Tag: CPS (Creative Problem Solving) History

03
Dec

Innovation Methods Mapping Soon!

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Good News Readers!

Long overdue and years in the making, Humantific’s Innovation Methods Mapping : De-Mystifying 80+ Years of Innovation Process Design is in final review and will be published this month. It will be available on Amazon soon. Operating a busy innovation consultancy, while doing research and writing books is not a formula for speedy book making! We are delighted to have the first volume in this series finally heading out the door.

This book is designed to fill what Humantific perceives to be a void in the field of innovation process knowledge and literature. It has been created and is being shared for educational purposes. Its intention is to present a cross section of 50+ innovation process examples spanning an 80+ year time period. The focus of this study is to better understand innovation methods across the timeline of history in terms of knowledge evolution, design, and architectural construction, versus judging the effectiveness of various methods.

Innovation Methods Mapping introduces a new kind of method analysis framework designed to enhance understanding of historical and current process models as well as inform future process design.

INTENDED AUDIENCES

This book is intended for advanced readers on the subject of innovation related process knowledge. As a foundation for understanding, we assume readers already have a high level of knowledge, so this book is not going to be suitable for everyone.

Our intended audiences include:

Advanced practitioner leaders
Advanced organizational leaders
Advanced social change leaders
Advanced graduate and post-graduate education leaders and students
Adventuresome innovation process designers

ADVANCE PRAISE

“A masterful piece of work”
DR. SID PARNES & BEA PARNES

“Fantastic”
DR. BETTINA VON STAMM

“Excellent commentary”
DR. TERRENCE LOVE

“Clear, consise and simple.
An essential visual companion”
DR. EMMA JEFFERIES

“A welcome addition to the
innovator’s bookshelf”
DR. ROBIN WOOD

“An invaluable resource
for learning and research
in design ”
DR. WOLFGANG JONAS

“Elegant simplicity”
PETER JONES, Ph.D.

“An important reference”
UDAY DANDAVANTE

“Impressive, relevant, necessary”
DR. TIIU POLDMA

“Well documented”
LUIS ARNAL

“Incredibly clear and useful”
RAMON SANGÜESA, Ph.D.

“A rich and accessible tome
of innovation resources”
KATHRYN BEST

Thanks to all those who have already written to us requesting the book. We will be getting back to you shortly.

If others would like to know when this Humantific book appears on Amazon send us an email:

kickitup (at) humantific (dot) com

 

 

 

 

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

 

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!

07
Jun

The Power of Your Mind

In 1952, Alex Osborn wrote: “Exercise your imagination — the more creative you become, the more you will get out of life.”

With so much hype around innovation and creativity today, we find it useful to be aware at a deeper level of the history of innovation, applied creativity, creative problem solving and design thinking. There are many overlaps in the history that are quite amazing in retrospect.

Pictured here is a gem from the Humantific Collection. This terrific little booklet by Alex Osborn entitled The Power of Your Mind was published an astonishing 57 years ago in conjunction with his book Wake Up Your Mind also published in 1952.

In the historical publications one can see early acknowledgement of numerous challenges that many organizations and societies still grapple with today.

Like time capsules, the early publications on the subject of applied creativity reveal the optimism of the post-world war two era, a focus on encouraging imagination and the application of creativity in an American business context.

It’s not difficult to see that as early as the 1940’s thought leaders were trying to make the case that American business schools and schools in general get more serious about teaching and encouraging imagination and creative thinking. Evidently many educational institutions including the business schools did not listen to that message for a very long time.

Also revealed in the historical creative problem solving materials are the societal stereotypes of that era. In the early publications women were often depicted as housewives engaged in creative domestic work while men were often depicted as business oriented workers not making effective use of their imaginations.

“Many housewives work their imaginations more than their husbands do.”

Apart from the stereotypes that now seem comical, what is interesting to see is the view into a simpler world, the emphasis on idea finding in the context of product objects, and orientation towards engineering or science. Also fascinating to see is how little some of the problems around changing behaviors in the direction of innovation have changed since Alex Osborn, Sidney Parnes and others began writing about the subject decades ago.

Today organizational leaders face a vastly more complicated world in a state of constant change. Those engaged today in driving organizational change or innovation enabling understand that many organizations have built judgment dominated cultures and simultaneously wonder why no innovation is occurring. How to create more balanced, more innovative cultures remains among the top ten most encountered organizational business challenges even today:

Here is a small sample of Alex Osborn’s 1952 commentary on the subject:

“The thinking mind finds it easier to judge than to create. Nearly all of our education tends to develop our critical faculty. And our experience likewise builds up our judgment…The more we exercise our judgment, the less likely we are to exercise our imagination. By overuse of our judicial power we may even cramp our creative power.”

“Loss of imagination can be even more deplorable than loss of musculation… We can get along with less brawn in our later years but to surmount the obstacles which age piles in our paths we need more than seasoned judgment, we need well trained imagination.”

“When it comes to business, ideas are almost everything. Their value can often exceed that of any asset on any financial statement.”

Also in the early 1950 era materials one can see concern expressed that America was losing its creative edge, perhaps a timeless topic!

“There are many signs that Yankee ingenuity is on the wane — not because we are born with less creative talent, but because we no longer try hard enough to use the talent that is in us… Our softer living numbs our sense of enterprise and deadens our creative spirit.”

With the internet now enabling global interaction and with it built-in judgment functionality, we are interested in how present day and emerging technologies might serve to repair, balance and address several deeply rooted human innovation challenges that have existed for generations.

Being aware of the history of education and innovation helps us and our client partners think about such issues in a context beyond the flavor trend of the moment.

See also: How to Think Up!

Image Source: The Power of Your Mind, 1952, National Research Bureau, Chicago,   Humantific Collection, New York.