Tag Archives: ideation

Get people to talk about creativity

Last week I was invited to organize an activity to take people out of their comfort zone, during lunch time at the 3rd annual Bootcamp on Training Strategies here in Montreal. That’s me up there presenting the upcoming lunch activity.

The topic I picked? Creativity.

Though people usually associate creativity with artsy or design tasks, the truth is creativity is applied, and required, in any and all tasks in the learning industry. In any industry for that matter: whether you are asked to design a piece, or manage a project, or manage people, or run a business, you are always required to be more or less creative.

The funny, and sad part about creativity, is that we were all extremely creative at some point. In our early life, from the time we opened our eyes for the first time and started to figure things out, to our first years in grade school. But then, most got creativity beaten out of them, to fit the mold our education models dictated. the rest, well, hung in there an did what they felt was right, and kept creativity as part of their being, as part of their soul.

Anyway, enough with that and on to the activity in question. So with the help of a very good friend of mine, who specializes in face-to-face learning, we devised an activity to reflect and discuss the meaning of creativity, its requirements and its implications. To do that we gathered about 60 quotes from various people and authors out of 9 books on creativity and innovation (see list below). Each quote was printed on a card, and cards were randomly grouped on the tables setup for people to eat their lunch. The idea was for each person to read the quote, reflect on it, decide if they agreed or not with it, and discuss it with their lunch buddies. Then, go around and discuss other quotes with other people. I even prepared an explainer video to present a line of questioning to help get the ball rolling.

The result? Mixed. As with any activity, you never know how it will work out. Especially when it’s a free-form activity, in an uncontrolled environment. As I observed and chatted with a few people around the room, I realized people were more inclined to either take a mental break from the sessions or discuss those sessions with other participants.

My takeaway for this type of activity?  A few points:

  • This format is probably better for a crowd specifically geared towards discussing creativity;
  • With this crowd it would have been more engaging to do it as a workshop, in a controlled environment, in which case I would add the concepts of innovation and innovation;
  • ensure to have two types of people in each discussion groups: people that are tasked with producing creative results and people who are tasked with managing them.

All in all this was a very exciting exercise, and full of promises. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you.

Note: Here’s the bibliography we used:

    par Tom Kelly & David Kelly, aux éditions Crown Business
    par Bruce Nussbaum, aux éditions HarperCollins Publishers
    par Daniel Pink, aux éditions RIVERBED BOOKS (New York)
    par Ellen Lupton, aux éditions Princeton Architectural Press (New York)
    par Gordon Mackenzie, aux éditions Viking Penguin
    par Austin Kleon, aux éditions WORKMAN PUBLISHING COMPANY (New York)
    par Austin Kleon, aux éditions WORKMAN PUBLISHING COMPANY (New York)
    par Twyla Tharp, aux éditions SIMON & SCHUSTER (New York, London, Toronto, Sydney)
    par Carmine Gallo, aux éditions McGRAW HILL (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Lisbon, Londo, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, New Delhi, San Juan, Seoul Singapore, Sydney, Toronto)

When ideas flow…

My head is like a natural spring… coming from within, bright, crystal clear, fresh…

The flow never ends. Usually.

But it’s not water. It’s ideas.

I see them. I picture them in my head. Sometimes it’s even like weeds… Let’s say dandelions. They propagate, they’re bright, colorful, and you can eat them! Well some people do.

It’s like a brain storm, but in a cool, autumn, sunny day. The cool air refreshes your skin, fills up your lungs and inject you with fresh energy…

It doesn’t stop. Constant flow, from one thing to the next. It can make me feel so alive, and it can drive me crazy. I get ideas, I try to seize them before they slip away, I look for a way to store them, I look for the channel to make them grow…

I got so many that sometimes I feel I’m not producing enough. It even stops me in my tracks, like I’m standing next to a running river, rapids, falls… Niagara falls!

But let’s go back to the natural spring… I love natural springs…

Or maybe pinball machines? Yes, pinballs… You start with a certain amount of force pulling the pin… Like the amount of information and details you have in your head… then RELEASE IT!

The ball blasts up the ramp and emerges in the arena, full of energy, ready to bounce in unforeseen directions, ultimately destined to (hopefully) meet the “rejuvenating” flippers at the bottom, which we can use (intentionally or not) to prolong or redirect the cascade of bounces and swirls which lead to new perspectives on… whatever the thought was before the pin was released.