CircuitWest Creativity and Innovation Leadership Program 2022

Creativity and Innovation Leadership Program 2022

In partnership with Dr Shona Erskine, CircuitWest will offer a leadership program for the performing arts sector. Participants will be encouraged to bring their own projects or organisations to the program to work through the complex challenges and opportunities that their project or organisation present. The program will be a series of two-day workshops and delivered by Dr Shona Erskine between April 2022 and July 2022. Applications are now open for the program. Participants undertaking this course will undertake the following modules:

4th and 5th April 2022

Micro skills of Creativity.

Creative practice skills that everyone can engage in no matter the situation. Based in neuroscience and neuropsychology research these skills are framed around building the personal capacity to be creative.

Group Creativity

Facilitation processes for working with groups that need to think laterally and produce creative solutions. This module articulates the factors that guide groups towards creative solutions. The skills cover all aspects of the group process from planning to facilitation, to follow up.

2nd and 3rd May 2022

The Role of the Leader in Creative Systems

Leadership practices for guiding organisations and communities towards innovative ideas and entrepreneurial outcomes. The skill of Creative Leadership is a complex task. It is critical to understanding the role a leader plays when striving to embed creativity in an organisation, sector, or community.

Inside Out

The contexts that span creative leadership include your psychological world, your direct context, and the wider ecology. Tina Seelig and the top creativity neuropsychologists are our guides in improving our ability to meet the challenges of creativity, lead innovation, and manage disruption. This understanding will enable you to leverage the inside of creativity (the individual) and the outside (the context and ecology), to build a creative and vibrant culture.

6th and 7th June 2022

Complex Systems

Innovation and creativity are complex and multifaceted constructs with cognitive, biological, and social components, which elude unequivocal definitions. Understanding complex systems and their characteristics will build your capacity to be a creative leader. Using science-based models we will exam the factors of a complex system and the methodologies used to understand complexity for both diagnosis and planning.


Strong communication skills are essential for building and maintaining relationships and critical for achieving results, facilitating teamwork, and community engagement. Michael Grinder is our guide as we learn the key principles of effective communication alongside communication techniques.

4th and 5th July 2022

Mental Health and Wellness Part 1 and Part 2

Informative and experiential workshops that focus on the functionality of stress, mental health, and wellbeing. With an emphasis on how we can support ourselves to integrate self-care skills into our lives with flexibility and compassion. There is particular focus on the integration of self-care skills to the creative leadership work. This includes understanding the relationship between self-care, emotional maturity, and boundary setting.

Topics covered include:

  • The functionality of stress and how particular stressors are present in your life.
  • How you respond to stress and how to manage stress.
  • What self-care looks like for you.
  • How mindfulness, grounding, and compassion align with self-care and stress management.
  • Physical, psychological, professional, and spiritual self-care.
  • Positive psychology.
  • Crisis coping.

The Why?

The creativity skills are based in neuroscience research. This captivating area
of science delves into our neural networks to examine how information is organised, accessed, and moved around in our brains. Researchers have mapped the brain, studied
people renowned for creativity, and run experiments in attempts to define the complex and multifaceted constructs that make up the neural underpinnings of creativity. These constructs have cognitive, biological, and social components, each with its own neural networks.

To give you some idea of how many ingredients go into being creative, I have listed some of the moving parts in the below table. You will notice that many of them are the opposites of each other, which generate paradoxes in the creative process. It is easy to appreciate how the act of harnessing creative ability can be messy and uncomfortable and frustrating, amidst the often-elusive moments of inspiration and motivation.

For those of us with sticky problems to solve we need to master techniques. And this is where the neuroscience research comes into play. Researchers have developed science-based creativity techniques that are simple and can be applied immediately. These techniques generate an increase in your creativity thinking and outcomes.

In addition, Creative leadership is inherently uncomfortable. It demands wide-ranging perspective taking of self, organisation, and ecology. It is a complex process, embedded with paradoxes, reliant on human factors, and requires the development of the whole person. It is essential to understand the relationship between your decision-making and the visionary nature of creative leadership.

Table 1: The mental processes that underpin creativity in the human brain


Mental process Description
Salience The ability to pose central problems and ask important questions. Creativity requires more than mental virtuosity. It also implies relevance.
Novelty An interest in, and the ability to find solutions for, problems not tackled before.
Ability to relate old knowledge to new knowledge The opposite of the above, this is the ability to recognise familiar patterns.
Generativity and mental flexibility The ability to generate multiple and diverse approaches to a problem and the ability to experiment with multiple forms.
Drive and doggedness The ability to deploy sustained effort towards tackling a problem with a commitment to the chosen subject and resilience to failure. This is the relationship between inspiration and perspiration.
Mental wondering The mysterious capacity for the productive and seemingly effortless pursuit of ideas wherever they take you.
Mental focus The opposite of mental wondering, this is an ability to systematically pursue a logical train of thought.
Iconoclastic frame of mind In order to forge ahead of society, you must be driven by a sense of dissatisfaction with the intellectual, scientific, or artistic status quo.
Resonance with central societal and cultural themes The opposite of the previous quality, while being ahead of society, at the same time your work must be recognised by society as important and valid in order to survive.
Social grace Social attributes such as social suaveness and adaptability, play an important and sometimes definitive role in success.
A favourable cultural milieu Certain societies are richer in discovery and innovation than others. There is a relationship between creative individuals and their social and cultural milieu.

Based on Goldberg (2008)

How this program was developed

We were clear that we needed a program that meant:

  • You could use the skills immediately.
  • Use them any time a problem requires a creative solution
  • Use them when planning a creative venture whether they be arts projects, education or training.
  • Use across all aspects of your leadership process – recruiting, planning, engaging, delivering, rewarding, and reviewing.

Who is this for?

This program has been developed for a range of participants:

  • For those with no background in creative practice.
  • For people guiding groups through the creative process.
  • For people who want the most creative solutions.
  • For those who lead organisations through long-term creative developments with high stakes outcomes.
  • For those who have power in the system to influence factors such as context, structure, information and personnel.
  • For those who define identity and values, model behaviors for others.

Learning Outcomes

The following outcomes have been defined:

  • Acquire creative skills that you can incorporate into your existing repertoire.
  • Learn about the mental processes that are involved in creativity and how to get your brain into a creative mode.
  • Through real world application, advance your own creative project over the course of the program.
  • Build knowledge on how individual creative mental processes can be harnessed at a group level.
  • Learn the impact of group context, group composition, group culture, and group dynamics on creative group processes.
  • Understand the impact you can achieve by fine-tuning group instructions before, during and after sessions.
  • Acquire process skills to facilitate a group towards creative solutions.
  • Become knowledgeable of the behavioural and decision-making foundations of creative leadership.
  • Gain appreciation of the multi-dimensional nature of creative leadership and how this will impact your leaderfullness.
  • Understand the models for creative decision making that guide people and organisations to innovate.
  • Through practical tasks, bridge the gap between knowing and doing in what is inherent a complex task.

Applications for this program are now open and will close on 25 January 2022. The course fees for the program are covered but regional participants will need to cover their own travel and accommodation. Participants must be able to attend all the course dates. The workshops will be held at a central city based location .

The application form can be found here: