Monday, December 20, 2010

Commentary: On Creativity and Sustainable Restaurants

By Lori Sandefur
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
TED: Arthur Potts Dawson: A vision for sustainable restaurants
If you've been in a restaurant kitchen, you've seen how much food, water and energy can be wasted there. Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson shares his very personal vision for drastically reducing restaurant, and supermarket, waste -- creating recycling, composting, sustainable engines for good (and good food).

The title initially caught my eye because of the two classes that we attended at Billings Forge Community Works in Hartford, Connecticut. After watching the video, I was impressed with Arthur Potts Dawson and his vision for not only sustainable food being served in his restaurants, but also that the restaurant should be sustainable as well.

He puts a lot of emphasis on what he refers to as the Four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Refuse and Recycle. He also states that, “everything in nature is used up in a closed continuous cycle with waste being the end of the beginning.” He focuses on trying to connect the “community” of London to the rural food growers.

If everyone could practice even a fraction of this at home and at work, think what a tremendous impact this would have collectively on our environment. The hardest part is initially making the commitment, then starting it and continuing it until it becomes almost automatic.

I am going to try to start going to the indoor farmer’s market at Billings Forge on Thursday afternoons. Even if I start out going every other week, I hope that it will eventually turn into a weekly visit. I am also thinking about giving another try at gardening. Again, the key for me is to start small (and manageable). Every bit helps.
By Maria E. Zapata
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
TED: Kiran Bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge
Kiran Bir Sethi shows how her groundbreaking Riverside School in India teaches kids life's most valuable lesson: "I can." Watch her students take local issues into their own hands, lead other young people, even educate their parents.

This is an amazing story and I really like the way she is using the word contagious. We need to be contagious with education, setting it  up as priority for the new generations. Education is the number one key to succeeding in life.

The kids are spontaneous and they have fabulous ideas and creativity but most of the time we burn those ideas and creativity because we set up a pattern for them, always telling them the way to do things. We need to trust them, letting them explore and follow their curiosity. Like Kiran Sethi said: “ We need to trust the kids. They will take the power and they will do much better."

We have to spread out the creativity, letting everybody use his or her own way, ideas, curiosity and the new world will be better and happier.

"It is possible to organize cities to teach usefulness, social responsibility, ecological skill, the values of good work, and the higher possibilities of adulthood." (Kiran Sethi)

Commentary: On Creativity and Marijuana, the Money Maker

By Jason Ynostroza
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed: TBA

Marijuana. The very word can bring about a heated discussion about drugs, addiction, crime and money. There are reasons that both sides have about the issue that could persuasively convince a group of people to think in their favor. Instead of arguing about why it's a bad drug, we should be arguing about how it could affect a state's economy. People should be fighting over where the extra money could go and how we can use it, not about its effects on a person. If people were really that concerned about a population's well-being, then alcohol and tobacco would be illegal, as well.

I watched two short clips on the economic benefit that marijuana could have on the State of California. There were very interesting facts and figures, but I knew they were biased because of the favor that it showed to one side. Even though the facts were biased, they were very eye opening. Both videos mention the amount of money marijuana brings in to the state's economy from medicinal users alone -- $15 billion with $1.5 billion in returns in tax revenues. This is a lot of money for a state with such a high deficit. Without this money, where would California's economy be right now?

Connecticut, much like Northern California, has plenty of rich farmland. Our state's staple crop was tobacco for a very long time. Why not have those farms converted into pot fields? The video stated that in the rich soil in Northern California grows some of the best pot in the country. If marijuana were to be legalized, farmers would be able to grow there a lot more comfortably. This would save even more money for the state. California spends a countless amount of money on their Criminal Justice system and on the criminals that are caught growing and possessing marijuana illegally. We in Connecticut could have saved more than $119 million if we didn't arrest anyone for pot possession in 2006.

Both California and Connecticut could creatively put the money that they would earn from marijuana back into their state's economy. One of the videos stated that there is a college that teaches people how to grow pot and capitalize on the industry. A college like that could pump out entrepreneurs that can revitalize a struggling economy. Another clip mentioned a sales tax on legalized recreational use can pay for the salaries of 20,000 California teachers. Connecticut could put the money that they would earn into many positive programs in urban areas. They could pay for fuel assistance during the cold winter months. Struggling school districts can get the money they need to revitalize their schools and buy supplies they need. California's over-crowded prison population could be cut significantly if all the pot offenders were given another chance in society.

Marijuana is a money maker. There are no questions about it. If people could just agree on the positive impact marijuana could have on our society then we can move onto the next step of actually making money. That money in turn can start the process of digging this country out of our debt.

Commentary: On Creativity, Music and Technology

By RJ Sisca
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
Peter Sassmannshausen/FUNKYSASSMANN - July 11, 2010: Official winner of the Sony Make.Believe Music Experience Competition.
I entered because it was a great opportunity to be creative and to learn how to produce a music video, although this is the first experience making a video whether i won or not it didn't matter, it has been awesome. This was what i had in mind: The 'Creativity Module' measures the amount of creative elements in ones life, in the clip the subject being tested is me. Enjoy!

This video shows how technology can be used to create music -- that one guy creates an entire band using just himself and a computer module. Creating music is a way people expresses themselves. However, there are pros and cons on using technology to create music. Music no doubt has come a very long way in just a short period of time. Although computers are a way of life, it is how we use them to enhance our work or, perhaps, to become more lazy doing the work.

The video shows one guy with many different instruments ranging from keyboards to snare drums. As the music starts, different instruments are used one by one, and the guy uses himself to start playing. As the song goes on, he ends up cloning himself to play more and more instruments. By being able to use a music computer module, the person is able to incorporate different beats, as well as other instruments to create the song. Recording studios, even small ones, use all kind of computers and ways to have one person be the band while recording the song. This seems to be very cost effective and provides more options for creating songs. Yet some may argue that using computers may limit the true creativity of music. In my view, computers and other music modules enhance a singer/songwriter to come up with a unique perspective on the song they are trying to achieve. Also, with the equipment we have today, we are able to take older songs and clean them up. By cleaning up and remastering songs from 50 to 70 years ago, we are able to preserve them, as well as let a new generation of listeners enjoy true music.

What are the cons of using computers to enhance music? Some may argue that the music is not pure or authentic. In the days of Sinatra and Elvis, no one dreamed of the possibilities that music can achieve today. For some people, hearing that snap, crackle and pop on a song takes them back to their glory days. You don't need tens of thousands of dollars to create music -- any person can create music out of anything. Just by clapping your hands or banging on a wall you are able to create music. Yet if you want to be a rock star, you are going to need the digital equipment of some sort.

Again, a lot of people will argue that technology and music limits creativity. I truly think that the technology we have helps bring music together. With the technology we have today, we are able to take singers from different generations and perhaps create a unique duet. Imagine a song being sung by Micheal Jackson and Richie Valens. Two different people that made it big at two different time periods. That's what technology can do with music today. No matter what, there will always be remakes of older songs, but the singers haven't forgot the pioneers of the music world, as well.

Commentary: On Creativity and Motivation

By Daniela Petosa
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
TED: Dan Pink on the Surprising Science of Motivation
Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories -- and maybe, a way forward.

Dan strongly believes in incentive design or rewarding employees for their performance. He explains extrinsic motivation and that it works -- depending on the situation. He references a concept known as the Candle Problem. He describes how motivation is being free to be creative and flexible. It is natural as humans to feel motivated with an incentive. Dan makes a compelling case on why we need to change our ways. He states that some rewards work well for some and not others. Some rewards work well for simple tasks because the mind is concentrated and has a narrow focus while difficult and more complex tasks narrow our minds and restrict possibility. He mentions that the more difficult tasks should not be over looked by keeping our minds restricted and to be open in our peripherals.

Dan believes there is a mismatch between what science knows and what business does. He believes the science of motivation: “As long as the task involved only mechanical skill, bonuses worked as they would be expected: the higher the pay, the better the performance, but once the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skill, a larger reward led to poorer performance.” He claims that this isn’t a feeling or a philosophy, but a fact. He divides the brain and categorizes people such as programmers and accountants as left-brain thinkers, while the right-brain thinkers as more creative. Organizations today outsource left-brain tasks overseas because it is easy to automate these activities, while the right-brain individuals have their own candle problem they are facing. Organizations are based on assumptions that are outdated. The solution is not to do more of the wrong things. “We find that financial incentives ... can result in a negative impact on overall performance.” Management is an invention that doesn’t last. To utilize management is to engage in self direction which works the best. To strengthen a business and solve candle problems, enhance creativity to drive individuals to do things that matter for their own sake. Dan concludes that IF-THEN rewards can destroy creativity. Organizations in the 21st century need to encourage individuals to be themselves. Perhaps the world would be a better place. ...

Overall, the presentation by Dan is correct. He makes a strong, science-based case for rethinking motivation. He does get the big picture right. He says that people would prefer activities where they can pursue three things:
  • Autonomy: People want to have control over their work.
  • Mastery: People want to get better at what they do.
  • Purpose: People want to be part of something that is bigger than they are.
Top management sets the basic compensation and benefits structure. If that isn't perceived as fair and consistent, then natural, intrinsic motivation won't kick in. I personally applied a reward program at work and added a creative touch to it. I had employees compete amongst each other for prizes and as a result the staff was happier and generated more sales. Organizations need to implement a design where it will both benefit the company, as well as employees. If the employees are happy, the business will succeed.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Commentary: On Learning and Creativity

By Matthew Delaney
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
TED: Malcolm Gladwell on Howard Moskowitz and the Reinvention of Spaghetti Sauce
Malcolm Gladwell is the best-selling author of "The Tipping Point" and "Blink." In this talk, filmed at TED2004, he explains what every business can learn from spaghetti sauce.

In this video, Malcolm Gladwell talks about his hero, psychophysicist Howard Moskowitz, who is most famous for reinventing spaghetti sauce. Malcolm goes into great detail about Howard's start-up consulting firm and how he was first hired by Pepsi to help find the right amount of aspartame to put into Diet Pepsi for the benefit of sales. Howard found in his studies that there is no "Perfect Pepsi" -- only "Perfect Pepsis," meaning that there are too many variations of preferred taste and preference among people to pigeon hole one perfect type. His findings were immensely vital to the food industry and had an instant impact on how food was created, sold and marketed -- most significantly with spaghetti sauce. However, his true findings were in the diversity of the preferences of Human Kind. As Gladwell states: "Where embracing the diversity of human beings, you will find a sure way to true happiness."

This speech is a wonderful example of how the creative process, in any problem-solving event, can take the solution of a simple problem, on a small scale, and develop it into a possible solution or idea that could spark change on a much greater level. As Biological Matter, we are connected to our surroundings physiologically and every part of our environment is as much a part of us as we are of it. That being said, where as, on a sub-atomic level, the smallest bit of change can start a domino effect that can cause a noticeable change in our lives as we know them, a change in the life of a single person can have the same effect on the world in which we live. As mathematics has proven, any given formula will have the same solution on any scale as long as the ratio of the parts and variables in that formula are constant. Using your creativity to overcome a problem in the smallest form could ultimately become the solution to a problem that could change the world for the better. One might not even realize they have sparked this level of change.

Howard Moskowitz was immersed in his work to find the right flavor of foods. However, his idea influenced Malcolm Gladwell, a well-known writer, teacher and great thinker of this generation. Being a best-selling author and journalist, Gladwell has the ability to reach millions with his thoughts and ideas. In the case of this video, Malcolm is speaking on the ideas of Moskowitz, as well as his interpretations of those findings, to millions. Thus, having an influence and a continuing domino effect on all who view this video. These viewers are influenced by what Gladwell is teaching.

Creativity, along with hard work, perseverance and determination, is vital to the natural progression and evolution of Human Kind. There must always be an embryo status to the creative process and that always begins with an idea. Without an idea, perpetuation of all things will continue. If you want to change the way something is on a grand scale or on a Worldly Level, you must begin with a small lab test. It is the thought that we are too insignificant to make change that hinders our progression. It is the belief that we have no control that damages our social landscape. It is the notion that finds studying the preferences of spaghetti sauce to be insignificant that labels our lives insignificant. Change begins with the creative process. Change begins with you.

"I’m starting with the man in the mirror." – Michael Jackson

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reconnecting Nature and Culture - Webinar Today

Earthscan invites you to join a free webinar presented by the authors of Biocultural Diversity Conservation and Sacred Natural Sites for an event that explores the important relationship people have with nature and how vital it is for the future of our natural world.

Reconnecting Nature and Culture
  • Understand the concept of biocultural diversity
  • Learn how to integrate cultural and spiritual values into conservation, tourism and heritage management practices
  • Discover how embracing the values of local people can dramatically increase the success of conservation and sustainability efforts, for the benefit of all.
Tuesday 23rd November 2010 17:00 (UK time – GMT), 12:00 (EDT), 9:00 (PDT)
Click here for free registration

Luisa Maffi will introduce the concept of biocultural diversity; and explain the benefits of understanding the linkages between biodiversity and culture for conservation and sustainability. Robert Wild will further the discussion through a focus on sacred natural areas. He will explore the benefits of utilising the connection between these natural areas and cultural values in order to protect landscapes.
  • Luisa Maffi is co-author of Biocultural Diversity Conservation, she is a linguist, anthropologist, and one of the originators of the field of biocultural diversity. She is co-founder and Director of the international NGO Terralingua. She is based in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Robert Wild is co-editor of Sacred Natural Sites. An ecologist and social scientist with 25 years practical experience of working with communities at protected areas in East Africa, Caribbean, Indian Ocean and Europe. He is chair of the IUCN's Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, and is based in Scotland.
Who should register? Professionals and academics working in the fields of conservation, tourism and heritage management. Can’t make the date? Simply email with Reconnecting Nature and Culture recording in the subject line and we will send you a link to the archived event.
Receive a 20% discount on a book, too: type EARTHCAST into the voucher code box in your shopping cart when ordering any book. For more information, and to view all previous Earthcasts, please visit [17 November 2010 - Earthscan Ltd]

Friday, November 19, 2010

National Creativity Network Launched in Oklahoma City

In conjunction with the seventh annual Creativity World Forum 2010 held in Oklahoma City, November 15-17, the National Creativity Network officially launched at a special meeting with Founding Chair, Sir Ken Robinson, on November 15 from 9:00-11:30 am at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel.

For two years, creativity and innovation leaders in the U.S. have gathered with Sir Ken Robinson and leaders in Oklahoma who began a statewide creativity movement, Creative Oklahoma, linking education, commerce and cultural efforts, in 2006. On November 15, representatives from the states of Wisconsin, New Jersey, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Colorado, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York joined with Oklahoma leaders to announce the formation of a new National Creativity Network, linking statewide and regional creativity initiatives in the United States.

The National Creativity Network will facilitate the exchange of ideas, share best practices, and encourage collaboration among partnering geographic districts committed to creativity and innovation in America across the three sectors of education, commerce, and culture. Network members are committed to the urgent need in the U.S. to nurture and promote the development and expression of creativity and innovation, in education, in business and in the community; ideas and actions so that America can remain a world leader in innovation, discovery, free enterprise, and learning.

“As the pace of change quickens around the world, many communities throughout America are facing powerful economic challenges. In addition to the recession, they include the decline of old industries and the need to generate new forms of businesses and employment. Patterns of community life also continues to change and evolve, causing social challenges,” explains Sir Ken Robinson, Author of The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything and Founding Chairman, National Creativity Network.

“To face these challenges, we must develop high levels of imagination. Throughout the country there are many regions that are rising magnificently to these challenges. The purpose of the National Creativity Network is to connect these regions so that they can support and enrich each other's work and promote the vital spirit of economic and social innovation across the whole United States," said Robinson.

The National Creativity Network will be based in Oklahoma City with a national board. Sir Ken Robinson is the Founding Chair and George Tzougros, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board, is the Board Chairman.


Sir Ken Robinson, Founding Chairperson, NCN
International Creativity, Innovation, and Human Resources Consultant

Dennis Cheek, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow
Foreign Policy Research Institute

Steven Dahlberg
International Centre for Creativity and Imagination

Carrie Fitzsimmons
Executive Director
ArtScience Labs

Jean Hendrickson
Executive Director
Oklahoma A+ Schools/University of Central Oklahoma

Wendy Liscow
Program Officer
Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
New Jersey

Susan McCalmont
Executive Director
Kirkpatrick Foundation

Robert Morrison
Quadrant Arts Education Research
New Jersey

Scott Noppe Brandon
Executive Director
Lincoln Center Institute
New York

David O’Fallon
Minnesota Humanities Center

Mark Robertson
Robertson & Williams

Susan Sclafani
Director, State Services
National Center on Education and the Economy
Washington, DC

George Tzougros
Executive Director
Wisconsin Arts Board

[15 November 2010 - Creative Oklahoma For more information, contact: Kathy Oden-Hall, Creative Oklahoma, 405-203-5742,]

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Alice Dancing Under the Gallows - Official Trailer

Commentary: On Creativity and Food

By Todd Gabriel
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
TED: Jamie Oliver
Read Jamie Oliver's challenge: How can we raise kids' awareness of the benefits of fresh food so they can make better choices?
Jamie Oliver explains very simply how most of the food we eat in America is nonnutritious and highly processed. His focus is on children, stating that every new generation will lose 10 years off their lives through obesity because of the bad food they eat. His mission is to raise awareness of the processed foods we eat as adults and feed our children, not only at home but in schools around the country as well as places of work. He wants to get good, local, whole foods back into our homes and schools.

Processed foods are usually made up of two products -- corn and soy beans. These crops are extremely cheap and can be grown in huge quantities in this country. Most large scale farmers in the United States produce three things -- corn, soy beans and animals that can be ground into processed meats, such as turkey (not the kind you eat at Thanksgiving) to make “turkey products” such as turkey bacon, turkey sausage, etc. The corn and soy beans can be refined to make fillers for a plethora of foods. If you look at the label of processed foods, you will find one if not both of these two ingredients in some form, such as corn syrup, corn starch, corn meal, soy protein, corn oil and hydrolyzed corn gluten, to name a few. They are added because it keeps cost down and adds a flavor of one or more of the three things that the food industry has learned we respond to -- sugar, salt and fat. We crave these things, so if they can some how get these things into the foods they sell us in a cheap way than they have succeeded. What they don’t realize or don’t care about is that it is killing us. And not only through weight gain but by using man-made products that our bodies can't metabolize properly and can lead to many unknown effects.

Jamie Oliver states three major things we can do. First, raise awareness about the foods we eat. Second, to get money and resources to the people who will help change the food environments from processed to whole foods. And third, start cooking at home. He states we lost our traditions of cooking real foods at home and passing down to next generations recipes and the know how of cooking. Children are a focus because they can change and stop the cycle before it continues.

I believe in Jamie Oliver’s cause. I personally look at food as a link in a long chain of fundamental change. If we can learn to understand the importance of sustainable, local foods and environments in our neighborhoods it will benefit us greatly in many ways. Jamie is creative in the way he took a passion for food and turned it into a way to change a country or countries for the better. He’s also creative in his execution. For example, he shows the kitchen he opened that took local, healthy food and distributed it to schools using local people. He put into action what he is speaking about. It takes many creative ideas and ways of thinking to be able to change conventional ways. Jamie is demonstrating this here with his food movement.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ART Today in New Haven - SERA Salon: Social Experiments Relational Acts

[8 October 2010 - By City Wide Open Studios 2010]
This weekend at the Alternative Space, City-Wide Open Studios hosts SERA (Social Experiments Relational Acts) Salon, examining the notion of art as service – in a vacant, fully-outfitted nail salon.

Artspace has cleaned the salon, but left its original trappings – magazines, customer autographs, nail polish tubes, manicure tables and pedicure tables – intact. From 12 pm – 5 pm on Saturday, October 9, and Sunday, October 10, visitors will be able to participate in a series of site-specific experiments, developed by various artists and organized by Ted Efremoff.

One such experiment is “IMAGICURE: an imagination exchange for creative alternatives,” developed by Steven Dahlberg. In IMAGICURE, visitors are invited to to contribute an idea about how to infuse more creativity in education.  In his statement to Artspace, Dahlberg adds that, “A salon is inherently a place of social interaction, where ideas are exchanged and community is built….This experience explores creativity in service to self and the community.”

Dahlberg focuses on applied imagination in search of creative alternatives. He is interested in how creativity improves the well-being and flourishing of those who engage in it. He directed an international creativity conference and currently heads the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination.

The project also includes the relational act, WAIT.  WAIT engages its participants through a “Take-a-Number” ticket dispenser “Take-a-Number” ticket dispenser, and other permutations of symbolic place holders, that only exist to allow access to a future experience or object.  This is a relational act intended to discover, or at least approximate what we are waiting for?   What are the philosophical existential implications of  waiting? When do we wait? What does waiting feel like?

WAIT has been developed by John O’Donnell.  O’Donnell was conceived on Halloween, born on his father’s birthday, and raised in Montana. He lives and works in Connecticut. He has exhibited at the Chelsea Art Museum, the International Print Center in New York, and the Seoul Museum of Art in Korea. John creates installations, videos, performances, prints and works on paper.

Also participating are PRAXIS, the joint project of Delia Bajo and Brainard Carey.  Among many other notable achievements and innovations, the pair have previously participated in the Whitney Biennial.

Please join us this weekend to celebrate this unique event.  Social Experiments and Relational Acts await you ...

More about SERA ...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pilobolus on Creativity - LIVE Friday at noon EDT

Pilobolus' Itamar Kubovy on Connecting the Creative Process in the Studio and the Organization ... on Creativity in Play, 8 October 2010, 12:00 p.m. Eastern ... listen LIVE online at or via telephone at +1 347 826 7082. Pilobolus is an arts organization that operates with a principle of "radical democracy" - where everyone's creativity matters. Their challenge to themselves is to reflect that process in not only how they create and perform dance, but in how they run the organization itself as an organic, creative entity. We'll explore what lessons other organizations can learn from the Pilobolus experience, as well as the importance of movement in creativity. Itamar will participate in the
Creativity World Forum in Oklahoma City, November 15-17, 2010. Discover more about Pilobolus at:

ABOUT CREATIVITY IN PLAY: Exploring the importance of creativity, play and imagination across society. Hosted by Steven Dahlberg (International Centre for Creativity and Imagination) and Mary Alice Long, Ph.D. (Play=Peace). Produced by the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, in partnership with the National Creativity Network. ... 'The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.' – Carl Jung

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making a Mental Athlete

It Doesn't Take a Genius to Win the USA Memory Championship, Just Practice ... Can you memorize the names and faces of 99 people you've never met before? Or, how about memorizing an entire deck of cards? These are just two of the challenges confronting competitors at the annual USA Memory Championship. Tips on improving your memory from kids competing to be memory champs.The competitors are no smarter than you. But they are athletes -- "mental athletes" -- and 42 of them, ranging in age from 12 to 53, participated in the 10th annual memory competition held last weekend in New York City. [16 March 2007 - 20/20 - More]

Monday, September 27, 2010

Commentary: On Creativity and the Brain

By Renee George
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:

TED - February 2008: Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight
Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story. Brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor studied her own stroke as it happened -- and has become a powerful voice for brain recovery.

Jill Bolte Taylor is an neuroanatomist who suffered a stroke. She experienced herself having the stroke for more than four hours. She studied herself from the inside out. It took eight years for her to have a full recovery. She wrote a book about her experience and has appeared on several talk shows to tell about her story. I found it very moving. I never realized that the left and right sides of our brain store completely separate information. The right side of the brain is where we make our dreams into reality. We decide what we want and we make it happen. Our thoughts turn into energy and we send that energy out into the universe. The universe gives back to us what are thoughts put out. Our cells communicate with one another and with chemicals in the brain. This is how we process information. The right side of the brain is where we are right now. In the present moment. Jill explains that we are energy beings all connected together. I can relate to this because when I dream of something or I put a lot of thought into something, it manifests. It is the energy carried in the thoughts that I put out and the universe gives me what I ask for. This makes perfect sense to me. The right side of the brain is where everything is peaceful and right and beautiful. It is the side where we have the power to choose. We can choose to be whole beings. We can choose to believe that we are all perfect just the way we are. We can choose to get along with one another and let go of our perceptions and judgments. We are at peace with ourselves and with everyone else.

The left side of the brain is very different. This is the side that lives in the past and lives in the future. This is the side where we catergorize and add details. This is the side where we attach memories, sounds and sights to. This is the side that we build on from when we are children. Every experience is a memory and a story and we file it away. The story reoccurs over and over. Everytime an applie pie is baked a certain memory from childhood may pop up. Everytime we hear a certain song or movie we may recollect a memory or an experience. This can be positive or negative depending on the experience. If there is a tragedy in our past and we don’t deal with it, it will haunt us because our left brain does not forget. If someone hurts us, our left brain tells us not to trust that person. We hold on to that. We can’t let it go. Our left brain won’t let it go. This is how tension and resentment starts. We are not able to let go and this is what Jill talks about. We fill our left brain with BAGGAGE. That baggage gets in the way of us being who and and what we want to be. This is is how we become single, solid and separate from the rest of the world. We are not unified. We are out for ourselves alone. The left side of the brain thinks in language. It affects our relationships. It prevents us from connecting and experiencing joy. It holds on to grudges and stories. It does not let us progress as human beings because our minds are always going with chatter and we listen to it and it controls us. It tells us what to do and how to react. It tells us how to respond and how to feel. It is full of interpretations. I feel it can be our enemy if we let it control us.

I was moved by the closing of this video. Jill shared that we can be loving, beautiful, compassionate people who choose to step to the right of our left hemispheres. She talks about taking back our power and how we are the lifeforce of the universe. We can choose how we want to be in the world. We can let go of the chatter in our minds and just be. We can be that GIANT person where we feel on top of the world and nothing affects us. I found it to be liberating. I found it to be refreshing. I found it to be inspirational and motivating. We don’t know how long we have on this earth. Why are we spending so much energy on things that don’t really mean that much in the scheme of things. We are cells! We are dust living in an orbit in space. Most of what we complain about does not really matter. Do we really need to put so much time into fighting a war and guns and killing? When you put things into perspective, the small stuff seems so trivial to me. This video has helped me realize that if I can let go of the thoughts in my left brain and add to the thoughts in my right brain, I will experience nirvana.

Commentary: On Creative Decisions

By Simone Maxwell
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
Exploding Creativity Episode 4 - September 9, 2008: Decision Making and Creativity (click to listen to audio podcast)
You can and will use creativity in decision making, and you will make decisions in your creative pursuits, and depending how you look at it, creativity and decision making look a lot alike.
Who would believe that when you make an intuitive decision it is actually based on creativity? After the decision is made, we often exhaust our brain power, worrying about the consequences for the action we just completed. Not once did I believe that creativity and decision making were interlinked.

According to Bob Sharp on, decision making based on intuition is not irrational, it is creative. So all of us are creative, since at one point or another, a decision was made based only on that knee-jerk feeling we had. Decisions that based on the first thought that enter our brains are actually made because of our life experiences. In the moment the decision is made, we are actually being creative. "Decision" is defined by E. Frank Harrison as a “moment of choice; an ongoing process of evaluation of alternatives with a view to selecting one or some combination of them to obtain the desired end.” I love this definition. It makes me feel like a decision is an accomplishment. Did you know that not making a decision is a decision? I knew this, of course, but actually hearing someone else say it is another thing completely.

It was a complete eye opener to learn that a group decision can be more creative and somewhat easier than when a decision is made alone. I am not sure I agree with this idea. Being the master of my own destiny is easier to manage with me, my decision, and my consequences. Making a choice in a group can have its benefits, however. If all goes wrong, there is someone to share the blame with.

Decisions as a creative process have actually changed my outlook on the whole scenario. I will now take pride in the decision-making process. It is amazing to me that we do something that just comes naturally to us without thinking of the steps we actually take. So today I learned that creativity, decisions and intuition all go hand in hand. It is something that I am happy to say I learned and happy to acknowledge I do daily.

E. Frank Harrison also came up with a decision making process that I am going to place the flow chart below. You can tell me if you agree or not. I am still working my way through them.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Testing Hope - Grade 12 in the New South Africa

The South African government struggles to remedy inequity and substandard education. Minimize ... DOCUMENTARY: Testing Hope - Grade 12 in the New South Africa ... The South African government has been struggling to remedy years of inequity, particularly regarding substandard education. Testing Hope - Grade 12 in the New South Africa chronicles the lives of young people facing their future in the evolving democracy of South Africa. The film follows four students as they work towards their crucial Matric exams which one student calls the decider. [September 2010 - Colorado Public Television - Find out more about "Testing Hope"]

Watch the full episode. See more RMPBS Specials.

Engaged in What You Love - bell hooks on writing

It's the birthday of writer and activist bell hooks, born Gloria Jean
Watkins in Hopkinsville, Kentucky (1952). Her father was a janitor, and
her mother cleaned homes for white people. She went to a segregated
school until she was 10. ... She said: "Writing is my passion. It is a
way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word
ecstasy—'to stand outside'—comes to me in those moments when I am
immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything
else, even flesh, falls away." [25 September 2010 - The Writer's Almanac]

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Creative thinking to save planet's threatened species

People using their creative energies in the E-Day Ark can help raise awareness of the plight of some of the world's most threatened species, says Matt Prescott, founding organizer of E-Day. In this week's Green Room, he encourages people to get involved to help give biodiversity a voice. ... Do you agree with Dr Matt Prescott? Can collective creative energy help raise awareness of the plight of the planets most threatened species? [17 September 2010 - BBC (UK) - By Matt Prescott - More]

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CREATIVITY NETWORKING: Creativity and Sustainability in Communities ... with Creativity Educator Steven Dahlberg and Community Farmer/Educator David Cherniske

If you are interested in food, "local" and sustainable agriculture, come and explore the symbiotic relationship between creativity and sustainability. Challenge yourself to think in new ways and imagine new possibilities about food, agriculture and the environment. Explore how creative thinking helps us understand systems, connections and alternatives better as we consider what we eat, how we eat, where food comes from and the impact of all of this on the environment. Led by creativity educator Steven Dahlberg, community farmer/educator David Cherniske and additional guests from local food and sustainable farm projects.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2010, 2:00-3:30 P.M.
The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm,
New Milford, Connecticut 06776
$10 to Creativity Networking; open to all.
RSVP to: 860.355.0300 or news [at] appliedimagination [dot] org

Please help spread the word about this workshop by printing and posting this flyer:

  • Steven Dahlberg is director of the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, which is dedicated to applying creativity to improve the well-being of individuals, organizations and communities. He teaches "Creativity + Social Change" at the University of Connecticut, and leads professional development workshops for educators, nonprofits and businesses. He facilitates creative thinking and problem solving sessions, writes about creativity, and contributes to various media about creativity, imagination and innovation. He currently curates a monthly Creativity Networking series in Connecticut and organizes Imagination Conversations in Connecticut as part of a national initiative of the Lincoln Center Institute. He has worked with Yale University, Guggenheim Museum, Yahoo!, Americans for the Arts, Danbury Public Schools, World Knowledge Forum, City of Providence, 3M, Aldrich Museum, State of Connecticut, and Rhode Island College, among other organizations. He helped toy inventors launch a creativity consulting business and taught an undergraduate creativity course for incarcerated men. He is particularly interested in creative education, creative community building, local food and sustainable agriculture, and creative aging. Find more at
  • David Cherniske is a community farmer and educator. He is currently collaborating with middle school students on a garden project at the Pratt Nature Center in New Milford, Connecticut. He has a deep interest in integrating age-old farming practices with cutting-edge thinking about farming, agriculture, land and animals. Find more at
The Creativity Networking Series is presented each month by The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm and the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, both based in New Milford, Conn. The series provides a forum for exploring the many facets of creativity and for discovering other people interested in creativity.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sir Ken Robinson to be First Guest on 'Creativity in Play' Radio Show

We are pleased to announce that Sir Ken Robinson will be the inaugural guest on the new Creativity in Play online radio show, which will debut at noon Eastern Daylight Time (-4 UTC) on Thursday, September 23. Hosts are Steven Dahlberg (International Centre for Creativity and Imagination) and Mary Alice Long (Play=Peace). Sir Ken will also be part of the opening session with Daniel Pink at the Creativity World Forum on November 16, 2010, in Oklahoma City. Creativity in Play is produced by the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination, in partnership with the National Creativity Network. [14 September 2010 - International Centre for Creativity and Imagination - More]

Monday, September 13, 2010

Creativity, Culture and Innovation: finding new links

The very dynamic culture sector, the cultural and creative industries in particular, generates and stimulates considerable potential for creativity which makes it an important actor for meeting the challenges with which the European Union is confronted today. Within the context of the implementation of the “EU 2020” strategy, the goal is to highlight and promote the considerable potential of the cultural and creative industries. The colloquium (8 September 2010 to 9 September 2010) will focus on the innovative aspect of the sector. Cultural and creative industries are gradually being recognised as essential contributors to innovation. The goal is to now create an environment in which these industries can develop their potential to its fullest. It will be a matter of, on one hand, demonstrating that innovation plays a significant part in the development of the cultural sector and that, inversely, culture is a major asset for innovation. In addition, and based on this observation, the goal will be to provide potential ways to develop the cultural and creative industries. Special attention will be paid to the self-employed, micro-enterprises and to small and medium enterprises which guarantee cultural diversity and play a determinant role in the development of the cultural and creative sectors. [September 2010 - The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union - More]

Commentary: On Child-Driven Education

By Teley Quarshie
Creativity + Social Change, University of Connecticut
Media Reviewed:
TED - July 2010: Sugata Mitra: The Child-Driven Education
Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education -- the best teachers and schools don't exist where they're needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching.

I logged onto and clicked inspiring and ingenious and on one of the pages, the title "The child-driven education" stuck out to me. Children are the most creative and alive. Full of thoughts, ideas, eagerness. Education is a huge issue in this world, yet such a tool to change one's social-economic status. He has found the “child-driven” solution to education though children, along with the help of technology that is everywhere. A little strange that there is high-speed Internet in these Indian and African villages walls. Yet we all walk around with mini-computers in our pocket or on our ear. Society is very technologically driven. The global world connects via the Web. Teaching is a profession respected by many but very underpaid. Leaving teachers to pick and choose and neglect where the money is close to nothing. Leaving the children to teach themselves.

He is using the creativity that the child has to figure out problems. He questions machines they’ve never used and in languages they are unfamiliar with. It's also a very creative way to educate. Yes, it would be best if these children where in the classroom learning with a teacher and a desk ... but in this case, this is all they have and they should be lucky to be apart of such a study.

By working together to figure out the answers, they are processing the information more to find a solution instead of on their own. Makes you wonder if people should be taught in groups, not one on one. You vs. the paper. Open education seems like a better way for people to learn. Yes, there may be that person who really doesn’t know the answer or how to solve it, but by being apart and paying attention they will figure out why whatever it is is such. (That was a side thought I just discovered thinking about the children working together.) I feel working together is a better guide for how to work in a professional social community. We spend our whole lives in school progressing on our own. Maybe we wouldn’t loose so many students if it was a group effort. If we all succeed, the better off we can make things on a larger, societal level. Thinking not for just the "Me" but the "We."

Children love to learn, but not all the same way. If they learn how to learn outside of the box, they will be able to think and know outside the box. Creativity and innovative ideas will follow. I consider open environments with some structure the best support for such learning styles. The idea of the "grandmother" is brilliant. All grandparents do is love and encourage. Having someone like that there, but actually not there, while still being surrounded by your peers seems to be a great idea to the world's grim education issue. A lot of money is needed, but not much help. People are needed to help. The outcome can only benefit us as a society. Sugata Mitra's creativity is creating tomorrow's creative minds.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Creativity Crisis ... Explored

Stay tuned in the coming days for my new online radio show, Creativity in Play, co-hosted with play expert Mary Alice Long and produced in partnership with the National Creativity Network. First guest on deck ... Po Bronson, co-author of the Newsweek article, "The Creativity Crisis."
UPDATE: Po Bronson has cancelled. Sir Ken Robinson will be the first guest on September 23, 2010, at noon Eastern.

U.S. House Designates "Arts in Education Week" in September

[27 July 2010 - Americans for the Arts] Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Con.Res. 275, legislation designating the second week of September as "Arts in Education Week." Authored and introduced by California Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA), this resolution is the first Congressional expression of support celebrating all the disciplines comprising arts education. This is a very positive showing of support for arts education and comes at a key time when Congress is making plans to overhaul federal education policy. Take two minutes to send a message of support for arts education to your member of Congress! The resolution seeks to support the attributes of arts education that are recognized as instrumental to developing a well-rounded education such as creativity, imagination, and cross-cultural understanding. H.Con.Res. 275 also highlights the critical link between those skills and preparing our children for gaining a competitive edge in the global economy. This is an important message for policy makers to acknowledge as they prepare to reauthorize federal education policy. To send a message to your member of Congress in support for arts education, please visit our E-Advocacy Center.  As a House resolution, the bill does not require signature by the President upon its passage. You can read the resolution here.  We salute Rep. Speier and the more than 101 original cosponsors for their support of arts education and for this truly special recognition of the value of culture for our country's students. Americans for the Arts was happy to help provide assistance to Rep. Speier in this endeavor.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Manifesto for Creativity and Innovation

By James D. Mazerall
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

The world is moving to a new rhythm. To be at the forefront of this new world, the United States needs to become more creative and innovative. To be creative means to imagine something that didn’t exist before and to look for new solutions and forms. To be innovative means to introduce change in society and in the economy. Design activities transform ideas into value and link creativity to innovation.

In order to progress, the United States needs increased investment – both private and public – in knowledge. Moving ahead with wisdom requires respect for history and the cultural heritage. New knowledge builds upon historical knowledge, and most innovations are new combinations of what is already there. Culture, with its respect for individual and collective memory, is important to maintaining a sense of direction in the current context of restless change.

Creativity is a fundamental dimension of human activity. It thrives where there is dialogue between cultures, in a free, open and diverse environment with social and gender equality. It requires respect and legal protection for the outcomes of creative and intellectual work. Creativity is at the heart of culture, design and innovation, but everyone has the right to utilize their creative talent. More than ever, the United States' future depends on the imagination and creativity of its people.

The economic, environmental and social crises challenge us to find new ways of thinking and acting. Creativity and innovation can move society forward toward prosperity, but society needs to take responsibility for how they are used. Today, they must be mobilized in favor of a fair and green society, based upon intercultural dialogue and with respect for nature and for the health and well-being of people worldwide.

To create a more creative and innovative United States, open to the rest of the world and respectful of human values, the following manifesto is presented, which sets out priorities and recommendations for action. The need for change and a new initiative is urgent. The United States must give full attention to creativity and innovation now in order to find a way out of the current stalemate.

  1. Nurture creativity in a lifelong learning process where theory and practice go hand in hand.
  2. Make schools and universities places where students and teachers engage in creative thinking and learning by doing.
  3. Transform workplaces into learning sites.
  4. Promote a strong, independent and diverse cultural sector that can sustain intercultural dialogue.
  5. Promote scientific research to understand the world, improve people’s lives and stimulate innovation.
  6. Promote design processes, thinking and tools, understanding the needs, emotions, aspirations and abilities of users.
  7. Support business innovation that contributes to prosperity and sustainability.

Lines of Action
The following lines of action require a new understanding of public policy. The United States government needs to engage in change together with social partners and grassroots movements. Shared visions and initiatives that cross traditional policy areas are needed in order to deal with current ecological, social, cultural, security and political deficits. Focusing upon creativity and innovation is a key to opening dialogues that cross historical political divides.

Action 1: Invest in knowledge
In order to strengthen the competitiveness of the United States, new budgetary principles that give high priority to investments in people and knowledge are necessary. In the short term, unemployed workers should be offered a chance to upgrade their skills. Business, trade unions and governments should work together in organizing the upgrading of workers’ skills through public and private funding. The scale and ambition of the educational funding must be expanded, be focused upon investment in research and knowledge and linked to building institutional frameworks that support learning in working life.

Action 2: Reinvent education
Schools and universities need to be reinvented in partnership with teachers and students so that education prepares people for the learning society. Retrain teachers and engage parents so that they can contribute to an education system that develops the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes for intercultural dialogue, critical thinking, problem-solving and creative projects. Give a strong emphasis to design in education at different levels. Establish a major country-wide research and development effort on education to improve quality and creativity at all levels.

Action 3: Reward initiative
People that take new initiatives in business, the public sector and civic society should be rewarded. Social policies can contribute to innovation by sharing risks with citizens who engage in change. Artists, designers, scientists and entrepreneurs who contribute with new ideas should be rewarded. Prizes for excellence should be combined with legal protection of intellectual property rights and strike a balance between creating fair rewards and promoting knowledge-sharing.

Action 4: Sustain culture
Capacity-building in the cultural sector should be supported through national programs and mechanisms in order to sustain cultural diversity, independence and intercultural dialogue. Creative industries should be promoted by building new bridges between art, philosophy, science and business. The development and use of new media should be stimulated through raising the quality of the content. New economic models must be developed to finance free, diverse, independent and high-quality digital news media.

Action 5: Promote innovation
There is a need for a more ambitious and broad-based innovation policy. Increased investment in science, technology and design should be combined with efforts to increase the demand for knowledge. Firms should be stimulated to combine scientific knowledge with experience-based knowledge. They should be encouraged to increase diversity among employees in terms of gender, education and nationality. The education of engineers, managers and designers should mix theoretical education with practical experience. Innovation policy as well as labor market and education policy should aim at mobilizing users and employees in processes of change. Developing and implementing broad innovation policy strategies must be a major concern for political leaders.

Action 6: Think globally
The United States should be at the world-wide forefront in terms of science, culture and competitiveness. Collaboration within the United States in science, technology, education, design and culture needs to be further opened up to the rest of the world. A competitive United States should develop economic collaboration both with the strong, new emerging economies and with the poor countries most in need of support. Promoting innovation in poor countries is a moral obligation and it reduces the pressure of immigration. The United States should contribute to the establishment of fair rules regarding the protection and sharing of knowledge at the global level.

Action 7: Green the economy
The United States must mobilize creativity and innovation to transform itself into a post-carbon society. A key element is eco-innovation and the establishment of a "new techno-economic trajectory" starting from "end of pipe" solutions, moving through "clean technologies" and ending with "system innovations" that radically transform production, distribution and consumption. Investments need to be combined with new institutions, new regulation and new habits. Creativity is the major tool to find solutions that combine sustainability with prosperity.

Leslie Miller Personal Manifesto for Creativity, Innovation & Growth (A work in progress …)

By Leslie Miller
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

I am inspired by the values presented in our discussions with Steve Dahlberg and through his Web site and resources shared with our class this week. I am not surprised that more government entities in Europe have been open to experiment with some of these principles than has happened here in the United States, but I believe we must start somewhere. I believe that change and growth begin with one person at a time. I have come to accept that progress is slow in our complex democracy. Instead of simply wishing that our state and local communities were governed on the guiding principle of human well-being, I am willing to accept responsibility to live in harmony with the principles I have learned thus far and to continue learning and being open to allow these values of creativity to sculpt my life. In fact, I have found that these concepts ring true with what I have learned as a 50-year-old woman who has returned to college and has experienced a renewed awareness of the person I was meant to be. I am excited to have learned better language this week to articulate these values I have been discovering in recent years. It is my hope that by living by the following values and principles of creativity, innovation and growth, that my life may attract others to join this movement to divert our global insanity of doing things the same old way and complaining that nothing has changed for the better.
  1. I will follow the sentiments of the doctors’ Hippocratic Oath, to “do no harm” in all my dealings.
  2. I will respect the culture and traditions that came and worked before me. I will strive to build up and not tear down others.
  3. I will become a student of these values of creativity, and will take note of others’ and my successes, and will share about them with others.
  4. I will continue to do what I love and will keep building a “web of relationships and interests.” I will introduce people and ideas from one endeavor I love to those from another, and allow the elements of one to pollinate and take root in the other. I will not try to control or manipulate outcomes, but will trust my instincts and those of my companions and learn and celebrate what grows out of such collaborations. I will not judge as good or bad such outcomes and will report these outcomes when I share with others.
  5. I will embrace diversity and make it a point to meet new people as I go about living my life and will strive to forge new relationships and partnerships. I will welcome new people into my life and will nurture these new relationships.
  6. I will focus on being authentic and fair in my dealings with others, and will strive to stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.
  7. I will put more emphasis on the well-being of others and myself, than on making money. I will trust that by continuing to embrace these principles and values of creativity, I will have what I need and extra to share with others.
  8. I will continue to use and learn the language of creativity, and will live in harmony with its values that I now am and will continue to become aware of.
  9. I will watch for and make opportunities to influence others in my scope of activity, doing my best to introduce these values whether through my music and writing; or, in my professional, community, and personal dealings.


By a Mom in the Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

To many people the word "creativity" evokes images of artists sculpting or drawing a work of art; of a composer mastering a musical composition; a designer fashioning a new line of clothing; or an architect designing a state-of-the-art engineering feat. To me, creativity means "thinking outside the box" and trying a unique approach to something. It may be a manager who finds unique ways to motivate his or her employees to maximize their potential; a volunteer who unlocks fundraising potentials; or a person who views the same problem so many others view, but has a clever way of fixing it.

The need for creativity in my life became a priority when I learned years ago that my son had ADHD. It was apparent from an early age that he wasn’t capable of learning the way most children do. He couldn’t pay attention for long, was easily distracted, and lost interest quickly. While traditional educational standards were not effective for him, he had an innate talent for hands-on skills and was repairing motorcycles by the age of 12, performing basic carpentry tasks, and mastering computers. While most of his teachers insisted that he sit still and pay attention just like the other students, some of the teachers were able to alter their styles to fit his needs. They showed creativity in every essence of the word. They would teach him math skills by referencing football plays and fishing examples (two topics that he enjoys). They used hands-on approaches to teach him science; and stories to relate to history rather than facts and figures.

The approach these teachers took has helped my teenage son to become successful in life and feel empowered in his learning. These select teachers were able to put aside their traditional practices and develop creative, new ways to prove their own abilities and to encourage and educate their students, despite their different learning styles.

At home I experimented with creative ideas to keep my son on task, whether it was finishing his homework, completing a chore, or remembering to do something.

My "call to action" is to continue looking for creative solutions in my daily life, whether it’s empowering my son, initiating a new fundraising opportunity, or redecorating my home for a change of scenery.

Creativity Manifesto

By Cheryl MacColl
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Creativity is an important part of our lives. The ability to express creativity lends itself to many opportunities, relationships and networks. It is a way of bringing people together in a positive and productive way. The world would be a boring place without it. I feel that creativity belongs in our educational institutions, beginning in early childhood. It should also be a part of our day-to-day existence. Creativity is a unique learning process as it is unique unto each individual; therefore the outcomes are diverse and endless.

Creativity matters because it is productive and our world is constantly changing; allowing for such production.

Educational systems should be aware of the benefits of creativity. Nurturing the learning process through the use of creativity is beneficial because individuals may flourish through its use.
  • Encourage individuals to always tap into their creative side.
  • Maintain a positive environment with encouragement and nurture creative thought.
  • Build open, supportive communities, encouraging diversity from different cultures, groups and lifestyles.
  • Learn from mistakes and encourage growth from them.
  • Focus time on what is important and encourage productivity towards the goal.
  • Welcome creativity from everyone in your group.
  • Be confident in standing out in a crowd rather than going along with the crowd.

Creativity Manifesto

By Marcela Betancur
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

When we look at a colorful painting or a curious sculpture we assume that the artist has an abundance of creativity and this might only be part of an endless sea of creative projects. Nevertheless, we rarely think of politicians or business people as creative, but in reality this is far from the truth. In our personal essence, we are all creative.

I believe a person’s creativity is developed and put forth according to their personality and the way they decide to take advantage of it. We are all different. Think differently. Reason differently. Decide differently. Feel differently. We are all creative differently.

The way that we handle our everyday activities reflects a lot about our personal creativity. A mother of a young child, for example, might hide vegetables under lots of cheese to get the child to eat them, or a college student might put Post its everywhere in his room with the constant reminder to return that book to the library. Even in the smallest action that we take, we use our creative intuition and our personality to take it.

Our creativity is the way we mold ideas or things to who we are, what we need, and where we are going. Creativity is the awareness we have of the things and ideas around us and how we can make our input. Creativity is feeling free to be ourselves and paint our lives outside the lines.

Creativity Manifesto

By Haley Gerstein
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Imagination and creativity are necessary. The clothes you choose to wear, the mural you paint, the object you invent, or the cocktail you come up with are all courtesy of your creative side. Everyone has an imagination and the ability to turn something bland into something beautiful. Without creativity, a term that can be used interchangeably with imagination, innovation and curiosity, we would still be living in caves, without fire.

This manifesto is about creating an intellectually aware world. A society of this nature would have basic morals: racism and homophobia are unacceptable, all living beings are the same and deserve to be treated as such, whether it be man or woman, white or black, human or non human. To create a world of this magnitude takes innovative thinking -- which steams from imagination.

This manifesto declares:
  • Children must be educated in a manner that allows them to learn how to think and develop their own thoughts.
  • Classes such as music, art, theater and dance will be given equal time to English, math, history and science.
  • The core of humanity is humility. A person must have the ability to empathize with all forms of life. These people are environmentally aware and proactive about saving the planet and all its life forms. They lead ‘green,’ cruelty-free lives. Animals are not used for food, fashion or convenience. Cows and chickens now exist for the same reason we do -- to live. Litter is a term found only in outdated dictionaries and there is no such thing as racism or violence because everyone’s life is valued the same.
  • Self-expression is strongly urged.
  • People will live. Life is about happiness. Your job should reflect your interests, your pay should be comfortable enough to allow you to work a maximum of 40 hours a week -- giving you time for the more important stuff.
  • Creative thinking must be encouraged. Every problem has numerous solutions.
  • Ignorance is not an excuse. Creativity can lead to anything. Creativity has given us modern medicine; it also gave us gas chambers. All creativity is encouraged and welcome, but people must not be stupid. They must be able to see past the manipulation and sugarcoating. Not all innovative thoughts and creations are positive. It is important to ask questions and draw your own conclusions.

Creativity is the spice of life. It allows us to discover ourselves and design how others see us. It opens our minds for discussions and helps the world evolve.


By Candice De Los Reyes
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

  1. Nonprofit organizations have to be creative and adaptive to respond to the constantly evolving needs of the communities they serve.
  2. Nonprofits need creative and inspired thinkers who can view a problem and develop new and never-before pioneered ways to address it.
  3. Given the volatile fiscal climate, creativity and resourcefulness should be at the center of any organization’s core values.
  4. Every organization should build into its staff meetings, an institutionalized time for creative thinking.
  5. Someone once said,“Organizational culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It is imperative that creativity — and the general practice of stretching one’s mind to think outside the box — be embedded in any successful organization’s culture.

Creativity Manifesto

By Rosa Rosario
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Principles: Not in order of priority, as they are all equally important
  • Cultivating an environment of diversity. Though diversity can mean different things, the core idea is, variety. Promoting a space and environment of ideas, thoughts and options that are collected from a variety of people will increase the likelihood of success. Basically, there are more chances and options in We than in I.
  • Challenge practices. Challenge “old” ways of executing tasks if they are no longer effective. Over time, circumstances change. Lifestyles and society as a whole experience change and in order to grow we have to be willing to make some changes and possibly change out established techniques. Change is the only constant. Change has to occur on an individual level, as well as community level.
  • Investing in the arts. Arts are a means of personal expression, as well as a tool that is scientifically proven to enhance brain activity/function, self-esteem and personal fulfillment. Inevitably, we can make more of an investment to society if we are well-rounded, educated human beings. I see the recent practice of reducing or eliminating these programs in schools as a negative antidote to reducing budgets.
  • Invest in building community. It is important to work on building progressive communities, investing in our neighborhoods, in the appearance, in the quality of life, in its residents. This can be done by making funding more accessible and attainable to local businesses, schools and libraries. Also, we can ensure this by building a sense of cohesion and responsibility among community members. This will ultimately lead to igniting a desire to improve your lifestyle and overall quality of life for yourself, your neighbors, and for all.
  • Personal responsibility. Responsibility is a factor that I notice many people mention in one form or another. Either we are blaming everyone else for not doing anything, not doing enough, or conforming to the lack of participation (“No one else is doing anything so why should I?" type of mentality). I feel that it is one of our responsibilities as mankind to be available for each other. To help support each other in attaining stability and sanity in life. If we all have a strong sense of self, security, happiness, economic and educational foundation we can value the need for progress as a civilization. It takes a village. This is a lesson that we must all learn to grow and build continually.
  • Validation. The need to be valued is a basic need. We all need to feel appreciated for who we are, for our ideas, for what we bring to the world. Everyone has something to offer and if we broaden our scope of what is important and learn how to incorporate others' views, we would increase the likelihood of participation and collaboration on a community, local and event global levels. Opening communication leads to more effective collaborations that will break paradigms that stump development and progress.

Often, it can be difficult to gather ideas that do not mirror others. I believe that the challenge exists in assessing the “real” problem or the inhibitors in the situation and re-shaping our approach. An essential part of successful program development and creating a plan is the assessment piece. If we are to make positive changes, we must seriously and consciously look at the state of society and consider the ineffective changes that have occurred within the past decades whether it is the state of education, economy and fulfillment of its citizens.

Creativity Manifesto

By Lauren Paola
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island








Manifesto for creativity/change

By Linda-Jean Briggs
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Take pride in who I am. Continue to be myself.

Be tolerant of others' points of view. Embrace the possibility that there is another way to accomplish the same end.

Be more ready to step back from my determined ‘right way’ and look at other possibilities

Work harder to embrace others and their ideas.

Look to minimize procrastination on projects and tasks.

Work to temper aggression and intolerance in the politics of our community.

Remember to look at my family and be thankful for the happiness they bring me.

Creativity Manifesto

By Amanda Clarke
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Creativity is not just an abstract thought; it is a way a thinking that can be harnessed and utilized to generate new ideas. I believe diversity and inclusion are two of the most important factors in producing a creative environment. Below I have set out a set of guidelines to maximize creativity in an organization.
  1. Challenge assumptions. There isn’t just one way to solve a problem. Think beyond the traditional approach to problem solving and consider new possibilities.
  2. Construct an environment of inclusiveness. Everyone is creative in his or her own right and an atmosphere that encourages individuals to share their ideas will foster creativity.
  3. Diversity is vital to creativity. People of different ages, races, religions, socio-economic backgrounds provide a unique set of beliefs, which all add to the creative process.
  4. Employ active listening. During the creative process, individuals must learn to not only share ideas but also be willing to listen and discuss the ideas of others.
  5. Inspire creativity. All people have creative capacities, however, some more than others need help realizing them. Leaders of an organization should encourage and help develop everyone’s creative capacity.
  6. Use creativity and critical thinking in problem solving. By combining logic reasoning and creative thinking, unique and useful solutions are more likely to be discovered.
  7. Be a risk-taker. Creative people must have a willingness to try new ideas and sometimes be wrong.
  8. Solution-first thinking, leave behind negativity and use constructive criticism instead.
  9. Leaders should encourage creative behavior. Strong support for creativity from the leadership of an organization will encourage members to be more creative.
  10. Utilize creative spaces as a way to encourage creativity. Surround yourself with inspiring pieces of art, photos or whatever motivates you to challenge yourself.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My Manifesto on Creativity

By Michael Lamar
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

  1. The word “creativity” suggests not only a state of mind where individuals or groups advance original approaches to artistic endeavors, but it also describes a path to problem solving and innovative thinking that challenges and confronts us all. Unlike “imagine,” which says nothing of active participation or expending the effort to realize a goal, “creativity” suggests being engaged and tangible results; it’s more of an action verb. We need to encourage every individual and organization to realize their potential to think and act creatively – despite their assumptions about what that word depicts - as a means to move towards ingenuity and problem solving. Creating is not for artists alone: Everyone should own a piece of it.
  2. Creating is giving birth to an idea and considers the implementation of it – a singular, exhaustive act – and is full of challenges. Like the word “imagine,” creativity suggests optimism and openness; it is seldom viewed as an unwelcomed trait. Who looks negatively on creativity unless the purpose is to do harm and trade in evil? We must make every effort to operate within the realm of the positive and to do good as we exercise our freedom to think inventively. Evil and profound self-interest exists in the world, as history has so illustriously proven. Equipped with an informed conscience, we must reflect on our motivation and actions. Turning this outward, we must also be courageous to speak to those “creative” measures implemented by other individuals, organizations and governments that are blind to the cause of human rights, the dignity of each individual, and the well-being of the environment that we all share.
  3. Risk and failure is often the unwelcome product of the creative act, and seldom do the initial results, trials and iterations reveal the kind of successes we are pleased with, and are applauded for. We should encourage those who are immersed in this endeavor to continue their work, to forge a path in hope, and to accept the struggle that’s intrinsic to the process. This requires time, patience and minimal distraction. It can be a hard but beautiful exercise to watch - be it student, peer, colleague or child – but encouraging words make a difference.
  4. We are a loud bunch of walking heads in search of maximum distraction. We don’t recognize the importance of silence in the pursuit of creative endeavors. Encourage most everyone to turn off their IPODs, shut off their TVs and unplug their laptops - at least for a period of time. We’ll all get better results when we can dismiss the chatter.
  5. We often don’t know what product or service we need until it is presented to us. The creative mind or corporation or nonprofit or educational institution will fulfill that need because they are examining and thinking innovatively. Maybe the motive is sometime in question, but it provides us with something we couldn’t articulate or order, let alone create ourselves. Surprising us with how well one thinks they know our needs is creative and worthy of our attention.
  6. Even though it can’t be defined, everyone wants to work in an environment that fosters creativity and encourages the capacity for our limitless potential; it is life affirming, potentially edifying, and downright fun. Yes, fun. Even with the struggle and hardship of creating a new concept/object/method, at some point in our lives, we seek the exhilaration of being part of something that transcends our mundane daily routine. As employers , teachers and administrators, we need to remind ourselves of those occasions in the past where we have experienced that kind of joy, and find ways to encourage that within the culture of the school or business.
  7. Collaboration matters, and for some it is the most direct path to thinking creatively, to testing an idea, to problem solving, or to playing to the strengths of others as a way to achieve an end goal. It is important to be generous to your partner or team and not be focused on who owns the idea or what part of it. It is a call to giving and selflessness for the good of the whole. In a rock-star culture that emphasizes the individual, this requires a real “death-to-the-ego” exercise, but once beyond that, it can yield some astonishing results. Go ahead and give it a try ... it’s been my professional mode of operation for 24 years.
  8. Learn from the shampoo instructions: lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I believe in that, too.