A Creative Way to Get People to Read in the Park

Post Office Square in the Financial District, ...

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Just the other day I stepped out to get a breath of fresh air at the Norman B. Leventhal Park (also known as the park at Post Office Square). What I love about this park is how they cater to park goers. The grounds, though small, are pristine. There are flowers everywhere, the lawn is manicured, the food carts are tasteful (as well as tasty), and they even put out waterproof mats that you can borrow to sit on the grass. How lovely of the park to think about all the folks out at lunch who might not want to sully their work clothes.

In the middle of a crazy day, the park is a respite for the mind and soul. Now, the park is intellect-friendly too. As I looked around the park during my last visit, I noticed Read more of this post

Letting Kids Win at Games Builds Creative Thinking Muscles

View of a game of Strange Synergy, a card and ...

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My 5-year old loves playing board games. He also loves creating his own rules and ways of playing which drives my 7-year old crazy because he views this as “cheating.” Recently, rather than playing board games or card games with both kids at the same time, I’ve been playing with each child individually. This gives my 5-year old time to stretch his creative thinking muscles and my 7-year old a chance to enjoy an age appropriate playing environment.

In separating play time between the two boys, I’ve gained some insights. My oldest son tends to be more literal, by-the-book, and logical. To him, it doesn’t make sense to create your own rules. He sees right and wrong…and there are never any gray lines. My older son loves building things, math, science, IT class and sports. On the other hand, my younger son tends to be more imaginative. He enjoys divergent thinking. With him, there’s always lots of gray. My younger son seems to be drawn to coming up with ideas, inventing things, creative story telling and art.

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A Yard Sale Find Brings Out the Scientists in the Family

Microscope icon

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Over the weekend our local high school held a yard sale. The new high school is set to open soon and the organizers of the yard sale collected all of the unused items from the old high school and pulled together a fundraiser. At first my boys hemmed and hawed about going to a yard sale. But once they entered the gym, they were fascinated. Both kids immediately set their sights on the table of microscopes. A few minutes and a few dollars later, we were the proud owners of one of them.

When we returned home, the boys couldn’t wait to use the microscope. Luckily, my husband has been taking science classes for the past two years and set the course for exploration. First we had to think up some ideas for what we could use to hold our specimen. Unfortunately, the microscope didn’t come with any slides. Though we began ideating on ways to use plastic food wrap, we settled on using the glass from wallet-sized photo frames.

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Workplace Friendships Improve Innovation Success

people are the funniest people

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Have you ever taken a workplace survey that asked about your friendships at work? If you took a Gallup survey, the question asked you to rate the statement “I have a best friend at work.” In looking at the dimensions that promote employee retention, customer metrics, productivity, and profitability, Gallup found the friendship question consistently correlated with all four dimensions. In fact, employees who had best friends at work were:

CIO’s Urged to Think Outside the Box

Server room in CERN (Switzerland)

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If you think the need for innovation hasn’t touched every corner of the workplace, think again. According to Network World, IT personnel who have their sights on becoming CIO’s need to think out of the box.

With the complexity of issues facing CIO’s, it is no wonder creative and innovative attitudes are required to get the job done. Issues like globalization, the need for acceleration, more and more data, a push to digitize, increasing proliferation of personal devices in the workplace, and having to do more with less budget, requires a great deal of out of the box thinking.

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Creativity and Getting into Flow

Sparrow Paper Airplane

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For Father’s Day, my husband and I went out for dinner. We invited the girls down the street watch our boys. When we came home, both boys were happier than you could imagine. For, after running around and playing outside, their sitters suggested they try their hand at making paper airplanes. After making a few “expected” airplanes, the four experimented with making the “coolest” airplanes possible. All of the airplanes (a half ream of paper worth) were proudly displayed on our coffee table when we returned home.

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A Little Creativity and Chicken Parmesan Becomes a Summertime Favorite

Chicken Parmesan

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I came home from work the other night exhausted. Once I settled in, the kids began asking what was for dinner. Usually, each of the boys wants something different. I typically don’t give in, but every now and then, I can’t resist. This night was different though. I was making grilled steak and grilled chicken for the adults. I figured there must be some way to get the kids to eat chicken. So, I asked if they wanted chicken parmesan.

They both jumped for joy and yelled out a resounding, “Yes!” One hurdle down, both boys agreed on something.

The next hurdle was how to cook everything outdoors. I really didn’t want to bread and fry up the chicken. In addition to chicken parmesan being time consuming and messy to make, I wanted to create a healthier Read more of this post

Homework Wars: Why Limiting Homework is Not the Solution

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Ever since the invention of school, there have been debates over homework. Should we institute more homework or less homework? Or, should we ban homework all together?

In The New York Times article, New Recruit in the Homework Revolt: The Principal, parents, teachers and educational administrators sound off on the homework debate. After reading the article, one thing is clear. Limiting homework is not the solution. Why, you ask?

Parents, teachers and administrators are not aligned on the problem we are trying to solve by limiting homework. This misalignment only adds fuel to the fire.

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Hospitals Turn to Creativity and Innovation to Deliver Better Care

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Though it may be counter to how many people view productivity, in order to improve patient safety while being squeezed by health care reform, Bassett Healthcare Network is giving leaders and staff paid sabbatical days. Wouldn’t it be great if all workplaces gave employees paid sabbatical days? You’re probably thinking you’d love the time off. But, what does paid time off have to do with delivering better health care? Well, Bassett Healthcare Network recognizes that doing more with less requires creativity and innovation. Sabbatical days allows leaders and staff the time to think up and pursue new ideas.  This time away from the daily grind and pressures of meeting financial performance goals and providing better services paves the way to think differently about the challenges that plague the health care industry.

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Why Creativity and Innovation are Scary

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I’ve been thinking about why it is so difficult to shift a corporate culture to become more creative and innovative. Though there is lots of talk about creativity and innovation in the workplace, when it actually comes to doing something breakthrough (other than talking) , there’s typically resistance.

As I looked back at the different advertising and marketing campaigns I’ve been a part of over the last half of my life, it was interesting to note how many of the best ideas ended up getting diluted into a shadow of themselves. What starts as a thought provoking, unique idea inevitably turns into the implementation of a “safe, been there, done that” campaign.

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