These are my notes from Robert Sternberg’s presentation, “Creativity is a Decision: Keys to Developing Creativity in Children and Adults” November 1, 2011, at the 2011 Oklahoma Creativity Forum. Dr Sternberg is the provost at Oklahoma State University.

Creativity is an everyday phenomenon, it is not just something you find just in luminaries lives and writing

1 message: Creativity is a decision

Goals
1- show creativity is in large part, a decision
2- review research
3- show how to apply this in our lives

Definition of creativity: Production an idea or product that is novel and good and useful in some way difference to some contexts where both these things are not valued

Does creativity really matter?
– organizations that are not creative today are really in trouble
– “The Big Three” vs Honda
– CDC (Control Data Corporation) vs IBM
– Eastern Airlines versus United Airlines

Our standardized testing that we do today might have made some sense 100 years ago
– there was very little variation in students taking college entrance exams 100 years ago
– a lot of differences in test scores today have a lot to do with educational opportunities

Stanford Benet came out in 1905
– if we were still using medical tests from 100 years ago that would be ridiculous
– I have an article about this that was published today, we cannot accept the tests these companies are producing

Different aspects for personal relationships: intimacy, compassion and passion, commitment The Big3 automakers got into real trouble because they didn’t innovate
– 2 are bankrupt, 1 is in real trouble

IBM changed itself from a mainframe computer company

There used to be buggy whip companies too

Examples of quotations of people lacking creative vision…

Must read article on testing & college admissions: How to Reform Testing by Robert Sternberg

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2011/11/01/essay-difficulty-promoting-reforms-admissions-testing

There are a lot of kids who can really change the world, but often they don’t have the high test scores colleges are looking for and demand for admissions
– my view is that tests are very narrow and don’t tell us the things we need to know

Creativity is in large part a decision to ‘defy the crowd’ Creative people “buy low and sell high” in the world of ideas
– almost no one does this

Creative people are ‘value’ investors in the realm of ideas, very few people want to buy low and sell high, whether novice or experts

Reasons it is hard to be creative: external and internal pressures
– when you defy the norm you get negative feedback from others to conform, then you question yourself if you are off track

There are 13 key decisions to be creative 1 to redefine problems
– story of the guy who invented sticky notes for 3M

2- to analyze creative solutions to problems
– ask yourself the best and the worst things that can happen to you and your family

Aside: wisdom and ethics are often lacking
– we see this in failed leaders in business and politics – often those folks act in ways which are unwise and unethical Infusion of positive ethical values are essential

Always ask yourself: Is this going to make the world a better place?

Basic purpose of education: create responsible and ethical leaders who will make the world a better place – that is the bottom line for us in schools

Creative ideas don’t sell themselves: they don’t. You have to sell them

Story of Robert giving a preso on intelligence at Princeton, and feeling like it had bombed
– people get a vested interest in doing things a certain way, and they don’t want to change
– if you want to share a creative idea, you have to be able to sell it

This year we are starting our “panorama” project at OSU for admissions, we are putting new questions on the application

In education we have to teach to the way kids learn, other wise we are not really teaching (it just feels Iike we are)
– story of college psychology prof who told me I was a loser after getting a C in psychology

Problem is we give kids tests that don’t correlate to what we do in our professions and jobs

At OSU we have started a new learning center to change (at least some of the time) how we help students learn

Another key decision: to realize that intelligence and knowledge both help and hurt creativity
– example: a trip to the zoo in another country I visited

The less you know, the more flexible you can be in your thinking -Robert Sternberg #okcf2011

To be creative, you have to take sensible risks
– example was a showdown at tenure time Key decision: to find what you love to do
– research shows creative people are almost always doing things they love

Example: son Seth playing the Trumpet
– you will never have a creative kid if you want them to be you

It is really hard to find what kids love to do, it’s hard to find what you love to do

You have to believe in yourself
– you have to keep in touch with that belief

Need to tolerate ambiguity

Sense of humor: you have to take oneself and one’s ideas somewhat lightly and to a have a sense of humor

Only God finds truth, we don’t Creativity is a way of life

Create, design, invent, imagine, suppose: these are the key learning tasks we need to give kids -Robert Sternberg #okcf2011

Even if your goal is test score improvement, you have to teach to how kids learn Organization skills do matter, but so do creative skills

The Kaleidoscope Project at Yale

Panorama Project at OSU

Both changing admissions requirements for college to embrace creativity

Ending story “The End of Eternity” by Issac Asimov

Sent from my iPad

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  • Desiree

    I really enjoyed this blog! The goals described in this such as:
    1- show creativity is in large part, a decision
    2- review research
    3- show how to apply this in our lives
    really intrigued me!
    Great Blog!

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