Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ken Robinson introduces creativity and innovation in Oklahoma state-wide project

[28 November 2007 - - Oklahoma] Sir Ken Robinson borrowed a line from an old Apple Computer advertising campaign Tuesday for a Downtown Rotary Club audience. "Think different.” OK, Robinson cleaned up the grammar and used the more proper "think differently” when he launched into a 30-minute monologue on the importance that creativity plays in our lives. Or should play in a world of changes wrought by the digital revolution. "If we are to embrace (the changes) and prosper in these times, we have to think differently about our talents and abilities,” Robinson said. "And that really begins in education. We have to think very differently about the way we educate our children. `

Applied Creativity: Creativity buoys outlook for hydrogen economy

[29 November 2007 - Christian Science Monitor] Hydrogen from bacteria, from coal – and how about a hydrogen generator small enough to power your lawn mower? ... Engineers who want to produce hydrogen for fuel have to think outside the box. Standard processes are too costly and inefficient. A sample of research reported this year illustrates the unexpected possibilities such creative thinking opens up. How about a portable hydrogen generator so compact it could power a lawn mower? Or how about coaxing bacteria to produce hydrogen from plant material with unprecedented efficiency? It also pays to look at traditional processes in new ways. L.S. Fan at Ohio State University met that challenge with the process that makes hydrogen by using carbon monoxide released by gasified coal. The gas reacts with water to make carbon dioxide and hydrogen. The trick to making this work as a viable fuel source is to find a cheap way to get rid of the CO2. "We needed a new way of thinking," Dr. Fan says. More

Need ideas?

Check out the "Idea Generator" online tool - from The Directors Bureau - which will give you a random set of three words to spark new connections.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cities stepping up where feds fail, Indiana mayor says - National conference is meeting in N.O.

[16 November 2007 - Times-Picayune] To find the most exciting public policy innovations of the moment, look beyond the partisan gridlock of Washington to the cities and towns that are experimenting with ways to promote clean energy, preserve the water supply and curb violent crime, the president of the National League of Cities said Thursday. President Bart Peterson, the mayor of Indianapolis, opened the National League of Cities conference in New Orleans by saying local governments emerged as the nation's pre-eminent policy incubators starting in the 1990s: the era when a standoff between President Clinton and a Republican Congress resulted in a government shutdown. "The epicenter of creativity and leadership has shifted out of Washington," Peterson said. More than 3,500 mayors, city managers and council members from around the country arrived in New Orleans this week to swap ideas about common interests, from highway congestion to aging public infrastructure to the recent slump in the housing market. More

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the public realm with children and young people

[14 November 2007 - DEMOS - UK] Until now, action to improve the lives of children and young people has tended to focus on the institutional spheres of home and school. Yet quality of life also depends on the access to and quality of shared resources such as streets, parks, town centres and playgrounds. And here, in the everyday spaces of our towns and cities, we increasingly exclude and marginalise the young. In the pursuit of sustainable communities and urban renaissance, children and young people are too often left out of the script. Children and young people have limited independence – both financially and spatially –and depend on shared spaces more than others. With trends in Britain pointing towards less outdoor play, increased parental anxiety and less tolerance for children and young people, the impact of an unwelcoming public realm on their health and well-being is becoming increasingly clear. Seen and Heard: Reclaiming the public realm with children and young people draws on six case studies to explore the everyday experiences of children in public. It argues that we need a paradigm shift in the way we think about the built environment- one which addresses the deepening segregation between generations. The needs of the young are not opposed to those of other users of public spaces, but closely aligned. With a range of recommendations designed to empower frontline professionals and young people, this pamphlet offers practical steps to create communities that are welcoming for all. More Watch Short Video

The Tech Museum of Innovation Announces Winning Teams for 20th Annual Tech Challenge

[14 November 2007 - The Tech Museum of Innovation - San Jose, California - Press Release] 21st Annual Tech Challenge Addresses Real Worldwide Need for Safe, Clean Drinking Water ... The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the nation's premier science and technology museums, today announced the 21st annual Tech Challenge for Northern California youth. The program challenges young people in grades 5-12 to create a solution to a real-world problem, and this year's Challenge addresses the worldwide need for safe, clean drinking water, and better access to this necessary resource. Participants must design a simple device to move water from a stream up to a village on a hill without the benefit of electricity. "Our goal at The Tech is to both inspire the innovator in everyone and at the same time raise awareness and find solutions for some of the greatest challenges facing communities around the world," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. "For as long as mankind has existed, moving water from a lower level to a higher level has been one of our most critical challenges. This is validated each year by our Tech Museum Awards program, which is all about the use of technology to benefit humanity; year after year, moving water or providing clean water is the focus of multiple projects. We want to help sensitize our youth to these global issues and give them the confidence at an early age that they have the ability to shape the future." More

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

'Pumps & Pipes' lets heart doctors brainstorm with petroleum experts

[13 November 2007 - Houston Chronicle] Conference shows blood and oil can mix -- in Houston ... It's not surprising that heart doctors and petroleum engineers have professional conferences. But it is rather unusual to find them sitting through PowerPoint presentations in the same meeting room. Yet that's just what happened Monday when leading heart surgeons and cardiologists from the Texas Medical Center convened with oil and gas researchers from some of Houston's top energy firms. Such a pairing might seem odd, but it turns out that two of Houston's biggest industries have a lot in common. Both heart docs and oil execs want to push liquids — be it blood or oil — through long, narrow tubes, without blockages or corrosion, for extended periods of time. Both also want to closely monitor these tubes, and want to be able to fix problems when they arise. Would it be possible, then, for doctors and engineers to learn from one another? That's what Dr. Alan Lumsden, a professor of surgery at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center, pondered 18 months ago when he dreamed up the idea of the "Pumps & Pipes" conference. ... "We put a high premium on thinking outside of the box," said Bill Kline, research manager for Exxon's Upstream Research Company. "The highest value thing we can have here is a new idea. What we really hope with this conference is to spark dialogue and creativity and fresh approaches to our problems." So on Monday, Houston Mayor Bill White found himself addressing a conference room at the University of Houston filled with 130 heart doctors, oil and gas engineers and UH research scientists. More

New Harris Poll Links Music Education to Advanced Studies and Higher Incomes

[12 November 2007 - National Association for Music Education - Press Release] National Association for Music Education and Artist Steven Van Zandt Endorse Findings ... At an event with actor and musician "Little" Steven Van Zandt and MENC: The National Association for Music Education, Harris Interactive today released an independent poll which shows a positive association of music with lifelong educational attainment and higher income. Nearly nine in ten people (88 percent) with post graduate degrees participated in music education. Further, 83 percent of those with incomes higher than $150,000 or more participated in music. More

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Study: Aging artists remain resilient

[12 November 2007 - News & Observer/The Associated Press] Aging artists in New York City stay engaged and productive well past retirement age and would choose their profession again if they were starting over, according to a new study. "Above Ground: Information on Artists III: Special Focus New York City Aging Artists" found that contrary to the stereotype that people become more isolated as they age, aging artists remain passionate and display high self-esteem and life satisfaction. More

Speech by Minister Ahern at the 3rd International Conference on Services and Innovation, Ireland

[8 November 2007 - Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Ireland] ... With this in mind, I will shortly be publishing a policy statement on innovation which identifies key policy areas which underpin my approach to innovation in support of the knowledge economy and enterprise. My intention is to chart the various components of our national innovation system, to create a greater awareness of and demand for innovation throughout the economy and in society, to look at obstacles to innovation and to promote the ideal framework conditions for raising the level of innovation and creativity overall. More

Monday, November 12, 2007

All They Are Saying Is Give Happiness a Chance

[12 November 2007 - New York Times - Opinion] ... The era of laissez-faire happiness might be coming to an end. Some prominent economists and psychologists are looking into ways to measure happiness to draw it into the public policy realm. Thirty years from now, reducing unhappiness could become another target of policy, like cutting poverty. ... Despite happiness’ apparently Sisyphean nature, there may be ways to increase satisfaction over the long term. While the extra happiness derived from a raise or a winning lottery ticket might be fleeting, studies have found that the happiness people derive from free time or social interaction is less susceptible to comparisons with other people around them. Nonmonetary rewards -- like more vacations, or more time with friends or family -- are likely to produce more lasting changes in satisfaction. This swings the door wide open for government intervention. On a small scale, congestion taxes to encourage people to carpool would reduce the distress of the solo morning commute, which apparently drives people nuts. More broadly, if the object of public policy is to maximize society’s well-being, more attention should be placed on fostering social interactions and less on accumulating wealth. If growing incomes are not increasing happiness, perhaps we should tax incomes more to force us to devote less time and energy to the endeavor and focus instead on the more satisfying pursuit of leisure. One thing seems certain, lining up every policy incentive to strive for higher and higher incomes is just going to make us all miserable. Happiness is one of the things that money just can’t buy. More

Sunday, November 11, 2007

'Silent thinking' boosts creativity

[10 November 2007 - United Press International - TILBURG, Netherlands] Taking a few minutes for silent thinking during a meeting strengthens the innovative ability of a group, a Dutch researcher suggests. Arne de Vet of Tilburg University says in his Ph.D. dissertation that a group with at least one person who is relatively introverted can double the amount of new ideas if they take some time for silent thinking. More

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Death and Life of American Imagination

[November 2007 - The Rake - By Jeannine Ouellette - Minneapolis, Minnesota] How a generation is squandering its most critical resource. ... Imagination is an intangible, unlimited, and free resource. It is not, at least for the purposes of this discussion, the same as fantasy, where universal laws cease to apply, where elephants might speak Latin or humans travel back in time. Nor is imagination reserved for artistic pursuits, though imagination is the core of creativity. Applying imagination to problem-solving requires the ability to come up with an idea, and to break that idea down into the steps that will bring it to fruition. It also requires an alchemical mix of will, vision, discipline, and action, not to mention stubborn perseverance in the face of frustration or opposition. More

Tony Buzan - Teaching HOW TO Learn

[November 2007 - eSnips] Video of Tony Buzan speaking in Singapore about the CAUSE OF THE DEATH OF CREATIVITY. A lecture from a brain specialist on the need to 'nurture nature" and the need to foster and promote creativity in education. We aren't doing enough. (hat tip to Alan Black) Watch Video

TED - Larry Lessig on How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law

[November 2007 - TED - Talks] About this Talk: Larry Lessig gets TEDsters to their feet, whooping and whistling, following this elegant presentation of "three stories and an argument." The Net's most adored lawyer brings together John Philip Sousa, celestial copyrights, and the "ASCAP cartel" to build a case for creative freedom. He pins down the key shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws, and reveals how bad laws beget bad code. Then, in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you've ever seen.
About Larry Lessig: Stanford professor Larry Lessig is one of our foremost authorities on copyright issues. In a time when “content” is not confined to a film canister, Lessig has a vision for reconciling creative freedom with marketplace competition. Watch Video

Judge Rules on What Makes a Poem; Using Creativity Definitions

[9 November 2007 - AP - New York, New York] A federal judge has ruled that compiling Dorothy Parker's poems was a far less original act than writing them. The editor of a book of uncollected work by the late author did not show enough "creativity" to claim copyright infringement from a near-identical set contained in a book released by Penguin Group (USA), U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan said Tuesday, contradicting a decision he made four years ago. Stuart Y. Silverstein's "Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker" was published in 1996 by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. The Penguin book, "Dorothy Parker, Complete Poems," came out in 1999 and includes all the 122 pieces assembled by Silverstein, who was not credited. The poems themselves are in the public domain. "The Court finds that Silverstein simply selected for inclusion in `Not Much Fun' all of the uncollected Parker poems that he could find and that this selection process involved no creativity," wrote Keenan, who in a summary judgment in 2003 had ruled in Silverstein's favor and enjoined Penguin from selling or continuing to distribute its book. More

Education, quality thereof - A Profile of Berenice Bleedorn and E. Paul Torrance

This week's convention of the National Association of Gifted Children, taking place in Minneapolis, is recognizing creativity great E. Paul Torrance for his leadership in developing and promoting creativity in education. Today, the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune profiles another creativity great -- Torrance's student and my mentor and colleague, Berenice Bleedorn. Columnist Syl Jones celebrates Berenice's nearly 50 years of tireless work to integrate creativity into education, both in Minnesota and throughout the world. Perhaps the tipping point is finally coming ...

- Steve Dahlberg
[9 November 2007 - Star Tribune - Minneapolis, Minnesota] ... This week, the annual convention of the National Association for Gifted Children has taken place in Minneapolis. One of the attendees is a 95-year-old woman -- Berenice (Bee) Bleedorn -- whose powerfully active mind is still searching for ways to reshape society's views on education. As the hausfrau-cum-Ph. D. has rightly pointed out, if we would only start with E. Paul Torrance, our education system -- and our students -- would be the better for it. More

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Human Decision-making Takes Multiple Brain Regions Performing Individual Functions

[1 November 2007 - ScienceDaily] The brain, the human supercomputer, might work more like an assembly line when recognizing objects, with a hierarchy of brain regions separately absorbing and processing information before a person realizes what they are seeing, according to new research conducted at the University of Pittsburgh and published in the Oct. 31 edition of the Journal of Neuroscience. Led by Mark Wheeler, a psychology professor in Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences, and conducted at Pitt's Learning Research and Development Center, the research is a step toward mapping the human decision-making process. This study used an innovative technique and analysis to show that human decision-making is a collaboration of brain regions performing individual functions. Future work based on these findings could lead to a better understanding of how decisions--good and bad--are made and the considerations people put into them. More