Between the comics, the cartoon, and the somewhat questionable film to be potentially released in 2019, Captain Planet is a known and beloved character. Many a child’s Saturdays were made watching the heroic exploits and Planet and his posse, in one of the most wholesome shows of the 90’s.
Yet these wholesome adventures are largely forgotten as these children grow older – after all, what teen admits to still watching Captain Planet? By the time of adulthood, the edutainment of the Avatar lookalike are almost entirely wiped from memory – which is unfortunate, because this is exactly when he becomes useful again. After all, with his helpful and empathetic nature, how could Captain Planet not show us peak creative facilitation skills? He was preparing us for our careers this whole time – we just didn’t know it.
But wipe the tears from your eyes, old friend. Captain Planet wouldn’t want you to suffer. He’d want you to learn.
#1 Captain Planet was a Team Player
Only being able to hang out with people when you’re summoned to stop people destroying the Earth logically must suck. There’s no chill time – just fighting evil and then ceasing to exist. Even the coolest of transformation montages doesn’t make up for that.
Despite all this, Captain Planet is basically the original team player. And it shows, too – nobody is trusted more in that team than their big blue boss. While safe spaces work for many workplaces, knowing that somebody has your back if you need it goes a long way too. Okay, so sacrificing your mortal form is maybe a step too far – but there’s definitely a lesson in cooperation here. In terms of being a creative facilitator, it’s a solid example of how understanding a team is crucial to helping them. This said, it also works on much more general terms. There’s always jobs that nobody wants to do, and although these should never all be taken by one person, picking up one or two is sure to establish you as a hero of the team.
#2 Captain Planet was Impartial
Okay, so there’s one small condition to add to this; Captain Planet was impartial, so long as you weren’t straight up evil. But aside from that, a less partial individual could not be found. There’s a reason his team span the globe and that’s because Captain Planet doesn’t mess around with regional bias. He’s good like that.
So how does this make him a good creative facilitator?
Well, firstly, it means the best people are picked to keep the rings. Their backgrounds don’t matter – just that they’re the best possible for the role. Although this is a helpful lesson in picking out people for a project, it’s also a helpful reminder to not get used to a style of prose or art, but to apply whatever works best for the project itself. As much as empathy is important, it’s also key to not let anyone’s personal preferences intrude where they shouldn’t be. It’s a huge challenge that any creative facilitator faces- letting their client use their imaginative talents, without going too far.
#3 Captain Planet was Exciting
Did…did anyone ever figure out what Captain Planet actually was? The spirit of our planet? Some sort of recycling-loving demi-god? Secret uber creative facilitator gone rogue to save the environment?
…Anyway. The mystique of our blue hero plays a decent role in his memorable nature. No character – in or out of cartoons – has ever looked quite like Captain Planet, which makes him both unique as they come, and also a splendid lesson in design thinking. While not every design can be improved by dyeing it blue and hoping for the best, most can be by trying to create something that looks different to the rest of your industry. Or just dyeing it blue – whatever works for you, really. Few creative facilitators teach you lessons from their face – but it’s not surprising that Captain Planet does.