Posts Tagged ‘creativity’


I started a course called Creativity, Innovation and Change. The title intrigued me for one, but the idea of collaborating with over 127.000 students world-wide in a sort of social constructivist experiment was what really hooked me.

Sharing and developing creative ideas with people of so diverse circumstances as the head of a university in Denmark, a furniture designer in Mexico, a house wife in USA, a government employee in France, a psychologist in Russia a domestic cleaner in …… well, it has to be interesting, don’t you think?


Here I am in week three, and 127.000 is a lot of people and how we will work together and how many of us will stay is yet to be seen. But the course kicked of f in a flurry of activity, with several of the more outgoing students organizing online meet ups via Google and Linkedin and the university releasing the first set of course materials of exercises and projects.

Step one seemed to be to help each of us find out where we were so to speak. Not in a physical sense of course but in a creative sense.

Through videos and transcripts, we were assured that everyone are creative, based on the fact that we make our own choices and thereby create our own solutions or problems, the main measurable viable being our creative style which could be measured by how innovative we were in these. Strangely enough our level of innovation wasn’t to be tested by any more clever or innovative means than a questionnaire. The questionnaire took minutes to answer and the results arrived back in seconds.

I was delighted to find that I came within the mildly innovative range, a range that most people come within, as was illustrated by the tried and trusted Bell curve at the end of the test.

On the Map

Flushed with pride in my averageness I promptly went on to carry out the next exercise which was concerned with putting me in the picture spiritually; the question being ‘what drives you.’

A lot of people really ran with this exercise, others moaned they had already done that kind of thing before. I have, but I think it makes perfect sense that if you want to make, you need to know exactly where you are now.

Like any kind of project, defining where you are and where you are going; what your objectives are is the recipe for success. But how often when we are lost, when we are unhappy or have a problem to solve, do we take the time to sit down and lay down the facts?

The CIC course again did not come up with an innovative tool, nevertheless the tool they presented to us was perfectly adequate; Mind Mapping. We were encouraged to put what drives us in the middle and up to nine departments of our lives to branch out from that.

Many of the students posted their map on-line for all of us to see, and it was very interesting.

Some people had ‘love’ in the middle, others had ‘me’ and ‘happiness’ one I saw had Nike’s slogan ‘just do it’ and so on. Finally all of us had to choose our position to the course; were we tourists, explores or adventures. A little like in life.

I wonder how you see yourself.

Creativity Innovation and Change is a free on-line Coursera course from Pennsylvania State University led by Dr. Jack V. Matson, Dr. Kathryn W. Jablokow, Dr. Darrell Velegol from Penn State University, the course modules are: Uncovering Your Creative Identity, Character Development, Idea Generation, Idea Evaluation, Creative Collaboration, Research, Metrics, Experimentation ,Synthesis of Creativity, Innovation, and Change.



Juliet Greenwood a woman of substance

Written by Maggi Summerhill

Juliet is a woman of immense strength and determination, who has fought a battle against the physical pain and mental anguish of ME for over ten years and come out a winner.

I first met her in New York a few weeks back and today we are sitting on the side of a mountain in Wales, she in the north and I in the south. Wearing wooly socks and clutching a steaming hot mug of coffee we ignore the wet and windy weather outside and settle down for a good chat.

Juliet is originally from Worcestershire where she grew up with her brother and teacher parents.

’I had an alternative education’ she reveals. I went to the Rudolf Steiner School and in the summer my parents who were teachers took my brother and I touring Europe in an old camper van. This was in the 1960’s, a time where you, if you stopped in a forest somewhere you were liable to be woken in the middle of the night by men holding guns. ‘

The unusual upbringing exposed her to other cultures and stirred an interest in the differing lives people live and resulted in an early fascination with history. But it also meant she felt slightly like an outsider and books became her mentors and friends.

‘They taught me about myself and shared human experience.’ She acknowledges. ‘That’s how writing became my passion.’

But Juliet believed becoming a writer was an ambition to far.

‘I was brought up to view writers and artists as a different species; not like us. To be worshipped from afar.’ She muses.

She became a teacher and pursued her other dream; to own a house. But just as she was about to enjoy the fruits of he labor, a little cottage with a huge garden right on the edge of a village in Snowdonia, she became ill with glandular fever which led to ME also known as chronic fatigue syndrome. She was in her mid 30ies and went from healthy and fit to suffering painful aching limbs and unconsciousness.

‘I could only concentrate a few minutes at the time, the rest I was asleep or in a foggy haze – it was scary.’ She admits.

But this was in the 1990’s before ME was properly recognized, the doctor soon refused to sign sick notes and Juliet was left in a terrible state with no income, neighbors she hardly knew and few friends.

Juliet believes ME have been the worst and the best thing that have ever happened to her. She was destroyed, brought down to a level where she had nothing left but a determination to stay alive. That determination led her to write, a few words every day just enough to stay awake at first and it worked. Having rediscovered her passion for writing she soon was staying awake longer, she was dealing with the pain and started to feel connected. Writing her way through her trauma and feeling of loss, she managed to build enough physical and emotional strength to get involved with a charity working with local kids one hour a week. The work was story telling and puppet plays.

‘It got my brain back in gear.’ She says.

But it would be another four years before she was back to health and during these years she confirmed her writing to be the greatest therapy and losing her wariness she started building on this, entering short story competition and later as she gained confidence, wrote novelettes and stories for magazines.

Juliet’s energy returning, she used her creativity and a hitherto undiscovered talent for raising money through grants, to set up a small award-winning charity taking storytelling and performance projects into the local community ( (more…)