Category Archives: Futures

Our Creativeness is Needed. Ten Billion people predicted to be alive on our planet in 2050.

Greetings all.

This TED talk appeared in my feed the other day and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Please watch it. Pay attention to the phrase petrie dish and outbreak. Why? Because I feel a broader scope to life on our planet is provided here.

The 15 minutes you invest may provide profound insights into new decisions that can be made to make a difference.

More reason to prepare for World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 and Week April 15-21, 2019 and to use that time and the days, weeks and months leading up to it, practicing and strengthening your confidence in generating new ideas, making new decisions taking new actions and achieving new outcomes.

See what you can do.

Care to share your thoughts?

The Transcript – courtesy of Robin Slater

How will we survive when the population hits 10 billion?
By 2050, an estimated 10 billion people will live on earth. How are we going to provide everybody with basic needs while also avoiding the worst impacts of climate change? In a talk packed with wit and wisdom, science journalist Charles C. Mann breaks down the proposed solutions and finds that the answers fall into two camps — wizards and prophets — while offering his own take on the best path to survival.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Charles C. Mann · Science journalist
Charles C. Mann calls himself “a fella who tries to find out interesting things and tell others about them.”
Charles C. Mann at TED2018
How will we survive when the population hits 10 billion?

How are we doing? No, no, no, by that, I meant, how are we, homo sapiens “we” …

00:05 (Laughter) 00:06 doing as a species? 00:08 (Laughter)

00:09 Now the typical way to answer that question is this. You choose some measure of human physical well-being: average longevity, average calories per day, average income, overall population, that sort of thing, and draw a graph of its value over time. In almost every case, you get the same result. The line skitters along at a low level for millennia, then rockets up exponentially in the 19th and 20th century. Or choose a measure of consumption: consumption of energy, consumption of fresh water, consumption of the world’s photosynthesis, and draw a graph of its value over time. In the same way, the line skitters along at a low level for millennia, then rockets up exponentially in the 19th and 20th century.

00:50 Biologists have a word for this: outbreak. An outbreak is when a population or species exceeds the bounds of natural selection. Natural selection ordinarily keeps populations and species within roughly defined limits. Pests, parasites, lack of resources prevent them from expanding too much. But every now and then, a species escapes its bounds. Crown-of-thorns starfish in the Indian Ocean, zebra mussels in the Great Lakes, spruce budworm here in Canada. Populations explode, a hundredfold, a thousandfold, a millionfold. So here’s a fundamental lesson from biology: outbreaks in nature don’t end well.

01:28 (Laughter)

01:29 Put a couple of protozoa into a petri dish full of nutrient goo. In their natural habitat, soil or water, their environment constrains them. In the petri dish, they have an ocean of breakfast and no natural enemies. They eat and reproduce, eat and reproduce, until bang, they hit the edge of the petri dish, at which point they either drown in their own waste, starve from lack of resources, or both. The outbreak ends, always, badly.

01:54 Now, from the viewpoint of biology, you and I are not fundamentally different than the protozoa in the petri dish. We’re not special. All the things that we, in our vanity, think make us different — art, science, technology, and so forth, they don’t matter. We’re an outbreak species, we’re going to hit the edge of the petri dish, simple as that.

02:16 Well, the obvious question: Is this actually true? Are we in fact doomed to hit the edge of the petri dish? I’d like to set aside this question for a moment and ask you guys another one. If we are going to escape biology, how are we going to do it? In the year 2050, there will be almost 10 billion people in the world, and all of those people will want the things that you and I want: nice cars, nice clothes, nice homes, the odd chunk of Toblerone. I mean, think of it: Toblerone for 10 billion people. How are we going to do this? How are we going to feed everybody, get water to everybody, provide power to everybody, avoid the worst impacts of climate change?

02:53 I’m a science journalist, and I’ve been asking these questions to researchers for years, and in my experience, their answers fall into two broad categories, which I call “wizards” and “prophets.” Wizards, techno-whizzes, believe that science and technology, properly applied, will let us produce our way out of our dilemmas. “Be smart, make more,” they say. “That way, everyone can win.” Prophets believe close to the opposite. They see the world as governed by fundamental ecological processes with limits that we transgress to our peril. “Use less, conserve,” they say. “Otherwise, everybody’s going to lose.” Wizards and prophets have been butting their heads together for decades, but they both believe that technology is key to a successful future. The trouble is, they envision different types of technology and different types of futures.

03:44 Wizards envision a world of glittering, hyperefficient, megacities, surrounded by vast tracts of untouched nature, economies that have transitioned from atoms to bits, dematerialized capitalist societies that no longer depend on exploiting nature. Energy, to wizards, comes from compact nuclear plants; food from low-footprint farms with ultraproductive, genetically modified crops tended by robots; water from high-throughput desalination plants, which means we no longer exploit rivers and aquifers. Wizards envision all 10 billion of us packed into ultra-dense but walkable megacities, an urbanized world of maximum human aspiration and maximum human liberty.

04:24 Now, prophets object to every bit of this. You can’t dematerialize food and water, they point out. They say, you can’t eat bits, and industrial agriculture has already given us massive soil erosion, huge coastal dead zones and ruined soil micro biomes. And you wizards, you want more of this? And those giant desalination plants? You know they generate equally giant piles of toxic salt that are basically impossible to dispose of. And those megacities you like? Can you name me an actually existing megacity that really exists in the world today, except for possibly Tokyo, that isn’t a cesspool of corruption and inequality? Instead, prophets pray for a world of smaller, interconnected communities, closer to the earth, a more agrarian world of maximum human connection and reduced corporate control. More people live in the countryside in this vision, with power provided by neighborhood-scale solar and wind installations that disappear into the background. Prophets don’t generate water from giant desalination plants. They capture it from rainfall, and they reuse and recycle it endlessly. And the food comes from small-scale networks of farms that focus on trees and tubers rather than less productive cereals like wheat and rice.

05:49 Above all, though, prophets envision people changing their habits. They don’t drive to work, they take their renewable-powered train. They don’t take 30-minute hot showers every morning. They eat, you know, like Michael Pollan says, real food, mostly plants, not too much. Above all, prophets say submitting to nature’s restraints leads to a freer, more democratic, healthier way of life.

06:14 Now, wizards regard all this as hooey. They see it as a recipe for narrowness, regression, and global poverty. Prophet-style agriculture, they say, only extends the human footprint and shunts more people into low-wage agricultural labor. Those neighborhood-run solar facilities, they sound great, but they depend on a technology that doesn’t exist yet. They’re a fantasy. And recycling water? It’s a brake on growth and development. Above all, though, wizards object to the prophets’ emphasis on wide-scale social engineering, which they see as deeply anti-democratic.

06:49 If the history of the last two centuries was one of unbridled growth, the history of the coming century may well be the choice we make as a species between these two paths. These are the arguments that will be resolved, in one way or another, by our children’s generation, the generation that will come into the world of 10 billion.

07:07 Now, but wait, by this point, biologists should be rolling their eyes so loud you can barely hear me speak. They should be saying, all of this, wizards, prophets, it’s a pipe dream. It doesn’t matter which illusory path you think you’re taking. Outbreaks in nature don’t end well. I mean, you think the protozoa see the edge of the petri dish approaching and say, “Hey guys, time to change society”? No. They just let her rip. That’s what life does, and we’re part of life. We’ll do the same thing. Deal with it.

07:38 Well, if you’re a follower of Darwin, you have to take this into consideration. I mean, the basic counterargument boils down to: “We’re special.” How lame is that?

07:50 (Laughter)

07:51 I mean, we can accumulate and share knowledge and use it to guide our future. Well, are we actually doing this? Is there any evidence that we’re actually using our accumulated, shared knowledge to guarantee our long-term prosperity? It’s pretty easy to say no.

08:08 If you’re a wizard, and you believe that hyper productive, genetically engineered crops are key to feeding everyone in tomorrow’s world, you have to worry that 20 years of scientists demonstrating that they are safe to consume has failed to convince the public to embrace this technology. If you’re a prophet and you believe that key to solving today’s growing shortage of fresh water is to stop wasting it, you have to worry that cities around the world, in rich places as well as poor, routinely lose a quarter or more of their water to leaky and contaminated pipes. I mean, Cape Town, just a little while ago, almost ran out of water. Cape Town loses a third of its water to leaky pipes. This problem has been getting worse for decades, and remarkably little has been done about it.

08:52 If you’re a wizard, and you think that clean, abundant, carbon-free nuclear power is key to fighting climate change, then you have to worry that the public willingness to build nukes is going down. If you’re a prophet, and you think that the solution to the same problem is these neighborhood-run solar facilities shuttling power back and forth, you have to worry that no nation anywhere in the world has devoted anything like the resources necessary to develop this technology and deploy it in the time that we need it. And if you’re on either side, wizard or prophet, you have to worry that, despite the massive alarm about climate change, the amount of energy generated every year from fossil fuels has gone up by about 30 percent since the beginning of this century.

09:34 So, still think we’re different than the protozoa? Still think we’re special? Actually, it’s even worse than that.

09:44 (Laughter)

09:47 We’re not in the streets. No seriously, if there’s a difference between us and the protozoa, a difference that matters, it’s not just our art and science and technology and so forth — it’s that we can yell and scream, we can go out into the streets, and, over time, change the way society works, but we’re not doing it. Wizards have been arguing literally for decades that nuclear power is key to resolving climate change. But the first pro-nuke march in history occurred less than two years ago, and it was dwarfed by the anti-nuke marches of the past. Prophets have been arguing, again literally for decades, that conservation is key to keeping freshwater supplies without destroying the ecosystems that generate those freshwater supplies. But in the history of humankind, there has never been a street full of angry protesters waving signs about leaky pipes. In fact, most of the political activity in this sphere has been wizards and prophets fighting each other, protesting each other rather than recognizing that they are, fundamentally, on the same side. After all, these people are concerned about the same thing: How are we going to make our way in the world of 10 billion?

10:54 The first step towards generating that necessary social movement, creating that critical mass and getting that yelling and screaming going seems obvious: wizards and prophets join together. But how are you going to do this, given the decades of hostility?

11:07 One way might be this: Each side agrees to accept the fundamental premises of the other. Accept that nuclear power is safe and carbon-free, and that uranium mines can be hideously dirty and that putting large volumes of toxic waste on rickety trains and shuttling them around the countryside is a terrible idea. To me, this leads rather quickly to a vision of small, neighborhood scale, temporary nukes, nuclear power as a bridge technology while we develop and deploy renewables. Or accept that genetically modified crops are safe and that industrial agriculture has caused huge environmental problems. To me, this leads rather quickly to a vision of plant scientists devoting much more of their attention to tree and tuber crops, which can be much more productive than cereals, use much less water than cereals, and cause much less erosion than cereals.

11:59 These are just ideas from a random journalist. I’m sure there’s a hundred better ones right here in this room. The main point is, wizards and prophets working together have many paths to success. And success would mean much more than mere survival, important though that is. I mean, if humankind somehow survives its own outbreak, if we get food to everybody, get water to everybody, get power to everybody, if we avoid the worst effects of climate change, if we somehow safeguard the biome, it would be amazing. It would say, I think, even to a hardened cynic like me, maybe we really are special.

12:35 Thank you. 12:36 (Applause)

Happy World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, 2018

World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, is only one time in the year  during which you are invited to welcome and generate new ideas,  make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes that make the world a better place and make people’s place in the world better too.

Like newly planted seeds, your efforts to make a difference will require nurturing, attention, friendship, patience and eventually, pruning.

 

As the new creative year begins remember the impossible takes just a little bit longer and, you can use creativity in problem solving, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Continue to discuss, showcase and share your learnings and achievements throughout the year and to strengthen your creative thinking, innovation and entrepreneurial skills through learning, practice and application to help you  prepare for your next World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 and Week, April 15-21, 2019

Let’s do our best to create the future we want – a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.

World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21, 2018

Greetings all

Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15, opens a time portal for each and every one planet-wide, to free thinking, to consider new ideas, decisions, actions and outcomes – World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21.

Feel welcome to use your imagination this week and to combine it with your’s and others’ knowledge to:

  • form new relationships
  • establish new standards
  • consider different approaches to meeting challenges
  • learn new information and practice new skills
  • develop fresh insights
  • recall past successes from which to build new platforms
  • generate positive possibilities and potentials for the future
  • go beyond your ‘familiar’ to embrace something ‘strange’ (a new restaurant? a different way to hold meetings?)
  • try new behaviours that align with the values of contributing to creating a decent life for all on a sustainable planet.

As inspiration, take a look at what is happening around the world here and on twitter #wcid2018, #wciw2018, #worldcreativityweek, #wcid and #wciw.

Do what you can in your home, your work, your school, your community, and/or your nation to inspire joy in creating anew. Each time one of us makes a change, we all benefit.

Find a way to give new ideas a soft place to land.

Show the ways you contribute to the emerging story of planet Earth. Upload your World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15-21 and World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 activities here.

Happy World Creativity and Innovation Week, April 15-21! May you safely and effortlessly ride this week’s creative energy to make a helpful difference in your life and the lives of others.

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.

Can one learn to be creative? New Straits Times Malaysia

By HAZLINA AZIZ
January 31, 2018 @ 9:31am

IN the next few years, more than three generations may be working side by side at the workplace. They are the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (also known as millennials) and Generation Z.

Gen Z, who were born after 1995, are beginning to appear in the workplace. By next year, Gen Z is expected to represent more than 20 per cent of the workforce.

Growing up in a world where the Internet, social media and mobile technology have always existed, they will bring their new technology and big ideas with them. It can be a significant challenge to prepare for the clash of these four generations.

Many organisations are still struggling to analyse the challenge that millennials pose in the workplace.

But, how different will Gen Z really be? A digitally innate generation of students, Gen Z have access to more information than the generations before them. Growing up in the age of technology provides them with more outlets and digital tools for exploration and expression.

So, they are said to be more curious, innovative and open-minded than past generations.

While they should be more advanced in searching for information and figuring things out on their own, they also expect everything to be available at any time and with low barriers of access. With Gen Z starting university and the first batch graduating soon, are the schools preparing them for their future? Is higher education ready for them?

A study done by Adobe that provides insight into Malaysian Gen Z students shows that they are feeling unprepared for the problems the “real world” face today, and want greater focus on creativity and hands-on learning in the classroom.

The study, “Gen Z in the Classroom: Creating the Future”, surveyed 250 Gen Z students between the ages of 11 and 17, and 100 teachers in Malaysia.

A similar study was also conducted in five Asia-Pacific (Apac) countries — Australia, India, Thailand, China and Korea. For Malaysia, they found 97 per cent of students and 100 per cent of teachers — the highest rating among five other countries — see creativity as essential to students’ future success.

Malaysian Gen Z students also have mixed emotions when it comes to their future after they finish schools.

According to the study, they feel “excited” and “curious”, but at the same time “nervous” or “worried”. Some are concerned that schools have not properly prepared them for the real world.

They believe that there are a variety of careers that require creativity. Ninety six per cent of students from this study believe their future careers would involve creativity.

Both students and teachers alike agree that Gen Z learn best through hands-on experience and wish that there is more focus on creativity. Students feel that classes focusing on computers and technology hone their creativity and will best prepare them for their future.

Developing creative people is an aim that most in education share; there have been growing calls to nurture and teach creativity from an early age in schools and universities.

The World Economic Forum predicts that creativity will rise from the 10th most sought-after skill in 2015 to the third in 2020.

But, what is creativity? It can seem that creativity is a natural gift for those who are lucky, for instance, great artists, musicians or entrepreneurs. Can one learn to be creative? Can we prime the mind for creative ideas to emerge?

Research has shown that creativity is a skill that can be taught, practised and developed. With imagination, we can be wired to be creative. Creative thinkers in any discipline are those who can tackle complex problems and develop innovative solutions.

Of course, this does not mean that you can teach one to be a genius. The techniques of teaching creativity are not going to turn a student into Einstein or Picasso.

It is more about encouraging day-to-day creative thinking that can make a student, and then later, as an adult, more productive.

Many educators claim to value creativity, but they do not always prioritise it. In some parts of the world, teaching creativity is already a necessary part of an undergraduate experience.

The International Centre for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College in New York is the world’s first university department of its type.

The term “makerspace” in education — probably still new in Malaysia’s education scene — is also the buzzword now to refer to physical spaces that support learning and doing, in a way that redefines traditional schooling. It provides hands-on experiences and encourages creative ways for students to design, experiment, build and invent.

How can creativity be cultivated in the classroom? The way Gen Z students consume and learn today is very different from past generations, hence, educators in Malaysia need to provide the right environment, updated tools and creative outlets to bring out the best in their students and foster innovative problem-solving skills the future workforce will need.

Education systems should focus less on the reproduction of information and more on critical thinking and problem solving. There are multiple solutions to open-ended and complex problems, a situation that the students will face as they pursue future careers.

Encouraging divergent instead of convergent thinking leads to solving problems that do not have one correct answer.

However, it is important to remember that teaching creativity does not mean that we should throw out the textbooks and exams while encouraging children to let their minds wander rather than concentrate in the classroom.

Children should not be given free rein for their imagination to run wild at the cost of understanding a subject. In encouraging creativity, I believe if you want to think outside the box, you must fully understand what is inside the box first.

hazlina@nst.com.my

Hazlina Aziz left her teaching career more than 20 years ago to take on different challenges beyond the conventional classroom. She is NSTP’s education editor for English language content.

https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2018/01/330504/can-one-learn-be-creative

Essence of World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21


Original / Short from Vucko on Vimeo.
Creativity is natural. Allow it.
Give creativity time and space. Freedom.
Give it practice.
Creativity means change. Notice what needs changing.
What can you do about it?
Creativity is not about setting standards for comparison;
it is a doorway for
expression,
exploration,
discovery,
curiosity,
focus,
movement,
stillness,
play.
New ideas, new decisions, new actions. New pair of eyes.
Creativity takes courage to separate, if only for a moment, into a world of imagination, and remix, combine, and/or elevate old ideas to new perspectives, new times, new futures.
Practice, learn, experience and grow from
frustration,
confusion,
curiosity,
clarity,
joy,
laughter,
breakthrough,
insight,
aha.
Creativity is natural. Allow it time and space. Freedom.
Keep fresh your capacity to create and innovate.
Celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week.
April 15-21 every year.
Notice what needs changing.
What can you do about it?
List your activity for #WCIW2017.
Inspire the world.

The Future Needs New Thinking

We can do nothing to change the past, but we have enormous power to shape the future. Once we grasp that essential insight, we recognize our responsibility and capability for building our dreams of tomorrow and avoiding our nightmares.
–Edward Cornish, Futurist
Use World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21  to figure out ways to translate tomorrow’s dreams and opportunities into reachable realities.

Painting by numbers: getting creative with environmental data

We are certain that creativity is key to unlocking the mysteries of data and making it more tangible. A group of artists, technologists, designers and data experts were brought together to rethink, experiment and prototype solutions using environmental data gathered by our tools. Together, we’ve been exploring how to communicate the stories that environmental data has to tell us and influence meaningful change.  Julie’s Bicycle has the world’s largest set of environmental data tools associated with the cultural sector via their Creative Industry Green carbon calculator tools

Source: www.theguardian.com

Worth a look.  Definitely. Great ways to combine environmental data with performance art to deliver important messages.

Feel inspired for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21?  Lots of ways to celebrate!