Space for Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation

Image by Junyu Wang*

Just over a month ago, Tony DeRose, lead of the Research Group at Pixar Animation Studios, gave an inspiring presentation at Lincoln Center Institute’s Imagination Summit in New York City. Now, Fast Company’s Co.Design website has published an article identifying the physical environment of Pixar as an example for schools to follow.

“We can no longer afford to…design schoolhouses the way we used to if we’re to maintain a competitive edge,” say authors Steven Turckes and Melanie Kahl. “In looking at various exemplary workplaces…we can glean valuable lessons about effective educational approaches and the spaces that support them.”

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Food for Thought

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Image by Kelley Taghon

What does a former deli in South Bend, Indiana, have to do with imagination? More than you might imagine. Under the leadership of CEO and President Phil Newbold, Memorial Hospital has turned the space into what Gene Stowe of the South Bend Tribune calls “an energetic creativity classroom.” It still looks like an eatery—there are tables, chairs, and display cases—but the objective now is to nourish the right brain rather than the stomach. Open to hospital workers and organizations of all kinds, Innovation Café @ Memorial offers classes and workshops intended to promote imagination, creativity, and innovation. These delicacies are described in a “menu” that includes, for instance, appetizers such as “Pre-Visit Readings”; “Introduction to the Basics of Innovation” as a “Soup and Salad” course; a “Chef’s Choice” entrée of “Putting Innovation into Healthy Community Initiatives”; and a “Side Dish” of “Real World Stories.” Not to mention the “Yummy Desserts”! So how exactly does this unusual “café” function? Continue reading

Redesigning the American Classroom

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Image by John R. Hawk*

In a recent blog entry on graduate business schools, I mentioned “design thinking,” a term that may be unfamiliar to many readers. In a fascinating January 20 interview with Public School Insights, a blog of the Learning First Alliance, professor and business innovator David Kelley provides satisfying answers to anyone in the dark about what exactly “design thinking” is. In addition to founding the world-class design company IDEO, Kelley has been a professor at Stanford’s unique Institute of Design (nicknamed “d.school”) for over 30 years. Like LCI’s Imagination Conversations initiative, much of Kelley’s current work is dedicated to reshaping American public education—but how does he want to change it, and why? Continue reading