How Are You Creative?

Image by H.Koppdelaney*

Hile Rutledge, a leadership consultant who heads Otto Kroeger Associates, writes in The Washington Post’s On Success blog about the different ways in which different personality types are creative. This is of great interest to me; one of Eric Liu’s and my goals in Imagination First is to get people to maximize their personal imaginative potential, and Rutledge’s theories are thought-provoking in this regard. Some people, he says, are creative by “intuition,” defined as “a process of gathering data that emphasizes imagination, possibilities, and abstraction.” These are people who naturally see things as if they could be otherwise. And when they get together, share ideas, and combine them to form new ones, “external intuition” happens. Intuition also refers to the phenomenon by which notions seem to suddenly come to us out of the blue. On the other hand, Rutledge explains, some other people are creative by “sensing,” defined as “a process of gathering information that emphasizes sensate data, specific facts, and here-and-now details.” Focusing only on what’s tangible and possible, such people solve problems by working with what they have at the moment. Sensing can also mean being able to draw on one’s storehouse of solid knowledge and memory for application in the present. In the end, Rutledge highlights the importance of knowing one one’s own creative nature—a critical step, it seems to me, if one is to try to become more imaginative, more creative. So what kind of personality do you have? What kind of imaginer or creator are you?

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

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Submit an Imagination Practice and Your Idea May Be Featured in the New Paperback Edition of Imagination First!

Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility will be out in paperback in spring of 2011! This time around, Lincoln Center Institute will take an interactive approach with our readers by incorporating some of your ideas into this publication—you never know, you may just end up with your name in print!

To submit an imagination practice that you would like us to consider for inclusion in the spring 2011 Imagination First paperback edition, we ask that you enter our ongoing imagination practices contest. As you may know, LCI has been running this contest since spring 2010 and awarding winners with an iPod. (Our first winner was a wonderfully imaginative Colorado teacher who had come up with a toy to get families to use their imaginations.) As you also know, Imagination First is based on real-life imagination practices used “routinely” by those in the workforce, including educators, inventors, businesspeople, and even army officers. The new edition will have a greater focus on education.

So, we invite you to send in your own imagination practice NOW. Practices must be sent to us by November 15th to be in the running for prizes including an iPod, and, now, the possible inclusion of your entry in the new edition of the book as well.

What do you do to fire up your imagination and the imaginations of others?

Please visit http://lciweb.lincolncenter.org/imaginationfirst/index.php/participate/share-your-practice for more information, to view the imagination practices contest rules and to enter. Let us hear from you today!

Council of School Supervisors & Administrators: Embracing Imagination, Fostering Creativity

On November 13th, 2010 the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators will convene for their annual educational leadership conference, this year centering on the theme “Embracing Imagination, Fostering Creativity.” Lincoln Center Institute is co-sponsoring and will present several sessions at the event, including an Imagination Conversation moderated by Sade Baderinwa, WABC news anchor.

Today CSA President Ernest Logan published a commentary discussing education and accountability and the central role of imagination in student success. Not surprisingly, a recent meeting Logan held with Scott Noppe-Brandon, LCI’s Executive Director and co-author of Imagination First, seemed to fuel his thinking about these issues. “For centuries, the arts have been a civilizing force in society. Imagination, whether in the arts or any other sphere, has elevated us above all other creatures.”

Click here to access Logan’s post via Facebook.

Click here to access the post via the CSA Website.

Stepping Stones

Image by Shimelle Laine*


In “Where We Go From Here – Combine Education and Technology for Creativity,” a guest column for online economic development journal Exchange, Larry Kilham writes about the connection between technology, imagination, and education. He remarks early in the article, “There is a need for a new kind of thinking in the face of the recently available mountains of data.” In other words, now that computers and the Internet have made so much information so easily accessible, what skill set is in demand? That of imagination (as Eric Liu and I state in Imagination First). With this in mind, Kilham points out a problem in education: the most imaginatively inclined students are sometimes the most impatient with structured classroom time, which leads them to disengage from school or even drop out. And the content knowledge that they lose by disengaging, often technical in nature, ends up costing them when they come under the scrutiny of employers—who, ironically, value fresh and unusual ideas. Kilham proposes two responses to this challenge: we must “[g]et children interested in creative accomplishment at an early age and keep them focused on this,” and we must also ensure that students with expansive minds who don’t adapt well to conventional classrooms receive the education they need. The author returns in the end to the big picture, noting that the charged combination of today’s technological resources and the major difficulties currently facing the world means that “creativity has never been more important than it is now.” Indeed—and the stepping-stone to creativity is imagination.

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

Creativity in the UK

Image by Lee Fenner*

A recent article in British newspaper The Guardian by Nosheen Iqbal quotes Sir Ken Robinson as saying, “Creativity is not an exotic extra for education. Like literacy, it should be at the heart of national education priorities.” Robinson’s influential 1999 report, “All Our Futures,” led Arts Council England (ACE) to form Creative Partnerships, an arts education program to integrate “creative learning” into schools by having “creative agents”—artists of all kinds—work with teachers across subjects. The September 14 Guardian article deals with the fact that Creativity, Culture, and Education (CCE), the charity that now runs Creative Partnerships, expects deep cuts in the annual funding it receives from ACE. The bittersweet irony of this arises from the extremely positive findings of a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which estimates that for every £1 invested in Creative Partnerships, the program delivers £15.30 to England’s national economy; this adds up to £4 billion! (The calculation was derived from data showing that students in Creative Partnership schools score, on average, 2.5 grades higher than their peers on standardized tests.) Despite such impressive figures, which align with LCI’s belief in the broad efficacy of imaginative teaching and learning, proponents of this approach to education still face challenges in convincing others of its effectiveness. Iqbal writes, “Alison Peacock, head of Wroxham primary school … agrees that applying creativity in education can’t be a woolly or vague notion but must be rigorous.” Eric Liu and I think so, too: we argue in Imagination First that institutions must “routinize imagination” (203). It sounds like Creative Partnerships is doing just that in UK schools.

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

Catch an Interview with Scott Noppe-Brandon on BlogTalkRadio!

Image by Jane Hoffer

Scott Noppe-Brandon, Lincoln Center Institute’s Executive Director and co-author of the book Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility, will appear on the show Creativity in Play, hosted by Steven Dahlberg and Mary Alice Long, Ph.D., and produced by the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination.

Catch the interview live on Wednesday October 20th at 2:00pm. UPDATE: The interview will be carried live on Wednesday November 3rd at noon EDT.

Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation Find a Home in Louisiana

Image by Woodley Wonderworks

On July 9, I wrote about the Imagination, Creativity and Innovation (ICI) Summer Institute, a professional development event for Louisiana teachers that took place in June and was hosted by the Louisiana Office of Cultural Development/Division of the Arts. The state has now announced, to my delight, that it will pilot its ICI Initiative—“developed to nurture creativity and advance 21st-century skills in every learner through an arts-integrated education”—in eight schools, starting this 2010-2011 school year. This initiative was born as a response to “Act 175,” a bill the Louisiana Legislature passed in 2007 to create a mandate for arts education. The press release announcing the new pilot program cites the positive outcomes in other states that have integrated the arts into classrooms: “increased student achievement, increased attendance by students and staff, increased rates of retention, improved school climate, greater parent participation, and building a sense of community around the school.” Indeed, Lincoln Center Institute has seen many studies that confirm these claims (including The Center for Arts Education’s “Staying in School,” which focuses on New York City high schools and which I blogged about back in November 2009). Another exciting aspect of Louisiana’s plan is that students will encounter new artistic disciplines each year, all of which will be incorporated into their language arts curriculum. Finally, in keeping with LCI’s belief in a balance between imaginative learning and accountability, “outcomes” will be “linked to state and national standards.” I can’t wait to see what happens here!

*There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.