Thursday, March 7, 2013

10 Hands On Tools to Boost Creativity & Projects

Notes from SXSWedu session
Presenter: Charles Wood
Email address:

"We lack fun in education"

Who is the most creative? It's the kids.

Why do we care about innovation? Because it's important for our student's current and future lives.

Why these 10 hands-on exercises? To boost creativity.

Four categories for exercies:
  1. Warmups
  2. Early successes
  3. Projects
  4. Collaboration/Directed creativity

What's new?  (Warmup)
  • Find real, everyday examples from the world around us
  • Pass them around to the students
  • Get conversations started about the example/object
  • Example: A can of Coke Black was passed around the room - it doesn't exist anymore, ask why?
       Lessons Learned:
  • Creativity is the foundation; Get conversations stared
  • Creativity is not the same as innovation
  • Learn to see the potential in any idea

Two Buckets (Early Successes)
  • Form teams of 3-4
  • Each team randomly chooses a card from each of the 2 buckets
  • One bucket contains major name brands; One has product categories
  • Have students combine the cards to make a new product
  • Descibe your new product.
  • Who would buy it?
  • Can you name your new product?
  • Any ad ideas?
     Lessons Learned:
  • Innovation as combination
  • Combining ideas is a key ability for innovation that can be developed

Innovation You (Projects )
  • Tell students, "Create a poster about You"
  • They could include their favorite quote, an inspriational person, a 3D item
  • When, where they have experienced "flow"
      Lessons Learned:
  • Helps identify how and where students are going to be the most innovative

iWish (Ealry Successes)
  • Think of a problem that people face often
  • Form teams, share ideas, and choose a problem that can be addressed by a new app
  • The problems could be awkward social situations, parking tickets, visually impaired
  • Start with "I wish a cell phone could . . . "
  • Grab an expo marker, draw your app's screen on a picture of an iPhone or on the whiteboard and then present it
      Lessons Learned:
  • Then power of collaboration
  • Our ideas might actually be worth something
  • Gives the students confidence.
  • A supportive culture is building
  • Resource: Robert Epstein's book, Creativity Games for Trainers
100 Uses (Collaboration)
  • In teams, ask students to write down 100 uses for an old newspapers In 10 minutes
  • Every ides is a welcomed idea and is openly accepted 
      Lesson Learned:
  • Lowers student's innobition to share

R&D/Prototyping (Directed Creativity)
  • Go to the website and find an image
  • Ask students, "What could we do with this?
      Lessons Learned:

The Innovative Challenge (Projects)
  • Show students something and ask the question, "How does nature solve the problem?"
      Lesson Learned:
  • A simple challenge, add value

Biomimicry (Collaboration)
Biomimicry Institute website:  
  • Put challenge questions at the top of large note cards
  • Ask, "How might we . . . "
  • Write an idea beneath question and pass it on to the next student
      Lesson Learned:
  • Students are building on each others ideas
  • Builds collaboration
  • It's not a challenge or competition
Build Up (Collaboration)
  • The worst idea ever - Write down a bad product idea
  • Write it on notecard
  • Pass it around and each student makes the idea worse
  • The challenge is for the students to make it better
Visioning (Directed Creativity)

Empathy for the Elderly (Directed Creativity)
  • Play the "very senior games" where students pretend to be impaired due to aging 
  • They must then develop a product to help with the impairment
Other Resources:

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