Category Archives: Creative thinking

What prevents people from celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21?

Even though the WCID April 21 celebration is relatively new, it’s growing, and people are learning about it now that it is a United Nations Day of Observance.

Do you think that feeling self-conscious may prevent people from celebrating their capacity to generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes to make the world a better place and make their place in the world better too?
Think about it.

When it comes to creativity, many say they want to make sure they get it ‘right’ as if there is an external measure to meet, as if there is a perfection standard they must attain. There isn’t. Not where creativity is involved.*

Creativity is a natural process that results from a restlessness to change or improve the status quo. (Segal, 2001). We all feel that restlessness from time to time. We engage in new and different activities, use new patterns of thinking, perceive with new eyes, and/or seek new experiences. We might structure things differently, relate to others in new ways as a result.  Examples:  rearrange furniture; modify a recipe; take a new route to school; eat breakfast for dinner; hold meetings in a different location; invite unusual suspects to participate in the planning process.

Margaret Mead

Each these could be considered creative.  American Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “In as much as someone has done something new for himself, he can be considered to have committed a creative act.” To which I like to add – whether other people consider it creative or not.

Backward Clock

Moving forward There’s no turning back the clock. We moved forward. We are creating the future with today’s resources and ideas. The World Economic Forum predicts creativity to be one of the top three skills employees will need by 2020. Yes, we moved on.

Creativity is one of our resources. By celebrating it every year April 21 and during the week leading up to it beginning on Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15 we prepare for the future.

Thought catalysts For your WCID this year, and for every year moving forward consider these thought catalysts

  • What is in your environment that can do with some improving?
    Improve it.
  • What ordinary activity might you make more fun?
    Make it more fun.
  • What efficiencies might you bring to a process? Bring them.

New ideas need a soft place to land. Remember there is balance in the universe.  Every idea influences a reaction. Giving new ideas a soft place to land will be the focus of a future blog post.

Confusion about creativity The term creative can be confusing. Insert the term before each of the following as an example:  economies, industries, advertising, agencies, media, digital, technology, sports plays, arts, commons, market, writing, images, resumes, ideas, photography, dance, quotes. In each instance, there’s a slightly different meaning.

A practical approach  For our purposes, to enable everyone to celebrate WCID and WCIW here’s the understanding used:  Generating new ideas, making new decisions, taking new actions and achieving new outcomes that make the world a better place and make your place in the world better too.

Remember to upload your WCID2018 and WCIW2018 actions to share with the world.


Segal, Marci (2001) Creativity and Personality Type: Tools for understanding and inspiring the many voices of creativity. Huntington Beach: Telos Publications.

The Story of How World Creativity and Innovation Day became a UN Day of Observance in video

Greetings all,

Happy to share this video with you – it’s the 15-minute Ted-like speech I gave in Buffalo this past fall at the Creativity Expert Exchange in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Center for Studies in Creativity, my alma mater.

The founding of WCID is shared, as is the tale of how the day became a United Nations Day of Observance and why that is important. Spoiler alert: it’s centered on using creativity in problem-solving especially with regard to meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Imagine applying creative thinking and creative evaluation to assess and address the challenges  – to find solutions that work.

How World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 became a UN International Day of Observance from Marci Segal on Vimeo.

Now scroll further for information on the Global Goals Interconnectedness and see what you can do to help meet any of the goals by reviewing the Global Goals List that follows.

With thanks to Nicolette Wever

The Global Goals are Interconnected

The goals’ interconnectedness and influences are spelled out in a paper Water, Peace and Global Security: Canada’s Place in a Changing World, delivered by R.W. Sandford, EPCOR Chair, Water and Climate Security, United Nations University, Institute for Water, Environment & Health at the University of Victoria, British Columbia Jan 23, 2018.

See Global Goals list below*

“All 17 of the UN’s 2030 Transforming Our World global sustainable development goals can be achieved by realizing the link between water security, climate stability and human and planetary health.
Water security means clean water and sanitation for all. It also means managing water on a basin scale which means protecting aquatic ecosystems which improve life on land and life below water which leads to improvements in agriculture which will help end hunger; which also helps to end poverty.

Managing water in a manner that will help end hunger and poverty, however, cannot be achieved without industry innovation and infrastructure; but innovation and infrastructure development cannot come into existence without quality education which demands gender equity which in itself leads to reduced inequality.
Quality education, gender equity, and reduced inequality lead to economic growth. It is only through economic stability that we will be able to make a smooth transition to affordable and clean energy for all which is a critical step toward climate action. Climate action will help restore planetary health thereby contributing to better physical and mental health and well-being for all.

Improved human health and well-being allows an ever more crowded world to react more proactively and be more resilient to growing public health threats like epidemic outbreaks which, in tandem with climate action will reduce the specter of large-scale forced human migration. This, in itself, will lead to peace and justice and strong institutions. Such institutions are necessary to guide humanity toward responsible production and consumption. It is only through strong institutions, responsible production and consumption, clean water, sanitation and climate action can we have sustainable cities and communities.

Making and acting upon the link between water security, climate stability and human and planetary health will demand the creation of the new kinds of partnerships that are necessary if we are to achieve all 17 of these global goals simultaneously. The building of such partnerships will build trust which will contribute to state and military security globally.”

*Global Goals List

1. No Poverty

This goal, which seeks to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The UN defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.50 a day. Perhaps most importantly, this goal includes measures to protect those who have had to leave their homes and countries as a result of conflict.

2. No Hunger
The UN seeks to both improve the access that the world’s poorest have to food, and the ways in which that food is produced.

3. Good Health and Well-being
This goal focuses on continuing to reduce child mortality, the health of mothers, and combating other diseases.

4. Quality Education
Improving worldwide access to education is a top priority. It calls for free education through high school, rather than limiting it to primary school only.

5. Gender Equality
This goal advocates for the elimination of violence and discrimination against women. It also calls on countries to improve women’s social and economic standing.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation
The UN reports that by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water. This goal aims to improve sanitation and hygiene practices, including access to fresh water, in developing nations by 2030.

7. Affordable and Clean Energy
This goal seeks to broaden both the development and use of renewable energies by 2030, the next deadline date for achieving these goals.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
The UN is interested in both the creation of new jobs, and the development of those jobs that are sustainable enough to lift employees out of poverty. According to UN estimates, “roughly 470 million jobs are needed globally for new entrants to the labor market between 2016 and 2030.”

9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
This goal focuses primarily on the building of roads, rail systems, and telecommunications networks in the developing world.

10. Reduce Inequalities
This goal aims at reducing the inequalities in income distribution among the most marginalized populations in the world, both within developed and developing nations. The UN estimates that “a significant majority of households in developing countries – more than 75 percent of the population – are living today in societies where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s.”

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
With urban populations on the rise over the past decade, the world is on a hunt for ways to house, feed, and employ that burgeoning population. This goal seeks to tackle that problem by reducing the number of people who live in slums by 2030. It also aims to reduce the pollution output coming from those urban centers.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production
This goal, a continuation of Goal 6, seeks to improve the access that people in developing countries have to food and clean water, while at the same time improving how food is produced on a global scale. It also aims to address the global obesity crisis.

13. Climate Action
The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals looks at quickly and efficiently reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in both developed and developing nations.

14. “Life Below Water”
The UN is interested in sustainable fishing practices and protecting marine life. They estimate that nearly “40 percent of the world oceans are heavily affected by human activities, including pollution, depleted fisheries, and loss of coastal habitats.”

15. Life on Land
The UN is also interested in protecting creatures on land, with an emphasis on reducing deforestation and desertification.

16. “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions”
A goal that envisions fair and free elections, as well as governmental accountability at every level. The UN estimates that “corruption, bribery, theft, and tax evasion cost some US $1.26 trillion for developing countries per year.”

17. Partnerships For the Goals
In keeping with practices established with the 2000 Millennium Development Goals, the UN continues to envision a global framework of support to make sure that its goals are realized.
Adapted from: https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Global-News/2015/0926/UN-s-17-global-goals-What-s-on-the-list
See what you can do. Release human potential for a purpose.

Cheers!
Marci

What can you do for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21?

Start an imagination practice.

George Land‘s 2011 TEDx talk came across my Facebook feed today. I will always remember the class he guest taught.
George asked us, undergrads at the International Center for Studies in Creativity, to practice using divergent thinking. Even though we already knew how – he took our capabilities far further.
“Write down 5 of your strengths,” he said, “then draw a line.” After we finished, he said, “Now do it again.” This exercise went on for an hour and 40 minutes. Five strengths and a line, five strengths and a line. It was grueling.
By the end of that class, I realized I had strengths that I never knew about – like having brown hair, or breathing, and being able to laugh and cry. My perceptions and appreciation of strengths forever changed that day.
In school we practiced using our imaginations on a regular basis; we’d learned techniques by which to stretch and then focus thinking to make something of it. When I saw George’s TEDx talk, I was reminded of that.
I was also reminded that not everyone has the same experience using their imaginations; many may uncomfortable or shy away from using their imaging capabilities. Think that might be you?
if so, what if you began an imagination practice for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 as George suggests at the end of his talk, to bring out your latent genius. Then, with practice, you can apply using your imagination on challenges to create new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes.
Seriously, watch this video all the way through. George gives basics behind what we all need to be capable of to create the world of tomorrow and to align with and meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals – to use creativity in problem-solving to make the world a better place and to make our place in the world better too.
Spoiler alert: George is going to mention the accelerator and the brake. Watch out for that.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfKMq-rYtnc&feature=share
Want an imagination practice buddy? Why not? Take George’s advice at the end of this video, ask a friend to help generate other similar kinds of exercise and see what you accomplish. It’ll be good for your brain, good for your body, good for your future.

Creativity Crisis 2017

 

Dr. Kim’s 2017 research on the creativity crisis is presented as a think piece for you, to help prep for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21.

Join me in spreading the creative spirit, knowledge about it,  opportunities for it, and ways to use it to help create a decent life for all on a sustainable planet. WCID2018.

New ideas, new decisions, new actions, new outcomes to make the world a better place and to make your place in the world better too.

Here’s the Research
The Creativity Crisis: It’s Getting Worse

Children are born to be creative, like eagles are born to soar, see the world, and find food, not scratch and fight for scraps in a coop. Instead of competing against each other on memorization tests, when children utilize their creativity to its full potential, creativity can contribute to healthy lives and future careers.

How High-Stakes Testing Has Caused Exam Hell in Asia

High-stakes testing has shaped the main Asian cultural values: 1) filial piety (e.g., to be a good son or daughter by achieving high scores), 2) social conformity (e.g., to think and act like others); and 3) social hierarchy (e.g., to obey the authority). High-stakes testing has made millions of young men focus on preparing for tests, instead of challenging the social hierarchy. It has resulted in exam hell, the excessive rote memorization, and private tutoring, starting in early childhood, to achieve high scores among students in Asia. This situation has fostered social conformity and structural inequalities. It has cost Asians their individuality and creativity.

How High-Stakes Testing Has Caused The Creativity Crisis in the U.S.

During the 1990s, American politicians, fearing the educational and economic success of Asia, began to focus on test-taking skills to emulate Asian success. Today, high-stakes testing costs American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars each year, but the real cost is much higher

Highly-selective university and graduate school admission procedures rely on high-stakes tests such as the ACT and the SAT. Testing companies and test-preparation companies have reaped enormous financial benefits and lobby Congres heavily for more testing. However, because students’ scores are highly correlated with both students’ family income and spending on test preparations, high-stakes testing has solidified structural inequalities and socioeconomic barriers for low-income families.

American Education Before and After the 1990s

Creativity is making something unique and useful and often produces innovation. Prior to the 1990s, American education cultivated, inspired, and encouraged. However, since the 1990s:

  • Losing curiosities and passions. Because of the incentives or sanctions on schools and teachers based on students’ test scores, schools have turned to rote lecturing to teach all tested material and spent time teaching specific test-taking skills. Students memorize information without opportunities for application. This approach stifles natural curiosities, the joy of learning, and exploring topics that might lead to their passions.
  • Narrowing visions. Making test scores as the measure of success fosters students’ competition and narrows their goals, such as getting rich, while decreasing their empathy and compassion for those in need. However, the greatest innovators in history were inspired by big visions such as changing the world. Their big visions helped their minds transcend the concrete constraints or limitations and recognize patterns or relationships among the unrelated.

Prior to the 1990s, many schools had high expectations and offered many challenges. However, since the 1990s:

  • Lowering expectations. Schools focus on students whose scores are just below passing score and ignore high-achieving students.
  • Avoiding risk-taking. High-stakes testing teaches students to avoid taking risks for fear of being wrong. The willingness to accept failure is essential for creativity.
  • Prior to the 1990s, educators sought to provide students with diverse experiences and views. However, since the 1990s:
  • Avoiding collaboration. Because teachers have been compelled to depend on rote lecturing, students have few opportunities for group work or discussions to learn and collaborate with others.
  • Narrowing minds. Schools have decreased or eliminated instruction time on non-tested subjects such as social studies, science, physical education, arts, and foreign languages. This contraction not only narrows students’ minds but gives them few opportunities for finding or expressing their individuality and cross-pollination across different subjects or fields. Low-income area schools, especially, have decreased time on non-tested subjects to spend more time on test preparations.

Prior to the 1990s, schools provided children with the freedom to think alone and differently. However, since the 1990s:

  • Losing imagination and deep thought. Test-centric education has reduced children’s playtime, which stifles imagination. With pressure to cover large amounts of tested material, teachers overfeed students with information, leaving students little time to think or explore concepts in depth.
  • Fostering conformity. American education has increasingly fostered conformity, clipping eagles’ wings of individuality (All schools preparing students for the same tests and all students taking the same tests). It has stifled uniqueness and originality in both educators and students. Wing-clipped eagles cannot do what they were born to do – fly; individuality-clipped children cannot do what they were born to do – fulfill their creative potential.
  • Fostering hierarchy. Students’ low scores are often due to structural inequalities, which start in early childhood (e.g., the number of words exposed to by age 3), affecting their later academic achievement. Yet, high-stakes testing has determined the deservingness and un-deservingness of passers or failers. The claim of “meritocracy” has disguised the structural inequalities by conditioning disadvantaged students to blame themselves for their lack of effort.
Results of The 2017 Creativity Crisis Study

In “The Creativity Crisis (2011)” I reported that American creativity declined from the 1990s to 2008. Since 2008, my research reveals that the Creativity Crisis has grown worse. In addition, the results also reveal that the youngest age groups (5 and 6-year-olds) suffered the greatest.

The significant declines in outbox thinking skills (fluid and original thinking) indicate that Americans generate not only fewer ideas or solutions to open-ended questions or challenges, but also fewer unusual or unique ideas than those in preceding decades (Figure 1).

The significant declines in new box thinking skills (elaboration and simplicity) indicate that Americans think less in depth, with less focus, and they think less critically and in more black-and-white terms than those in preceding decades (Figure 2).
The significant decline in open-mindedness (creative attitude) indicates that Americans are less open to new experiences and different people, ideas, and views than those in preceding decades (Figure 3).

The greatest declines in creativity among the youngest age groups suggest that the younger children are, the more they are harmed by American test-centric education.

Similarities between American high-stakes testing and Asian exam hell have appeared. Increasingly, fewer American innovators will emerge. The longer test-centric education continues, the fewer will remember or know that eagles can fly, and the more we will see creativity and innovation decline. America must not abandon its traditional way of raising eagles. Eagles that soar high will see the whole big world, and children who maximize their potential will become world’s greatest innovators. The world has improved from breakthroughs made by eagles, not by wing-clipped chicks.

Dr. Kim is Professor of Creativity and Innovation at the College of William & Mary (kkim@wm.edu or Tweet @Kreativity_Kim). https://www.ideatovalue.com/crea/khkim/2017/04/creativity-crisis-getting-worse/

Let's unite in our creativeness April 15-21. 

With so much divisiveness in our world now, wouldn’t be nice if we could transcend our differences and unite in our creativeness if only for one week every year? This year?

We all possess a potential for the future; we are pregnant with the possibilities for tomorrow.  Wouldn’t it be cool to see in everyone the contribution they can make and give them the chance, the support, the encouragement to release their creative spirit, even if only for one week every year? This year?
Wouldn’t it be cool to see in everyone the contribution they can make and give them the chance, the support, the encouragement to release their creative spirit, even if only for one week every year? This year?
Yes, everyone.
Imagine
Imagine if leaders discussing important issues we spurred during this one week to say “It’s World Creativity and Innovation Week, so let’s put on our creative thinking caps to see what else we can consider, and the let us share our brand new thinking with our stakeholders and other interested parties.”
When the intended and other audiences hear the new thinking they respond by using an Angel’s Advocate approach, saying:

  1. What they like about it (even if they don’t – to stretch their thinking)
  2. What some future potentials might be (even if they don’t like the idea – to stretch their thinking)
  3. Their objections and concerns
  4. And then dialogue together with the idea proposers of ways to overcome obstacles, to change and/or strengthen, and/or replace the idea.

What if during this one week
…School children all over the world were given the same challenge to solve? Wouldn’t it be fascinating to see their unique solutions?
…Municipalities, states, provinces, counties, industries, associations all recognized creative achievements and supported their constituents and members in learning more and exploring their own creativeness?
We all have a capacity to generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and create new outcomes in whatever field we are in, such as dentistry, architecture, culinary, stone masonry, dance, driving truck, forecasting, teaching, you name it. Creativity occurs in the arts and beyond.
Wouldn’t it be cool to unite in our shared creativeness for one week every year?
That week exists. It’s called World Creativity and Innovation Week (wciw).
It begins on Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15, and continues through to World Creativity and Innovation Day April 21, since 2001.
Please join in; unite in celebrating our creativeness.
Share your unique way of doing so here.
————————–
The photos are from a WCIW event last year in Canmore, Alberta, Canada held at artsPlace. Butcher block paper was put on that wall and visitors were invited to ‘give a hand to Canmore’.  Each traced his/her hand on the paper using markers and filled the space with a wish for the future. The children particularly enjoyed this, as you can see in the selected photos.

Become more comfortable with change during WCIW2017

Change is uncomfortable, and change is all around.
WCIW was created to  open the door to help people actualize, use, their natural creativity  (for example combining two things which haven’t been mixed together before [in any field, not limited to art]). Creativity by nature, involves change, different, new.
Sometimes we have the opportunity to remain with the familiar; sometimes not.  With so much change on the horizon, wouldn’t it be great to become more comfortable with its discomfort?


One way to become comfortable with change is to initiate it, to do something differently than the norm.  We began a new diet in our house recently and with it came complaints, confusion, and curiosities about ways to make it work. Adapting to change is part of the creative process – and it takes energy.
If you are looking for a project for WCIW2017, consider challenging or changing one of your long time habits.  Perhaps find a new way to get to work, or express affection to someone in a different way.  Each of these counts as partner celebrations for WCIW.
This poem, by Sam Walter Foss was written in 1895. It shows how conformity and habits can be incrementally built.  Read it out loud.  Take note of the connections you make to your life and the habits you might have built up over the years.
calfpath
One day through the primeval wood
A calf walked home as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail as all calves do.
Since then three hundred years have fled,
And I infer the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And there by hangs my moral tale.
The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the train o’er hill and glade
Through those old woods a path was made.
And many men wound in and out
And dodged and turned and bent about
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed – do not laugh-
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding woodway stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.
The forest path became a lane
That bent and turned and turned again;
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.
The years passed on in swiftness fleet,
The road became a village street;
And thus, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare.
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.
Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed this zigzag calf about
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way,
And lost one hundred years a day;
For thus such reverence is lent
To well established precedent.
change-300x201
Inspiration for this post came by randomly re-reading pages  77-81 of The Magic of Your Mind by Sidney J. Parnes, Bearly Limited, 1981.  Sid was my professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity where I began studying in 1977.

Creative Academic's Contributions to #WCIW

World Creativity and Innovation Week  starts tomorrow. It sets out to encourage people and organisations to use their creativity to make the world a better and more interesting place.
WCIW draws attention to society’s fundamental need for new ideas, new decisions and new actions and the fundamental right of human beings to have freedom to express their fundamental urge to  create.
So the question for higher education is, ‘what are we doing to support this value that should underpin the education we provide?’
posterCreative Academic’s contribution has been to devote an issue of our magazine to exploring the idea of ‘Creativity in Development, Achievement & Innovation’. While innovation is the buzz word of political and business leaders, development is the unsung hero as it embodies all the effort and ingenuity that connects our ideas with our innovations and achievements. The magazine is free to download at  http://www.creativeacademic.uk/magazine.html
To raise awareness of the importance of students’ creative development Creative Academic is hosting a week long social learning event beginning on April 17th on the #creativeHE Google+ platform which we are calling ‘Imagineering in Higher Education’. All you need is a bit of imagination to join in and it would be great if you could participate in the conversation and share your own experiences and perspectives. To join the community discussion please click on this link. https://plus.google.com/communities/110898703741307769041
Creative Academic is a social enterprise whose purpose is to encourage higher education to value students’ creative development as much as their academic development.
http://www.creativeacademic.uk/
Post submitted by Norman Jackson, Creative Academic, April 14, 2016.