Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 Creativity Forum in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has followed on from its wildly successful 2010 World Creativity Forum with a one-day creativity forum this past November 1, 2011 in Norman, Oklahoma. Over 1200 participants attended, dominantly from Oklahoma (great turnout from lots of students) but good representation from around North America. Thank Creative Oklahoma for their membership in the International Districts of Creativity, uniting 14 creative and innovative regions around the world, and their dedication to fostering creativity in education, commerce and culture.

This forum was very well designed by Creative Oklahoma, committed to cutting edge discussions, very diverse in its offerings and attendees, and unashamed to just keep putting 'creativity' front and center.

Plenary speakers included Gregg Fraley on Driving 21st Century Innovation; John Mackey, CEO and Founder of Whole Foods on creativity and conscious capitalism; Kevin Carroll of The Red Rubber Ball fame. All of these men (okay, the Governor of Oklahoma, Mary Fallin, gave some brilliant welcoming remarks, including announcing the new Innovative Challenge Index for the state, which is akin to Massachusetts' Creativity Challenge Index) were both inspirational and motivational. An opportunity to reflect and walk away thinking carpe diem.

Panel sessions that I enjoyed included:
Tamara Christensen and Cynthia Rolfe on Big Ideas.Focused Action. Problem Solved. My takeaway was understanding that the divergent/convergent creative thinking process can be very deliberate and lead quite quickly from problem exploration to identifying the big idea to focusing on criteria-based action.

Robert Sternberg's Creativity is a Decision was truly inspirational, and he is a funny guy. My takeaway was how much creativity is a decision to 'defy the crowd'; and how much it can be developed and nurtured in anyone. I also liked his phrase that 'creative people are value investors in the realm of ideas'.

My colleague, John Cimino, did a breakout session, The Creative Mind:Self-Knowledge and Directions of Growth. I liked his comment, "the interplay of perception and inspiration guides discovery and creativity, not logic"; and that we will in the spaces to make meaning in our lives.

Great kudos to Creative Oklahoma (and check out their website for session tapes) for continuing to advance the conversation on the role of creativity in commerce, education and culture in such a professional, inclusive manner.

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