Creativity, Design and Making

TEFCAS ~ if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!

TEFCAS is a success formula. If we understand how it works then we will understand the nature of how we learn. If we can understand how we learn then we will be able to understand how to learn quicker, better and use our mistakes to our advantage.
I love the example of someone learning to juggle. There will be some people who can just pick up three balls and juggle without training or practice. However I think these people will be few and far between! (I could be wrong here).
When I was being shown how to juggle, I kept dropping the balls as you would expect. However after practice I got better and it became easier. Each time I dropped the balls I picked them up and started again. 
It’s the same with children learning to ride a bike or swim, they have to keep trying, the more you try the more you learn.
Sports men and women watch video of themselves and others performing certain routines, they look for the mistakes and learn to correct them.
Fire practices are routines which we learn, we try them out and modify them the procedure if it doesn’t work effectively. Or the best on of all, learning to park the car. We think that we won’t be able to do it, then all of a sudden we can and then we wonder waht all the fuss was about!  ALL of these examples are TEFCAS.
Hodge Family Jugglers

Hodge Family Jugglers

These lads above can juggle but they weren’t born juggling, they learnt. This link will take you to their site which is very good and interesting. Copyright of the picture acknowledged.

There are many products which have made it to market and been successful not because they were designed to be good but because they were spin-offs of other pieces of work.  A designer sets out to do one thing and finds another. I guess that this happens far more than we realise.

 TEFCAS can be taught and learnt: I run successful courses for all levels and abilities. Please contact me for more information.

Look at the map above, it shows the six stages of TEFCAS.

When children are little they often learn to ride a bike. They watch others, get on and TRY, they keep trying even though they fall off, scrape their knees, hands and elbows (sometimes worse). They try because they want to ride the bike like all the others, they know it can be done because they see other people doing it. Each time they try there is an EVENT. With each event there is FEEDBACK, this might be that they ride the bike a few centimetres of metres, it might be that they fall off and hurt themselves. This feedback leads them to CHECK, make adjustments to what they are doing and TRY again with ADJUSTMENTS. Eventually there is SUCCESS and you move on to the next TEFCAS event.

My grandfather was a keen cyclist, however on his retirement he cut up is bike with a saw, destroying it. Fifteen or so years later he brought me a new bike, with fancy gears, drop handlebars and lots of new fangled bits of equipment.

He watched me ride proudly up and down outside the house. He then asked if he could have a go, I let him.

He climbed on and rode up the road and back a few times, then without a backward glance headed off into the countryside. Why? Well he had wanted to prove that you never forgot how to ride a bike, he was right you don’t.  This has got to be TEFCAS in operation.


Everyone is creative (some more so than others) however it is possible to develop and enhance creativity in everyone.

TEFCAS is one way of kick starting this, but there are other ways as well.

Look at the map that I have produced above, it identifies the areas which affect Creative Intelligence.

  • Left/Right Brain
  • Note Making
  • Fluency
  • Flexibility
  • Originally
  • Expanding on ideas
  • Association

The Creative process goes though stages. It is thought that each stage affects the next and so on.

Stages in Creative Thinking

Stages in Creative Thinking

Creative people are often reflective, they day dream, they have strange and different ideas. I have found that using a mindmap when I am problem solving is an excellent way of gathering my thoughts and adding to those thoughts after a period of reflection. Never discount an idea because that might be the start of something truly great.

Example: Post-it®

 Everyone knows what Post-it®  notes are: They are those great little self-stick notepapers. 

Most people have Post-it®  Notes.  

Most people use them. 

Most people love them. 

The story goes that But Post-it®  Notes were not a planned product. 

No one got the idea and then stayed up nights to invent it.  A man named Spencer Silver was working in the 3M research laboratories in 1970 trying to find a strong adhesive.  Silver developed a new adhesive, but it was even weaker than what 3M already manufactured.  It stuck to objects, but could easily be lifted off.   It was super weak instead of super strong. 

No one knew what to do with the stuff, but Silver didn’t discard it.  Then one Sunday four years later, another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry was singing in the church’s choir.  He used markers to keep his place in the hymnal, but they kept falling out of the book.  Remembering Silver’s adhesive, Fry used some to coat his markers.  Success!  With the weak adhesive, the markers stayed in place, yet lifted off without damaging the pages.  3M began distributing Post-it ® Notes nationwide in 1980 — ten years after Silver developed the super weak adhesive.  Today they are one of the most popular office products available.


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