Monday, April 30, 2007

Are Entrepreneurs Down in the Dumps?

[27 April 2007 - BusinessWeek] Three recent surveys showed that small-business owners are more pessimistic about the economy and the future than they have been in years. ... A first-of-its-kind generational study conducted by American Express (AEXP) showed that a majority of Generation Y and Baby Boomer entrepreneurs are optimistic about the state of the U.S. economy. And large majorities—76% and 90%, respectively—of Gen Yers and Boomers described opening their own companies as "a good idea." More

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oops, I Did It Again: New brain research may help explain why some people don't seem to learn from their mistakes.

[24 April 2007 - Newsweek] Benjamin Franklin was no brain scientist. He was a keen observer of human behavior, and of the natural world, but he was a couple centuries too early to explore the intricate neuronal interplay of physics and biochemistry that makes us the people we are: healthy, wise, quirky, self-destructive. So, when he famously defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results," this 18th-century polymath was really being more intuitive than rigorously scientific. Yet it looks like he got it right. New neuropsychological research is now suggesting that the inability to learn from one's mistakes may indeed be at the root of a broad range of human problems, ranging from childhood bullying and truancy to aggressive acts like road rage to all manner of substance abuse. And this cognitive aberration, deep-wired into the neurons and genes, may even underlie the vagaries of normal human behavior and personality. (It's important in the wake of the tragic events at Virginia Tech to emphasize that this column is not about such deeply disturbed psychology.) More

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Leadership Forum: What is to be done?

[April 2007 - CIO Asia - By Teng Fang Yih & Christopher Koch] Now’s the time for CIOs to seize opportunities to reinvent the innovation process at their organisations. ... At the IBM-sponsored CIO Leadership Summit immediately preceding the annual CIO Awards & Conference 2007 at Raffles Hotel on 23 March 2007, more than 50 of the nation’s and region’s senior information executives packed a room to hear some bad news, and some good news. They were welcomed by newly anointed managing director of IBM Singapore, Teresa Lim. The editor of this magazine then set the tone for the rest of the session, aligning it with the theme and purpose of the entire CIO Awards & Conference 2007 programme: technology deployment and its role, as well as that of its leaders, in driving innovation in today’s global economy.  More specifically, it was about why the CIO and his IS division is often not involved in innovation, and how that must be changed, considering their special place within every large organisation today: at its core as the enablers and collectively the lifeblood of every single process. The top executives on the day were reminded of the fact that their mission was driving innovation.  Innovation. Not merely supporting and enabling the business, but about enhancing, then generating, creating and transforming their businesses, industries and economies. This is an important imperative for delegates at the forum to move after. As companies all over the world seek more and better ideas, their top executives in IT should seize the opportunity now to reinvent the innovation process by enabling their business people to collaborate, and by making IT an engine for business growth. More

Monday, April 16, 2007

Bringing Einstein back down to earth: Walter Isaacson delves into the private life of a genius

[13 April 13 2007- Houston Chronicle - Book Review by Steve Weinberg of "EINSTEIN: His Life and Universe," by Walter Isaacson] Words like "relativity" and "quantum theory" are part of the everyday lexicon, but for nonscientists they can be baffling as well as familiar. That means a biography of Albert Einstein may seem daunting to many readers. Walter Isaacson gives you one that isn't. Isaacson is a journalist, not a scientist. He undertook the challenge of explaining Einstein's physics for a nonspecialist readership because it is challenging. Tautology intended. ... As Isaacson recounts the growth and maturity of a genius, he fills the biography with psychological insights that grow organically from his intense study of the man. He tells us, for example, that "as a young student [Einstein] never did well with rote learning. And later, as a theorist, his success came not from the brute strength of his mental processing power but from his imagination and creativity. He could construct complex equations, but, more important, he knew that math was the language nature uses to describe her wonders." More

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Engaging Creativity in the Classroom ... and the Community

[29 March 2007 - The Chronicle, Willimantic, Connecticut - Opinion by Steven Dahlberg, International Centre for Creativity and Imagination] Last Wednesday, I was awed to be sitting among the Windham High School Young Poets Group at The Bushnell in Hartford. Erin Gruwell – the real-life teacher upon whom the "Freedom Writers" movie is based – recognized these young artists in her very first comments on stage.

Windham teacher Lynn Frazier wrote to Gruwell, telling her about the impassioned work of her young poets. She told Gruwell about what a difference writing makes for these students, about the impact Gruwell's story had on them, and about how these students had fundraisers and a
pancake breakfast to go hear Gruwell tell her story.

Before going on stage, Gruwell read that letter and was moved to tears. She then entered a nearly packed auditorium and singled out the 30 Windham High School students – telling them to stand up, thanking them for their work and for being there, and acknowledging them several more times during her speech.

As a Willimantic resident, I am proud to know that these students are in my neighborhood everyday, learning through writing and creative expression how to discover their potential and uniqueness.

I am also aware that the opportunities for such learning do not happen frequently enough, especially for high school students. Some argue that it's too late to provide "extra" activities, such as arts and creative thinking, that it won't make a difference in these teenagers' lives.

Yet, as the "Freedom Writers" movie and the Windham Young Poets demonstrate, sometimes expressing oneself with pen and paper is the ONLY thing keeping some students engaged in school.

Our challenge as a community is how to provide more learning opportunities like this, which focus on students' strengths and talents, on what's working and connecting, and on the hope and possibilities of these individuals.

Our community grows and thrives when people's creative capital is expressed in positive ways. These young people provide one example of how each of us might contribute in unique ways to developing our community. What next …?

Creativity is ...

[12 March 2007 – Steve Dahlberg, International Centre for Creativity and Imagination] Participants at the "Creative Wisdom Workshop: Composing a Creative Life" at the Hartford Public Library (Hartford, Connecticut) generated the following definitions of creativity last month.


* Looking at the ordinary and seeing what others don't see
* Passion – being own voice
* Responding to conflict
* Coming out from under
* Inspiration
* Energy
* Perseverance
* Universal
* Sharing
* Spontaneous
* Intuitive
* Your own way of interpreting of things around you
* Coming with your own ideas
* Drawing, dancing, walking, singing
* Unique, genuine, given easily, capable, reliable
* Freedom to think of new ideas and ways of doing things
* Sense of bringing to well-being
* New interest, focus, happiness, fulfillment
* Thinking out of the box
* Ideas practically formulated into reality
* Imagination acting on life
* Spiritual – from God
* Co-creator with the divine
* Being able to visualize
* Bring unrelated resources together to make something new
* Making something from nothing
* Tapping into the great unconscious

Friday, April 06, 2007

Anna Freud on Creative Minds ...

“Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.”

Monday, April 02, 2007

Develop creative neighbourhoods using 'inner artist': New approach sought in building future urban developments

[21 February 2006 - Daily Commercial News] Developers need to embrace their inner artist to help build communities where creativity can flourish. That was the message to delegates at the recent Canadian Urban Institute conference, The Path to Culture-led Regeneration: Who’s Leading the Way? While new condominium and commercial developments often trade on the creativity of the neighbourhoods in which they’re built, they can also destroy the creative character of those communities. More

Diversity Goals Help Kids in School -- and Later in Life

[16 February 2007 - The Press-Enterprise - Hugh B. Price, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution] ... Looking to the future, the U.S. economy will rely increasingly on minority workers, entrepreneurs and taxpayers who represent a growing segment of the population. Yet black and Latino pupils in particular are concentrated in the nation's lowest-performing schools, with the least able teachers and the most inadequate facilities. Surely, student assignment policies that enable them to attend good schools where they can maximize their talent and potential easily meet the test for a compelling state interest. ... More