Imagination Conversation Report: Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado

Image ©Scott Dressel-Martin

The Colorado Imagination Conversation on October 20 was held in a beautiful local space that embodied the ideas explored at the event: the Denver Botanic Gardens. Host organization Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) is a division of the state’s Office of Economic Development that aims to, among other things, “increase access to … creativity skills in P-20 education and workforce development.” Upon arrival, audience members were treated to guided tours of the Gardens’ inspiring exhibit of works by 20th-century British sculptor Henry Moore. The ensuing Conversation featured panelists ranging from acclaimed novelist David Milofsky to Lara Merriken, inventor of popular energy bar LÄRABAR—yet another example of imagination’s impact across disparate professional fields.

CCI Executive Director Elaine Mariner reports that the topics covered by the participants included: imagination’s innateness in everyone; the danger that external influences such as parents, teachers, and peers may squelch imagination; and the importance of surrounding oneself with positive and encouraging people rather than naysayers and non-believers. “We had a capacity crowd,” Mariner notes, “and the audience was very engaged and pleased with the depth and diversity of the views that were expressed.” Video of the Conversation will be available soon on the Web site of official government station Denver 8 TV.

UPDATE 1/3/11: The video of the Denver Imagination Conversation is now available from the Denver 8 TV Online Video page–look for “Imagination Conversation” under the “Featured” tab.

Click here to view all of the Imagination Conversation Reports.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear (of Failure) Itself

Image by Vancouver Film School*

The eighth annual Teens and Entrepreneurship Survey, conducted in August 2010 by Junior Achievement (JA), an organization that prepares students for success in the global economy, reveals contemporary teenagers’ concerns about their futures. According to a press release, out of 1,000 respondents between the ages of 12 and 17, 51% want to eventually start their own business, but 74% see risk and failure as the biggest obstacles in their path. An overwhelming 84% of young people believe business initiative should be taught in school, and 34% identify imagination and creativity as the most important assets for marketplace achievement. With regard to the aforementioned anxiety felt by aspiring entrepreneurs, JA USA President and CEO Jack E. Kosakowski says, “[T]he time is now to teach them those essential skills to overcome that fear.” One way of addressing this need is to encourage students to re-engineer their conception of failure by teaching them “failing well”—that is, preparing them to learn from failure rather than feel ashamed of it and avoid it at all costs. Educators should work to foster this ability, an essential one for all potential innovators. Overall, the Teens and Entrepreneurship Survey shows that American kids are ambitious, aware of imagination’s economic power, and intent on having schools offer them knowledge that will fuel their professional careers. By “[b]ringing the concepts of entrepreneurship and innovation into the classroom,” JA is responding to that demand—but others must join in the effort.

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image.

Lincoln Center Institute’s Pepsi Refresh Project

Take a few minutes in your morning routine to vote for Lincoln Center Institute!

Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), Lincoln Center’s core education program reaching over 400,000 students throughout the country, is competing for $250,000 in the Pepsi Refresh Project.

During the month of December, your daily vote can mean much-needed support of students and teachers in underserved schools in New York City and around the country. LCI’s work goes beyond traditional “arts in education,” inspiring creative problem solving and critical thinking while helping students prepare to enter the workforce.

Voting is easy!

  1. Visit
  2. Registration is simple, especially if you connect your Refresh Project login to your Facebook account
  3. You can vote every day! Make us part of your morning routine! Get your coffee, check your email, and visit to vote for Lincoln Center Institute.
  4. Tell your friends, post on Facebook, and Tweet your support for Lincoln Center Institute (which you can do right from our Refresh Project page)!

Voting ends on December 31, 2010. Please vote every day!