A few weeks back at the FEI11 conference, I helped setup the Lego exhibit. After unloading boxes and boxes of Legos, I dove into contributing the first of many user-generated, or in this case, conference attendee-generated, creations that would grace the exhibit. As I thought about what to construct, I decided it might be nice to welcome folks to Boston by building the skyline. After constructing the John Hancock Tower, the “Boston Legal” building, the Prudential building, and a “Bridge to the Future” with a divergent and convergent staircase, I started on the waterfront. I added water details including Read more
There’s been quite a bit of talk lately in the innovation world about the importance of failure. In thinking about failure, I’m struck by the negative connotation. Though many of us consider failure a bad thing, sometimes there is an unintended consequence to failure. Namely, failure can lead to new thinking and innovation. I was reminded of the beauty of failure by my son.
Article first published as Popsicle Sticks as Toys? Really? on Technorati.
My youngest son came home beaming last week. He had a wonderful day at school and was even chosen to be “Star of the Day.” At the dinner table, he showed us his prize for being the star. Sitting next to him were 6 popsicle sticks that he had arranged into a pattern. We oohed and ahhed as my son manipulated the popsicle sticks into stars, planes and birds.
Watching my son playing with the popsicle sticks brought back memories of my childhood. As a child, whenever I went to the pediatrician, he would give me a bunch of tongue depressors as a treat for being good. I shared this memory with my family. My oldest son said, “Really?!? That’s all he gave you? What kind of prize is that?”
There’s a lot of talk in the business world about the importance of testing and learning. When it comes to web site design, we typically create prototypes to help clients understand user flows, graphical elements, and user interactions. Many times, we take these prototypes out to end users to test and get feedback. This aspect of testing and learning helps to uncover opportunities, understand what is/isn’t working, confirm hypotheses, and find ways of improving outcomes. Though this example was couched in a business context, we all have the innate ability for testing and learning. In fact, testing and learning begins as infants.
I grew up with music and am thankful for my musical household. Of course, with my family “growing up with music” didn’t mean coming from a musically talented family, but living above a disco lounge. In thinking about my childhood I remember my brother and I putting our ears to the floor late at night to hear the sounds of the 70’s. I also have fond memories of my uncle singing into a hairbrush, my first portable radio, and my first Walkman!
A memorable quote about the link between music and creativity comes from creativity facilitator, Bill Sturner, who said, “…music cuts through and gets you to glide with it.” And, if you think about it, music really does have a way of shifting our moods. Music can make us happy, give us energy, make us cry, make us conjure images of the past…and even images of the future.
This is a follow-up post to an article I wrote a few weeks back titled, Creativity: Sensing Gaps and Imagining Possibilities. In the article I hypothesized about how a person’s mind could recognize a gap in a situation and fill in, or imagine, the possibilities. I used examples from my early work experience to shed light on how the mind might work.
In listening to an NPR story on an early morning commute, I was surprised to learn of scientific proof backing the sensing of gaps and imagining possibilities. In the segment Mindreading: Technology Turns Thought into Action the NPR team interviewed researchers who found, “Whether it’s musical phrases or strings of words or scenery we look at, our brains are always filling in missing information.”
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):
- Surveillance – putting your kids under a microscope and making them feel like they’re being watched
- Evaluation – judging your kids performance
- Read more
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.
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.
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?”