The Creative Spark

Creativity — the process of having original ideas that have value

Sir Keith Robinson

Recently I sat down with my wife to watch yet another fascinating talk on TED. Afterward, we tried to remember an anecdote about a little girl drawing a picture of God from an old TED talk by Sir Keith Robinson. Inevitably, we had to re-watch it — and what a great idea that was!

Education is obviously at core of what we’re about here at LITFL. When I think back to all the incredibly talented people I know from medical school, I can’t help think that what we’ve been through may have poured more than a few drops of water on our collective sparks of creativity. Most of us are probably still a bit damp.

Obviously, to get into medical school in the first place you have to be among the education system’s “winners”. But we may have lost something along the way. Does our entire system of education kill creativity? This is what Sir Keith Robinson, one of the world’s most entertaining speakers, asks in his brilliant, hilarious talk.

Oh, you haven’t seen it? Perhaps you’ve just got back from the UCEM World Tour’s visit to Ulaanbataar? In which case you’re forgiven — but you must make amends by watching the video now:


You might argue that retaining creativity is not nearly as important for a physician or scientist as it is for an artist or muscian.

You’d be wrong.

As physicians we encounter a misty maze of countless new situations and new problems every day. The spark of creativity can help us by lighting the way forward. All the more impressive, are the physicians who have not only retained the spark, but have fanned it into a glowing flame, despite the ever-present restraints of physical reality and suffocating bureaucracy. Such people show us all the way forward.

Lets keep on fanning the flames.

Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also the Innovation Lead for the Australian Centre for Health Innovation at Alfred Health and Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of two amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

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