Double Festival 2004

Bringing Something New and Wonderful into the World

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Project Renaissance’s Annual Conference on Creative Problem-Solving and Enhanced / Accelerated Learning


A Prescription for Miracles in Learning

We will explore together an application of the most fundamental principle of human behavior, and several of the most basic principles of human learning, to prescribe an ideal, optimally productive procedure for any learning group or classroom.

Presenter:  Win Wenger

Staring into the Abyss: Socratic Method in Conflict Resolution and Accelerated Learning

In January 2004, 20 young people from North Belfast — 10 Catholic girls and 10 Protestant boys — came together to make a short film about their experiences. This group came from a disadvantaged area and in some cases were underperforming educationally. Digital Video and the Socratic method we united to draw the students out and reflect back their behaviours. In this session we will view the 10-minute film, extracts from the documentary of the process, and use creative problem- solving to explore how you can benefit from our experiences. One lucky participant will also have a chance to experience Windtunneling in front of a camera using an Apple Powerbook and iSight camera!

Our work with the young people in North Belfast, Northern Ireland, is funded by PEACE II from the EU and is now entering its second year. Through ESC we plan to run a cross-border project and also work with ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland.

Presenter:  Rory O’Connor
Rory O’Connor is Training and Development Officer, Creative Learning and Problem Solving Educational Shakespeare Company; Project Renaissance Certified Trainer, Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) Certified Practitioner, Advanced Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, Life Coach.

The Art of Mentoring and Coyote Teaching

A presentation on the learning styles of native Americans and Africans that have baffled us for a long time, as a 15-year-old kalihari bushman knows more about field ecology than a schooled Ph.D. How does this work? How do they learn?

Presenter:  Tijl Koenderink for Jon Young of the Wilderness Awareness school.

Focus on Learning, not Teaching

The goal of this time together is to explore and challenge the process of teaching and the role of teacher and in their place put learning and learner or co-learner. Life is learning. Learning puts value and meaning into life. Learning to learn so that we can learn even more or more deeply puts passion into our lives. Learning to seek understanding and growth provides much more value than simply collecting facts that are so seldom connected and integrated or used for anyone’s benefit. Learning to ask questions to seek understanding, rather than simply collecting answers or filling in someone else’s blanks, is far more valuable in life.

Presenter:  Alan Black

Daily I strive to help people accept, understand, appreciate, apply, enrich, expand their creative thinking in their workplaces and personal lives. I do this using my background of working at 47 jobs in eight professions in 44 years (one day to 20+ years), plus studying, writing and speaking on creative thinking since 1976. Since 1996 I have been traveling around the world via plane, train, boat, car, foot and internet throughout each year, connecting with people committed to the development of creative thinking in their countries, while eating a wide variety of unique foods, usually not asking what it was. Along the way I speak to business, industry, government, educational groups about how to S.P.R.E.A.D. creative thinking completely throughout organizations, striving to help them Develop Creating Communities in their workplaces to benefit everyone from the front door or shop floor to the executive suite. My primary goals are to use and continually develop my creativity while helping others do the same.

Using Storytelling to Design Your Personal Creativity Model

How do you create? Understanding our own creating styles frees us to be more easily connected to the natural “flow” of creativity, and co-create better with others. In this program you will discover what kind of creator you are; design your unique creativity model through an engaging and original process that begins with storytelling; and learn inquiry techniques to help you draw forth more creativity from yourself and others. The answers are already in you. Participate in real-time creating using dynamic, layered techniques and exercises.

Presenter:  Michelle James

Michelle’s quest for the past several years has been that of uniting the worlds of the “creative fringe” with mainstream organizational culture. She is an organizational creativity consultant, a performer of full-length improvised plays with Precipice Improvisational Theater Company, and a designer of interactive creativity processes, programs, and games. Her passion is infusing creativity and imagination into current knowledge and information systems for individual, organizational and social transformation. To that end, she formed The Center for Creative Emergence. The Center is an organization dedicated to the study, practice and experience of emergent creativity in all of its forms — structural, systemic, expressive, cognitive, intuitive, kinesthetic, collective — with individuals, teams, and the larger system within which we work. Michelle is co-founder and coordinator of the Capitol Creativity Network (CCN) in Washington, DC. Note to those in the DC area: CCN meets the second Thursday of each month.

Improvisation as a Tool for Accelerated Learning and Retention

Presenter:  Anthony Hyatt

Anthony Hyatt is a violinist and performance artist whose interest is in the use of improvisation techniques for facilitation of the creative process. He is a member of the Naoko Maeshiba Performance Collective and is a teacher for the Arts for the Aging organization under whose auspices he presents interactive programs at Washington DC area senior citizen centers and for whom he co-directs the senior citizen improv dance company known as Quicksilver. Anthony is a leader at annual conferences of the Creative Education Foundation and CREA, the Creativity European Association. He offers workshops and consultation services through his own organization, Moving Beauty.

Teaching Thinking in Malta — a Paradigm Shift in Education
  1. a brief description of what we are doing in Malta
  2. an interactive session where participants can make use of the de Bono techniques
  3. a conclusion with suggestions as to how programmes implemented in education can be maintained and sustained.

In 1950 J.P. Guildford delivered the opening address to the American Psychological Association where he asked the question, “Why is there so little apparent correlation between education and creative productiveness?” Fifty-four years have passed since then. Should we still be asking this question today?

My presentation will briefly describe the introduction of the direct teaching of thinking, using the de Bono methods, to state schools in Malta. This programme commenced in October 2000 as a pilot project, and some of the teachers involved have conducted action research to assess the effects of the direct teaching of thinking.

I shall describe the manner in which the de Bono Thinking Skills Programme has been implemented and developed and report on the progress that has been achieved — progress that can be viewed as a ‘paradigm shift’ on the local educational scene. The benefits for pupils and the impact of the direct teaching of thinking on their creative abilities will be discussed. I shall draw on my own 12 years of experience teaching the de Bono Thinking techniques to a broad range of people, from 5-year-olds to mature professionals.

The objective of the presentation is to demonstrate the positive effects of the direct teaching of thinking and to illustrate the feasibility of implementing such a programme in schools. Issues such as the possibility of maintaining and sustaining such a programme over time will also be raised.

I shall conclude with an interactive workshop where participants will have the opportunity to use some of the de Bono techniques.

Presenter:  Dr. Sandra M. Dingli

Dr. Sandra M. Dingli is Director of The Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking at the University of Malta., where she lectures on creativity and innovation and on the de Bono thinking techniques in a number of faculties to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. The Edward de Bono Institute has just launched a new postgraduate degree, Master of Arts in Creativity and Innovation, which Dr. Sandra Dingli has coordinated and designed. This will commence in October 2004 at the University of Malta.

Dr. Dingli organises regular International Conferences on Creative Thinking. People from over fifty different countries have attended the five International Conferences organised to date. She also organises annual Seminars that are conducted by Professor Edward de Bono, the world-renowned inventor of Lateral Thinking.

Optimal Growth and Productivity in Organizations

Abstract:   We examine the interaction of growth and productivity. We put forth a simple model to enable managers to understand better what occurs as new team members are integrated into an existing organization. While the model is straightforward, it does permit some interesting predictions. We show with some simple graphs how the various factors interact, with a cautionary note on nonlinear relationships.

Attention, managers! Once we have understood the implications of the model, we need to do whatever we can to mitigate the negative effects of growth. While there are no clear answers to all the problems that growth presents, we suggest some measures that directly affect the parameters to which the model is sensitive. Experience shows that paying careful attention to these factors can pay big dividends.

This talk sits at the intersection of organizational development and project management. The organization needs to cope with the problems of growth in order to prosper, while the projects that it does need to be concerned with productivity and cost. These two needs are often seen to be in conflict, requiring delicate tradeoffs. We attempt here to show areas of commonality and ways in which both objectives can be achieved.

The conclusions I reach in this talk are obtained through the use of mathematical modeling. We all know that adding new people to a team “slows it down” because they have to be brought up to speed. But how much? If you have a good answer to that question, you can make intelligent tradeoffs between growth and productivity.

From an educational point of view, a secondary thrust of this presentation is to show off the power of mathematical modeling, and to show that it is accessible to most people, even if they don’t realize it today. Simple tools that yield powerful results — that’s leverage. It is part of their yet undiscovered potential. In that sense, I think it fits in perfectly with the mission of Project Renaissance.

Presenter:  Joe Marasco

Joe Marasco is a retired Senior Vice President of Rational Software, now one of the five brands of IBM. He served in various capacities at Rational in a career that spanned over sixteen years there. Before that he worked at MacLeod Laboratories, a Silicon Valley startup, and Fluor Engineering and Construction. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union, a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Geneva in Switzerland, and an M.B.A. from U.C. Irvine. His interests include the use of mathematical modeling to improve the productivity and profitability of organizations.

The paper on which this talk is based will appear in The UMAP Journal, in the fourth quarter of this year. This will be the inaugural presentation of these materials.

Joe’s book on software development management will be published by Addison Wesley in 2005.

Sidebands — A Great New Frontier of Further Inquiry into High Human Potential and Performance

What’s on your mind, just outside of your attention, outweighs by many times what’s in your attention. We are just beginning to discover a variety of new ways of finding out what’s going on there and making it useful. Several experience-procedures in this adventurous session are experimental.

Presenter:  Win Wenger

Visions of “the Ideal School”

Much more than just a matter of special methods. Explore different visions, models and projections of ideal ways for human beings to learn and grow.

Presenter:  Win Wenger

There’s a Word For It

When you find a new word from another language that has no direct equivalent in English, it could change the way you think about the world. Marshall McLuhan said, “We shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us.” It is very much that way with words — thoughts don’t mold words; words mold thoughts. By giving words to previously indefinable feelings, we can add a new dimension to our lives.

New “emotion” words drawn from a culture which embodies such words can open a window to the way other languages allow people to think and feel, and thus point out new ways for us to think and feel. We think as we do because our words make such thoughts possible:  new words make other thoughts possible. The VALUE of such words lies in the likelihood of their matching semantic gaps in our own language, limiting our thoughts.

Thus, learning these new words can provide a mind-altering culture-shift.

This workshop will explore words from foreign languages which portray emotional concepts which have no direct equivalent in English — examples: “Schadenfreude, mantra, mitzvah, ennui, tao.” More obscure words will be introduced in this workshop, words which exist in other cultures because they are essential to those cultures; which, when understood, will shed light on your own previously nebulous feelings and self-understanding.

By learning new concepts, participants will be better enabled to understand their own previously nebulous feelings and will also have a better understanding of other cultures. There will be a handout of about 50 concepts, many of which will be new to the participants.

Presenter:  Susan Wenger

Brain Research in Schools

Research information produced from discoveries on how the brain works and what is involved in the learning process has provided the basis for reforming the classroom, dramatically increasing the joy in the classroom and learning results while decreasing teacher workload.

Learning is natural, fun, challenging and rewarding. Effective learning can prevail when these exist in the classroom or learning environment and are an extension of the facilitator’s passion for learning.

Presenter:  Stu Cart

Metaphorical Mind Mapping

This session will take you beyond traditional brainstorming and on a brief journey to apply metaphors for help in generating new and unexpected ideas to solve problems. You will focus on the idea generation by using a tool of non-linear organization coupled with Pattern-Breaking. Participants will learn how to apply metaphors using a specific tool and appreciate the simplicity of something that may appear complex and difficult.

Presenter:  Charles Markert

Charles is a practicing consultant and Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) of business process enhancement methodologies. As a registered Professional Engineer in Virginia, he has had 30 years of public sector engineering management and civil engineering design experience involving all aspects of facility design, construction specifications & design criteria, engineering management, process streamlining, business process redesign and quality improvement. He holds a Master of Public Administration from American University in 1980, a Master of Science in Ocean Engineering from the University of Rhode Island In 1974 and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Michigan State University in 1966.

He is a Certified Professional Facilitator by the International Association of Facilitators. Professional affiliations include the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), Mid-Atlantic Facilitator Network, Society of American Military Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, AFCEA, Institute of Management Consultants USA, and the Creativity Education Foundation

He is also a co-author of “Partnering In Construction: A Practical Guide To Project Success” by Carr, Markert, et al, published in 1999 by the American Bar Association. He facilitates Project Partnering, Enterprise Partnering, Strategic Planning, Reengineering, Process Mapping and Redesign, Bottom Line Innovation, Specialty Summits, Group Writing, and Quality Management.

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