Guy Claxton

(17 Jun 2008)
Professor Guy Claxton is one of the UK's foremost thinkers on creativity, learning and the brain in both business and education. John Cleese called Guy's 1997 book Hare Brain, Tortoise Mind: Why Intelligence Increases When You Think Less 'THE essential guide to creativity', and prompted him to say, of Guy Claxton's thinking, in an interview in Newsweek, 'Just occasionally I get the feeling that somebody has said something important.' Hare Brain has formed the basis of Cleese's keynotes to business conventions worldwide.

Guy Claxton's recent varied speaking engagements in the business world include a 'masterclass' on intuition and creativity to partners at PriceWaterhouseCooper, a workshop on creativity for senior product developers at Sainsbury's (in which 'sour-milk cookies' were invented), and a presentation to the main board of the UK Highways Agency. In September 2002 he gave the inaugural speech at the opening of the new Learning Centre at HM Treasury. He has been invited to teach at the London, Lancaster and Open University Business Schools. Guy is academic adviser to The Mind Gym, inventors of 'bite-size learning at work', whose Managing Director, Octavius Black, says: 'It is too early to tell if Guy Claxton is the Mikhail Gorbachev or the Bill Gates of the learning revolution - what is for certain is that his insights provide a blueprint for a radical re-think about how we help people learn more effectively.'

Guy Claxton's practical work on 'building learning power' in schools, colleges and workplaces is transforming our approach to education. Sir Christopher Ball, first Director of Learning at the Royal Society of Arts, said of Guy's 2002 book Building Learning Power: 'With this powerful, practical and timely book, 'learning to learn' finally comes of age. 21st century education has to develop lifelong learners, and Guy Claxton shows us how to do it.' Dr Christopher Brookes, Chief Executive of The Lifelong Learning Foundation, said: 'Guy Claxton's thinking, and the applications that flow from it represent, for policy-makers, practitioners and learners alike, one of the richest and most valuable sources of innovation and creativity in British education.' Recent speeches to the National Association of Head Teachers, and consultancy with the Innovation Unit at the DfES, have had major impact on their thinking. The science behind 'building learning power' is in Guy's book Wise Up, which then head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority Professor David Hargreaves said was 'the best book I've read in 30 years.'

Guy Claxton is much in demand internationally. He was an invited speaker at the massive 11th International Conference on Thinking in Phoenix Arizona, alongside Edward de Bono, Peter Senge and Arie de Geus. He has already been booked for the 12th conference in Melbourne in 2005, as well as for large events in Stockholm, Singapore, Hong Kong and Christchurch, New Zealand. In 2002 he addressed the OECD on 'Creativity and the brain' in Granada, Spain, as was an invited member of Baroness Susan Greenfield's commission on creativity at the Royal Institution.

His speaking style is powerful, passionate and entertaining. A delegate at the London Business School wondered; 'does Victoria Wood write his scripts?' Julie Fisher, head of young children's education in Oxfordshire, said: 'Guy Claxton is an inspiration. If you have never heard him speak, you have missed out.' Dr Patrick Hazelwood, head of the first UK school to dare to chuck out bits of the National curriculum, called Guy 'a powerful speaker, blending practical thinking with crystal clear insight.'

Guy Claxton is Visiting Professor of Learning Science at the University of Bristol, where he directs the research initiative on 'culture and learning in organisation' (CLIO). He has a 'double first' from Cambridge in Natural Sciences, and a doctorate from Oxford for his work on the organisation of the mind. He is the author and editor of 20 books on learning and creativity, and has appeared frequently on TV (for example, talking to Gary Lineker about how inverting goggles affected his ball skills). He has written for publications as varied as The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, New Scientist and Reader's Digest, and Red and Arena. A new book, Switch on your Creativity, written jointly with Power Up Your Mind author Bill Lucas, will be published in 2004. Guy Claxton lives in Devon.
Topic Areas

• soft thinking for the hard-nosed;
• the innovative mind: when it's smart to stop thinking.
• creativity and the brain;
• developing creativity;
• the scientically proven power of intuition;
• the role of intuition is business management and decision-making;
• the science of imagination; Learning to Learn:
• building learning power: how to help people become better learners - beyond hints and tips (for both educational and business audiences).
The Unconscious:
• old history and new science

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