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.

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?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Video Newsletters

OK….maybe I just wanted to be the 1st one to post something, but seriously I think this is a helpful tip for any business. I have started “Video Newsletters” for my business. The affordable technology available today is staggering compared to just a year or two ago.

These videos are shot with a couple hundred dollar camera from Circuit City, $300 lights, and free software. I am the writer, editor, cameraman….well the works….the entire production cast, and I am not a computer nerd. It is easy and anyone can do it. Right…..I know it is not Hollywood, but it is almost free and effective.

Think about all the ways you could do this to foster creativity at work. What about all of the product demonstrations you could put together and post on your company web site. A “Video Press Kit” ?… How about some interviews with some of your employees talking about what it is like to work there? How about some testimonials from your customers? How about a factory floor walkthrough?

My “Video Press Kit”

Here are some of my recent "Video Newsletters";

Watch Combination Creativity in action as the Aussies developed the Solar Sailor; a transportation vessel that uses solar power panels for both electricity and as sails!

Sometimes creativity just requires using some common sense. How did everyone miss this one?

What do the majority of Nobel Prize winners have in common?

If you think it has to be high tech and expensive; you’re wrong. Microsoft has more money than anyone and look at theirs;

Mark L. Fox