Category Archives: Creative thinking

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 hosted by the International Center for Studies in Creativity.

In it, 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.

As a reminder – World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 was founded to encourage people to use new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes that make the world a better place and make one’s place in the world better too. How fitting to align this with meeting the Global Goals.

After you’ve taken a look at the video, 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.

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.

Make connections across disciplines

“… the ability to make connections across disciplines-arts and sciences, humanities and technology-is a key to innovation, imagination, and genius.” Walter Isaacson (2017) Leonardo da Vinci. p3.

Imagine you have a day of freedom to explore cross-disciplinary thinking, and that you take the opportunity to combine what you’re working on now with sustainable development to create something new, to innovate.

You have that day – it’s World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21.

See what you can do.

FYI World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15-21 begins on Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15.

Check out where your search engine points when you query his name. Who knows what you’ll find out that you can use for inspiration.

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/

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

Using Creativity in Problem Solving, what does that mean?

np_idea_516835_56C0D8.png

World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 has a purpose: to encourage people to use creativity in problem-solving to create a decent life for people on a sustainable planet.

np_problem_681889_56C0D8.pngWhat does that mean? How does one use creativity in problem-solving? How does one know if creativity has been used?

In a May 2017 post, I asked for input about this question.  Here’s one reply, from Dr. Fatou Lo Planchon, France/Senegal

Sustainable development is crucial for our society. Your initiative is a big step forward in this issue.The complex and multifaceted challenges associated with global change and sustainable development occur on various scales.

Achieving solutions to these challenges has fostered the multiplicity of decision making levels, and the plurality of financial and regulatory instruments. However the transition to proactive and sustainable solutions is still tricky because it implies various interacting factors and requires a holistic and creative mindset.

Adaptation and resilience to climate change, water and energy issues, to name a few, are primordial questions to answer.

Using creativity to solve these burning environmental issues means clarifying the issues at stake, involving a diversity of people, widening our perspectives, and stretching our thinking to shift paradigms and come to new ideas. To make this participative cross disciplinary collaboration happen, a climate that fosters idea exploration, trial and errors, and experimentations is needed.

Using creativity in problem solving means:

– Using a robust process to find new ideas, make better decisions, co-create and innovate.

– Combining periods of divergent and convergent thinking

– Deferring judgment, freewheeling, leapfrogging, focusing on a lot of ideas

As an environmental scientist, a doctor in climatology, and a creative facilitator, the role of creativity in solving environmental problems is a question I have to often answer, and keep on searching for new answers to.

Thank you, ​Dr. Planchon.

Feel free to add your comments here.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a tool available for people to use to review how they might have used creativity in problem-solving in the past?  My hunch is that many already do. Imagine everyone able to seize and use their creative power moving forward.