Friday, December 14, 2007

Creativity or Creation

Phenomenal day today. It was a day in which brilliant minds convened and shared concepts with the aim of transforming education. At Champlain, Robin Lane, Joe Manley and myself, under the encouragement of CCM dean Jeff Rutenbeck, are embarking on creating a new degree program that hopes to offer a new, life impacting, form of education for young people engaged in new media, discovering themselves, wishing to impact cultures and wanting to innovate utilizing and creating emergent forms.

Around the table both live and through teleconference, fortified by web communication, were participants from innovative design studios, game studios, technology companies and independent new technology/media arenas alongside outstanding faculty—teachers of the best sort. A very diverse crowd in one respect but a crowd united in that they recognize the changes that technology has brought forth and the need to address education to reach a new, sometimes more adept generation.

One thing I have learned in my life is that experts are not experts unless they understand and can ask what they do not know. The act of honestly asking questions and seeking answers. This group was such a group. My mind is still buzzing with the ideas and insights offered!

This meeting followed a wonderful lunch with a man I consider a true mentor. In many ways this lunch targeted much of the goals and what needed to be discovered at the subsequent meeting. He shared with me the concept of critical friends.  He asks hard questions—questions I am grateful that they have been asked. As a designer I have always found the "criticisms" of clients most valuable. Likewise I have also found their projects, usually in subject matters that I have not studied, a form of study in itself. For instance, I have done many an animation for IBM Research. It was through these that I came to understand many elemental and not so elemental principals of physics as well as future technologies. All a way to grow intellectually. What I applaud about the idea of critical friends is that criticism is not meant to destroy but to strengthen.

That brings me around again to the convening of genius this afternoon. A key thought brought forth by one of our group, Chris Hancock, was of creation versus creativity. Indeed it is one thing to bring forth concepts but it is an entirely different matter to make those concepts work. Perhaps critical friends is one of those factors that can enable creation. Either way if this degree program succeeds it will be in part because this upcoming generation unknowingly has behind them a group of very smart critical friends.

Today's image is a composite of these friends and ideas generated from the meeting.

No comments: