Creativity at Work

Creativity at Work is the name of the 2006 American Creativity Association's conference. This blog is established for presenters, keynoters, attendees, ACA members and the interested public to write about or comment on the presentations at the annual conference. Individuals wishing to post orginal material should contact the administrator.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Andrew Ouderkirk

Listen to the Interview (mp3, 18mb)

Dr. Andrew J. Ouderkirk received his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Northern Illinois University in 1978. He earned his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Northwestern University in 1983. After working two years at DuPont, he joined 3M in 1985.

Andy formed and led the team developing 3M’s Multilayer Optical Film (MOF) technology platform and developed the program’s intellectual property strategy. MOF products have wide-ranging, innovative applications, such as light-polarizing products, ultra high efficiency light reflectors and wavelength-selective products. The initial MOF product, Dual Brightness Enhancement Film, was the world’s first, commercially successful reflective film polarizer, which is now commonly used in LCDs for handheld, monitor, and TV applications. Andy is one of the lead developers of the new business Platform Architecture series being taught to 3M technical employees.

Andy has over 95 issued US patents and made more than 35 publications and invited presentations. Recognition includes the 2000 Fast Company Fast 50 award, the 2003 Finance and Commerce Innovator of the year, and the 2004 ACS Award for Creative Invention. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 2005. Andy is a 3M Carlton member, and is a Corporate Scientist in 3M’s Optical Systems Division.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Abdullah Taha Alsafi

Listen to the Interview (mp3, 10MB)

Risk-taking has not been a major area of study during recent decades, but increasing interest is being taken in its relation to creative thinking. The definitions of risk–taking vary widely depending on the researchers, purposes and theoretical biases .most definitions of risk-taking were concerned with economic theory in the first half of twentieth century. Moreover, Lopes (1983), indicates that the psychological dimension of risk-taking was generally neglected.

Before discussing the educational implications of risk taking, in its relationship to creative thinking, certain basic factors involved in risk-taking deserve mention. These include situational factors such as the nature of the risk taking task, the nature of motivation provided by the task, and the effect of other people on risk taker. These also include gender differences, age, profession, values, anxiety level, and creativity of the risk taker. Discussion of these will lead to suggestions on how risk –taking can be integrated into the learning environment.

Professor Abdullah Alsafi, who received his Ph.D. Degree in educational psychology 1989 from the University OF Wales, U K., is a professor and senior lecturer in department of educational psychology at King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia ,he was member in many academics and university administrations .he was consulted with many organizations regarding teaching learning in Saudi Arabia ,and he has presented his ideas regarding creative thinking, problem solving, learning strategies etc in many formal schools. He has presented papers in many conferences in Saudi Arabia, United State (APA) & (ACA), and Malta. He has published in English and Arabic language journals on topics focusing on creative thinking , motivation , learning and thinking ,anxiety , attribution ,achievement ,personality traits that dispose to creativity ,verbal production , psychological reality in pre school etc. and is the author of two books in Arabic: one on Creative Thinking and the-Evaluation in education. His third book, on educational psychology, is due to be published soon.

Abdullah Taha Alsafi
King Khalid University
Department of Educational Psychology
Abha, Saudi Arabia PO Box 9035
009667 2247303 Office
009667 2263986 Fax

Cheryl Honey

Listen to the Interview (mp3, 5MB)

Community Weaving is a grassroots community mobilization strategy that weaves the social fabric of community. This social change methodology incorporates the use of web-based technology to weave the human and tangible resources of the grassroots with the knowledge and skills of formal systems to create new ways of being in community. The approach raises social consciousness and awakens the human spirit to its purpose by engaging people to take responsibility for what they care about to create a more caring, just and civil society. In this networking session, Cheryl will reveal the techniques she used to grow a Family Support Network across the U.S. This transformative community building approach weaves a multi-cultural community tapestry of connections within communities, across organizations and around the world. Community Weaving is a cutting-edge methodology featured in the new Change Handbook, 2nd Edition. You don't want to miss this incredible opportunity to learn simple tips on how to grow your networking potential exponentially.

Cheryl Honey, C.P.P., of Bothell, WA, is president of Excel Strategies, Inc. and pioneer of Community Weaving, a social change methodology. She founded Family Support Network, Int'l and developed web-based technology to weave fabric of community within community systems around the world. Cheryl spearheaded a national movement by engaging citizens to take responsibility to creating a more caring, just and civil society. She is an advisor to the Alliance for Human Empowerment and member of the American Creativity Association. She received a B.A. in Liberal Arts & Transformative Community Building from Antioch University, Seattle. She authored Community Weaving in The Change Handbook 2nd Edition, and published numerous articles on community organizing and volunteerism. Communities tap her expertise to develop innovative approaches to build and bridge social capital. She's an Ambassador for Peace, and recipient of the Excellence in Leadership Award and the Giraffe Award, for sticking her neck out.

Cheryl Honey, C.P.P.
Master Weaver
Family Support Network, Int'l
14316 75th Ave. NE
Bothell, WA 98011

Carol McCormick

Listen to the Interview (mp3, 12M)

A courageous outrageous storytelling musical presenting encounters with extraterrestrial beings--intuitions, events, dreams, psychic messages and memories--with interpretations of what they may be telling us. It will move past the edge of what "authorities" tell us is our universe. Come prepared to laugh about, question, awaken or renew your relationship with extraterrestrial collaborators.

Carol McCormick studied over a period of three years at the Anna Wise Center in California. She has been a teacher and trainer at schools, colleges, universities, and corporations for thirty years. Her teacher Anna Wise wrote Awakening the Mind: A Guide to Mastering the Power of Your Brainwaves and The High Performance Mind - Mastering Brainwaves for Insight, Healing, and Creativity. Anna has taught biofeedback meditation and brainwave training for the past three decades and has led workshops and seminars throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, South America, and Asia. She is a leading authority on EEG and Higher States of Consciousness.

Carol McCormick
Storyteller, Trainer, and Public Speaker
SpiritMind Institute
625 Windemere Drive
Plymouth, MN 55441
763-546-4133 Home

Adam Blatner

Listen to the Interview (mp3, 11MB)

(1) Appreciate some philosophical ideas that offer an intellectual foundation for many more practical efforts; (2) Relate these, if one chooses--but it's not necessary--to a contemporary view of spirituality; (3) Relate these, also to the processes in one's own mind and personal evolution; (4) Apply the techniques of asides, multiple parts of self, and future projection to enhance effectiveness in communications; (5) Recognize the sources of creativity and cultivate receptivity to these "dramatic muses"; and (6) Appreciate the roots and interconnections of drama, creativity, and the psychologies of play and creativity.

Adam Blatner, M.D., T.E.P., is the only certified trainer of psychodrama in the United States who is also a psychiatrist, and, indeed, a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. Doubly Board Certified in Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, Dr. Blatner has retired from active clinical practice and instead devotes himself to writing and teaching about "Psychological Literacy," seeking to foster a higher level of social and emotional skills in the population as his contribution to mental hygiene. In the field of psychodrama, Dr. Blatner was the recipient of the field’s highest "J. L. Moreno Award" for lifetime service. He’s the author of three of the most widely used books on the subject, as well as numerous articles and chapters and books.

Adam Blatner
Teacher, Writer
Senior University Georgetown (Texas)
103 Crystal Springs Drive
Georgetown, TX 78628
512 864-0516 Home

Kirpal Singh

Listen to the Interview

Kirpal Singh is an internationally recognized writer, the author of 15 books, and a Singaporean icon. Among other things, he teaches courses on and directs a program on creativity at the very innovative Singapore Management University.

Kirpal Singh
School of Economics & Social Sciences
Singapore Management University
90 Stamford Road
Singapore 178903

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Alex Pattakos

Listen to the Interview (mp3, 19 min, 9MB)

Drawing on his book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl's Principles at Work (Read a Book Review, PDF), Dr. Alex Pattakos underscores the close relationship between creativity and the human quest for authentic meaning in life. Indeed, the intrinsic motivation to "actualize creative values" is one of the primary sources of meaning that defines our human-ness. Moreover, the will to meaning is based upon our individual and collective willingness to be held responsible--for our attitudes, our beliefs, and our behaviors. In this regard, Dr. Pattakos calls for a new paradigm that connects creativity with responsibility. In other words, we not only have a responsibility to be creative and to inspire creativity in others, but also to ensure that our personal and collective creative outputs are "responsible" and seek to make a positive difference in the world.

Dr. Alex Pattakos, affectionately nicknamed "Dr. Meaning," is the founder of the Center for Meaning and a principal of The Innovation Group, based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. He has had a long-standing passion for creativity as an academic (he began teaching creativity courses at the University level in the early 1980s), as an author (he's published extensively on the relationship between creativity and learning within complex organizations), and as a practitioner (he's worked in/with the government, corporate, and nonprofit sectors). In 1986, he received the "Creativity Award" from the University of Maine for his pioneering work in distance learning. The World Future Society credited him with inventing the concept of the "Electronic Visiting Professor" and IBM showcased his work as an innovation in academic computing.

More recently, Dr. Pattakos has integrated his passion for creativity with the emerging discipline of Innovation Management (see: ). Among his recent publications is the book, Prisoners of Our Thoughts, already translated into eight foreign languages, which applies the wisdom of his mentor, Dr. Viktor Frankl, to contemporary work and personal situations and provides a meaning-centered platform for innovative action. In addition, he is a member of the Honorary Advisory Council for the Statue of Responsibility Foundation ( ), which seeks to erect a Statue of Responsibility monument, an idea that originated with Dr. Frankl, on the West Coast of the USA (as a "book-end" to the Statue of Liberty) by the end of this decade.

Alex N. Pattakos, Ph.D.Principal, The Innovation Group223 North Guadalupe Street, #243, Santa Fe, NM 87501-1850
(505) 820-0254 (direct)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Randall Macon

Listen to Interview (mp3, 7MB, 15 minutes)

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi

Listen to Interview (mp3, 15MB, 30 minutes)

How will the practice of creativity be a driving force in the future world of work? What role can we play to take advantage of the current uncertainty to leverage creative thinking? What are the links between strategic and creative thinking? How do you totally engage the brain in the creative process? Come and engage your brain in this thought provoking session that will stimulate your thinking!

Ann Herrmann-Nehdi is CEO of Herrmann International, publisher of the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI) which is based on extensive research on thinking and the brain. Multiple applications of whole brain technology include creativity, strategic thinking, problem solving, management and leadership, teaching and learning, self-understanding, communication and team/staff development. Ann seeks to apply the principles of whole brain technology to her varied responsibilities: from day-to-day operations, to sales, to workshop design and presentations. Having resided in Europe for 13 years, Ann brings a global perspective to the company. Since joining Herrmann International USA 19 years ago, Ann has expanded the network of international offices to 16, spanning Europe, the Pacific Rim and Latin America.
Her personal goal is to promote better understanding of how individuals and organizations think and become more effective, as well as enhance learning and communication technologies worldwide through the application and development of whole brain concept. Ann is an advisor to the American Creativity Association, and has served such clients as Bank Of America, Coca Cola, General Electric, BMW, Target, Cintas, Cisco Systems, Hallmark, IBM, Milliken, Novartis, the US Forest Service and The Wharton School, Vanderbilt, as well as many educational groups. A powerful and highly energetic speaker, Ann has delivered keynotes and large group presentations around the world including events for ACA, CPSI, ASTD, ISA, American Planning Association, Training, the International Alliance for Learning and Innovative Network.

Herrmann International, celebrating its 25th year in 2006, was founded by Ned Herrmann, a Past President and founding member of the ACA and major contributor to the association for many years before he passed away in 1999. Ned, a physicist by education, was Manager of Management Education for General Electric where he began his groundbreaking study of the brain, creative human development and learning which resulted in the formation of the HBDI. The HBDI has been used worldwide to profile individuals’ learning and thinking styles and preference in accordance with brain theory. Herrmann developed and validated the HBDI and the Whole Brain Model while at GE, and designed several workshops that are internationally recognized for their use of cutting-edge creativity-learning models. Herrmann authored several books outlining his findings, including The Creative Brain published in 1996; The Whole Brain Business Book, published in 1998.The work of the North Carolina company has been featured in O Magazine, Business Week, USA Today, Discover, Scientific American and the Harvard Business Review. Herrmann International, with affiliates world-wide, continues to research and develop products and applications in the fields of thinking, creativity, leadership and learning

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Really glad I came to Austin

These last few days here at the ACA Conference have been a welcome respite from the turbulence of my life right now. Next Tuesday, my wife and I close on the first home we've ever owned. Within a month, we'll be moved, but my life will be hell between now and then. Meanwhile, I'm trying keep my consulting practice moving and contribute to the second consulting practice I have with my fantastic business partner. I have countless volunteer activities on my plate and, oh yeah, I was thinking that it might be nice to have life separate from all of the other stuff. I love everything that I'm doing these days, but it is a lot of stuff to keep organized.

Unfortunately, I need to leave Austin tomorrow morning and return to the real world. Naturally, I am looking forward to the really cute little shimmy I'll get from Wilbur, my devilish dachshund, when I walk through the door tomorrow afternoon, as well as to giving my wife a kiss when she comes home from work tomorrow evening. But I will be thinking about what's going on here in Austin, and feel really energized by the conversations I've had and the connections I've made here. I will be joining ACA and I look forward to getting more involved in the year ahead. I know it will be great fun.

Wait, didn't I just write something about my turbulent life? Oh well, such is the world of permanent white water! So, press forward kindred spirits, enjoy your remaining time together and everyone travel home safely.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Collaboration Game

Interested in collaboration?

Try this little game.

The collective consciousness is trying to draw something. Give it a hand.

Unusually authentic

Well, I experienced my first full day of my first ACA conference today, and I have a couple of thoughts to share:

+As someone who has attended literally hundreds of association meetings over a 15+ year career, I can honestly that this one is distinctive. The organizers, far from being bunged up about staying on schedule, freely allowed things to move forward on their own time and logic. I have to confess that this was a little strange for me, especially later in the day when the panel discussion of which I was a part went over the scheduled time...right into the next session for which I was the sole speaker! I did have the fleeting thought that my session attendees might proceed without me, which would have been just fine! I'm pleased to report, however, that the second session (on Google) moved forward with me, and I am happy with the outcome.

+This morning's opening session remarks from past ACA presidents struck me at first as a little bit too much inside baseball from the dais. As a first-timer, I did not have a clue to whom anyone was referring in their comments. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a problem for me. It was just somewhat unexpected. Most associations today are trying to minimize their discussions of historical background and internal matters from the stage, so I wasn't prepared for a different approach.

+Mostly, over the course of the day, I was struck by the basic authenticity of ACA members, leaders and conference attendees. I suppose I should not be surprised that a hotel filled with wild-eyed, passionate right brainers who, I'm confident, share my love of Play-Doh and Koosh balls are filled with energy and dripping with an authentic sense that what we're here to discuss really does matter, regardless of what all those command-and-control flunkies might think! It is a refreshing change of pace for me.

All in all, it was a very good first day at ACA. I'll try to post again one more time tomorrow before I leave on Friday morning.

Michael Beyerlein

Michael Beyerlein is Director of the Center for Collaborative Organizations and Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at the University of North Texas. His research interests include all aspects of collaborative work systems, organization transformation, creativity/innovation, knowledge management and the learning organization, and science education. He has published in a number of research journals and has been a member of the editorial boards for TEAM Magazine, Team Performance Management Journal, and Quality Management Journal. Currently, he is senior editor of the Elsevier annual series Advances in Interdisciplinary Studies of Work Teams and the Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer Collaborative Work Systems series. He has authored or edited 18 books. His most recent are Guiding the journey to collaborative work systems: A Strategic Design workbook (2004) and Collaborative Capital (2005). He has been involved in projects at the Center for Collaborative Organizations (formerly, The Center for the Study of Work Teams) with such companies as Boeing, Shell, NCH, AMD, Intel, Raytheon, First American Financial, Westinghouse, and Xerox and with government agencies such as Veterans Affairs, DCMAO, EPA, and the City of Denton.

Tremendous untapped potential exists in the workplace. Each individual brings a great deal of mind and heart to the workplace that can be unleashed and multiplied through collaboration. Global competition looks like a serious challenge to the U.S. economy. To stay in the game, U.S. industry must lead in creativity and innovation. That depends on enabling creativity and collaborative creativity at work.

This presentation will share a set of ideas for doing this, including: (1) A culture of empowerment, commitment, and innovation; (2) Support system alignment; (3) Collaborative work designs; (4) Teams as sources of self-efficacy, group potency, & collective efficacy; (5) Energy through shared vision and hope; (6) Challenge that unleashes flow experience for the team; (7) A cascade of champions and models; and (8) A social perspective on creativity.

Director, Center for the Study of Work Teams
University of North Texas
(940) 565-2653

David Pearce Snyder

Listen to Interview (mp3, 27MB, 1 hour)

David Pearce Snyder, Life-Styles Editor of The Futurist magazine, is a data-based forecaster whose thousands of seminars and workshops on strategic thinking have been attended by representatives from most of the Fortune 500 companies, and from local and federal government agencies, educational institutions and trade associations. Before entering private practice as a consulting futurist in 1981, Mr. Snyder was Chief of Information Systems, and later, Senior Planning Officer for the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, where he designed and managed the Service's Strategic Planning System. He was also a consultant to the RAND Corporation, and served as an instructor for the Federal Executive Institute, and for Congressional and White House staff development programs. Mr. Snyder has published hundreds of studies, articles and reports on the specific future of a wide range of U.S. institutions, industries and professions, and on the socio-economic impacts of new technologies. He is the editor/co-author of five books, including Future Forces and a sequel, America in the 1990s, both published by the American Society of Association Executives. He has appeared on Nightline, the Today Show, CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC World Service.

The common assumption that the Information Revolution will create a new generation of high value/high pay rank-and-file jobs remains an article of faith that is not reflected in current hiring patterns or official long-range employment forecasts. To the contrary, routine workplace activities are increasingly being automated, infomated, and commoditized, reducing the need for skilled labor. Simultaneously, macroeconomists expect that international competition made possible by free trade and our new global infostructure – the Internet – will increasingly drive local labor markets worldwide to pay comparable wages for comparable work. But real revolutions arise from the “bottom up,” and a confluence of spontaneously adopted technical innovations and collegial workplace practices is currently foreshadowing a grassroots reinvention of work itself that can be expected to increase the value- added and the income earned by rank-and-file employees. What is emerging is an absolutely unexpected yet intuitively compelling social invention – “open collaboration” – uniquely capable of mobilizing the creative capacities of workers everywhere to exploit the productive potential of information technology, and to address the growing inventory of social, economic, environmental and bio-medical challenges confronting the future of human enterprise.

David Pearce Snyder
Consulting Futurist
The Snyder Family Enterprise
8628 Garfield Street
Bethesda, MD 20817

Anne Durrum Robinson

Oh give us a creative clan,
Accompanied by a six piece band.
Remember to lend a helping hand,
And , Oh...
Give thanks for Anne.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mantra for the conference

Tomorrow, I will be heading down to Austin for the Creativity-at-Work Conference, and I've selected my mantra:

"If, at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."

Of course, these are the words of the extraordinary Albert Einstein. For me, they are a wellspring of inspiration, an independent energy source when I feel myself giving in to the forces of conformity and normalcy.

This will be my first ACA conference and I'm really looking forward to it, especially all of the absurd ideas. I've got my mantra for this conference. What's yours?