A Happy Jar for joy, and a Stress Box for kicks

January 4, 2017

Wales rugby ball

An exchange of tweets this week resulted in a comparison between the merits of the happy jar and the stress box. I’m in favour of a matching set of two

It all started for me with a tweet about a happy jar. You write down any happy thought on a piece of paper and put it in a happy jar. This ‘idea about an idea’ worked for me. I could see its applications in education and home-life.

I later traced the idea via @janesanderow and tweets were exchanged. Mine started:

WGAI

In creativity sessions, the invitation to positive thinking is WGAI [What’s Good About It]. I have seen training walls and whiteboards plastered with WGAI Post its. Recently, there was a great example at the Creativity and Innovation Management meeting in Potsdam, where participants looked at the with future strategy for the journal, encouraged by their two new dynamic editors. See also my recent post about WGAI and a good idea

The Stress Box

But what about The Stress box? I don’t think I have posted anything, but the tweets about the happy jar just reminded me of an anti-stress trick used in sports management to counter unhelpful thoughts. At a stretch, it also connects with fast and slow thinking, controlling your monkey and such ideas.

I came across the idea first with the Welsh rugby player (and now International kicking coach) Neil Jenkins, who explained how he prepared for a kick, by imagining his bad thoughts and locking them away.

Today, Wales rugby has a new kicking hero in Dan Biggar. In matches, his mentor Neil Jenkins is often seen close by,as Dan goes through his kicking routine. It looks bizarre. It has become a national iconic image known as the Biggerama [You can look it up on Utube].

Both And, not Either Or

Which is why I argue the case for Both And, not for Either Or.

Subscribers to LWD, I rest my case.


Creative Leadership: From Manchester to Moscow in the new Trump era

November 21, 2016

Donad Trump

A scheduled lecture via Skype from Manchester to students in Moscow took place in the week of Donald Trump’s victory in the election campaign. Here are the lecturer’s notes of the lecture content

Professor Gershman developed the course ‘Managing Creativity and Innovation’ for the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) within the Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

ISSEK is a well-known research and analytical centre in Russia, specializing in science, technology and innovation studies. ISSEK is collaborating closely with the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research (Prof. Ian Miles is the head of ISSEK’s Laboratory of Economics of Innovation, Prof. Luke Georghiou is a member of ISSEK Advisory Board).

Monday 6 November 2016

Introductory remarks:What is creativity. Many theories.

My background: A scientist, chemist, studied worked in UK and New York

Creativity background:

The Creative act that had me fired for insolence. When ‘permission was not granted’.

Definitions are ‘contingent not universal‘.

Consensus has formed around creativity as a process generating new, relevant, useful outcomes.

Creativity and Policy:  Not my strong area: My research has been more at level of individual, team.

Educational policy in USA after ‘Sputnik’: the creative initiative 1957, Dawn of space age.

Guilford’s earlier speech to The American Psychological Association: Was said to have drawn attention to the potential in studies of creativity for educational advances (pedagogy). Torrance tests, also later sent into space with other artefacts

Education policy in Venezuala: via Minister of Education to stimulate creativity through De Bono’s models (lateral thinking) Information processing (Cognitive) model. Escape from fixation via contradictions, randomness, fantasy. His work supported by recent neurological studies.

Creativity theories: Support Kahnman’s biases in economic theory.

The technology hotspots model: Richard Florida’s controversial creative city model. Three factors of Talent, Technology, Tolerance, resulting in economic hot spots

Questions:

Creativity ‘past present and future’ [PowerPoint]

Psychological approaches to creativity in Heath service [PowerPoint]

Questions:


Creative Leadership: From Manchester to Moscow in the new Trump era

November 17, 2016

A scheduled lecture from Manchester to students in Moscow took place in the week of Donald Trump’s victory in the election campaign. Here’s the content of the Skype arrangement

With some trepidation, I accepted an invitation to address an international course on the topic of creativity from my home base in England. The inevitable teething troubles with technology were solved in a somewhat tense day prior to the first of two lecture sessions, which took place [Monday 6 November 2016] a few days before the conclusion of the American Presidential election.

Professor Gershman developed the course ‘Managing Creativity and Innovation’ for the Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK) within the Higher School of Economics, Moscow.

ISSEK is a well-known research and analytical centre in Russia, specializing in science, technology and innovation studies. ISSEK is collaborating closely with the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research  (Prof. Ian Miles is the head of ISSEK’s Laboratory of Economics of Innovation, and Prof. Luke Georghiou is a member of ISSEK Advisory Board).

Here are the outline notes I had propped up in front of me, and also visible to the students

Introductory Remarks

What is creativity: Many theories.

My background: A scientist, chemist, studied worked in UK and New York

The Creative act that had me fired for insolence

Definitions: ‘contingent not universal’.

Consensus around creativity as a process generating new, relevant, useful outcomes.

Policy and creativity:

Policy is not my strong area: My research more at level of individual, team

Educational policy in USA after ‘Sputnik’: the creative initiative 1957, Dawn of space age.

Guilford’s earlier speech to The American Psychological Association: Was said to have drawn attention to the potential in studies of creativity for educational advances (pedagogy)

Torrance tests, were later sent into space with other artefacts

Education policy in Venezuala: via Minister of Education to stimulate creativity through De Bono’s models (lateral thinking) Information processing (Cognitive) model. Escape from fixation via contradictions, randomness, fantasy. His work supported by recent neurological studies.

Creativity theories: support Kahnman’s biases in economic theory.

The technology hotspots model: Richard Florida’s controversial creative city model. Three factors of Talent, Technology, Tolerance, resulting in economic hot spots

The USA election: Say it may be worthwhile taking a look at the election for the next session, after the result is known.

Questions:

Creativity ‘past present and future’ [PowerPoint]

Psychological approaches to creativity in Heath service [PowerPoint]

Questions:

To be continued


A visit to Sheffield: City of Steel

October 4, 2016

sheffield-004

 

This week I visited Sheffield, a city that is busy re-inventing itself. As ever, it had some surprises for me. Starting with the brightly coloured elephants outside the rail station

Sheffield lies about forty miles to the east of where I live. Using public transport, it takes me roughly two hours to reach my destination, an indication of the pressure for a Northern transport system fit for the Northern Powerhouse.

The visit might never had happened. I filled in the date of the meeting on the page in my planner (old fashioned kind) as 3rd November not 3rd October. A blunder. Later in the day, I had a little guilty pleasure when I received a note from someone using a new-fangled electronic diary which had managed to invite participants for an event on 11th November which actually should have been for 11th October. Make what you will of that.

Sheffield, city of steel. Also of two fine Universities I am always pleased to visit. Today I was at a brand new-building on the Sheffield Hallam site. New enough for the DBA students to be sheep-dogged into the high-technology meeting room. I adjust to plasma screens on the walls, and the absence of flipcharts. Another fine old piece of communication hardware being consigned to the museum of pre-modern technology.

We discuss the foundations of leadership and management (not my title, and perhaps a little ambitious for a morning of contact time). Decide to start from the student’s interests, connecting them with my favourite foundation texts on leadership and creativity, (not exclusively my own), and management, (exclusively not my own).

Time left to explore the leadership lessons emerging from two current ‘living cases’, The EU Referendum in the UK, and the Presidential Campaign in the USA. What sense might be made of a system which results in two candidates each deeply unpopular not just with the general electorate, but within their own parties? Forget to mention the various posts here in LWD.

Declined what is always a pleasant lunch (get well soon, Murray, your contributions in session and as lunch host were missed). Instead, I tried the fare at the railway station, just past the last of those coloured elephants.

“Any onions in that toastie?” I asked

“Don’t know, love I don’t make them, I only sell them.” The motherly server replied.

On the train home I sat opposite a student studying a course manual on individual and organizational creativity. Discovered he had been learning the same sorts of things which we had been discussing, but on anuther course, elsewhere in the University.

Synchronicity or coincidence? Discuss.

Confusing the elephants

For reasons unknown, my images of elephants came out upside-down. Readers accept apologies if my favourite green one remains inverted while rescue work continues.


Wimbledon as a metaphor for English Culture: A creative look

June 30, 2016

IMG_0641.JPG

Wimbledon fortnight.  Any visitor to England would suspect tennis to be the national sport, perhaps equalled only by football. It may be more usefully seen as a metaphor for English popular culture

If the idea intrigues you, try this experiment before moving on. Take a blank sheet of paper. On the left, write down aspects of Wimbledon fortnight you think relate to its culture. Keep going until you have a full page. By the way, it works just as well, maybe better, if carried out by a team or social group.

You can see my efforts if you continue reading this post. I have ‘unfolded’ the experiment with several page breaks so that you can try things out for yourself before reading what I found.

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The strange case of Boaty Mc Boatface

March 23, 2016

Besemer

Creativity researchers have been trying to pin down  the qualities of a creative idea for many years. We look at how the prize-winning name for a boat meets the criteria

The research has been developed in factor studies of names voted creative.  This approach results in creativity being interpretative (some call it subjective).  Typically, a panel of experts rates names on factors believed to be associated with creativity. A contest to name a new boat would make a nice illustration of the research.  Or we could use the research to assess the creativity of the most popular name.

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Stan Lee is an inspiration to all Creatives

March 18, 2016

 

Stan_Lee_by_Gage_Skidmore_3

The creator of Spider-Man and many Marvel characters reveals how his fertile imagination is triggered

He was talking to a BBC reporter recently [March 2016] about his creative processes. His story matches dozens I have come across from creative individuals. According to Lee, he was looking for a new character when noticed a fly on the wall, and started playing around with ideas about a super-hero that could fly. He didn’t mention the great Superman, but in some way that didn’t matter, because he started adding ideas that would build on his first thought.

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