It happens to anyone totally absorbed in what they are doing, whether surgeon, artist or rock climber. Concentration and interest become so great that they lose all sense of time and enter a new level of consciousness. It is at this moment, some psychologists believe, that creativity happens. For creativity to ignite, challenge and skill must be carefully balanced, according to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's 'flow' theory of innovation and discovery. If the challenge surpasses the skill, the rock climber will lose nerve and fail - or fall. If there is no challenge, the result is boredom. The same, apparently, goes for students, said British Council assistant director David Foster, who has organised Go Creative, a new exhibition and education project now under way. 'Most people exist in the boredom zone, where they have too much skill but not enough challenge,' he said. Hong Kong is striving to make its schools less boring and turn them into places where creativity thrives. But many did not understand what being creative was, often confusing it with artistic, said Mr Foster. While few parents see a financially viable future in their children becoming artists, being creative should be regarded as essential for career success and for the future of Hong Kong. This weekend, and over the coming weeks, the council sets out first to help families and then to help teachers explore the nature of creativity. On Thursday, it unveiled Go Creative at Festival Walk, Kowloon Tong. The exhibition runs until tomorrow there, before moving to the British Council in Admiralty, where it will run for a month. Targeting nine- to 14-year-olds, it explores three elements demonstrating the nature and power of creativity. 'Flow' explains the creative process, including Csikszentmihalyi's flow theory and the lateral thinking required for innovation. 'Stuff' illustrates it with examples of inventions, from a wind-up radio to a Teletubby. 'Wow' allows participants to test and experience creativity by experimenting with music and colour. The exhibition is a taster of a wider education project. From Monday, schools will be invited to visit Go Creative, and from March, teachers' workshops will be conducted by UK specialists in creativity in education. Tim Howard, a training consultant and former chief education officer of the borough of Walsall in the UK, is on the team. The key to creativity, he said, was to stimulate both left and right brain activity. 'Much of formal education and learning is left-brain stuff, where language, logic, organisational functions and maths are based,' he said. 'But the right brain is where the softer capacities lie, like imagination, creativity and artistic abilities. 'Everyone has creative capabilities. The trick is to use the right tools and techniques to stimulate them. Creative learning is about making moments when things go 'ping'. It is thrilling when that happens, but it does not happen as often as it should.' Physical factors such as healthy diet and a stress-free learning environment were important conditions for creativity. Psychological exercises, such as visualisation, could help stimulate it. Teachers should also adapt to the different learning styles of their students. Some learn best by doing, some by listening and some by seeing, said Mr Howard. 'Accelerated learning' techniques to be taught in the workshops enable teachers to identify which modes of learning suit individual students. Creativity was also limited by paradigms, our viewpoint of the world around us, Mr Howard said. 'Once we have constructed how we see the world we tend to behave within that structure,' he said. The Go Creative team will work with the Education Department to fit the project to local teachers' needs. In the workshops, up to 30 teachers will find out how to show students to be more creative. They will then be expected to be 'ambassadors' to spread the word to other teachers attending a closing symposium. Finally, Go Creative will become a resource for any teacher, via the Education Department's Web site, EducationCity. Mr Foster is also planning to take the project to Beijing and Shanghai. 'Creativity is important for development and growth. Emphasis is now placed on people who can be creative in the workplace. But it is also fun, allowing people to think out of the box, break down barriers and do things in an unusual way,' he said. Mr Foster raised funds for Go Creative from the Foreign Office Challenge Fund for good ideas. 'From the point of view of parents, we hope the exhibition will spark ideas that they can talk with their kids about,' he said. According to the flow theory, creative thinking often happens on the fringes of our experiences, for example when we are walking home or having a bath. For this reason, schools should provide more fringe environments for children, beyond the traditional classroom experience. 'The challenge of making schools more creative is one shared by Hong Kong and the United Kingdom,' said Mr Foster. 'So many good ideas are required in order for a society to compete. But where those ideas come from starts very young.'