Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Live from FEI 2013: Learning by Living Outside the Box

Fresh from the break...now to Keith Sawyer.

Keith studied creativity with luminary, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. But, did you know that Keith's early career included a stint in video game design? For the trivia buffs out there, can you name the game Keith worked on? 

[Spoiler Alert] His video game was titled Food Fight.

Keith started his keynote by sharing how the "ensemble" or team is an essential ingredient for innovation. In sharing the rolling list of credits of contemporary video game titles, Keith highlighted the importance of team work and the role of improvisation.

To support this premise, Keith cited how cognitive research via fMRI imaging shows how the brain's combination of more distant materials (data, ideas, memories, experiences, etc.) results in more originality and creativity. Because of this, collaboration has the ability to bring things into your mind that may not be there otherwise. Therefore, bringing in different material by collaborating with people who are different from you (indeed, the basis for improvisation) creates more unique ideas.

Now for myth and reality...

Myth: creativity is about a flash of insight. 
Reality: creativity emerges over time.

Myth: the creative path is a straight path to success. 
Reality: there are multiple dead ends in the creative process.

Myth: innovation comes from a lone genius. 
Reality: innovation takes teamwork.

While there's no silver bullet for creativity, Sawyer's latest book Zig Zag: The Surprise Path to Greater Creativity provides and 8-step program to increase creative potential.


Alicia Arnold holds a Master of Science in Creativity, Innovation and Change Leadership from the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College and an M.B.A in Marketing from Bentley University. She enjoys writing about creativity and innovation and is published with Bloomberg Businessweek, the Huffington Post, The National Association of Gifted Children, and iMedia Connection. In her role as an award winning, digital marketer, she uses her passion for creativity and innovation to develop breakthrough digital and social experiences. You can connect with Alicia on Twitter @alicarnold.

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