Creativity Reading Response 10: Decisions, decisions

I am pretty on the fence with my decision-handling style. LOL LAUGH AT MY JOKE.

But, for real, sometimes I am the most direct and quick decision-maker in my group of friends, and then there are times I could stare at two outfits and take 30 minutes to decide on one. I wish I could say that I make decisions easier/quicker when it comes to big things or little things or whatever, but there is no set pattern to how I stumble through decisions.

Keith Sawyer’s seventh chapter to his book Zig Zag is all about choosing as part of the creative process. There is a three step process that he mentions that is applicable especially to sellable solutions, which goes as follows:

  1. Real: Is the idea solving a real problem?
  2. Win: Can we make this a success?
  3. Worth: What is the value we can gain from this?

I feel like this is super applicable to our group project that we are doing because we need to work through these steps to create something realistic for our recycling problem. Choosing between our stack of idea notecards has been our hardest part because they all have parts that could be combined possibly. I think using this model can help refine a big problem we think we have.

This reading brought up a lot of interesting exercises that seem like they would take a lot of time, but maybe they would save time in the long run. It suggests a lot of preliminary organizing and color-coding, but one thing that seems to make the most sense is the idea of looking past the good. I have used pro/con lists multiple times in my life for larger life decisions, but playing devil’s advocate was never something I thought of as much for creative things. We had to take on that role with our ideas in class this past week and this really helped us realize what exactly we wanted to solve.

Reframing concepts and ideas really helps you refine what will work best. That is a choice I will pick every time.

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Creativity Reflection 10: Recycling research

I used this week for more research for our problem. I looked at how recycling works throughout Columbia. I remember reading about how Columbia switched to allowing plastics 1-7, but it was interesting to see how it pretty much didn’t include the majority of type 6 plastics, such as plastic bags and styrofoam. Plastic bags and styrofoam cups are huge things that the large college kid population produce in their waste (I see you HyVee bags and Chick-fil-A cups), so there needs to be a better way to reduce the use of this or increase the ability to recycle them properly.

Many college students live in apartments, but not all of them have easy recycling available to them. The city of Columbia has a list of apartments that have designated days when recycling is picked up/they have a container to take their recycling out to. This doesn’t cover the entirety of student living areas, though. They have ways to get bags to get picked up at the curb, but my apartment doesn’t do curb pick up, so this isn’t always applicable.

If it wasn’t for this project/my passion to keep the Earth healthy, I wouldn’t have known anything about these things, which just shows how convoluted recycling is in this town, especially to uninformed college kids.

Creativity Class Reflection 10: Get me bodied

I never realized how much my creativity class has me moving around until I had to do it all in an air cast and bandaged sprained ankle. Now, I wish my story of how I sprained my ankle was more creative than my high heel getting stuck in uneven sidewalk, but that isn’t the point. I am still lucky to be able to move around and be creative. In fact, it made me be a bit more creative in this past week’s classes.

Professor Gleason visited our class to teach us about using our bodies to convey images and ideas. We had to move from self-determined points A and B in the open space of our classroom in various segments of time. When she first made us determine the points, I picked spots about 6 feet apart since my injury was fresh and I had no idea what we were going to do next. When we had 64 seconds to move from point A to B (or vice versa) I had to be creative and move around more to end up at my point right on time. There is only so many movements I could make that wouldn’t have me putting too much pressure on my ankle and getting to my spot on time without running into the five people that had to end up right next to me.

She then made our class split into our project groups and use our bodies to show images we brought in that represented our problems. My group of three (including me) brought in photos of a Starbucks cup, a pineapple and a tree for our recycling problem that we are trying to solve. We gained the nickname (and now new Groupme name) Team Lickety-Split because we formed our three objects so quickly that it was like flipping through slides. Professor Gleason then made us get in front of the class and move through our images in succession with different time periods in between each that we had to move during. It was fascinating to see how all three of us created this out-and-circle-back pattern for our movement. It was quite like a modern dance and we formed a sort of abstract story with our bodies.

Much like I said in an earlier post, we tend to overlook how physical movement and art use creativity and how they can crossover with other creative processes. Though it may seem like we were just staging movements, we kind of got to look at our problem and how we wanted to creatively solve it in a different way. Sometimes movement really is what is needed to get those creative juices flowing.

Creativity Reading Response 9: Are we human? Or are we dancers?

I have been dancing since I was about 3 years old. I have been playing sports since I was 5. I love watching sports and most of my praise to my brothers has to do with their immense athletic ability. I have always equated these kind of actions to a kind of shallow brain power. Sure, you have to strategize in sports to win and you have to understand rhythm and body control in dance to be good, but it always seemed more primal and practiced then creatively derived.

Piirto says in Understanding Creativity that “the creativity of dance is the creativity of the body in motion to the sound of music” (348). I now understand what my friends mean when they say they “can’t dance.” Everyone can physically dance , but not everyone understands the creative processes behind choreography to do it well. Music can inspire feelings in everyone, but its not always inspiring movement in everyone. For me, my love of most music is based of off what kind of dancing that comes to mind when I hear it. It’s strange that someone like me, who is so drawn to written word in my career choice with magazines, is drawn to  and successful in the creative forces of dancing. Piirto says that “dancers prefer moving over the static drudgery of documentation,” which explains why people don’t know the names of many dancers and know more about famous visual and literary artists.

But, what Piirto touched on that really clicked with me was how dancers and athletes still touch others through their creative “works.” People are emotionally moved by dance performances and pay money to see strangers or their loved ones performed. I have cried over beautiful videos of ballet or modern dance, and I have cheered and screamed support at bomb videos of Beyonce dance sequences.

Same with sports. I sobbed on the floor during the disappointing 2013 Tiger’s homecoming loss and I definitely have laughed victoriously when my lacrosse team beat our rival. So, thinking or saying that sports are creative or deeply mindful is just wrong. The stereotype of the dumb jock may ring true at times academically, but there is more going on up there than a test can show.

Creativity Reflection 9: Sustainability Research

Since my group is trying to focus on MU campus and those who roam the campus as the targets for our recycling solution, I decided to check out what the MU Sustainability office had to offer. Our latest report is 3 years old, which I found sort of problematic since a lot has happened to the college population, what different areas of our campus look like, etc. in that time.

What I found most fascinating was how this RecycleMania competition was mentioned about us competing with other schools, but I have never heard about that in my 4 years here. It talked about getting different types of containers for events, with some of them being compost containers, which I knew existed because of when I worked with Summer Welcome and we used them for our biodegradable ice cream bowls and spoons.

Something else the site had was a sustainability top 10, but it didn’t seem to mostly include anyways to help with waste. One of them was the trail, which is more of a sustainable fun activity since it is outdoors and not using things that are harmful to the earth.

Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the sustainability office and what they had to offer. I feel like the information their site has is not up to date and/or not publicized well enough to the student body. I hope our solution can help right this.

Creativity Class Reflection 9: Sound of music

-songs to do with problem

-made our own jingle for our problem

A common think that people will drop as “information about themselves” whilst talking to someone on a online dating chat is how they like music. Practically everyone in the world likes music of some sort. Some people need it to study or get work done. I prefer my showers to have a soundtrack, and I play “Drag Me Down” by One Direction  everyday because it is my Senior year mantra.

Creativity and music drive each other, which is why it made sense that we had to find songs that related to the problems that we are trying to creatively solve. For our recycling problem, the song that came to my mind immediately was “Trees” by Marty Casey. Sure, this is more of a rocking love song, but some lyrics in the song that really connected to our problem were “It’ll be you and me/Up in the trees/And the forest will give us the answer” and “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, yeah/We got one shot/So let’s use our imaginations/Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah yeah, yeah/You’re all that I got/So where do we go from here”

The first line easily connects to recycling with the idea of connecting to nature to save it by being in the trees. I thought how the song says that the forest gives us the answer, relates to how deforestation is pushing us to recycle more since there will be no forests if we don’t. The second line of lyrics really relates to it being a problem that our generation especially needs to take on, and we have to use our creative solutions to make it happen.

We then got to create jingles for our problems and solutions. For some reason the theme song for Spongebob Squarepants popped into my head and that is what we based our song on. It goes as follows:

Are you ready class? I can’t hear you…..

What do you do with the trash that you make?

RECYCLE IT

The bottles and cans and plastics you take

RECYCLE IT

If you throw it away it will haunt you for years

RECYCLE IT

All the trees will be cut down and cry angry tears

RECYCLE IT, RECYCLE IT, RECYCLE IT, RECY…..CLE IT!!!

This is exercise really pushed me to think outside of the box and also taught me how much you can relate things that you love, such as music, to brainstorming solutions to problems that seem more complex than a cartoon theme song.

Creativity Reading Response 8: Brain Blast

I realize now that I watched a lot of animated shows in my youth that encouraged brainstorming. Whether it was Jimmy Neutron and his “Brain Blasts,” Raven and her visions or the Otter siblings and their “Noodle Dance,” I was learning from a young age to think and question and prod to get good ideas.

But, according to Tom Kelley’s Art of Innovation, I have been doing it all wrong. Kelley gave 7 secrets to brainstorming that are as follows:

  1. Sharpen the focus: This is necessary for our group project. We have to make sure our problem statement is specific enough or else we won’t be able to think up good solutions.
  2. Playful rules: I have to throw aside my good vs. bad mentality and let all the wild ideas fly. The rules are not really rules as much as allowances.
  3. Number your ideas: This helps visually reinforce that you need to go for quantity to brainstorm efficient. I know I like numbering things so I don’t have to go back and count as much.
  4. Build and jump: You have to be able to elaborate on what is being thrown out and see where it takes your mind. I am someone whose attention can change during a conversation so many times that I don’t know how I got from teachers to shoes.
  5. Space remembers: I’ve been told to study in a space similar to where I will be taking my test so many times because it will help my brain retain information. Same concept for ideas. Your brain will associate them with the space they were created.
  6. Stretch your mental muscles: Just like you shouldn’t go into a workout tight, you can’t expect for you to brainstorm well without a warm up. It makes sense that we start all of our creativity classes with different brain break games that involve movement.
  7. Get physical: Even if your ideas aren’t going to be movement-based, drawing-based, etc. in practice, doing those kinds of things will help you brainstorm more effectively. It pushes to think about solutions in foreign ways.

This reading gave me a list, which is one of my favorite ways of handling information and provided plenty of information to keep me attacking brainstorming for our project effectively.