Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

The Power of Deep Structure by Andrew Zolli #cwf2010

These are my notes from Andrew Zolli’s presentation at the 2010 Creativity World Forum. His bio is on:

Curator of PopTech –

Working on a book on resilience, due out next year

100s of free presentations available on PopTech archive!

Going to talk about the impact of technology on the ways we think and create

The ability to cut throw the noise and effectively separate the stuff that matters

Now showing funny signs (REMINDS ME OF IAN JUKES)

A note of humility
– be very wary of those who prognosticate about the future
– we bring to the enterprise our brains, which were designed to avoid predators and get mates, not predict the future long term
– we often get novelty bias

The novelty bias: we often take what is newest and make it dominant as we think about the future

1977 there were 4 members of the professional Elvis impersonators
– today there are more than 35,000 males and females
– at this rate by 2050 we’ll see 1in 3 people joining!

We often miscalculate risks
– terrorism and global warming
– chances of being a victim of terrorism: 1 in 28 million
– chance of being affected by global warming: 1 in 6

Our brains evolved to contend with faster moving, concrete threats like terrorism
– slower moving threats are harder to

Fast moving trains get all the attention, but slow moving trains have all the power
– cumulative impact of these technologies on our cognition is the big deal

Innovation: the creation of new forms of value in anticipation of future demand

Topic 2: in praise of “the box”

When we have conversations about creativity we often hear people exhort the goal of thinking outside the box
– creativity that comes from embracing constraints is really important

Brought home with the birth of our daughter Amelia
– holding the last version of crack for toddlers

– looking at my daughter and what she had learned bay the time she was 9 months old: things have screens and they do things when I touch them

Andrew just shared an extremely articulate description of why and how his interaction with computers at a young age was a tectonic moment in sixth grade

My first computer: Apple IIE
Logo programming
I was deeply hungry for more, I moved on to BASIC

This program was my toddler crack: creating figures and designs with math which did not come with the computer

Helped me learn space can also be spherical
– changed the way I think about objects in space

All of creativity begins with a deep apprehension of novel structures

The curvature of space is the fundamental shift in Einstein’s thinking about space

Even when structures are more like jazz, not rigorously defined

We frequently us technology today for expression but not creativity – they have to enable us to think in fundamentally different ways

XO Laptop (MIT $100 laptop) is amazing

Playpower: $10 computer
– the processor in these powered the AppleIIE and first Sony Playstation

Last story:

West Philly High EVX team: automotive X prize, beat MIT and other teams
– how do they do it? They embrace constraints
– break task into small units

Creativity is an everybody activity today, not just for art schools

The computer didn’t teach me computer programming, it taught me a new way of thinking about and interacting with our world

MY THOUGHT: This is why we need Scratch clubs in all our schools and libraries!

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