulates creative thinking with students and adults by encouraging them to think like designers, creators and inventors.

You can connect with Lara on Twitter @lara_kirk.

Links from the episode

Lara’s podcast recommendations are Stuff You Should Know and The Infinite Monkey Cage

Creativity quote from Osho

Sign up for our newsletter, packed full with strategies to help you live your most efficient, productive & organised life.

https://utb.fyi/join-newsletter

Watch it now

Transcript

Samantha  0:02  

Hello there and welcome to LearnBytes, the show that delivers byte-sized pieces of wisdom so that you can learn how to increase your efficiency and productivity, embrace your natural creativity and lead with impact. I’m Samantha Garrett from Using Technology Better and joining me on the show today to share their wisdom is Lara Kirk and Huxley. Hi Lara, hi Huck!

Lara Kirk  0:24  

Hi, he’s biting, he’s LearnBytes, see? 

Samantha  0:29  

Ooh he is, and he’s the first doggy guest on LearnBytes. So I’m so excited, so yay. So, Lara is actually one of my amazing colleagues at Using Technology Better. She’s a technology trainer. And Huck is a dog. Clearly. I don’t think he does technology training. But um…

Lara Kirk  0:48  

He’s my support crew 

Samantha  0:49  

Support well, particularly probably while you’re working at home, he could definitely have some publicity for you in the video. Lovely. All right. So Lara, you’re here to talk today about creativity, which I’m excited to hear your thoughts on. But before we jump into our eight questions in four minutes, I thought you’d like to share a little bit about what you’re passionate about, and a little bit about yourself.

Lara Kirk  1:12  

Cool. Okay, thanks, Sam. I’m excited to be here. I think we’re going to have a good time. And the fact that you welcomed Huxley into the call as well, is always something I appreciate. Umm so yes, I’m Lara and I live in beautiful Queenstown in New Zealand. I grew up here. And it’s a pretty amazing place to live, it’s a pretty amazing place to grow up, lots of outdoorsy things and opportunities for you when you’re growing up. I am super passionate about travel and meeting people and going to weird places. I didn’t do the normal travel thing when I went overseas to teach, I did some pretty strange things, which is awesome. So I was a teacher for 14 years and I’ve been working with Using Technology Better for the last two and a half. And it’s been a pretty amazing ride. Did I get that right Sam? You look like it..

Samantha  2:00  

No, I’m sure you did. I haven’t, it’s not like I am keeping count. I was just like wow, that time. Like it’s just amazing how quickly it goes. But it does feel like forever. So yeah,

Lara Kirk  2:09  

Yeah, so um, so loving working with this team. And, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today is creativity, which is something that has really, for me, the team has allowed me to develop a whole lot more of to working in this job. So I love it. I love working with teachers and with students and enjoy a bit of the corporate stuff we do as well, but here in New Zealand, we’re slammed with education at the moment, which is awesome. And what else do I like, I like to walk my dog. And I’m lucky because there’s some amazing tracks around here. And really really beautiful. I have far too many house plants. So I spend a lot of time trying to keep them alive. As well as the pets. And yeah, spending time with my family, my friends. And yeah, I don’t know, that’s kind of what I do.

Samantha  2:57  

I think that’s great. Because I love the fact that part of what you’re passionate about is keeping your plants and your pets alive. I mean, I think that’s a good goal for anyone to have.

Lara Kirk  3:05  

I think so I think if you’re gonna have living things in your house, you should try to keep them alive. 

Definitely. Definitely. And just so you know Huck has settled beautifully over your left shoulder in the video so, you could 

In a sunbeam. 

Samantha  3:19  

Okay, thank you Lara. That’s really awesome. So, as you know, the show is all about bite sized pieces of wisdom. So you’ve got four minutes, eight questions on creativity. And then if you finish in the time before the timer goes off, you, you can either ask me a question, or I’ll just ask you more questions. And I’d love to hear at the end to what the weirdest place you’ve been to or taught in is. So keep that in mind. Yeah, it’s not a standard question. Cool. All right. Are you ready if we set the timer?

Lara Kirk  3:50  

I am ready Sam. 

Samantha  3:52  

Cool, all right, let’s, I’m going to hit start. First mobile phone and current phone?

Lara Kirk  3:59  

I had an Alcatel One Touch Easy. I had to Google that. But they were the ones that were very cute. It’s such a nice looking phone, and it was white, and I loved it. And I currently have an iPhone 8 Plus, also in white with the rose gold back and uh yeah, I really like it. But I didn’t know that it was an iPhone 8 plus until I went into the settings and looked look that up for this phone call. Just an iPhone. 

Samantha  4:20  

We’re always helping people learn, what can I say?

Lara Kirk  4:23  

Totally.

Samantha  4:24  

How would you define creativity? And what do you think the key dispositions are that creative people actually display? 

Lara Kirk  4:30  

I think questioning and being curious are absolutely key. Being innovative, and generating new ideas is what it’s all about. I’ve actually got a quote here that I wanted to read out because I think it, to me, it really sums it up beautifully. So it’s from Osho. “To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty. You want to bring a little more music to it and a little more poetry to it and a little more dance to it.” So I think that’s really beautiful.

Samantha  5:00  

We’ll talk more about that at the end. Yes. Oh, that’s so gorgeous. What is the biggest myth about creativity you’ve come across?

Lara Kirk  5:07  

I think that you either are or you aren’t creative. And I know that there was a lot of research around left brain, right brain one side being creative, one side being logical, but there’s more and more showing that that is not actually the case. Um and that creativity can be developed and grown and enhanced. And I know this personally, like being artsy doesn’t necessarily mean you’re creative. And to be creative, you don’t have to be artsy. They’re not the same thing. They’re very, very different things. And I think digging into that people realize that really quickly. But it’s not so much surface knowledge, when you think about creatives.

Samantha  5:41  

When, where and how do you express yourself more as creative, creatively?

Lara Kirk  5:47  

It’s a hard word!

I think, and that was a really good question. But I think when there is a good challenge or the opportunities really open. So when there aren’t a lot of confines around what the task is. Um, so thinking big picture, like, what if there was no barriers to this, what could it be, and then, and then we’re looking at any barriers around that afterwards. Um for me, being in a nice environment is quite important. I quite like things to be neat and tidy. So like I said, I’ve got lots of plants in my house, there’s lots of art in my house. So having a space that I feel comfortable in, I’m yeah, very spatially aware with that kind of thing to

Samantha  6:25  

Alirght you’ve got a minute 30 left and we’re up to question five. Biggest barrier to creativity?

Lara Kirk  6:31  

Um, busyness. So in education, that means a packed curriculum where there’s no time for flexibility, high demands in terms of assessment of what you have to get through, and life busyness no time to stop and think and appreciate what’s going on. Our brains are working so hard all the time.

Samantha  6:47  

So what strategies have you used to try and overcome that busyness in creativity?

Lara Kirk  6:51  

um, I think I think carving time out for movement, just a walk, or whatever it is, or time to sit and think. I’m really lucky, because in my job, I have time to be creative. And that’s a big part of what I do. So since coming into this job, I’m way more creative and I don’t need to actively seek out those strategies anymore. But as a teacher, making time, dropping something, because you have to drop something to make space for something else. 

Samantha  7:16  

Interesting. Okay, um, book, podcast or video that you would recommend to our readers, or our readers, we don’t have readers! To our listeners or our watchers.

Lara Kirk  7:25  

We might, they can have closed captions on.

Samantha  7:27  

They might be reading the transcript true. 

Lara Kirk  7:29  

Totally. So my two favorite podcasts, and I’m a bit of a science geek, so it’s Stuff You Should Know. I love it, because they just talk about really random topics, but it’s so interesting. So in terms of engaging creativity and curiosity, that one’s awesome. And The Infinite Monkey Cage is another one of my favorites, as well, very, very sciency and love it.

Samantha  7:49  

Interesting five seconds, what creative project would you dedicate your time and energy to if you knew it was guaranteed to succeed?

Lara Kirk  7:55  

I probably wouldn’t do it. Because if it’s guaranteed to succeed, I wouldn’t have the motivation to do it. So for me, it needs to be a challenge. But if I was to say that it’d be something that will help others and serve a purpose, and tied into my passions, and also helps me to learn.

Samantha  8:10  

Wow, that’s so interesting Lara, I love that. So, the motivation comes from knowing that it could fail?

Lara Kirk  8:18  

I was thinking about I was like, guaranteed to succeed. You know, you wouldn’t have to be as creative if it’s guaranteed to succeed. If you have to, if it’s a challenge, then you have to think about lots of alternative ways. That it could be meeting the needs or whatever it is. If it’s guaranteed to succeed, you might choose one or two things that you initially think of and go with that path, rather than really dive deeper into what it is you’re trying to achieve.

Samantha  8:44  

Yeah, that’s a really, really interesting way to look at it. Thank you and it’s so, I actually really love asking that question, because there’s so many different responses. And it really gets you thinking differently. So yeah, thank you Lara, that’s awesome. I just wanted to go back, I would love it if you would reread that quote, because I think that was so amazing.

Lara Kirk  9:03  

Sure. To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty. You want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it. 

Samantha  9:17  

Mmm. That, that’s so beautiful. I just wanted everyone to hear it again. And we will actually put that, a link to that too in the notes. Because I think that just gets us all really thinking, too, particularly what you were saying about the whole creativity and artsy thing being like, together. It’s actually not about that at all. So, yeah, that’s beautiful. Um, thank you, Lara, is it anything you wanted to add to anything you said?

Lara Kirk  9:38  

I think along those lines, like something I’ve been thinking about a lot is creativity in areas that aren’t necessarily known for creativity by people who aren’t working in them. So even like, sorry, I’m gonna keep bringing a bit to education a little bit because that’s where my heads at, but, you know, mathematics is not something that people would naturally think it’s a creative field. But it absolutely is because you’re creating solutions to problems and different ways to solve things and finding lots of different ways to go about it. So it is problem solving. And to solve problems, you have to be creative. To find solutions, you have to be creative. So, creativity very naturally, I think we all think of it in terms of the arts, or language arts, or history and culture and all that. But it’s actually through everything we do. And developing that creativity. ‘What’s another way you could do that?’ is really important. And I guess one tip I would give to teachers, if they’re looking to do it, and it’s something I often do when I’m in classes, is to tell your kids, we’re going to think like designers, creators, and inventors, with everything that we do. So designers, creators, and inventors are constantly thinking, what would happen if? How might I? I wonder if? And so as a teacher, when you hear those questions, that’s the moment you go, yes, we are on the right path. And you go for it, and even as people working on projects as adults, those questions will help you to find lots of other possibilities, and hopefully lead you to something, I guess, a solution if it is solution finding that you’re working on, or something that is really new and unique. 

Samantha  11:12  

Yeah, and that comes back to the key dispositions that you said at the start around curiosity, curiosity and questioning, it’s exactly what you just said, by thinking about that designer, creator, inventor. So that makes sense, completely links that together. So brilliant. Well Lara, I did, I did say I wanted to find out what your most interesting place was. So we will do that. And then once you’ve told us that, I would love you to let us know where people could find you or connect with you if they want to find out more. And maybe see pictures of Huck, I don’t know. Cool. So I just thought to the people listening to the podcast, I’m sorry, you’re not gonna see gorgeous Huck in the podcast, obviously, but you can check out the YouTube video version and you can have a nice little doggy treat there.

Lara Kirk  11:53  

Maybe the cover photo for the podcast should have Huxley in it as well. 

Samantha  11:57  

Oh, I think we could do that. Totally. We’ll make sure that happens. All right, wrap up.

Lara Kirk  12:04  

I was very fortunate that I spent a few years teaching overseas. And I went down a different pathway than one of the standard sort of London ones. And I taught in international schools in the Middle East, and then in Ethiopia for three years. And then Thailand for two years. I guess during that time, I traveled to some pretty awesome off the beaten path places like Yemen and Madagascar, and lots of spots inside Ethiopia as well. And yeah, there were so many, but um, probably one of my favorites to look back on probably is Yemen. It was, at a moment in time where things were relatively peaceful, and Sana’a, which is the beautiful old UNESCO World Heritage Site city there, is one of the most stunning things I’ve ever seen. And as a kid, when I dreamt of travel, I dreamt of feeling different being somewhere, like actually feeling different. And that’s probably the strongest place that I almost felt transported back in time. Um, and it’s really hard to, look at photos of it, because it’s just these incredible mud brick buildings that they put the next layer on for the next generations of families, so you get the skyscraper looking things. And they’ve obviously, Yemen, there’s been a lot, a lot of sort of fighting and war and you know, some pretty horrible stuff going on there. So I feel really fortunate that I got to go there and see that, and it was stunning. And the culture and the people and everything was pretty amazing. So yeah, so very lucky to have gone to those beautiful places.

Um yeah, I don’t know there was some pretty, I’m struggling to remember them now. But yeah

That’s OK. That’s enough. 

Lara in here 20’s was very intrepid. 

I don’t, I love that you said it makes you feel feel different. That’s, that’s so interesting. Really. All right. Now we better keep this bite sized. So, so I’m gonna wrap it up. But where can peoplefind you Lara, before we go?

Um, I will actually need to look at what my Twitter handle is. But if I could, we’ll put it on the screen.

Samantha  13:58  

We’ll put it, it will be on the screen.

Lara Kirk  14:01  

I think I think it’s just @Lara_Kirk. All of my stuff pretty basic. Like, yeah, Instagram is mostly Huxley. So if that’s what you’re after Lara Kirk on Instagram. And then I’m on LinkedIn, and yeah on Twitter as well.

Samantha  14:17  

No worries. We’ll put all the links there and fantastic. All right, Lara, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and your dog with us today. I’m very appreciative.

Lara Kirk  14:27  

Thank you, Sam. Loving the series. You are doing an awesome job.

Samantha  14:30  

Oh, that’s lovely.

Lara Kirk  14:31  

If you’ve got recommendations for people for Sam to interview on this send them through to her.

Samantha  14:36  

Oh yeah totally, that’s a really good point. Yeah, if you do if you think you know someone who has got really interesting things to say about any of our key three topics of creativity, the leadership, efficiency and productivity totally get in touch with me and hook me up with them and we can have a chat and get them on the show. I’d love that. Thank you Lara, good thought 

Lara Kirk  14:54  

Awesome.

Samantha  14:54  

All right. So that is it for today. So if you have enjoyed the conversation with Lara and enjoyed seeing Huck, then you might want to subscribe to the Using Technology Better YouTube channel or of course, if you’re listening to the podcast version of the show, you can follow us so you get notified about all the new episodes. Now if you’ve not already signed up for our fortnightly newsletter full of efficiency and productivity and organisation tips, then the link to that is below. So that’s it for today but I will see you again soon for another byte-sized piece of the learning adventure that is life. See you then. 

LearnBytes is brought to you by Using Technology Better, we’re all about tech training delivered differently. If you want to solve your tech frustration and become more confident, efficient and productive with the tools you use every day, then head on over to usingtechnologybetter.com to get the training you need to be awesome.

Related Post

Great Ways to Use Nearpod at the Start of the Year

Nearpod Orientation  A great starting point for Nearpod in the classroom is to allow students to get hands on with the tool. This can be done as a whole class session or independently. I recommend this lesson being completed live in the whole class or within small group sessions. There are many pre-made orientation lessons

VIEW POST

Popular Post

Great Ways to Use Nearpod at the Start of the Year

Nearpod Orientation  A great starting point for Nearpod in the classroom is to allow students to get hands on with the tool. This can be done as a whole class session or independently. I recommend this lesson being completed live in the whole class or within small group sessions. There are many pre-made orientation lessons

VIEW POST

Setting up your Microsoft Class Teams for 2023

4 steps to getting your 2023 Class Team set up in the blink of an eye The end of the school year is looming and you are keenly aware that you don’t want to spend your summer holidays setting up for the new school year. We’ve all been there so follow these 4 steps to

VIEW POST

ChatGPT is Freaking Me Out: Teacher Edition

ChatGPT is one of the biggest technology revelations we have seen in recent times, and we are all wondering how this will impact us. From students and school teachers to businesses and writers, everyone is finding a good use for ChatGPT. Our UTB team love new and exciting tech, and we are using ChatGPT in

VIEW POST

Here’s What
Our Clients Say

How well do you use the
Apple Apps Google Workspace Microsoft 365
tools in your workplace?

Find out if you’re working with the tools OR if you’ve got the
tools working for you.

Download your skills checklist to see how you score...

Country:

Choose Industry:

Which Skills Checklist?

 

Nice Move Allstar!
You're about to get
awesome value in your
inbox that's going to make
life that little bit easier & sweeter!

 

Are you at a beginner, intermediate, or advance level?

This skill checklist will help you find out.

We will only send you awesome stuff!
Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Using Technology Better Privacy Commitment

Introduction

We hold the privacy of your personal information in the highest regard.

Using Technology Better regards customer privacy as an important part of our relationship with our customers. The following privacy policy applies to all Using Technology Better users, and conforms to Internet privacy standards.

This policy will be continuously assessed against new technologies, business practices and our customers’ needs.

If you have questions or concerns regarding this statement, you should first contact the support team on our Contact Us Page.

Collection of Information

In order to use the Using Technology Better website, we may require information from you in order to provide the best service possible.

All correspondence may also be collected and stored, particularly in regard to sales, support and accounts, including Email.

Any information collected by Using Technology Better is collected via correspondence from you or your company. This may be via the telephone, Email, mail, fax or directly through our website.

Visitors and customers of japan.usingtechnologybetter.com will have their information shared back to DAIWABO INFORMATION SYSTEM CO., LTD. and DIS Service & Solution Co., Ltd.

Use of Collection Information

Any details collected from Using Technology Better customers is required in order to provide you with our

products and/or services, and a high level of customer service.

Correspondence is recorded in order to provide service references, and to assist in our staff development.

Web Site Use Information

Similar to other commercial Web sites, our Web sites utilize a standard technology called “cookies” (see explanation below, “What Are Cookies?”) and web server log files to collect information about how our Web site is used.

Information gathered through cookies and Web server logs may include the date and time of visits, the pages viewed, time spent at our Web site, and the Web sites visited just before and just after our Web site.

Storage of Collected Information

The security of your personal information is important to us. When you enter sensitive information (such as credit card numbers) on our website, we encrypt that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL).

When Credit Card details are collected, we simply pass them on in order to be processed as required. We never permanently store complete Credit Card details.

We follow generally accepted industry standards to protect the personal information submitted to us, both during transmission and once we receive it.

If you have any questions about security on our Website, you can email us at <ContactEmail>.

Access to Collected Information

If your personally identifiable information changes, or if you no longer desire our service, you may correct, update, delete or deactivate it by emailing us at <ContactEmail>.

Orders

If you purchase a product or service from us, we may request certain personally identifiable information from you.

You may be required to provide contact information such as:

Name

Email

Postal address

Your school or organisation

Financial information (such as credit card number, expiration date, name on card, card billing address).

We use this information for billing purposes and to fill your orders. If we have trouble processing an order, we will use this information to contact you.

Communications

Using Technology Better uses personally identifiable information for essential communications, such as

Emails

Accounts information

Critical service details.

We may also use this information for other purposes, including some promotional Emails.

If at any time a customer wishes not to receive such correspondence, they can request to be removed from any mailing lists by contacting support.

You will be notified when your personal information is collected by any third party that is not our agent/service provider, so you can make an informed choice as to whether or not to share your information with that party.

Third Parties

Using Technology Better may at its discretion use other third parties to provide essential services on our site or for our business processes.

We may share your details as necessary for the third party to provide that service.

These third parties are prohibited from using your personally identifiable information for any other purpose.

Using Technology Better does not share any information with third parties for any unknown or unrelated uses.

What Are Cookies?

A cookie is a very small text document, which often includes an anonymous unique identifier. When you visit a Web site, that site’s computer asks your computer for permission to store this file in a part of your hard drive specifically designated for cookies.

Each Web site can send its own cookie to your browser if your browser’s preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a Web site to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other sites.

Browsers are usually set to accept cookies. However, if you would prefer not to receive cookies, you may alter the configuration of your browser to refuse cookies.

If you choose to have your browser refuse cookies, it is possible that some areas of our site will not function as effectively when viewed by the users.

A cookie cannot retrieve any other data from your hard drive or pass on computer viruses.

How Do We Use Information We Collect from Cookies?

As you visit and browse our Web site, the site uses cookies to differentiate you from other users. In some cases, we also use cookies to prevent you from having to log in more than is necessary for security.

Cookies, in conjunction with our Web server’s log files, allow us to calculate the aggregate number of people visiting our Web site and which parts of the site are most popular. This helps us gather feedback to constantly improve our Web site and better serve our clients.

Cookies do not allow us to gather any personal information about you and we do not intentionally store any personal information that your browser provided to us in your cookies.

Legal

We reserve the right to disclose your personally identifiable information as required by law and when we believe that disclosure is necessary to protect our rights and/or comply with a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process served on our Website.

Links

Links on the Using Technology Better site to external entities are not covered within this policy. The terms and conditions set out in this privacy statement only cover the domain name of usingtechnologybetter.com

Changes to Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes to this privacy statement, and other places we deem appropriate so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it.

We reserve the right to modify this privacy statement at any time, so please review it periodically. If we make material changes to this policy, we will not use the personal information you have submitted to us under this Privacy Policy in a manner that is materially inconsistent with this Privacy Policy, without your prior consent

Delivery Policy

Most goods are digitally delivered instantly via email.  Our services may be delivered either via an online medium or live in person.

For our online delivery see below.  For services delivered live onsite, please refer to our speaker agreement form which is emailed to you on confirmation of booking.

Refund Policy

We do not offer refunds or returns unless we cannot supply goods or services or the goods or services are not delivered as promised.

Australian law is the governing body for all work, goods and services supplied by Using Technology Better.

Marketing Release

Using Technology Better (UTB) may film, record, and photograph me (the results of which are the “Recordings”). UTB may also incorporate into any production(s) any separate content (e.g., quotes, testimonials, biographical information, profiles, photos, videos, sound recordings, artwork, etc.) I provide to UTB or approve in writing (“Materials”).

1.License

I grant to UTB an irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free license to, in its sole discretion, (i) edit, translate, and modify the Recordings and the Materials, (ii) attribute the Recordings and Materials to me by my name, age, and city and state of residence, (iii) incorporate the Recordings and the Materials into content to promote UTB, its programs, or products (“Content”), and (iv) publicly use, distribute, reproduce, create derivative works from, and perform/display the Content, and any excerpts thereof, in any language.

2. No Compensation.

I grant this permission without any financial or other obligation of any nature.

 

For any issues or concerns please contact us