Unknown Origins Podcast: Roger Firestien on Creativity

Podcast Transcript

Roy Sharples: 

Hello, I’m Roy Sharples, and welcome to the unknown origins podcast. Why are you listening to this podcast? Are you an industry expert? Looking for insights? are you growing your career? Or are you a dear friend helping to spur your pylon? I created the unknown origins podcast, to have the most inspiring conversations with creative industry personalities and experts about entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music and film and fashion. Roger l Firestein. PhD, has trained more people to lead the creative process than anyone else in the world. He is a senior faculty and Associate Professor of the Center for Applied imagination at SUNY Buffalo State. As President of innovation resources, Inc. he consults, creates training programs, runs breakthrough labs, and has created a series of courses for Open sesame. He is the author of Create In A Flash, a leader’s recipe for breakthrough innovation. And why didn’t I think of that? better ideas and decision-making at home and at work? Hello, and welcome, Roger. You’ve been busy authoring and publishing and evangelizing your latest book. Please tell us about that and how the opportunity arose.

Roger L Firestien: 

I’ve been in the creativity business for 40 some odd years. And a number of years ago, we experienced a wonderful windfall in our family life where we have wonderful resources in Colorado that just came through and and and so I was starting to do some projects around my house and I redid the driveway and I replaced the windows in the house that was something like 80 years old. And I remember standing out on my front porch, it was September 1 2018. And I said you know I’m looking around, I’m going well, you know what, I’ve done this I replaced those the sidewalks the driveway replaced the windows, I did a bunch of stuff inside a paid off a bunch of deaths. I think I’ve read a book. Now Roy, I hadn’t written a book in 20 years. And my last book was leaving on the creative edge, it came out in like 1997. And I just kind of gone through some life changes and some tough challenges and some ups and downs. And so I didn’t write and I wasn’t that inspired to write. And then I picked up Seth Gordon’s book, what to do when it’s your turn. And it’s odd, it was your turn. And I love that book because it’s full of pictures. And so as I’m standing out on the front porch, and looking at my beautiful new driveway, I said, I want to write a new book, I want to write a book, but I want it to be a beautiful book on creativity. And I wanted to have pictures in it. And I want to do all this great stuff with it. And it was really interesting, because when my dad when I finished my second book leading in the creative edge, I sent it to my dad. And I grew up on a farm in Colorado and my dad is a farmer. And so he’s reading through the book and I called him I said, Dad, what did you think of the book? He goes… Well, it was pretty good. I got to page 2627 that I fell asleep. Where are the pictures? Where are the pictures? And it was like, you know, at first I laughed at it. But then I began to think well, you know, you’re right dad, your visual, I mean, and so you want it in pictures. So I just said I’m going to do this book, I’m doing this creativity book. And I’m going to put in it I’m going to do create in a flash is what the title came out to be a leaders recipe for breakthrough innovation. And but I’m going to make it different than any other creativity book that’s out there. First off, I’m not going to give you 101 tricks to be creative. You can get that any place. Yeah, I decided to have all the creativity methods and tools, and techniques that I’ve taught over the 40 years in this business. I’m going to put stuff in there. That’s the best, it’s the most reliable, that works consistently. And so readers aren’t overwhelmed with a whole bunch of different techniques. Right. The other thing is, is that I wanted to make the book beautiful. And so to that end, I hired an art director, and I hired an editor. And we began working on the book and one year and 19 days after that. So September 19 2019 we had the book signing party for Create In a Flash at the Buffalo New York Museum of Science that about 200 people there I gave a talk. We had a party, I played guitar. So my yeah, my I played guitar for and that’s kind of how I got into the business. And so my and I take guitar lessons with one of the buffalo new york Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Music Hall of Fame’s players and so he brought his band there. And I sat in and it was a wonderful time. And it was one of the most extraordinarily wonderful creative projects that I’ve been able to do in years. But as I was writing the book, I realized that there were some aspects in it that needed to have some training to it. And so I didn’t want it to be a training manual and already written training manuals. But so I decided to intersperse it with videos. So as you look through creating a flash, you’ll see that there’s little icons that say, go to this video, go to this video where the videos are on the website. And there’s 20 videos that support learning the techniques in the book, and another, I think, six or eight videos with interviews of the people that show up in the book. And so the videos are free. So whether you buy the book or not, okay, you can access those videos. And one of the other things is, is that one of my colleagues, he does a lot of work with third world countries that don’t have a lot of money, but really would need creativity. She said, You’re not going to make this book really expensive. Aria, I said no. And so the book sells for 2495. And the videos are free the online course the book is 15 bucks. And so I wanted to make it really accessible to people. And the other thing is, is that I wanted to have people in that book, that are that are real people. I mean, it’s easy to like, quote, Einstein. And it’s easy to quote, the guys that wrote, they came up with the post, it said it’s easy to quote Edison, I mean, everybody’s doing that. But I interviewed people that are doing this stuff in their everyday life, whether they’re farmers or doctors or lighting designers or building trucks or stuff. And so that was really the purpose of that to make sure that people realize that creativity is in all aspects of life. And in the book, we wanted to make it really friendly and really interesting and so that you can read it all the way through, you can flip around in it, the chapters are short if you want to just look at the pictures or watch the videos. So there’s a lot of different ways to do the book. But as we were talking about earlier, this was really a way of my giving back to the world and saying thanks, and, and really getting this stuff out there. And it’s all research-based, there’s everything in there is, is totally based on research. And and, and my hope is that it gets to as many people as they can, and they can use the book and they can use the videos and let’s make the world a better place with that. So that’s what we’re talking about giving back.

Roy Sharples: 

I’ve just finished reading your book, Roger. And there were multiple themes that really tugged at the heartstrings, such as your point around innovative thinking is not something that can be mandated or delegated, so leaders must first develop their own creative ability before leading their organizations to create breakthroughs. And I couldn’t agree without that more. Creativity is the most distinguishable quality for every leader in every domain. Creative leaders display distinctly different behaviors, values and characteristics from traditional management. And they get exponential results inspire creativity and others build productive teams and drive successful businesses. Yet, while many organizations claim they value Creative Leadership, most of them pay lip service to the idea to rev up the past by promoting leaders who do not expose Creative Leadership and instead are perceived as safer, risk-averse, and more likely to maintain the status quo, which is diametrically opposed to the necessary route leadership needed to move the world forward. Another standout in your book as well. Roger was the story of General Motors applying the creative problem-solving. In one of its plants were machines that were used to stamp out parts where minute was malfunctioning and destroying the product. And the cost for General Motors. Replacing the parts was $50,000 a week. And after convening a creative problem-solving session that consisted of workers trained, and the creative process. The breakthrough solution, which was inspired by the cooking product palm was to use a simple mixture of oil in soap, and a spray bottle. And the total cost was $1.50 and 40 minutes of staff time, a 50,000 problem had been solved with a $1.50 solution, a classic example that depicts the innovation as around us all the time. But as humans, we don’t always see the unseen and it’s the ability to make the invisible visible by taking what is not to create what is by manifesting what is inside you and around you by transcending the obvious ordinary and routine by connecting the past to the present and putting new things together in new ways. What inspired and attracted you to the creative space?

Roger L Firestien: 

In the first place, it’s a wonderful story. And so here’s the story behind this. As I mentioned, I grew up on a farm in northern Colorado. And as a couple of things around that, my mother always made me take piano lessons and I had piano lessons. But this comes at a little bit later on, right? Because as I was growing up on a farm, I was either going to be a racecar driver or a scientist, but the models on the farm in Colorado in the in the 60s and the middle 70s, were usually going to be a preacher, a teacher or a farmer. That’s what we saw. And so as I’m coming up, you know, I’m, you know, you know, just, you know, being a farm kid and experiment on the farm, and, you know, taking piano lessons and stuff and, and when I was in the eighth grade, a minister from our church, had a little four string guitar, a little tenor guitar, and he gave it to me, he said, you might be interested in playing this. Well, I picked up that guitar. And my parents, I don’t think they saw me for the next three months, because I was downstairs practicing I love this thing. And then I got a six string guitar, and I started playing music in church. And there was a fellow in church who had an accordion and a guitar studio. Now, accordion lessons were very popular in the 70s in northern Colorado. And so he said, Would you like to teach guitar students at my studio? I said, Yeah. And so the studio was about 12 miles away from where my school was. And so my mother would drive me to teach Guitar Lessons before I had a car. And so I started teaching guitar lessons and play guitar a lot. And majored in guitar in college and thought I was going to be like a music teacher or something like that. My playing rock bands, I played jazz. And I’m a classical classical trend guitarist. And as I got into music school at the University of Northern Colorado was a very good school. But it was all a technical focus. And, and, and it was like, okay, is this all there is is technique. I was also teaching guitar at that time and teaching guitar, I taught guitar to essentially put myself through college. And I noticed that my students were getting really bored with their early lessons. And so I started, I thought, well, maybe if I could get my students to get a little bit more creative, they’d like their lessons more. And so I started reading about creativity. And then I came across this program at the University of Northern Colorado, which was more of an individualized education program based on a European model. And you would work with a faculty mentor, and then you would take up to two classes, but your real focus was to meet with this faculty mentor, at least once a week. Well, I hooked up with an anthropologist who also happened to be a musician, a sculptor, a dancer, a farmer, a sailor, piano player, piano tuner, a cellist. I mean, this guy is our tennis player, is a renaissance man. And he’s still one of my dear friends, knock Dr. Jim Warner. And so we got to working together through this individualized education program. And the more I’ve read about creativity, it’s more this place called Well, it was a different name than but the Center for Applied imagination or the International Center for Studies and creativity coming up again, again in the literature, and there’s two names associated with this place and fellow named Sidney Parnes and Ruth Miller. Now, if you take a look at the literature, Parnes, and notre were the giants that really started a lot of work out in the creativity field and really got creativity into higher education. So I remember it was April of 1977. And I managed to find the number of the creative scrape status department. I went up to the University of Northern Colorado library and got into the microfiche, you know, choosing microfiche, and I found a number and I got the courage to call it the place. And now I’m staying at my mom and dad’s house at this time and in Colorado, and, and my room was downstairs and so I dialed the number. All right. And the Secretary comes on the phone and I tell her who I am and what my interest was. And she said, Well, Dr. Sidney Parnes is here, would you like to talk to him? And so I sit down now, here’s the thing, right? I’ve never talked to an author before in my life, okay, I’m 21 years old. Okay. I didn’t think they were authors who were alive. Okay. I thought you wrote a book you died. And so I talked to said Parnes, and I have this wonderful conversation. He said yes, we have this creative problem solving Institute. It’s a week long conference. We’ve just started this master’s degree program in Creative Studies. And so it’s like, I’m like, I got off the phone. I was just jazzed I ran up the stairs. I said to my mom, I said, Mom, I just talked to Sid Parnes in Buffalo, New York. And you know what she said? She said what you made a long distance phone call. Because phone calls from Northern Colorado at that time were pretty expensive. So why would we joke about that? That summer, I came out to Buffalo, I took the conference, took a class, went back, finished up my degree in in Colorado, and then moved out here in May, in June of 1978. I’ve been here ever since. And went under full time faculty in 1984. I got my doctorate in 1987 in organizational communication, and but ever since then I’ve went part time in 1994, to run my consulting business. But I’ve always stayed in academia. And my whole thing is that I take the best from business practices, and I apply it to our students. And so there’s never been a line there, there’s never been a boundary there, what I’ve learned in business is I take and apply to the students. So that’s really kind of the story. And then as things evolved, I, you know, consulted nationally, internationally. And we, we did a little marketing work a couple years ago, and we figured out that I’ve, I’ve trained more people to lead the creative process than anybody else in the world. Primarily, I think, because I’ve just been in it so long, and I’ve had students every semester and that a lot of clients and stuff. So that’s kind of the kind of one of my claims to fame around that. So yeah, so that’s kind of the story. On the point of creative process you mentioned that are, how would you typically characterize your creative process project in terms of how do you make the invisible visible by by dreaming of ideas, developing them into concepts, and then bringing them to actualization? Yeah, and I want to play around with the invisible visible. Let me go off to that in just a second. I just went, and I wanted to go back to Craig and flash the book. Last year, we started some work with the Online Learning Company, Open sesame, which is one of the biggest online learning platforms internationally. And we sent him a copy of the book. And they said, they said, Well, we love the book. And they said, but right now we you know, and I said, you want to make some videos out of it. They said, well, by the way, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, right now, we really can’t finance that. I said, Well, look, I’ll take this on. And so make a long story short, we’ve produced nine videos that you can get through the Open sesame learning platform, it’s got to Open sesame comm put in firestein. And these videos will come up. And they’re five to seven minute micro lessons that give you various, various techniques about the creative process. And one of those is we talked about, we interview a lighting designer. And this lighting designer talks about light, because light is invisible, you can’t see light, you can only see what light bounces off of. And so the line is how do you sell something that you can’t even see? And so we go through the process of the diffusion of innovation methods, like how do you show the relative advantage? How do you show that you can try the idea out? It’s one of the most beautiful videos, and it’s, we talked about it in the book. And let me see if I can find the page here for you. So here it is just it’s on page 124. When you when you go through that, you’ll you’ll you’ll find it. But how do you make but let’s go back to the creative process. How do you make the invisible visible? Well, I want to come at this from two angles. I want to come at this from the creative process that we teach. And then I kind of also want to come at it from my process as well. And I think it’s pretty similar. The way we teach the creative process is and in the book, we talk about a process called 21st century, creative problem solving, by the way, with the with the videos, there’s 12 downloadable PDFs that are free. And they’re writable. And you can use them. And we also have the 21st century creative problem solving process. And so we start out with just an initial goal or wish or challenge and we begin with the phrase, it would be great if or I wish, because at the beginning of the creative process, it isn’t a problem. It’s just a goal or a wish or a challenge. And then we gather some data around that we have about nine key questions that help you to gather the data. And then we look to clarify what the problem is. And the way we do that, is we come up with a whole bunch of creative questions, and creative questions, start with the phrases how to or how might or what ways might, yeah. And you come up with a whole bunch of those. And so instant then when you when you have 30 or 40 of them you we begin to converge on them, we look at the ones that are similar, then pick the one that really want to get some ideas for we generate some ideas for that we use brainstorming, we use a thing called brain writing, we use forced connections, three or four techniques. You don’t have to do a ton of techniques, select the best of those ideas, refine those ideas using a technique called plusses potentials concerns. What’s good about the idea, what’s the potential in the idea, one of the concerns about the idea, but we were the concerns like a creative question. So if the idea is going to cost a lot of money like they will say, Well how to reduce the cost or how to raise the money, overcome the concerns, make the idea better, come up with a whole bunch of action steps, pick the best of those action steps and put them into action. So that’s the creative process that I teach. And I think my, my process is similar to that. It really kind of begins with you know, it would be great if it would be great if I could write a cool, great, great book on creativity. And, and then that I began to work it from there. And I think the main thing is, as I’m talking to people, and as I look at my practice, right now, in my work right now, the real focus is on really clarifying what the whole problem is. I’m working with a group over the next three days, and we’re just focusing mainly on identifying the correct problem, because they’re in an environment where, you know, the problem that they see is probably solved. And that’s a 99% of the time based on my experience, primacy is not the problem at all, it’s something else. So long answer to a short question.

Roy Sharples: 

What came across really strong in your process, Roger, is the importance of in envisioning as a technique within the How to, and so starting with a dream full of passion and enthusiasm, without any restrictions, or criticism. And this stages the purpose for to generate and develop and communicate new ideas that challenge the status quo by using leading questions such as, as you said, like the How can it be or how could it be? So they like the Imagine if the what if Wouldn’t it be great if, and I found that personally, a very effective way of ideation, and helping ignite the innovation and product creation process. I also liked how you form multidisciplinary teams, where you’re bringing people from disparate fields together, to help ideate and problem solve. And I think that outsider perspective combined with childlike imagination and wonder, to gain an analytical and external view of the challenge by applying divergent thinking, to dream without frontiers, to find the breakthrough ideas, by envisioning the desired outcome, and then as you navigate through the creative journey, preparing for what needs to be done in envisioning ideas by gathering the resources and researching to find the root, the true breakthrough idea, and envisioning, helps set the main free and it fosters divergent thinking to explore all possible approaches to developing the idea and the vision for bringing that idea to life. And in freeing your brain tends to apply its own experiences from your, your mental reservoir of thoughts, expertise and instincts by drawing on insight know how, when, and past experiences, to be able to dream up novel ideas, and then removing yourself from the idea to seek broader perspectives, and take a more integrative approach before honing it further. So your approach there really resonated with techniques and methods that I’ve certainly find useful within my work, and in practice. What are the key skills needed to be a successful creative, Roger?

Roger L Firestien: 

Right, I’m so glad you asked that. A question that stumped me a couple months ago, I was doing a talk for the American Psychological Association, where the local conferences, and it was a virtual talk and, and, and I was on with the other faculty at the at the Center for Applied imagination, and, and I’d given a little preview about the work I’m doing on opensesame. And I talked about creating a flash. And, and one of the people asked this question, and he said, How do you get people to move from a one off event like a training program, or reading the book, to using creativity consistently in their everyday life? And I got to tell you, right, when that came out, I was stumped. Because I’ve been thinking this way for 44 years. And then one of my brilliant graduate students, Tonya Knutson said, well learn the language of creativity. And so for people to be creative, learn the language of creativity. Well, what’s the language of creativity? The language of creativity is the language of possibilities. Yeah. And the big thing about the language of creativity is really it goes back to asking creative questions. So when you’re working on a project, it’s like, well, how might we do this? Or what might be other ways to do this or how to, and once again, instead of saying, well, that’s going to cost a lot of money that stops you thinking, how to raise the money, how to reduce the cost, what might be other ways, we can get more people involved to give us money. All of those people, all those thoughts, all those creative questions, open your mind up to come up with new ideas. So when I’m faced with something like that I watch my language, you know, it’s how to, or how might, yeah, so that’s the first thing as creative questions. The second thing is to not judge your ideas when you generate them. And that’s so crucial for creative people, and so crucial for anybody, because particularly the solo creators, they’ll come out with one or two ideas and start to kind of take it apart. No, no, no, no, no, don’t do that. Sit down, don’t get your ideas come up with 30 or 40, or 50 ideas. Now, that might sound like a lot. But a couple of things. If you’re doing that in a group that takes about four minutes if the group has been trained, if you’re doing that individually, you know, just do that over a couple of days, write down 10 or 12 ideas and step away from near another 10 or 12 ideas step away from him. Because what we found is when we’ve done research on this is, it’s really helpful to set an idea quota. And between 30 and 40 ideas is a good quota to strive for. And when we analyzed ideas, here’s how they tended to shake out about the first 10 to 12 ideas. These are the ideas that people have thought of before the usual ideas. Now, idea 12 to 2425, the goofier ideas came up, you’re starting to create some unusual associations, and then beyond 25 to 30, or 40, the more unusual and unique combinations begin to came out. And that’s where you’re going to tend to get the breakthroughs. But the key learning from this is if you’re sitting around in generating 10 or 12 ideas, and you think you’re getting real creative, you’re not all you’re doing is getting those ideas that are already rumbling around in people’s heads. The creativity comes in the stretch, the innovation comes in the stretch. So we’ve got two things we’ve got asking creative questions. We’ve got deferring judgment. And then the other one is, is is making connections. And we talk a lot about about making connections in creating the flash and, and where I think you’re probably familiar of the of the the connection making of the Nike waffled train. Are you familiar with that story? Absolutely. Yeah, it was inspired by waffle iron, okay. The pacemaker was inspired by a traffic flasher. The the the velco fro was inspired by cockle burrs, the Shinkansen bullet train in, in Japan The design was was was inspired by a Kingfisher speak, people have studied the way groundhogs build their burles to create ventilation systems in in big buildings. Let’s see. And remember, it was birds have taught humans how to fly. So there’s, there’s a lot of inspiration from nature, there’s a lot of inspiration from other things from other connections. But when we put a group together, to come up with some ideas, we have a thing called a breakthrough lab, where people actually bring challenges to us. We don’t have all the technical people in there, we have people that don’t know anything about the challenge about the area might be peripherally related. So say you’re working on a marketing problem to sell, I’m looking at my desk lamp, I’m here to sell desk lamps, we’re not gonna have all the desk lamp marketing people in there, we’re gonna have musicians in there, we’re gonna have dancers in there, we’re going to have a doctor in there, we have an engineer, and they’re, you know, we’re going to have a person that’s in in nonprofits, will do a project planner. And they’re people that have all these different perspectives. And then what unites them is training around the creative process. And the the output of those sessions is absolutely extraordinary. And so we’re starting to market those now, on our website, in the called breakthrough lab.

Roy Sharples: 

Your in a time machine, Roger, and its going backward. Based on the lessons learned in your life to date, what are the pitfalls to avoid, and the keys to success that you can share with aspiring creatives?

Roger L Firestien: 

The number one thing is love. Yeah. And it’s love for what you do. And I’ve been in this business for now 44 years. And I went through some very challenging times of my life when I stepped away from the business. And the universe didn’t let me be successful there because it said, you need to go back and do what you love. And coming back and doing what I love now, as a result of stepping back and making my way through some really challenging times. I’m better at what I do. And so one thing is love. Okay, the other end and once again, I’m going to take this back to my good graduate, my good undergraduate mentor, Jim Warner, he said, you know, it’s been my experience that if you love what you’ll do, you’ll find somebody to pay for it. And that’s exactly the case. And there’s so many opportunities now, for folks to really focus on what they love doing and then somebody channels to get it out there for them to hook up with the people that are that will that will pay them to do their passion. The other thing is passion, you got to be passionate about what you do. And if you’re not passionate, as a friend of mine said, if you’re not passionate about what you do, why do you get out of bed in the morning. And so, you know, if if you see a car salesman, he needs to be passionate about what he’s doing, you know, because if that’s a one car salesman, you know, so and so never let that passion die. to other things, I think you know, don’t fall in love with your first idea, or your second idea, or your third idea, because an idea is just an idea. That’s all it is. All right. And when I look at ideas that I come up with, and I’ve got a little idea notebook, I’ll be writing stuff down, and half of that stuff is like now that’s like going anywhere. But that idea might lead to another idea that might lead to another idea. So you don’t have to do every idea. But you can use it to build another every idea. And then the other thing is, too, is it’s okay to step back from your work sometimes. And it’s okay to stop. And it’s okay to rest. And and I guess the thing when I was writing, creating a flash is that I was good for maybe an hour, hour and two or two, and then I had to step back from it. The other thing is, you know, when you’re writing a book, it doesn’t go from page one to page 140, the right and in sections, and so and you go where your energy is at the time. So as I was writing, creating a flash, I had sections to work on. And I would say, Well, where’s my the most of my energy right now. And I deal with that section, and then I’d send it off to my wonderful editor, Heather, who would do amazing job on it. But follow the energy when you’re working on a creative project. So if you’re working on a creative project, and you don’t have energy for over here, but you do have energy for over here. So if you don’t have energy on the right side of the project, go to the left side, go to where the energy is. The other thing is, it’s okay, if you don’t have energy around any of that stuff to push your chair back from the project and get away from it. And as I tell a friend of mine these days, I said, I’d rather be doing nothing than stuff that’s not productive or not, or not stuff that I love. And so if when you can get to that point, it’s like, wow, this is really cool. So So I guess those would be the thing, love, passion. Don’t fall in love with your first idea. Your second right here, your third idea. The other thing is ask creative questions. And that goes back to we talked about earlier, how to or how might, and when you ask those creative questions, even when you’re in a group setting, that just changes the room, all of a sudden, people are like, well, we could do this, and we can do this, we can do that for yourself as well, you know, how might I do this? How might I make a book on creativity that’s really fun and beautiful, and people enjoy. And that led to a whole bunch of ideas and all bunch of different connections that led to our interview today, right? And then, and then it’s, as I mentioned, to so as crave questions, passion. Don’t fall in love the first idea, it’s okay to step back and stop, follow where your energy is. And and, and for me, find your creative cycle times. I’m really I’m a big advocate of napping, by the way I took a nap before a session today. Because they, they rejuvenate me. And so it’s not uncommon for me to work later into the day, because I’ve taken a nap. And so find the creative time for you that you’re not pushing it. And then when you’re done, you’re done. Because when you’re doing a lot of creative work, you’re burning a lot of energy up there in your brain. And, and so you need to step back from time to time.

Roy Sharples: 

Ah time – the most used noun and the English language! And it needs to be made the most of So following your heart and do what you love. by falling in love with your craft. pursue it with intensity, and be exceptional is everything you need is already inside of you. free yourself from others expectations and walk away from the games and boundaries they impose upon you. Only you know your true worth realizing your full potential to live a fulfilled life means unleashing your creative potential to do and excel at what you love your back not time machine but this team is going forward. What’s your vision for the future of education of society of life? And what role does creativity play within that? Do you think creativity is going to be more important in the future than it ever has been? And when you look at things like some of the things that are disrupting society and life such as technology, specifically artificial intelligence, making predictions based on past data, but you can’t program empathy, you can’t program creativity or human feeling and imagination within that.

Roger L Firestien: 

Well let me go in two directions here. Let me take care of this AI thing. I did a an interview for a pod. It was a blog on artificial intelligence and creativity. And it was through our friend Laurie. They asked the question, you know, can artificial intelligence compose music? And I said, well, artificial intelligence can help you compose music. And being a musician, that was a great question. And because I mean, if you look at the work that Bach did when he talked about the few, I mean, he was so mathematically precise in the work that he did, that nobody could replicate his last work because it was so precise and so complex. But the other thing that I ended with, as I said, they said, Do you think that you think artificial intelligence could ever compose music? I said, Well, technically it can help you. So when the human has got the theme down, or the, or where you want to go with it, then you can you can run it through some some AI stuff to suggest harmonies and those sorts of things. But the question that I posed is like, Can artificial intelligence fall in love? You know, artificial intelligence gets sad. And that’s, that’s where so much of music comes from. It comes from that whole emotional side, can artificial intelligence, tell stories that strike at your heart as another human being? So those are the questions that I asked. And so my view is like, yeah, technically, you can, but you know, but let me talk about the whole future of creativity. And this is a really interesting story. And so I’m, I’m doing a conference with a group back in, I want to say 1998 1999. And there was a author of a very popular book back at that time, that gave a talk. And he was with a prestigious university. And we sat down and had drinks afterwards, we got to talking, because I also gave a workshop and he did in an evening talking. And so we got to talking. And he said, he said, you know, what, he’s thinking, he said, I think I’m going to probably run this creativity gig for another couple of years, that’s probably about as how long was it, that’s probably about is how long it’ll last. And that was in 1998. And so if this is a business, fad, it’s the biggest business fad that’s been running for years, and haven’t been in this business. For so long. We’ve seen quality circles and empowerment and team building and that, but creativity is is what makes us human. Right. And so it’s not a fad. I mean, you know, creativity is, is what is what makes us human, we are human. Because we create, we create, because we are human. And so the future, what I’m what I’m seeing is I’ve seen this evolve over the last 40 years, is, I would say, I want to take it from two angles, I’d say, I’m really delighted to have so many people that are trained in the creative problem solving process, and how to facilitate that, that are in all aspects of life, from medicine, to science, to theater, to business, to community work. And, and I think and my goal and wish is that those people will continue to infuse that education as well into those areas. Also, I think creativity needs to be. Sir Ken Robinson said once and he was a big advocate for creativity in education, he said that creativity should be as important as literacy. And so if you’re going to teach people how to read, you need to teach him some creativity techniques to be creative. Because the problems that we have now are not going to be solved by the same solutions that we’ve had in the past. And so I believe that creativity is becoming going to become more and more and more and more important. And if we don’t create, we’re not going to survive. Because we’re up against some things that are really crucial, right now, as far as the education of creativity is concerned, I believe it’s going to happen. And I’m biased to this by people, you know, reading books, and watching videos and on pieces of the creative process, a technique that they can take and use and they can try. And when you look at the videos that accompany the book, and I encourage you to do that, throughout the website, you’ll see how we interview a doctor there and it talks about the creativity is making connections, he never considered that creativity was making all these connections. And, and he’s he’s Dr. Robert gate, what is in the book is is extraordinary. So I think that’s where we’re going to continue the education of creativity is going to be bite sized pieces that you can use. Second thing is that when we teach creative problem solving, we don’t work on case problems. We work on stuff that’s real to people. And then the other thing is, is that creativity is going to get us to survive. And we need that in so many many different ways.

Roy Sharples: 

Excellent perspectives Roger, the future workplace as for humans, will work in unison with artificial intelligence. robots have already multiplied productivity and replaced humans in many workloads, just as the automobile replaced horses and the Industrial Revolution dramatically impacting life in society. digital literacy, computational thinking, judgment, decision making, emotional and social intelligence, critical thinking problem solving, and having a creative and innovative mindset will continue to be more important than ever. How soon is the future? One thing for sure is the future is unwritten and everything is possible. You have been listening to the unknown origins podcast. Please follow, subscribe, rate and review us. For more information, go to unknownorigins.com Thank you for listening!


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