Physics and Poetry: A Polymath’s Creative Strategy

Where do successful individuals find inspiration and energy to do the things they do? Some may harbor their forces, focused on a single passion. Yet others take on multiple problems or even multiple careers. What? They let a hobby eat up their time? They split their energies between two careers? How does that enable success?

The Creative Inspiration of Worldplay

Inventing an imaginary world can be a boon to individuals working in the arts; in fact, the worldplay strategy has a long history of success.

Seven Strategies for Changing the World

What do you talk about when you talk at Korea’s TECH+ Forum, described as a series of “TED talks on steroids?” Why, the fundamental elements of creativity, of course!

Galway Kinnell and the Eating of Oatmeal

Poet Galway Kinnell was one of those rare and serious talents who come along only once or twice in a generation. And yet he was not above a certain down-to-earth whimsy tied to the playful invention of imagined people and places.

The Creative Investment of Worldplay

How can parents, educators, business leaders, and policy makers nurture creativity, prepare for inventiveness, and stimulate innovation? One compelling answer lies in fostering the invention of imaginary worlds, otherwise known as worldplay.

Childhood Collecting: A Neglected Connection between Playing and Learning

You don’t hear much about collecting in school now-a-days. But a century ago psychologists and educators took the collecting habit in children seriously – and pondered how to use it to advantage in the classroom.

Gifted and Talented People (and Programs) Need Help!

Many people believe that talent will out, that gifted students are invariably mature, motivated and focused enough to develop on their own. No way!

The Empathizing Dilemma, or Confessions of the Eagle-Cam Addict

Like many thousands of people, this spring we found ourselves obsessively watching a pair of eagles raise their young. Responding emotionally to the trials and tribulations of eagle life, we found ourselves smack dab in the middle of the empathizing dilemma.

The Collection Connection to Creativity

Do you collect anything? Coins? Stamps? Butterflies? Art? Fine wines? Could your hobby potentially make you more creative?

Teaching the Creative Process

Creativity is not a “you have it” or “you don’t” kind of thing. It isn’t a personality trait. It’s not a “one size fits all” habit of mind. It’s not, simply, a set of skills to test for or a roster of art classes. So what’s a society to do? Especially one committed to constant innovation?

Do Arts Teach Creativity?

Massachusetts and California want to mandate teaching creativity and testing for its outcomes. Maybe your state does, too. In our last post we challenged whether creativity can be taught. In this one, we challenge the measures these states intend to use to test for it.

Can Creativity Be Taught?

Many states have begun calling for tests of student creativity. The only reason to test for creativity in schools is to teach it. But can creativity be taught? We don’t think so….

What’s the Pattern?

What do babies, birders and a set of fictional folks faced with a do-or-die puzzle have in common? Once again, we tease out an imaginative thinking tool fundamental to human cognition and creativity.

From STEM to STEAM to STREAM: wRiting as an Essential Component of Science Education

Add the imaginative and creative skills acquired in writing to the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and what do you get? Hint, if you need one: the creative capital of society depends on our answers. Really.

Intuition and the Logic of Sensual Thinking

Thinking in images and feelings is often dismissed as mere intuition. When a person "just knows" without the language to articulate how or why she knows, there may be difficulties in the boardroom-or the bedroom. But sensual thinking can be surprisingly "logical" as well as heart-felt. 

Artsmarts: Why Cutting Arts Funding Is Not a Good Idea

Congress is once again making plans to gut the National Endowment for the Arts, so it is time for us to post more data supporting the arts. In previous posts, we've argued that the arts are essential for the development of scientific imagination. Here we argue that the arts stimulate economic development by fostering invention. 

Writers, the Given Line and Not-Knowing

Many writers find inspiration in what has been called ‘la ligne donnée' or ‘the given line'. A few choice words, sometimes whole stanzas or paragraphs, come into the mind and a piece of writing begins its gestation. Does that mean we got the creative process wrong in our last post? 

Before Words: How to Think Like A Poet

Some years ago, in an interview with Bill Moyers, the poet Gary Snyder compared a vital aspect of writing to rummaging about in the sock drawer. "And that's how you write poetry?" Moyers asked. "Rummaging in the socks?" The exchange, short as it was, spoke volumes about how poets and writers think. 

A Step-By-Step Guide To Creative Behavior

How many of us have wished most fervently ‘to be more creative'? This New Year's, resolve ‘to behave more creatively' and your wish just might come true. 

So You Want to Write a Novel? In Your Dreams!

Who among us has not thought at one time or another that they have a great story to tell? Whether or not we ever put pen to paper, that story may be no more than the stuff of dreams-literally. For as novelist John Barth once said, "there is a kind of work involved in the making a dream which is not dissimilar to the making a story..." 

To Dream, Perchance to Create

Where do ideas come from? We wish we had the answer! The best we can do is to provide some strategies that seem to stimulate creative thought. One of them is what we call "purposeful dreaming."

Reading for Imaginative Play

All the times you read Goodnight Moon, all those hours you and your children spent together with Jim Hawkins in search of Treasure Island--were they worth it? Children immersed in books from an early age can become good readers. And good readers, recent research tells us, do better in school. But that's not the only reason to make a big deal out of books.

The Looming Reading Disaster: How Abandoning Children’s Picture Books Will Stifle Creative Imagination

The New York Times reports that children's book publishers are releasing fewer picture books for young readers because parents are pushing their kids into advanced text-only books at ever younger ages. We're appalled. Find out why. 

Can A Singer Make a Scientific Discovery? The Case of Manuel García

We blog a lot about the fact that creative people are often polymaths, talented at many things. The 19th century singer Manuel García illustrates how such multiple talents can result in surprising and unexpected discoveries - even in science! 

Child’s Play in Art and Science, The Story of Una Hunt

Some ideas keep turning up like lucky pennies on the sidewalk. Take this one. Across the centuries, creative endeavor in the arts and sciences has often been compared to child's play. Any number of famous individuals have remarked upon the subject. So have many people who "lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs." And in some cases, these "unhistoric" individuals have helped illuminate "the growing good of the world..." We submit Una Hunt as a case in point. 

Artists, Scientists, ArtsScientists And Imagination

Here's an interesting question: if you show the same image to a group of artists, a group of scientists, and a group of people trained in both fields, will each group respond to that image in a different way? 

George Washington Carver and Everyday Inventivity

George Washington Carver was one of our greatest African American inventors. What made him so special? Plenty more than peanuts. 

Here’s To Arts at the Center: Final Reflections on the UNESCO 2nd World Conference on Arts Education

What do origami, talking points and champagne toasts have to do with resolving the tradition/innovation conundrum? All suggest that the cutting edge of modern culture lies in dialogue between diverse arts and sciences from around the world and their integrated role in creative education. 

The Tradition/Innovation Conundrum: Further Reflections on the UNESCO 2nd World Conference on Arts Education

The dichotomies commonly drawn between tradition and innovation, between the preservation of national arts and crafts and the assimilation of global arts and technologies, suggest a false divide in human culture. The conundrum is how do we close the gap with justice to both sides? 

More Reflections on the 2nd World Conference on Arts Education: Towards Creative Synergy

In the minds of teaching artists, artist-activists and government officials, is creativity at odds with tradition when it comes to the role of global arts?