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» 2011 » May

Everyday Creativity Leads to Good Citizenship

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Image via Wikipedia

Creativity comes in different shapes and sizes. It ranges from tranformational, or big-C creativity, all the way down to everyday, or little-c creativity. Transformational creativity is what it takes to reinvent a category, like moving from video cassettes to DVDs, while everyday creativity is the problem solving we Read more of this post

Digital Books that Unlock the Imagination

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Until recently I considered the Kindle, iPad and Nook as nice to haves. When I think about carrying around another electronic device, it makes me cringe. However, after speaking with friends who swear by digital books and seeing the richness of digital books, I’m starting to rethink ebook readers. Here are a few digital books that unlock the imagination (and may cause me to unlock my wallet).

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Creativity: Sensing Gaps and Imagining Possibilities

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in ...

Image via Wikipedia

In 1916, Einstein published the general theory of relativity. More than 50 years later, NASA confirmed Einstein’s predictions. How is it that some people can seemingly predict the future? I believe it comes down to the ability to sense gaps and to imagine possibilities. At the end of the day, predicting the future may be nothing more than tapping into divergent and convergent thinking skills.

For example, on my last day of work from one of my very first jobs, I wrote down a half dozen predictions about the future of the company I was leaving. I then sealed my predictions in envelopes and gave them to a colleague with instructions to open each one on the date indicated. As my colleague opened each envelope, she was surprised by the accuracy of what I had predicted. In the end, nearly all had come true.

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How to Avoid 7 Kid Creativity Crushers

Sad Kid

Image by sokabs via Flickr

Article first published as How to Avoid 7 Kid Creativity Crushers on Technorati.

The call for creativity in education is picking up steam. Educators around the globe are inventing new, innovative modes of teaching to help build creative thinking skills. In order for creativity to take hold, parents need to model creative behaviors at home. Sometimes, figuring out what not to do sheds light on the best practices to employ. Here are 7 surefire ways to crush a child’s creativity. These are based on research by Amabile and Hennessey (1992):

  1. Surveillance – putting your kids under a microscope and making them feel like they’re being watched
  2. Evaluation – judging your kids performance
  3. Read more of this post

Using Legos to Teach Kids Financial Literacy

lego-city-folk

Image by dangoodwin via Flickr

Article first published as Using Legos to Teach Kids Financial Literacy on Technorati.

A few days ago I stopped at the gas station with my boys to fill up the tank. With the price of gas continuing to rise, I shrieked when the cost of a fill up topped $50. Luckily, I drive a hybrid so I don’t need to fill up the tank as frequently (phew).  As I handed the gas attendant a credit card, my 7-year old caught my reaction and asked, “Mom, what’s wrong? Isn’t the gas free because you’re not paying with dollar bills?” It was at that moment I realized I should teach my son a thing or two about money.

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Fostering Creativity in the Workplace

a peek at the inside of tulips

Image via Wikipedia

Fostering a creative environment in the workplace is like nurturing a garden.

Though I’ve had tulips in my garden for the past 6 years, this Spring marks only the second year my tulips have bloomed. Each year as the green leaves of my tulips appear, I eagerly anticipate the colorful blossoms. Unfortunately for the first 4 years, all I saw was a garden of green stems sitting atop the leaves. In talking to one of my neighbors, she asked if I let the tulips die back. Being a novice gardener I replied, “Once I see the greens starting to wilt, I cut down the plant.” As it turns out, tulip bulbs reabsorb the energy from the dying plant. Rather than cutting down the plants, I learned I should let them die back naturally. Just like gardening, creativity in the workplace needs care and feeding.

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A Parent Workshop on Creativity

Tightrope Walker, Palolem, Goa, India

Image by racoles via Flickr

Last week I had the honor of co-presenting a parent workshop on creativity at a local Montessori school. The workshop provided a primer on creativity, lots of hands on activities to build creativity skills, and a wonderful opportunity to chat about raising creative kids. Throughout the workshop, we used experiential activities to raise awareness of creativity. Our lessons centered around tips and techniques that parents could use at home with their children.

After the workshop was over, the parents stuck around – all abuzz about what they had just learned. Though the workshop was focused on raising creative kids, a side effect of the workshop was that parents were able to exercise their creative muscles. The frantic pace of raising kids leaves little time for parents to tend to themselves. In order to raise creative children, we must take the time to exercise our own creative muscles.

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Creativity and Innovation: A Remedy for Analysis Paralysis

Elephant-tableau

Image via Wikipedia

With creativity and innovation, sometimes there are too  many questions. All of these questions float around in people’s minds and cause paralysis. Soon the good intentions of driving towards action gets mired in analyzing all the questions surrounding the situation. This causes analysis paralysis. Otherwise known as following the swirl of questions to the point of losing sight of the original goal you set out to accomplish. What’s a team to do? Well, there’s a saying that goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The key to getting out of the swirl is to break down the situation into manageable pieces.

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How Flying is Conducive to Creativity

Little airplane

Image via Wikipedia

When I first graduated college,  I set a goal of talking to one new person a day. This goal helped me meet many interesting people and even helped me land my first job in the field of marketing. However, as time went on, I soon fell into chatting and socializing with my familiar set of friends.

Once I started traveling for work, this all changed. A number of years ago, I was one of the top travelers in my company. In my travels I met many people. What I found interesting was of all the conversations, the most authentic and most heartfelt were the ones with seatmates on my flights. I once met a brain surgeon who was burned out and didn’t want to be a brain surgeon anymore. This surgeon shared his concern about what lifestyle changes in switching careers might mean to his family.

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Marketing Trumps Logic

Two chicken nuggets

Image via Wikipedia

In business school I was taught that marketing is all about changing people’s behaviors. I entered the marketing business a bit naive. The consequences of marketing products that are bad for you never really crossed my mind. However, one day as my family sat down for dinner at a local Japanese restaurant, I realized the power of marketing – particularly as it pertains to young children.

My kids ordered cooked food while my husband and I ordered sushi. When the food arrived, the boys dug into their rice and terriyaki while my husband and I savored the maki rolls and sashimi. My 7-year old, who is a fairly adventurous eater, pointed to a piece of raw, white-colored fish and asked, “What is that?”

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