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19
May

How Music Inspires Creativity

Classical Music In The Park

Image by Photo Gallery via Flickr

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.

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18
May

Scientific Proof for Sensing Gaps and Imagining Possibilities

Peeking

Image by wickenden via Flickr

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.”

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17
May

Sustainability Thrives on Creativity

airplane

Image by shyb via Flickr

The first time I flew to Australia, I remember dreading the layover and wishing we could fly non-stop from Boston.  As I peered out the plane window and saw the brilliant sunshine, I couldn’t fathom how decades later a solar plane would make its first international flight. Just the other day the solar-powered  Solar Impulse completed a flight from Switzerland to Brussels. The plane generated energy from the sun and stored the power in order to charge lithium batteries for night flight. No fuel and no pollution. Creativity at its finest.

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16
May

Everyday Creativity Leads to Good Citizenship

..

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 »

13
May

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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12
May

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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11
May

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 »
10
May

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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9
May

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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6
May

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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