Friday, October 22, 2004

Don't Let 'Creativity Crisis' Drain U.S. Work Force

[20 October 2004 - eWeek] Outsourcing and immigration are two hot-button political issues that divide the tech community, making it difficult for the industry as a whole to find common approaches to the economic changes that everyone, more or less, agrees are inevitable. It's not just tech folks who are at a loss over what to do, however. Taking their cues from the traditional divide between labor and management, politicians have come up with ham-handed solutions. ... A clearer path between these issues—one that treats them as symptoms of a larger problem, not as isolated trends—is starting to emerge. Anyone who is interested in the intersection between economic growth, politics and policy in the coming century should read "America's Looming Creativity Crisis" by Richard Florida in this month's Harvard Business Review. More

Monday, October 18, 2004

Notes from Bushnell 2004 Education-Creativity Conference: Elliot Eisner and Robert Sternberg

[11 October 2004 - 2004 Education-Creativity Conference - The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts - Hartford, Connecticut]
Steve Dahlberg, Creative Education Foundation

"The Nature of Creativity"
featuring presentations by:
Dr. Elliot Eisner, Stanford University: "Creativity and the Culture of Education"
Dr. Robert Sternberg, Yale University: "Creativity is a Decision"
discussions facilitated by
Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli, University of Connecticut


Renzulli: It's a "very important time in our nation's history as it comes to promoting creativity and the arts."


Elliot Eisner:

* author of "The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs"
* development of creative thinking skills has not been high on our agenda
* conditions for development of creativity
- schools --> 53 million students in the U.S.
- creativity has been side-lined in our pursuit of higher test scores
* creative thinking comes in different forms
- boundary pushing; expanding the limits
- inventing
- boundary-breaking; problemitizing -- the given is made problematic
- aesthetic organizing -- putting things together that work -- somatic knowledge
* "inquiry trumps achievement ... in our schools, typically, achievement trumps inquiry"
* skills provide power; but need to also lose control
- losing control opens up yourself to possibility
- allows yourself to be in dialogue with what you are working on
- "flexible purposing" - John Dewey
* surprise is interesting and important
- "there is no educational policy that I'm aware of that is interested in promoting surprise"
* too many classrooms that look more like an assembly line than a studio
* creativity as exploring other ways of seeing
- "the world is what we make of it"
- move away from "one right answer"
- the whole enterprise is geared toward isomorphic relationship ...
* state standards are about production of uniform outcomes (often out of any context)
* creativity is a process without moral valence
- people can be creative in doing evil
- the direction in which creativity moves is not a trivial issue
* working creativity requires courage
- risk-taking
- moving toward "A" precludes inquiry, risk-taking
* the importance of pursuing surprise
- create the conditions under which surprise is possible
- open-ended outcomes
* the well-posed question is important for intellectual development -- "telling questions"
* "what we need to be doing is not 'covering the material,' but 'uncovering the material'"
- the importance of questions
* creating a culture of education that creates conditions for imagination
- culture: in biology, culture as medium for growing things; in education, culture for growing minds; in anthropology, culture as means for creating connections between people and creating meaning
* creativity in a deep sense is part of an artistic activity -- making something -- has aesthetic properties
- therefore, long-term function of education is the production of artists = people who make anything (not just painters, etc)
- the artistry is in the application of imagination
* creativity is part of the artistry of human existence
- this ideal as a regulative ideal in schools and education is not a bad ideal to embrace
* will Americans accept a culture where improv, creativity and imagination are embraced?
* you can't fatten cattle by putting them on a scale ... you fatten them by feeding them.


Robert Sternberg:

* "creativity is a decision" versus an ability that you are born with
* what are the component decisions that you make?
- why doesn't everyone make the decision to be creative?
* investment theory of creativity
* creative people defy the crowd
- external pressure to do what everyone else is doing
- internal pressure
- both work toward conformity and against being creative
* assessing creativity
- when you add creativity measures to conventional measures --> more predictive
- gives ALL students opportunity to demonstrate what they know
- creativity matters for success for school: achievement goes up if you teach in ways that enable them to display their creativity
* "creativity can be developed"
- therefore, teach kids to make certain decisions
- creativity is an attitude toward life
* Csikszentmihalyi: really good artists are better problem finders
* an attitude that there may be another way to define a problem
* analyze the problem: explore best possible outcomes? worst possible outcomes? most likely outcomes?
* sell creative solutions: creative ideas rarely sell themselves
- this is a decision, too
* realizing limitations of knowledge
- need knowledge to be creative
- knowledge also has its limitations to seeing newness
- we all get stuck
- if we want to be good role models, we should learn from the people we teach
* if you defy the crowd, you have to surmount obstacles
- there is a cost
* see Pushcart's Complete Rotten Reviews & Rejections book
* need to be willing to take sensible risks
- safe stuff doesn't tend to be creative; it tends to get you A's
* find something you really love to do
- it's really hard to find what you -- or your kids -- love to do
- don't quit trying to find what they -- and you -- love to do
- this is where they can make a contribution
* have more than one major creative idea
- an attitude to constantly come up with creative ideas
- people pigeon-hole you then you pigeon-hole yourself
* creativity as a way of life
* having the courage to be creative; creativity is an act of courage
- it's really hard work; it's a decision; it's an attitude


* technology is good when it's in the service of ideas
- can be amplifier or suppressor of ideas
* wisdom - intelligence - creativity - synthesized


* function of education is to create minds
* effective education increases differences
* effective education creates a culture that is intellectually evocative


* teaching for creativity improves both creative thinking and traditional measures of academic achievement
- leads to better test scores and being happier about what they are doing and learning


* "enrichment clusters" as model
- role of just-in-time knowledge
- standards may come at the end of the learning endeavor


Research Effort Studies How Arts Affect Learning: Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium Founded; Dartmouth College Coordinates $1,850,000 Grant

[26 July 2004 - Dana Foundation] The Board of Directors of the Dana Foundation announced today a $1,850,000 grant over three years to Dartmouth College as part of the newly created Dana Arts and Cognition Consortium, to study the affect of the arts on learning. Michael Gazzaniga, the David T. McLaughlin Distinguished University Professor, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, as well as a member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, will serve as director of the Consortium and has brought together six institutions and nine principal investigators to shape the research. "This is an innovative line of research," said Gazzaniga. "It is the first extensive scientific attempt to provide a comprehensive picture of the role of arts education in changing the brain. Up till now there have always been good correlations between children who take part in the arts and their academic performance. Now we hope to see if the relationship is causal. If it is, there will be a strong case for reintroducing the performing arts back into our schools. We shall see where these new studies take us." More

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

IdeaFisher Systems releases their eXpert Comedy Writer package

[13 October 2004 - PRWEB] IdeaFisher Systems today releases their eXpert Comedy Writer's package. Combining the patented 65,000 word IdeaFisher 6.1 Word Association and Creativity Engine with the Creative Writing, Story & Scriptwriting, General Problem Solving, Name Development and Speech and Presentation modules, the new eXpert Comedy Writer's program is becoming a boon to comics and presenters who need a smile in their entrance and exit. More

IdeaFlow: Who Will Be The 'Innovation President'?

[4 October 2004 - Corante] How you call this one depends a lot on what you think innovation is, and what you think nurtures it, nationally and globally. My take is that whoever will focus not on the jobs already lost to outsourcing, but on education, training and R&D, is probably the better choice, innovation-wise. Which candidate that is depends a lot on whether you believe Kerry's promises and whether you like what Bush has already done in this regard. It's very easy to promise these kinds of things and hard to deliver. Too bad there's not going to be a debate focused on innovation! More

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

When Small Ideas Add Up to Something Big

[15 September 2004 - HBS Strategy & Innovation] Managers in hot pursuit of innovative ideas -- ideas that have the potential to jump-start growth and increase profits -- often assume that bigger is always better. Not so, Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder argue in Ideas Are Free: How the Idea Revolution Is Liberating People and Transforming Organizations. In the authors' view, a single-minded focus on blockbuster insights blinds managers to the numerous contributions small ideas can afford. Robinson and Schroeder note that by ignoring or discounting small ideas, managers may be shutting the door to an assortment of benefits, such as improved in-house and external processes, increased competitive advantage, a variety of cost-saving devices, and the possibility of building on small ideas to foster larger ones. Learn how heeding minor suggestions could help you foster growth and gain a competitive edge. More

Friday, October 08, 2004

Want Better Results? Boost Your Problem-Solving Power

[October 2004 - Harvard Management Update] As more and more firms begin to recognize that problem-solving skills form the invisible structure that undergirds high performance, they also realize that there's no such thing as a quick fix-no intensive program that can give organizations rock-hard problem-solving muscles in six weeks. Improvement occurs one manager at a time. Today, firms across a broad range of industries are seeking to supply their managers with the tools and training to excel in problem solving. In doing so, they aim to embed problem-solving proficiency in the organizational fabric so that it becomes a competitive differentiator. Read about the three things organizations must do well if they wish to succeed in this endeavor. More

Thursday, October 07, 2004

New Center for Creative Arts up and running

[25 September 2004 - The Japan Times Online] "We want the center to be vital to Tokyo's health and well-being as well as to provide innovative bilingual art and music education for all ages from 2 to 100. Many people think the arts are just time-filling hobbies, but they teach you about life, to look at things from all angles and dimensions. We know Japanese people are especially keen to explore new avenues of learning to inspire individuality and creative expression. Well, here we are." More

Book chronicles evolution and success of world renowned school development program

[5 October 2004 - Yale University] An education without a focus on test scores that promotes development of the whole child -- psychologically, socially and environmentally -- will prepare children for successful adult lives, James P. Comer, M.D., contends in his eighth book "Leave No Child Behind: Preparing Today's Youth for Tomorrow's World." "A focus on higher test scores alone cannot produce the outcomes we want and need for our children or our nation," Comer, the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center and associate dean at the Yale School of Medicine, writes in the new book. "But good child and youth rearing and development can do so, and can simultaneously produce good test scores." These principles are the basis of Comer's School Development Program (SDP), founded in 1968 in two underachieving public schools in New Haven. Thirty-five years later, the SDP has evolved into what many call the "Godfather" of school reform. SDP is based on the premise that all youngsters -- regardless of race, geography or cultural and economic background -- can learn at high levels. The programs and services that fall under the SDP umbrella help schools ensure that students achieve their highest academic potential. Throughout his book, Comer cites incidents, projects, programs and research that demonstrate support for good development can prevent the high social, emotional and financial costs of problem behaviors, even among students from very difficult circumstances. "We must do a better job of rearing all our children well in our formative institutions, in preparing them to meet adult responsibilities in this complex age," Comer writes. "Neither the farm nor the factory is available to save them as in past eras. Down the road we will pay the ultimate price -- loss of our open and democratic society -- unless we pay now to better prepare families, schools and other resources." In the book, Comer said America is a better democracy and superpower in large part because of polices and practices that enabled many people to benefit from access to economic and educational conditions that made personal, family and community well being possible. "Great civilizations begin to decline when they stop doing what got them there," he said.

School development program celebrates 35th anniversary with symposium October 11-12

[5 October 2004 - Yale University] Linking brain research and child development is the theme of the Comer School Development Program (SDP) 35th anniversary celebration banquet and symposium October 11 at 4 p.m. and October 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale, 155 Temple St. Keynote speakers include Arthur Levine, president of Columbia Teachers College, Kenneth Kosik, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School, and Mariale Hardiman, educator and author of "Connecting Brain Research with Effective Teaching." The School Development Program was founded in two underachieving New Haven public schools in 1968 by James P. Comer, M.D., the Maurice Falk Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center and associate dean at the Yale School of Medicine. Thirty-five years later, the SDP has evolved into what many call the "Godfather" of school reform. SDP is based on the premise that all youngsters--regardless of race, geography or cultural and economic background--can learn at high levels. The programs and services that fall under the SDP umbrella help schools ensure that students achieve their highest academic potential. The symposium/celebration focuses on the implications of brain research for child development, schooling and teacher preparation. The symposium will also address the question of how students are prepared to protect and promote democratic institutions. "These are fundamental issues for high academic achievement and responsible student behavior that are being neglected in our national rush to raise test scores," said Comer. "This an unparalleled opportunity for educational practitioners, researchers and policy makers to explore what it will take to prepare students for success in school and in life," Comer added. After an awards dinner on the first evening, the keynote discussion will address the challenges facing the national teacher preparation system, especially the readiness of the system to integrate and transmit knowledge gained from brain and development studies to the present and future education work force. Three presentations on the second day will address aspects of what is now known about brain and mind functioning and how this knowledge can be used in school organization, management, and classroom teaching and assessment. The presentations will also explore brain function and its link with six developmental pathways: physical, social-emotional, psychological, ethical, linguistic and cognitive intellectual.

The Great Creative Class Debate: Revenge of the Squelchers

[Issue 5 - THE NEXT AMERICAN CITY] Along the Amtrak ride north of Baltimore, a 875,000 square foot Rite Aid distribution warehouse has sprouted from cornfields. Some might point to this as a sign of healthy market growth. But considering that $7.1 million in taxpayer money went to help build the warehouse -- and hundreds of millions more may come in the future in the form of new roads and subsidies to transport workers from distant Baltimore neighborhoods -- it sounds a lot more like state-sponsored socialism than the free market. Many of Richard Florida's critics try to marginalize his theory of the creative class as being just about a few kooky artists in Austin. They are wrong. Florida promotes a vision of economic development that returns government to its core functions-building the civic infrastructure necessary to attract and retain people and businesses. As governments take a serious look at his ideas, billions of dollars spent on subsidies of politically-connected industries hang in the balance. Readers of TNAC know that Florida's ideas have encountered serious criticism in these pages, too. But our writers engage in the debate with an understanding that the issues that Florida raises matter. Where those billions go make a big difference for the future of cities. This issue kicks off a three-issue series on "The Great Creative Class Debate." Here, we present a response by Richard Florida to his critics. In coming issues, we will feature Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Martin O'Malley discussing the role of arts institutions in cities and take a look at how cities throughout the country are reacting to the Creative Class Debate. More

Monday, October 04, 2004

Report urges that Vermont embrace production of ideas over things

[4 October 2004 - WCAX-TV 3 News] A new economic report recommends that Vermont move toward a "creative economy." That involves embracing the production of ideas over the manufacture of things. More

Stability Verses Creativity

[4 October 2004 -] Bipolar disorder and creativity very much go hand-in-hand. Review any list of successful artists - be it poets, musicians, painters, writers, etc. – you will find countless examples of the juxtaposition of creative minds and bipolar disorder. Consider some of the greats – Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Francis Ford Coppola … Even our own community right here has many wonderful examples (see our About Bipolar Disorder Art Gallery). Unfortunately, many individuals feel that their creativity is lessened or even negated by medications and stability. However, this is not necessarily true. PaulaHOST, a long-time member and volunteer on this site, disagrees wholeheartedly with this view. She writes More

Mind Maps May Chart the Way

[4 October 2004 - The Malaysia Star] “Since a decade ago, the increasing focus on the works of the mind had resulted in an emphasis of 20% for physical training and 80% for conditioning the mind when preparing athletes for world events," says Tony Buzan. More

The Challenges of Paradigmatic Change

[4 October 2004 - HBS Working Knowledge] Paradigmatic change is very important in business. It has the potential to create major new value and to renew a company, but it is very difficult to accomplish in the absence of a business crisis. Managing paradigmatic change is fundamentally different from managing incremental improvements to the existing business. ... How then can a manager create paradigmatic change before crisis? Kuhn's observations, coupled with the experience of many businesses, suggest three key points of leverage. More

Xerox brings 'Innovate 2004' show to Dubai

[4 October 2004 - AME Info] Revolving around the theme of 'Innovation changes everything, both in Xerox and in the Olympics (Xerox was the an Official World-wide sponsor of the Athens Olympic Games), the event will show that medals are not just a reward for athletic achievement, but also a tribute to creative problem solving and the power of innovation. More