Thursday, August 27, 2015

Creativity and the Brain

by Marcus Conyers

Part Six in a Six-Part Series

Different “brain states,” or ways of thinking, can be applied to enhance creative and innovative thinking. Some of these states may not come easily to everyone, but they can be cultivated over time. We can train our brains to become more creatively productive and to proactively apply innovative ways of thinking to creative challenges (Carson, 2012).

Neuroscientists have identified two key brain networks, referred to as the executive attention and default mode networks, involved in creative thinking. The executive attention network, connecting outer regions of the prefrontal cortex to areas in the posterior region of the parietal lobe, is active when cognitive control is required in the problem-solving, evaluation, and implementation phases of innovation.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Three Keys to Innovative Thinking

by Marcus Conyers

Part Five in a Six-Part Series

In the first four parts of this series, we discussed the creativity crisis and the urgent need to cultivate the brain's creative potential as an integral part of developing innovating minds.

Sternberg (1985; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995) describes three key abilities that can be developed to increase creative thinking skills. In essence, these three abilities underpin what innovating minds do in terms of creative thinking and entrepreneurial doing:

Synthetic ability refers to generating novel, creative ideas. People with well-developed synthetic thinking are recognized as innovative because they make connections that others don’t recognize.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Cultivating the Brain’s Creative Potential

by Marcus Conyers

Part Four in a Six-Part Series

The word education is derived from the latin root e-ducere, which means “to lead out.” Experiences literally shape the brain, and the neurocognitive systems associated with creative thinking are malleable. Furthermore, creativity is relatively independent of traditional measures of human potential such as IQ. New research is also overturning the common myth that creativity is a special gift that only a lucky few possess.

The profound implication of these findings is that almost all of us have the capacity to learn to be more creative and innovative. It is now possible to create learning environments and opportunities in classrooms and workplaces that lead out more of the creative potential of all learners.

In our work across North America and Europe and around the world, one thing has become clear: In the hyper-connected innovation age, it is essential that we cultivate the cognitive skills for identifying opportunities and creating, evaluating, and applying new ideas that generate unique, relevant, added value. We need to be both innovative thinkers and entrepreneurial doers. We need to develop innovating minds. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Creativity Crisis

by Marcus Conyers

Part Three in a Six-Part Series

Research on creativity—how well people generate ideas, how original their ideas are, and how they persist in the work of turning ideas into effective action—shows a steady decline in skills related to creativity and innovation over the past 20 years.

In an era where virtually all new jobs created are in small and mid-sized enterprises, we must find ways to nurture innovative thinking and entrepreneurial mindsets in today’s workforce and in students who will be the future job candidates—and proprietors—of those enterprises.

As Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, puts it, “Prosperity in the Creative Age turns on human potential. It can only be fully realized when each and every worker is recognized and empowered as a source of creativity—when their talents are nurtured.”