Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Give Wyatt Jackson a Grammy!

[22 March 2006 - Dan Pink | A Whole New Mind] Wyatt Jackson is a Boston-based hip-hop artist and entrepreneur who's worked with Warner Brothers Records, BET, and VH1. Last week he read A Whole New Mind. This week he sent me an email saying, 'I was so inspired by the book, I wrote and produced a rap song about it.' You can listen to Wyatt's creation here. Turning a business book into a hip-hop anthem? Now that takes ... a whole new mind. More

The Whole Child

[23 March 2006 - ASCD] What happens if despite all our emphasis on leaving no child behind, we fail to inspire children to move forward? Proficiency in basic skills and adequate yearly progress are not the only measures of success. A comprehensive approach to learning supports the development of the whole child—one who is healthy, knowledgeable, motivated, and engaged.

Plus: What Does It Mean to Educate the Whole Child?
In a democratic society, schools must go beyond teaching fundamental skills.

Here's an Idea: Let Everyone Have Ideas

[26 March 2006 - New York Times] LIKE many top executives, James R. Lavoie and Joseph M. Marino keep a close eye on the stock market. But the two men, co-founders of Rite-Solutions, a software company that builds advanced — and highly classified — command-and-control systems for the Navy, don't worry much about Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange. Instead, they focus on an internal market where any employee can propose that the company acquire a new technology, enter a new business or make an efficiency improvement. These proposals become stocks, complete with ticker symbols, discussion lists and e-mail alerts. Employees buy or sell the stocks, and prices change to reflect the sentiments of the company's engineers, computer scientists and project managers — as well as its marketers, accountants and even the receptionist. ... According to Tim O'Reilly, the founder and chief executive of O'Reilly Media, the computer book publisher, and an evangelist for open source technologies, creativity is no longer about which companies have the most visionary executives, but who has the most compelling "architecture of participation." That is, which companies make it easy, interesting and rewarding for a wide range of contributors to offer ideas, solve problems and improve products? ... The next frontier is to tap the quiet genius that exists outside organizations — to attract innovations from people who are prepared to work with a company, even if they don't work for it. An intriguing case in point is InnoCentive, a virtual research and development lab through which major corporations invite scientists and engineers worldwide to contribute ideas and solve problems they haven't been able to crack themselves.More

The Problem With Brainstorming

[28 March 2006 - Wired News] From time to time I find myself invited to brainstorm for people. This usually involves coming up with new ways my hosts might "add value to their revenue chain" or "leverage their brand." To be perfectly honest, I'm not very good at it. I'll explain why in a moment. First, though, here's a little history of brainstorming. Brainstorming is a creative problem-solving strategy launched in 1953 in a book called Applied Imagination by Alex F. Osborn, an advertising executive. The basic idea is that when judgment is suspended, a bold and copious flow of original ideas can be produced. It's very much a team effort -- rather than getting bogged down in the judgments, personal criticisms and ego clashes that accompany the ownership of, and investment in, certain ideas, the team acts collectively. When you're brainstorming, ideas belong to no one and come from anywhere. Anything goes. ... I pointed out how Bob Dylan's scattershot liner notes to his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, wouldn't have been possible without Osborn's ideas about suspending judgment to encourage ideational fluency; even the term freewheeling is Osborn's, one of the advertising man's four stages of brainstorming (deferring judgment, striving for quantity, freewheeling and seeking combinations). ... Thinking in teams, and pitching other people's ideas rather than my own, I quickly found my freshest thoughts blending into a kind of generalized banality, a dollar-green cookie dough. Quantity there was, but the lack of a personal moral framework and the impossibility of being negative took quality off the agenda. Like the Sundance Kid, I wanted to ask the facilitator, "Can I move now?" Why, 50 years after Osborn's book, do I find that brainstorming, far from unleashing hidden originality in me, blocks and banishes all my most interesting ideas? Put it down to the most important difference between 1953 and 2006: the internet. More specifically, the way the internet has encouraged games with personality and personae, with avatars and animus. More

Special Project Brings Artists, Ambassadors To the U.N.

[27 March 2006 - Skidmore College] What if Picasso had painted Guernica, — possibly modern art's most powerful antiwar statement — before the bombs fell on the town of Guernica? Might the outcome have been different? Can art and the creative imagination have the force to effect change? These are some of the questions that inform the most recent work of artist Richard Kamler. A longtime artist, activist, and curator Kamler will discuss “Seeing Peace: Artists Collaborate with the United Nations,” at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at the Tang Museum. “Seeing Peace” seeks to bring artists to the table of the General Assembly, seated along side their respective ambassadors, from each of the 191 member nations of the United Nations. They will enter the General Assembly, pair by pair, the artist and the ambassador, declaring the presence of the imagination as a crucial element in international dialogue. Kamler's work, including public installations, sound pieces, events, drawings, sculptures, and public presentations, have dealt with many important social issues and environmental considerations. They have been exhibited nationally and internationally in venues ranging from Art Space in New York to the Experimental Video Festival in the Netherlands to Alcatraz Island. Kamler currently chairs the Visual Arts Department of the University of San Francisco, where he also directs the art outreach program, Artist as Citizen in Contemporary Society. He has been in residence at Blue Mountain Center for the Arts in New York, Ucross Foundation in Wyoming, and Millay Colony for the Arts in New York.

Creativity Comes to B-School

[26 March 2006 - BusinessWeek] As more institutions set up courses stressing innovation, students are learning all sorts of techniques to help them think outside the box. ... Innovation and creativity courses were slow to catch on but have spread like wildfire. Only 29% of MBA and EMBA programs have freestanding courses in creativity and innovation, according to a Kennesaw State University study released in November, but the number of schools offering these courses has doubled in the past five years, and nearly 92% of those that did not have a course or module said they were at least somewhat likely to offer one in the next five years. Clearly, schools are trying to keep up with the real world. The best job candidates in the future will possess a creative ability that comes from working with different kinds of people on challenging projects, says Bob Sutton, professor of engineering at Stanford and author of the book, Weird Ideas that Work (Simon & Schuster, 2002). "If you just have an MBA, that's nice, but it's not enough," he argues.