ComArtSci Professor Igniting Creativity with New Video Series

Creativity lets our imagination and originality shine brightly, even when we face some of life’s greatest challenges. A professor of practice in MSU’s Department of Advertising + Public Relations, Ross Chowles is igniting the creativity of people across the world with a new video series, “Professor 5.”

“Creativity is not a static thing,” said Chowles. “It can be found; it can be stimulated; and most importantly, it can be enhanced.”

Chowles serves on the board of directors for The One Club for Creativity, which is home of the One Show, the world’s most prestigious awards show in advertising, design and digital marketing. He has also been active in the club’s educational initiative in China for the last 17 years. Through his international collaboration, he discovered an appetite for creative learning in the world’s most populous country — China.

Now, Chowles has created an affordable course designed to improve creativity, offering eight lessons for just $20. Using a series of videos, he shares his “magic formula” for reigniting creativity. He worked with his wife to translate each video in the series into Chinese, and he released the course in China to an eager audience.

“When we are a child, we are brave. We explore the world,” said Chowles. As each person becomes an adult, he said they start to build a wall of conformity around them in order to blend in. “Creativity is about doing new things, and when you do new things you are open to criticism. Creativity demands that you smash that wall, that you break through that wall of conformity and comfort. It will be hard at first, but once you get used to living outside of your comfort zone, you’ll get a real buzz from it.”

The video series gives 5 concise tips on each subject that will help people create and design with more authenticity and originality, shaking them out of their comfort zone and opening them up to new ideas. One goal is to get people thinking in a growth mindset, instead of relying on tried and true methods – which may also seem dated or stale.

“You have to make it a habit to choose the unusual,” said Chowles. “Usual equals no growth. Unusual equals growth.” It’s the road less travelled philosophy.

In one video, Chowles recommends experimenting with new things, whether it means tasting new foods, traveling to new locations, or trying activities outside of a person’s comfort zone, such as public speaking or stand-up comedy. He also recommends spending time with other creative people, especially from different fields or disciplines. Even better, he suggests working with people who come from different cultures or hold different perspectives.

“Your whole world will open up to their world,” said Chowles. “You’ll be exposed to their thinking, their way of viewing the world, and that is very powerful. Creativity needs you to be exposed to a different world. Exposing yourself to how others see the world will improve your creativity.”

This season, imagine ways to reignite your creativity.