Summer Residential Intensive Masters Program
Dr. Wendy L. Schultz
Infinite Futures

intro/overview | creativity | facilitation
scenario identification and analysis |
scenario building
visions and visioning
strategic planning and change management
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COURSE MODULE: creativity *!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!*!* CLASS NOTES
4-5 June
Creativity, leadership, and organizations.
Discussion: What hampers group creativity? Enhances it?
Exercises: Futures wheels, po, idea boxes.
Read: Miller, 3, 6, 7, 8; Markley.

On-line resources:
Robert Harris, Creative Thinking Techniques, 5 January 2002

Module resources:
Stuart Forsyth's class discussion notes.

Brainstorm: what words come to mind when you hear "creativity"?
Here are some dictionary definitions.

Miller, 2, 4, 5:
What motivates you? What do you want to create during your life? VALUES
Are you creative? WHERE are you most creative?
Miller suggest creativity can surface as any of the following activities:
New ideas or improvements of old ones: intuitive or logical thinking
Make something tangible: material, sensory, other can repeatedly experience
Act spontaneously: generate new, unique ways to interact with our environment
Producing an event: event, process, or circumstance creativity
Organizing people or projects: community creativity
Building a relationship: collaborative, cooperative creativity
Changing your "inner self": transcendental creativity?

WHO is creative? Can it be taught? SPIRITED: Miller's framework.

Visioning: seek ideal, long-term solutions. Envision and idealize.
Modifying: expand and build on what you've already done. Build and optimize.
Experimenting: combine various elements and test out novel solutions. Combine and test.
Exploring: challenge core assumptions and discover new alternatives. Challenge and discover.

Take advantage of diversity: build mixed teams to draw upon different thinking, learning, and problem-solving styles (identified using the Kolb Experiential Learning Inventory, or the Meyers-Briggs or Kiersey personality inventories, or the Enneagram, or others).

Tapping into your intuition: wondering (mindset of attentive openness, curiosity, and expansion); understand your own language of intuition; work with symbols; work with symbols; practice.

Blocks to creativity include: limiting beliefs; fear (of the known and unknown); strong emotions; stress; overspecialization; narrow thinking; lack of imagination, etc.

Limiting beliefs: leader/victim; confidence and trust; talent/contribution; strength of expectations; personal value.
Fear: lack of confidence in personal creativity; worry and anxiety about the future; fear of rejection; fear of confrontation; fear of success; fear of failure.
Other emotions: guilt, depression, anger; comfort with the status quo; boredom; excess energy; intolerance of ambiguity; need for perfection; need to please management; unwillingness to collaborate; excessive zeal; disinterest; impatience and frustration; seriousness.
Stress: can be good AND bad.
Overspecialization: see Arthur Clarke on scientists -- the more eminent they are, they more they are likely to be trapped by the paradigms of their discipline.
Narrow thinking: sticking to favorite problem-solving modes.
Lack of "image"-ination: staying within verbal boundaries; applying only one sense while problem-solving.

Problem solving: many strategies, many paths.
Kinds of problems: routine ­ solved either by substituting special data into formerly solved general problem, or following step-by-step some well-worn, conspicuous example.
Degrees of originality ­ familiar situations dealt with by habitual methods.
Blocks: not objective novelty of problem, but embeddedness of components of solution (typecasting).
Learning to 'think aside' ­ switching to visual imagery, or re-stating the problem in different terms, or letting the attention wander.

BISOCIATION: combining elements of dissimilar sets; integrating two previously dissimilar frames of reference.
Subjective/objective originality: is the discovery just new to you, or new in actual fact?

Novel ideas include a "negative insight" (recognition that some previously accepted principle is wrong)
Discovery by Freudian slip?

  • Found a contradiction;
  • Immersed or saturated consciousness with the problem and its context;
  • Moment of inattention created space for solution to emerge.

Von Helmholtz: the stages of creative process are saturation, incubation, and illumination ­ to which Poincare added verification.

In terms of complex adaptive systems: mind slides towards bottom of basin of attraction (best fitting solution to existing theory/problem statement) ­ but other, better basins may exist. How to bounce out and explore? Generate noise, or chance motion superimposed on the tendency to descend.

Approaches: de Bono and word association; brainstorming; etc.

Characteristics of creative thinkers:

  • Dedication to task
  • Awareness of being trapped in an unsuitable basin [of knowledge; of thinking]
  • A degree of comfort with teetering on the edge between basins
  • A capacity for formulating as well as solving problems

Miller, 3, 6, 7, 8:
Creative Journey: borrowing a metaphor from the mythic

  • The challenge: establish the goal and assess the risks
  • The focus: tap into your character (values, experience, etc.) and analyze priority issues
  • The creative solutions: generate options and decide on solution(s)
  • The completion: implement change and celebrate results
NOT NECESSARILY LINEAR -- just presented that way.

Reliving an ancient tale: the quest myth (see The Way to Shambhala by Edwin Bernbaum) ­ quest, impassable river, demon, withdraw to focus energies, battle, overcome, incorporate demon as ally, continueŠ.

Conscious celebration helps renew energy to re/engage the creative cycle

  • Specific values ­ authenticity, humor, play, empowerment, elegance, spontaneity, creativity
  • Symbols ­ globe to symbolize worldwide launch, etc.
  • Ritual ­ fresh rather than stifling (invent new ones regularly!)
  • Storytelling
  • Special role of leadership in event's design and implementation

Terry Deal and M.K. Key, seven reasons for celebration:
  • Cyclical gatherings ­ to build sense of ongoing identity in a group
  • Recognition ­ to celebrate heroes and heroines, focus energy, share values, and provide motivation
  • Triumph ­ to spark creative energy, spawn stories, and build affiliation
  • Comfort and letting go ­ to heal sadness, create continuity from past to future, and help the group move on
  • Succession ­ bring closure, help departing people move on, help replacements ease in
  • Altruism ­ to bring people together and give back to the community
  • Play ­ to release tension, foster creativity, and generally delight everyone.

Stimulating a creative climate:
Chaos and order: chaordic
Need not just new rules, but a whole new game: new paradigm, worldview, central organizing principle (see table page 102)
Leadership: empowerment by appreciation of everyone's potential to contribute

Taking risks: intelligent failure, competent failure, "high learning, unwanted results"

Appraisals and Rewards:

  • Achievement ­ producing a specific result
  • Behavior ­ performing with designated skill or style
  • Learning (transferred) ­ a new learning has actually been communicated or published or used by others
  • Effort ­ passing milestones on a critical path, or a key achievement

"SATISFIERS" ­ intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards (all of us need at least a maintenance level of both

Innovative Teams ­ relationship heroism, rather than heroic leaders
Must be both relationship-oriented and task-oriented, or attuned and aligned:

  • Attunement on ­ personal purpose and interpersonal relations
  • Alignment on ­ purpose and vision, roles, empowerment, processes for working together.

Innovation Roles
  • Product champions: transmit excitement and enthusiasm
  • Sponsors: diplomats and overseers
  • Inventors: originators of the idea
  • Project managers: stabilizers, carrying process forward effectively
  • Coaches: give guidance to less experienced personnel
  • Gatekeepers: monitor external conditions and relay updates to internal teams
  • Internal monitors: review ongoing ideas and creative climate of organization
  • Facilitators: help elicit new ideas, foster collaborative teamwork
Leadership styles:
  • Tell: I decide, you do
  • Sell: I decide, you do because of this persuasive reasonŠ
  • Consult: before I decide, give me your input
  • Participate: we decide together
  • Delegate: you decide:
  • Produce this result, but check with me before acting
  • Produce this result, inform me of your actions
  • Produce this result; I don't need to know.
Innovative meetings clarify and explicitly define these roles:
Group members
(from Doyle and Straus)

Prof. Oliver Markley:
Creative Problem Solving exercises: try this process on your next problem.
Tapping the "self within" by using a variety of "depth intuition" exercises: try "Experiencing the Needs of Future Generations."

Has anyone ever done similar work? Under what circumstances? With what results? Comments? Responses?

Want more refreshing on these ideas? Go to Stuart Forsyth's notes on the creativity module.