Monday, April 25, 2011

Chinese universities' effort in promoting creativity

For more on the Tsinghua university's anniversary, we're now joined in the studio by our Current Affairs Commentator, Professor Teng Jimeng from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Q1: A university has three core functions -- generating new knowledge, educating students and contributing to society. And they all involve "creativity". China has put creativity as at the heart of the nation's future. Chinese universities, including Tsinghua, are making great efforts to promote creativity in science and technology. What more can we do in this field? [24 April 2011 - Xinhuanet - More]

Creative Environments: Best Cities for Young Artists

Where have all the young artists gone? Well, they've been priced out of Melbourne, New York, Barcelona, and all of those other city enclaves that promised low-rent and lots of encouragement. But new art communities are popping up every day on unexpected parts of the globe. Creative hubs, city-funded projects, and lots of public works are just some of the perks these locations offer to young artists who seek refuge. [22 April 2011 - Flavorwire - More]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dahlberg to Moderate Lincoln Center Imagination Conversation in Massachusetts

I'm looking forward to moderating another Imagination Conversation this Tuesday in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Bing Arts Center!
Lincoln Center Imagination Conversation at Bing

The “X” Main Street Corporation will host an Imagination Conversation at the Bing Arts Center, 716 Sumner Avenue, Springfield, Mass., on Tuesday, April 26. This event, Envisioning A Vital Springfield, will connect Springfield with the nationwide effort to engage communities in proactive, creative consideration of our future possibilities. It is intended to begin an ongoing series to encourage the development of imagination and creativity as tools to prepare Springfield for an increasingly competitive future.

The Imagination Conversations, a project of Lincoln Center Institute and a part of the Lincoln Center 50 Years celebration, run from the fall of 2009 to the spring of 2011. The panel discussion is listed on the Lincoln Center Institute’s website:

Many of the Conversations are hosted by state governments, businesses, and cultural leaders. They feature diverse groups of panelists with distinctive perspectives and draw a wide range of audience members from the public and private sectors. Moderators facilitate the conversations, some of which reach viewers nationwide via live and archived streaming video. This two-year initiative will culminate in America’s Imagination Summit, to be held at Lincoln Center, New York, in July 2011.

Imagination, the ability to visualize new possibilities, is a prerequisite for success in the 21st-century global economy. America has long been at the vanguard of creation and innovation, but an economic downturn and increased worldwide competition mean that we cannot take our position for granted. Now more than ever, we must teach imagination in our schools and nurture it in our communities.

The Imagination Conversations respond to this need and prepare us for the future by:
  • Building national awareness of imagination as a vital tool in work and in life.
  • Sparking dialogue about imagination across the professional spectrum.
  • Leading to the creation of an action plan to make imagination an integral part of American education.
The Bing Arts Center will record the conversation, which also will be available for live viewing online:

The moderator is Steven Dahlberg of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination. The panelists are: Ron Ancrum, President of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; Josh Bogin, Director of Springfield’s Magnet Schools; Magdalena Gomez, Executive Director of Teatro Vida; Michael Jonnes, Executive Director of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra; John Judge, Director of Development for the City of Springfield; and Robert McCollum, former member of the Springfield School Committee and community activist.

The event is by invitation only due to space and seating constraints.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Join Creative Protest: 1,001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei

PROTEST: A Chair a Day to Free Ai Weiwei! Build a miniature chair at The Aldrich or create one at home; post it here.
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum invites you to join an international movement to encourage the release of Ai Weiwei, the Chinese conceptual artist who was taken into police custody in Beijing this month on suspicion of "economic crimes." The miniature chairs and posted photographs will be incorporated into an installation which will be on view in the Museum's Atrium until Ai’s release. The call coincides with sit-ins scheduled for Chinese embassies and consulates around the world this Sunday. Participants in the protest will bring chairs and sit down outside Chinese government buildings -- referencing an installation titled Fairytale: 1001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs, which Ai made in 2007 at Documenta in Kassel, Germany. There, 1,001 late Ming and Qing Dynasty wooden chairs were arranged around the exhibition and 1,001 Chinese citizens were recruited on the Internet to volunteer to live in Kassel during the show.



Thursday, April 14, 2011

McKinsey on Sparking Creativity in Teams: An Executive's Guide

Senior managers can apply practical insights from neuroscience to make themselves -- and their teams -- more creative. ... Although creativity is often considered a trait of the privileged few, any individual or team can become more creative—better able to generate the breakthroughs that stimulate growth and performance. In fact, our experience with hundreds of corporate teams, ranging from experienced C-level executives to entry-level customer service reps, suggests that companies can use relatively simple techniques to boost the creative output of employees at any level. The key is to focus on perception, which leading neuroscientists, such as Emory University’s Gregory Berns, find is intrinsically linked to creativity in the human brain. To perceive things differently, Berns maintains, we must bombard our brains with things it has never encountered. [April 2011 - McKinsey Quarterly - More]

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Myth as 'what if?'

"It is a mistake to regard myth as an inferior mode of thought, which can be cast aside when human beings have attained the age of reason. Mythology is not an early attempt at history, and does not claim that its tales are objective fact. Like a novel, an opera or a ballet, myth is make-believe; it is a game that transfigures our fragmented, tragic world, and helps us to glimpse new possibilities by asking 'what if?' - a question which has also provoked some of our most important discoveries in philoso­phy, science and technology." -  Karen Armstrong (h/t MINemergent)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Write a Haiku on How We Can Improve Education - Edutopia

April is National Poetry Month and Edutopia magazine is having a contest, asking people to "write a haiku on how we can improve education." A reminder: Haiku poetry type is a Japanese poem composed of three unrhymed lines of five, seven, and five syllables. A couple of my submissions:
It's where it's at, yo!
Let's think about it.

move move move move move
multiple intelligence
imagine, what if

It's where it all starts, you know?
Nurture it and thrive.
What's your haiku on how we can improve education?

Want Innovative Thinking? Hire from the Humanities

Tony Golsby-Smith writes in a Harvard Business Review blog post, "Want Innovative Thinking? Hire from the Humanities," that
our educational systems focus on teaching science and business students to control, predict, verify, guarantee, and test data. It doesn't teach how to navigate "what if" questions or unknown futures.
He suggests that:
People trained in the humanities who study Shakespeare's poetry, or Cezanne's paintings, say, have learned to play with big concepts, and to apply new ways of thinking to difficult problems that can't be analyzed in conventional ways.
he says humanities people bring can help with the following workplace challenges: complexity and ambiguity, innovation, communication and presentation, and customer and employee satisfaction.

Part of the challenge of creativity and innovation in organizations is that people say that creativity and innovation matter, but then get stuck with how to practically engage current employees in developing, unleashing and applying their imagination, creativity and ideas for innovation. We've done the convincing that creativity and innovation are important; the gap we need to close is how to put such beliefs into practice. This certainly can include hiring people with broader, creativity, humanities-based education. AND it can include developing creative thinking skills in individuals, assessing the climate for creativity and innovation in organizations, helping people understand what creative products and outcomes look like (and how to get there), and applying individual and group processes for creative thinking and problem solving. Business says its wants this. Educators are ready to run with this. Now we need to make space in both arenas for people to (re)discover and constantly apply this part of themselves.

What do you think about the role of humanities-trained people in the workplace? How else can we tap into humanities-based skills, talents and knowledge?

Friday, April 01, 2011

UN Creative Economy Report 2010

Creative Economy: A Feasible Development Option
A new development paradigm is emerging that links the economy and culture, embracing economic, cultural, technological and social aspects of development at both the macro and micro levels. Central to the new paradigm is the fact that creativity, knowledge and access to information are increasingly recognized as powerful engines driving economic growth and promoting development in a globalizing world. The emerging creative economy has become a leading component of economic growth, employment, trade and innovation, and social cohesion in most advanced economies. Unfortunately, however, the large majority of developing countries are not yet able to harness their creative capacity for development. This is a reflection of weaknesses both in domestic policy and in the business environment, and global systemic biases. Nevertheless, the creative economy offers to developing countries a feasible option and new opportunities to leapfrog into emerging high-growth areas of the world economy. This report presents an updated perspective of the United Nations as a whole on this exciting new topic. It provides empirical evidence that the creative industries are among the most dynamic emerging sectors in world trade. It also shows that the interface among creativity, culture, economics and technology, as expressed in the ability to create and circulate intellectual capital, has the potential to generate income, jobs and export earnings while at the same time contributing to social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development. This report addresses the challenge of assessing the creative economy with a view to informed policy-making by outlining the conceptual, institutional and policy frameworks in which this economy can flourish. [15 December 2010 - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - More | Full Report]