Category Archives: Sid Parnes

What’s WCID all about?

I was at our local chamber of commerce informal business networking event last night and invited those present, in 1:1 conversations, to begin planning for their World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21, 2018.

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Tanya Sullivan, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant reviews WCID one-sheet with Marci Segal at Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce Bevvies and Business, October 25, 2017, held at Canmore Brewing Company.

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Observations: Many did not know about it, and when they learned of the UN’s adoption of the day, paid attention.

I brought along a document, a handout, WCID One pager October 2017, that, given people’s reactions, needs improving.

As I discussed the WCID opportunities available for local businesses, some people understood right away, and others, well, not so much.

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The Question: This morning, on reflection I wondered – what is World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 and Week, April 15-21 all about? That is, how to best describe to people to invite participation?

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The Aha! WCID is about flexibilizing people’s brains; to use new patterns of thinking to approach the challenges we face and will face in the future.

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The Story: I took my first course in Creative Studies in 1977 with Dr. Sidney J. Parnes at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo. On the first day of class, he handed out a blue examination booklet and said, “Solve a problem.”

I didn’t know what to do, so, I wrote 2+2=4 on the first page, closed the booklet, wrote my name on the cover and handed it in. I was out of the class in less than a minute.

At the end of the semester, without my knowing he would, Sid did the exactly the same thing.  He handed out blue examination booklets and said, “Solve a problem.”

This time, I opened the booklet and began to write, “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” and proceeded to use the creative problem-solving process we learned. I…

  • Identified a challenge to address
  • Scoped its context
  • Defined an opportunity for problem-solving
  • Generated many different ideas
  • Sculpted a prototype solution, and
  • Mapped its action plan.

After about 90 minutes, I closed the book, wrote my name on the cover and, before handing it over to Sid, asked if I could have it back when he was finished with it.  Sid smiled and said, “Yes.”

Sid Parnes, Marci Segal, 1995
Sid Parnes and Marci Segal at ACRE 2 in South Africa, 1995

In 16 weeks I learned how to use creativity in problem-solving; to honour the human spirit of curiosity, exploration, wonder, and imagination, and use them to perceive challenges and opportunities, and solve them, in new, unusual and relevant ways.

There was no looking back.

WCID founding principle 1: Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in the world had the confidence in their capacity to use creativity in problem-solving?

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Call to Action

In planning for your WCID2018 do what you can to use your brain in ways it hasn’t been used before, to increase its flexibleness and your resilience to adapting to and creating meaningful change.

What are some ways to help people feel confident in their abilities to use their creativity in problem-solving?  Feel free to add suggestions, references, and resources for people to consult in the comments section.

WCID: celebrating that we can generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new results that make the world a better place and make our place in the world better too.