Tapping Your Creativity

The IMC class  participates in an internal discussion forum where they can write about what they are learning in the program. They are encouraged to connect the dots between the courses they study or to reflect on what they are learning. The following guest post comes from that discussion forum.

This post is about one of a series of workshops that are being offered on Mondays throughout the semester. These events are designed to enhance the education the students are receiving in their regular classroom – an added value.  Attendance will earn them certificates which will reflect this additional education and initiative to prospective employers in the future.

This submission was written by Amy Simmonds, IMC 2014 candidate.

“After Ryanne Spies lead the discussion on ‘Tapping Your Creativity’ for our first IMC Monday, a few things resonated with me. She showed us an awesome video by Steven Johnson that focused on ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’, and it really got me thinking. Until this point, I have always been under the impression that companies with successful ideas are just amazing individuals with creative minds, who came up with something that just so happened to work – that eureka moment, as the video mentions. However, after watching the video, I realized that idea generation is very rarely like that, that in fact, idea generation is much more of an organic, long, multi-layered process. Johnson talks about how ‘good ideas come from the collision of smaller hunches, so that they form something bigger then themselves.” Great ideas need time to incubate, to process, in order for the full vision to come to being – just like the invention of the World Wide Web. (Something I definitely thought was just an overnight idea, that just so happened to be successful.)

Johnson then goes on to talk about the right environment for great ideas, or hunches, to come to being. This made me think about when we were all beginning the IMC program just over 3 weeks ago, and how most of us were a little hesitant on the idea of group work – our least favourite part of university. However, after watching Johnson’s illustration, and after working with various groups in the IMC program, group work just MAKES SENSE.

Johnson talks about how hunches need to collide in order to become something great; that one half-of-an-idea may need to collide with someone else’s half-of-an-idea, in order to become whole. He even brings the whole concept of group work, or idea-collision, back hundreds of years into the coffee houses during The Age of Enlightenment, or the Parisian Salon’s of Modernism. Relating our modern day group work to such distinctive points in history made me think of what we have in present day that is very similar, especially within the Waterloo area. Waterloo is a modern-day Coffee House, with such spaces like the Communitech Hub, Hyperdrive or the Accelerator Center – environments that encourage and grow creative and innovative thinking. It is these modern day Coffee Houses that have lead to the creation of some amazing ideas, and put Waterloo on the map as the Canadian Silicon Valley. Even if you look at the Start-Up business model that is so popular with the young tech-companies in our region. The Start-Up environment is conducive to creative thinking: removing cubicles, working in large spaces, having complete accessibility to the company executives, relaxation areas, play areas, company outings, team-building activities and much more. All of these tools are the complete opposite of the large-scale, corporate working environment, and for good reason. Start-Up companies have built themselves on creative thinking, so why would you stop such a great thing? Start-Up companies are still in their incubation period, still in their ‘slow hunch’ phase. But over time, these dormant ideas will collide with other dormant ideas and become something great – perhaps the new Google, Apple or Microsoft. Only time will tell.” 

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