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.

Manifesto of Creativity

By Heather Butler
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

Creativity, to me, is thinking of new ideas or taking an idea to another level. This is a declaration of my creative method and how I intend to bring creativity to all aspects of my life. I intend to be more aware of my own ability to be creative. Also, I have come to appreciate the simple act of “brainstorming.” In a thoughtful session of brainstorming, no idea should be thought of as unintelligent and no person should be discouraged from expressing a thought. I am positive that many great ideas have their root in what one might have perceived as a simpleminded thought. Whether alone, or in concert with others, I affirm, that I have an obligation to be true to my values and, to be mindful of those of others. However, I will not let that be a hindrance to the creative process.

  1. I will be more creative in my thoughts and in my actions.
  2. I will foster a creative environment with my family. Whether through visual art, music, spoken word, written word or cerebral art (the art of creating new ideas), I will work hard to ensure that those around me are valued for their ideas.
  3. I will work in partnership with my colleagues to create a workplace that ebbs and flows with the creative process as the driving force. No idea will be discriminated against.
  4. I will put aside my prejudices to allow for divergent points of view. I will listen to others and value their opinions.
  5. I will admit that there are potential blocks, perceived or otherwise, to creativity but I will strive to overcome them.
  6. I will not be fearful of speaking out for an idea that I am passionate about. I will take into consideration the thoughts and opinions of others and strive to collaborate.
  7. I will not dismiss the thoughtful input of others.
  8. I will continue to use technology to reach out to others. To communicate thoughts is essential to working together to solve problems and brainstorm new ideas.
  9. I will look to the past to help to create a better future. Not only to avoid repeating mistakes, but to learn from laudable advances, as well.
  10. I will try to expound upon valuable concepts. Giving credit where it is due and striving to pool resources to work toward an improved situation.

Manifesto on Creativity

By Dante Tavolaro
Nonprofit Studies Program, Rhode Island College
Providence, Rhode Island

  • “But we’ve always done it that way.” This phrase is a deadly one and it is used all too often. For organizations to continue to grow we must erase this phrase from our vocabulary.
  • Creativity is very important and so is thinking outside the box. But there must be a delicate balance when comes to implementing new ideas. There is a very big difference between rocking the boat and capsizing it.
  • Be afraid to fail. The safety in doing things the way they have always been done is that the outcome is known. When new and creative ideas are implemented the safety net is gone, there is no way to tell what the end result will be. Give it a shot, don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do fail, tweak it and try it again.
  • Create environments where it is safe to ask questions. Asking questions and challenging norms are difficult things to do. If this way of thinking is allowed – if a safe space to do this is created – there is an environment where brainstorming and collaboration can occur.
  • Use the "plus delta" model of evaluating projects. List out the pluses, the things that people liked. Then list out the deltas, the things people would change. This model of evaluation does not have the negativity of good and bad things, but rather things that went well and things we want to try to do differently.
  • When people feel safe and comfortable in their work environments, it allows them to be more relaxed. Cultivating this environment allows peoples the space to think outside of the box, to be more productive, to be more creative. Getting rid of the uptight 9-5 world, and allowing people to express themselves (within limits, of course) and bring their own individual gifts and talents to their work will bring what they do to a whole new level.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pilobolus on Creativity and Everyday Movement ... at June Creativity Networking in Connecticut

The next monthly Creativity Networking session will feature Pilobolus and their take on creativity and everyday movement. The workshop will be Sunday, June 20, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm, 44 Upland Road, in New Milford, Conn. Creativity Networking is open to all and admission is $10. For more information or to RSVP, go to http://appliedimagination.org/networking or call 860-355-0300.

Renee Jaworski, rehearsal director and artistic associate for Pilobolus Dance Theatre, will lead the session on "Discovering Creativity Through Everyday Movement," along with Steven Dahlberg, curator of the Creativity Networking series.

Jaworski has performed and taught for MOMIX, Group Motion, and Carolyn Dorfman. She has been dancing, teaching and choreographing with Pilobolus since 2000. 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 also teaches the "Creativity + Social Change" course at the University of Connecticut.

"Some people need to move their bodies to think, while other people think their bodies are incapable of moving," says Dahlberg, host of Creativity Networking. "Yet, we are made to move. It's a fundamental aspect of who we are and what we do everyday. Sometimes, however, we lose touch with this capacity."

The public is invited to explore creativity and movement -- in two parts. First, see Pilobolus perform free at Hartford's Riverfront Recapture stage (riverfront.org/events/performances) at 7 p.m. on June 19. Then, attend the Creativity Networking workshop the following afternoon at 2 p.m. on June 20, in which participants will explore how movement and play can help them tap into more of their creativity and reconnect with their physical selves. The workshop -- led by a master of movement from Pilobolus -- seeks to inspire, provoke and encourage people to enhance their creativity and communication through everyday movement. The session will be part Pilobolus story, part creative process and part experiential ... and is open to everyone, no special skills required.

The Creativity Networking Series is presented each month by the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination and The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm, both based in New Milford, Conn. The series provides a forum for exploring the many facets of creativity and for discovering and networking with other people interested in creativity. Find more at http://appliedimagination.org and http://hunthillfarmtrust.org.

Pilobolus began in 1971 as an outsider dance company, and quickly became renowned the world over for its imaginative and athletic exploration of creative collaboration. Nearly 40 years later, it has evolved into a pioneering American cultural institution of the 21st century. The Pilobolus Dance Theatre is the umbrella for a series of radically innovative and globally acclaimed concert dance companies. Find more at http://pilobolus.org.

Creativity and Everyday Movement ... with Pilobolus

SUNDAY, JUNE 20, 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
More at: http://appliedimagination.org/networking
Print and post: http://appliedimagination.org/june2010.pdf

[Photo above by (c)John Kane.]

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Commentary: On Making Things to Explore Identity

By Natalie Morris
Media Reviewed:
Representing Identities: February 26, 2008
A short introduction to research where we ask people to make things as part of the process; with particular focus on the Lego identity study.

I believe as an individual that every human being has the capability of making a change through the use of creativity. However, to discover our creativity one has to appreciate his or her own individuality and recognize ways in which to express it. "Representing Identities part 1" by David Guantlett uses a method by which people make things as a way of exploring one's identity or experiences. He uses visual methods, such as drawings, videos, collages, etc. to get the brain working in a different way. David feels as if at any given moment people are thinking of several things at once. He offers a creative way for how people can create a meaningful dialog or narrative picture of one specific thing. He suggests using creative methods by which people can create a meaningful response to sum up their identities.

I found it interesting that he used Legos as a way of exploring one’s individuality. The study conducted involves having participants become familiar with the idea of using Legos to create an idea of thinking and building in metaphors. Then the participants actually build their identity physically, but in a metaphoric way. I love it -- an individual can use this creative method to track patterns of behavior they want to change or behavioral pattern in others. David uses Legos so that the individual can actually sum up their life as a whole. The participants also were asked to create things that influenced them. One of the things I like best about this study is that it has people from all walks of life who participated.

Participants felt as if the experience was revealing and emotional. I shall try it myself, for I might find out something I never knew about my self. This creative method can be used to show how people really feel in a particular environment. It can be used to understand one’s life. It is very interesting and I suggest anyone also try it. You might even come up with a creative method of exploring your own identity!