Monday, April 5, 2010

My self-designed creativity session

This post marks the first post of the "inventions and designs" post, and I certainly hope there will be more to come in the near future.

This is a further elaboration of the creativity session that I designed for Symposium Neue Thinken last Saturday 3rd of April 2010. I'll describe it again.

In the room that you see in the photos, I have arranged 15 objects and 15 pictures around the room. The participants were split into 3 groups of 5 participants each. Each group was given a 'problem picture', depicting one social problem, so the objective was for the group to find solutions for the problem in the picture. The solutions I was looking for were supposed to be innovative and sustainable, and able to prevent the Sisyphus effect. For those who don't know, the Sisyphus effect basically describes the typical "endless list of to-do tasks" that we experience everyday, and in terms of social problems, it's about how when we solve one problem, another one comes rolling in. The groups were to use inspiration which may be triggered by the objects and pictures through associations, which is a key feature of creativity (making connections where none existed before)

I had deliberately placed the objects around the room, (or rather my kind and helpful facilitators did it for me), because I wanted the participants to stand up, walk around, and explore. I felt it was more meaningful than having them just sit while I flash the pictures and objects on slides. A really creative person would not just sit and wait for answers, he would go outside and start looking around for solutions, so that was what I wanted to simulate.

Also, the pictures and problems may or may not have anything to do with the problem at hand. The idea was to be able to form associations, no matter how disparate, between the objects and possible solutions to the problem. The more disparate the link, the more likely innovative solutions will be formed.

So the groups were given 35 minutes to explore and discuss solutions, then present it on mahjong paper. I saw some very good action, the participants really got up and explored, and good associations were formed. Common associations were with the spider-web picture, (networking) and the word 'internet' with an online portal specifically directed at solving the problems at hand.

At the end of the day, everyone had fun, many were inspired to practice creativity in their lives as well as in making a difference to society (i gathered this from the feedback forms I gave out). I felt it was a good first try (yes, it is the first time this session saw light), but I would certainly improve the session in future for Project Ahead meetings. So as you can see from the picture above, I made new friends, and I was happy.

This session is not just limited to social service, it just so happens that I was asked to give a session in Symposium Neue Thinken, which centers around social enterprises, so I geared it towards that. I believe a similar session can be given to corporate leaders, teachers, designers (O i would love to see this one), students, even scientists and engineers. For now, I mainly plan to use it for Project Ahead meetings, but I'm pretty excited as to how far I can take this brainchild of mine.

And lastly, I have to thank people. Thank you Josh and Alvis for helping me out in the session, putting the objects and pictures around and all that. Thank you Ying Shean for inviting me to take part in this eye-opening experience, and thank you Colin for uploading the pictures. And of course, a big warm thank you to all those who showed up and took part in my session. It could not have been possible without you guys.

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