Blog

23
Jun

Boosting Sid Parnes Tribute

 

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On Saturday, June 21, I attended the keynote “Tribute to Sid Parnes” presentation given by Teresa Amabile of Harvard as part of the closing events for the 60th anniversary CPSI 2014 conference at the University of Buffalo.

Anticipating a great tribute, I was surprised to see that while Amabile went into considerable detail regarding her own academic work, her presentation barely touched on Sid’s many contributions to the field. Teresa’s central message that Sid was a generous, open, visionary person missed all the important meat and potatoes. It was, to say the very least, a lightweight, not particularly deeply-informed treatment of Sid’s legacy.

Innovation methods scholars understand there is much more to Sid’s contributions to the Creative Problem Solving Methods field, the modern era of which has its historical roots in the 1940s and 50s. Sid Parnes was a central thought leader in that community for decades, ushering in numerous methodology innovations.

At Humantific we consider Sid to be one of our pioneering inspirations, and in the spirit of honoring him we decided to repost our earlier paper entitled Lost Stories Applied Creativity as a boost to his well-deserved tribute.

In this document, first published by Humantific in February 2012, we unpack in more detail a list of Sid’s key contributions. Much more than just suggesting that everyone had the capacity to be creative, Sid Parnes placed on the table beginning in 1967 what is widely considered to be the crown jewels of the CPS movement at that time, in the form of teachable exercises, orientations, methods, etc. By 1967, Sid was already in synthesized, codified knowledge mode, sharing and teaching others. Many have built on his foundations.

Those involved in innovation enabling practice understand that Sid’s contributions were not soft abstractions. Many of Sid’s contributions remain as foundational materials inside numerous innovation bootcamp workshops, and inside many subsequently designed process models active in the marketplace today including those of Humantific, IDEO and others.

Applied Creativity Lost Stories / Tribute to Sid Parnes

Related:

Origins of How Might We?

Who Owns How Might We?

Making Sense of Creative Intelligence

05
Jun

Portrait of Sonoma County Launches

We are delighted to announce the launch of A Portrait of Sonoma County.

A Portrait of Sonoma County is part of the Measure of America social sensemaking book series created by Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis of the The Measure of America team in collaboration with Humantific. The Measure of America is an initiative of the Social Science Research Council. For more information visit measureofamerica.org

Key Findings:

An entire decade separates the life expectancies in the top and bottom census tracts.

Those who are born in Kenwood/Glen Ellen can expect to live 75.2 years, while those in Central Bennett Valley average 85.7 years.

Analysis of Sonoma County’s ninety-nine tracts shows a clear positive correlation between life expectancy and education: people in neighborhoods with higher educational attainment and enrollment have longer lives.

Variation in educational outcomes by census tract in Sonoma County is significant and meaningful. The range in the percentage of adult residents with less than a high school diploma is huge, going from a low of 0.4 percent in North Oakmont/Hood Mountain to a high of 46.1 percent in Roseland Creek. The range in school enrollment is likewise vast, from 53.8 percent in Forestville to 100 percent in Central East Windsor.

Men in Sonoma County earn about $8,500 more than women. This wage gap is similar to the gap between men and women at the state level, although it is around $1,000 smaller than at the national level.

Buzz:

The Press Democrat

Sonoma County Gazette

California United Ways

Healthy Sonoma

27
May

Miosuro Visual SenseMaking at CPSI

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Humantific’s Valentina Miosuro will be teaching a Visual SenseMaking workshop at the upcoming CPSI 2014 (Creative Problem Solving Institute) conference June 18 to 22 in Buffalo, NY.

For those not familiar with the applied creativity community of practice also called the CPS (Creative Problem Solving) community, this is its long running annual conference and the most important event of the year. This year CPSI is celebrating its 60th anniversary!

“About CPSI:  CPSI is an annual international conference hosted by the Creative Education Foundation focused on three main areas – creativity, innovation and leading change.”

What is Visual SenseMaking?

It’s not graphic facilitation! Visual SenseMaking is the activity of making sense of ambiguous complex situations, through visual methods and tools including word, images, drawings, diagrams, charts, graphs. The power of Humantific’s Visual SenseMaking is that we integrate it with advanced Strategic Cocreation skills. While the skill of Visual SenseMaking can be broadly applied to many life situations, we focus on Visual SenseMaking in the context of organizational change making.

At Humantific Visual SenseMaking is part of a broader skill-building program that we offer our organizational leader clients. Humantific’s Complexity Navigation Program combines basic and advanced skill-building in Strategic Cocreation, Design Research and Visual SenseMaking. Combined these are change oriented 21st century leadership skills.

Related: See what we do with Visual SenseMaking!

Visual SenseMaking

SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

The OTHER Design Thinking

 

15
Apr

Visual SenseMaking in Madrid

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Upcoming at Matadero Madrid, Humantific is holding an open public Visual SenseMaking workshop on April 29.

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor will be teaching a one hour introduction to Visual SenseMaking in Spanish. All are welcome.

For those who might not know: Visual SenseMaking is not graphic facilitation! Come and learn more about how Humantific does what it does to help organizational leaders make sense of complex situations and convert complexity to innovation fuel.

Registration is now open!

Elizabeth will also be doing BRAINBOOM 2 with graduate students at the European Institute of Design next week in Madrid…See here!

Questions? Email us: engage (at) humantific (dot) com

 

 

14
Apr

BRAINBOOM 2 in Madrid

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Next week Humantific will be back in Spain rocking with BRAINBOOM 2!

Humantific CoFounder Elizabeth Pastor will return to the European Institute of Design in Madrid to lead a new crop of graduate students in the 3 day BRAINBOOM experience April 22-24.

Designed by Humantific last year BRAINBOOM! | innova, visualiza, colabora is a next generation orientation program designed for entering graduate students to rapidly become familiar with their new colleagues, new environment and learn collaborative innovation skills that will help them succeed in their diverse programs. These synthesized innnovation skills are becoming the new 21 century fundamentals for all forms of cross-disciplinay work.

The BRAINBOOM skill-building experience also helps graduate students to begin thinking about how to visualize and actionize their future aspirations and goals. Special thanks to the IED faculty and staff for a great collaboration!

From the previous session see The Energy of BRAINBOOM.

Check it out European Institute of Design (IED) here.

Upcoming Humantific Public Sessions in Madrid

In addition to BRAINBOOM at IED, Humantific will be doing an open, free public introductory session in Madrid April 29. This session will focus on Visual SenseMaking. Stay tuned for more details.

Interested in Future Workshops?

Humantific is passionate about helping to build next generation innovation leadership skills and cultures. Creating innovation skill-building workshops for academic institutions is only one of numerous work streams that we have underway. Our primary focus remains on building innovation capacity in large organizations. We work with organizational leaders from many industries in numerous countries. If you would like to consider bringing Humantific in to your organization to help with your innovation skill-building and innovation capacity building we would be happy to have a conversation with you.

Feel free to send us an email: engage (at) humantific (dot) com.

 

09
Apr

Study Confirms Brain Blending

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Long taught in leading Innovation Bootcamps a recent two year study by neuroscientists Jared A. Nielsen and Jeffrey S. Anderson at University of Utah confirms the notion that we are all a “blend” rather than strickly right-brained or left-brained.

The facinating research published in the journal Plos One focused on studying the brain activity of 1,000 people ages 7 to 29 years while lying quietly or reading.

With the outcome of this study being creatively redepicted by numerous bloggers with various agendas it is also worthy of note, in the interest of accuracy, what the study was not focused on and was not investigating.

This study was not focused on looking at thinking or problem solving preferences, i.e.: the notion of adult humans having preferences for certain types of thinking activities over others.

This study was not focused on looking at the organizational implications of thinking preferences, i.e.: the effects of preferences on values, rewards, processes, behaviors and cultures.

This study was not focused on looking at the implications of thinking preferences in the context of innovation, i.e.: the effects of preferences on an organizations ability to build innovation / change-making capacity.

View the study here in Plos One Journal

 

 

31
Mar

ReReThinking Design Education

DonNorman

We were delighted to see Don Norman braving the political storms to join other practice leaders expressing concern about the current direction and change/adaptation pace of graduate design education in a rapidly evolving world.

Don Norman: “We believe that design thinking skills will be a key success factor for a new generation of creative leaders in technology, business, and education.”

“Design thinking comprises strategies for finding and solving problems by bringing an understanding of people and society to technology design, focusing upon finding the correct problem before rushing to a solution.”

“But design faces an uncertain future.”

“The traditional design fields create artifacts. But new societal challenges, cultural values, and technological opportunities require new skills.”

“Moreover, there is need for services and processes that do not require the great craft skills that are the primary outcome of a design education.”

See Don’s entire post on LinkedIn here:

The ReReThinking Design Education movement continues!

Related ReThinking Design Education Resources:

Occupy Reimaging Design [Education] / Interview with Humantific’s GK VanPatter

GK VanPatter 2011: “The difficult truth is, gearing up to educate a new generation for the Design 2 practice space is simply not enough to catch up to where the already reimagined leading practices were in 2003, let alone lead the practice community today…I am sure your readers can appreciate that design consultancy leaders are certainly not waiting around for the graduate design schools to reimagine design. With the students in mind, we advocate changing where the responsibility for adaptation resides, and this change of responsibility occurs in the direction of the program leaders.”

From NextD Academy:

When [Old Design Thinking] LOVE is Not Enough

Teaching CoCreation Now / Moving Beyond the Teach Each Other Model

 NextD WorkshopONE on the Road Since 2005

31
Mar

Inequality for All

As Humantific begins a new MEASURE OF AMERICA report, working with authors Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, we are reminded that the original series has spawned many subsequent social sense-making / change-making initiatives focused on inequality in American (USA) society. Many forms and flavors of change advocacy now exist around this issue.

We were delighted to see this hard-charging series by Robert Reich entitled INEQUALITY FOR ALL contributing to this important movement. Inequality remains an important theme not well covered in mainstream media. Robert strongly points out it is also not well represented politically…:-)

Being framed as “the INCONVENIENT TRUTH for the economy” it is an important contribution to the ReThinking Inequality cause.

INEQUALITY FOR ALL features Robert Reich—professor, best-selling author, and Clinton cabinet member—as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy….Through his singular perspective, Reich explains how the massive consolidation of wealth by a precious few threatens the viability of the American workforce and the foundation of democracy itself. In this INCONVENIENT TRUTH for the economy, Reich uses humor and a wide array of facts to explain how the issue of economic inequality affects each and every one of us.”

Related ReThinking Inequality Resources:

Robert Reich’s INEQUALITY FOR ALL Official Trailer.

Robert Reich’s UNDERSTANDING INEQUALITY 

The Original THE MEASURE OF AMERICA / AMERICAN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2008- 2009

THE MEASURE OF AMERICA 2010- 2011 / MAPPING RESILIENCE

POTRAIT OF CALIFORNIA

A CENTURY APART

 

05
Mar

Data Visualization Meets Co-Creation

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The good folks at Markets for Good / A Social Sector Powered by Information recently invited Humantific to contribute to their exploratory conversation on the subject of Data Visualization in the social sector.

You can read the full unedited version of GK VanPatter’s contribution including references to deciphering your organizational challenges in this downloadable PDF: Data Visualization Meets CoCreation or read the short version on the Markets for Good blog.

“Time is flying by around the Big Data phenomenon so let’s shift gears and kick it up a few notches from what your readers might be expecting here… Big Data is occurring, not in isolation, but rather in parallel to numerous other paradigm shifts …Lets set aside the tactics of Big Data for a moment and consider the bigger strategic picture…What these new generation leaders have in mind looks more like data thinking meets complex problem visualization, data meets and informs strategic cocreation.” GK VanPatter

Humantific Survey / Social Sector Challenge Mapping

From the 10 challenges listed in the attached document choose 3 challenges that are most important to your organization right now and place them in chronological order of importance (with most important at the top). Feel free to post them on the Markets for Good blog or below. If you have another challenge not listed, feel free to add it to your list.  We will share the results.

Related Posts:

Markets for Giving Workshop

Markets For Good Heavy Lift

Mapping Markets For Good

25
Feb

ReResequencing Applied Creativity

If you are looking for an excellent plunge into the messiness, complexity and confusion that exists around the subjects of creativity and applied creativity today, such an opportunity was provided recently by a New York Times article and its accompanying reader comments. The well-meaning introductory article written by Laura Pappano of Wellesley College was entitled “Learning to Think Outside The Box / Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline”. In this instance the resulting multitude of comments posted by readers of the article are as interesting as the article itself. Intermixed with considerable good intentions, one can see numerous misunderstandings, assumptions, sequential omissions and misfires in the works, some posted with quite a sense of humor.

This Times article was pointed out to us by several Humantific clients so we thought it might be useful to our own audience to offer a few historical context clarifications. [See hand written notations in red above and Modern Applied Creativity Eras below.]

It is not difficult to see that part of the confusion around the article stems from the author, knowingly or unknowingly, intermixing two different subjects: creativity and applied creativity. This confusion is seen in the article’s subtitle, throughout the article text, and subsequently in the numerous reader comments.

In addition the article has an odd time resequencing orientation in that it positions numerous well-known applied creativity historical developments as if they are just now being introduced. Resequencing to suggest newness seems to be a common strategy or misstep (depending on your point of view), seen often in mainstream media with its interest in, and appetite for, depicting simple, excitement generating newness. Resequencing tends to work best in situations where readers have little or no historical knowledge. As evidenced by numerous reader comments, resequencing seemed to not work so well in this particular instance.

Some of the reader comments were downright entertaining.

“akrupat: If you define “creativity” as predominantly the ability to spot problems and produce solutions, you’ve defined it in a way that has nothing whatever to do with the production of literature, painting, music–of art. That kind of definition of “creativity” is about as good as Mark Zuckerberg’s definition of a “friend.”

 “Patrick Stevens: The mistake is that the authors of this learning process have confused creativity with problem solving. they may be related, but they are not the same. Problem solving can be taught. Creativity cannot. These instructors are simply giving students useful ways to reach solutions to complex problems. there is no creativity involved. Creativity is inborn and individually specific. It is finding your muse and conversing with him.”

“Wsch: This is America at its best. And I am envious. I have been told I am a very creative thinker, with pretty good critical analytical abilities. It is so nice to see a new genre of courses coming up in colleges called “creative thinking” and “creative problem solving…..”

“al7jj: PhD programs and the publication requirements for promotion basically ensure that creative people are unlikely ever to become tenured professors. Even if a creative person survived 12-15 years of competitive conformity to get tenure, the university environment actively stifles any type of original thought, which makes it ironic for universities to try to teach creativity. I am a retired professor and administrator from a research university, and can safely say that I have never met a really creative colleague in either role.”

 “Dan Styer: What confuses me is that this is considered innovative. I was taught creative problem solving in the physics department at Swarthmore College starting in 1973. I have been teaching creative problem solving since I started teaching at Oberlin College in 1985. This physics tradition extends well back into the nineteenth century (James Clerk Maxwell used it) and probably earlier.

 “jessica: Seems as though people have at least two concepts of creativity–the artistic kind and then the problem solving kind. This article has nothing to do with the artistic side, it seems to be purely about problem solving.”

“MW: One important caveat to this trend for all the professors out there: out-of-the-box thinking is often confused with bending the rules and operating in a dishonest way. I have noticed that some people who are anxious to be unbound by traditional ways of thinking have a tendency to think the normal rules of social engagement, laws, regulations don’t apply and are there to be broken. The importance of personal integrity and honesty should be taught alongside creative and innovative problem solving. As an example, the so-called “successful” money people at SAC Capital probably justified their unscrupulous behavior as being an out-of-the-box thinking.”

Ironically while this Times article points out the enduring applied creativity perspective regarding need for organizational adaptability in a continuously changing world, it completely misses the central point that rapid adaptation did occur in some academies decades ago, while slow adaptation occurred in numerous knowledge neighborhoods, including many graduate business schools. The fact that many universities have been slow to adapt, slow to integrate applied creativity/adaptability knowledge is a rather different, more nuanced, less politically-correct message than to simply suggest the knowledge has just become available…:-)

As is evidenced in the reader comments, anyone suggesting that applied creativity is just launching as a discipline today would cause considerable head scratching among already informed readers. Of course many seasoned professionals will know that an enthusiastic author’s arrival in a subject terrain is typically considerably different from the arrival of the subject itself.

Many of our Humantific readers know that applied creativity pioneer Sid Parnes *(P) began, decades ago, articulating the various development eras of the modern applied creativity movement. Building from where he left off, Humantific *(H) added some time ago several eras to update Sid’s Modern Eras list.

Modern Applied Creativity Eras:


1940s: Era 1: The Cry in the Dark Stage*(P)
1950s: Era 2: The Hope and Hunch Stage*(P)
1960s: Era 3: The Research, Replication and Report Stage*(P)
1970s: Era 4: The Widespread Application Stage*(P)
1980s: Era 5: The Mainstream Application Stage*(P)
1990s: Era 6: The Deepening Research & Innovation Stage *(H)
2000-2010: Era 7: The Rediscovery & Readaptation Stage *(H)
2011-Present: Era 8: The Global Collaboration & Readaptation Stage *(H)

Perhaps most unfortunately the dumbed-down resequenced approach seen in the Times article unfortunately leaves out the possibility to articulate/appreciate that the initial launch of applied creativity Stage 1 (1940s) was considerably different from what is going on inside Stage 8 (2014) today.  Such a resequencing misses that significant rethinking, and reinvention is underway inside the applied creativity community of practice, and that is where much of the innovation action is today. Practice leaders working on the front lines of real-world engagements well know that how smart organizations are rethinking innovation involves continuous adaptation. The newness of Stage 8 today is, and by necessity has to be, significantly different from what was once new in the now long gone Stage 1.

Underway for some time, applied creativity readaptation movement includes the addition of numerous tools, process redesigns, instruments, systematization to ecologies, culture building, enhanced skill-building programs, and the systematic integration of visualized data/information.

As per the earliest applied creativity eras, today often organizational leaders facing the very real need for timely change-making have the appetite for rapid adaptation and real meaningful action in advance of the slow-moving adaptation going on inside many graduate institutions.

Today leading applied creativity practices are moving into the future from Stage 8 not Stage 1.

Suffice it to say that today there is a lot more to organizations building capacity for “Learning to Think Outside the Box” than the resequenced and foreshortened picture created by this Times article!