Creative and Critical thinking: Creating space for innovation

Ewan McIntosh’s session on Monday was so inspirational we rocked up 45 minutes early to ensure we have a seat for his second session today. The room is completely packed with people sitting on every available floor space, propping up the room at the back and around the sides, and standing outside the double doors craning their necks to see in. The place is a sea of mobile devices, and the wireless is groaning as the Tweets flow. Great stuff. (But maybe a bigger venue…?)
The last Ewan did this session was with 6 people in Texas…and if it fails it’s our fault :-). Some of the reasons innovations tend to get blocked are those folk who have leader in their title tend not to be the innovators, and (along with many other things), there is negativity around and dismissal of ideas. On the other hand for innovation to happen it is important for active listening, people who will join in, assume valuable implications, deal with you as an equal, and support ambiguity.

In pairs or threes we had to share an innovation that we would like to see implemented, but hasn’t been done so far. To explore the ‘dilemma space’, we were asked to use ‘and…and’ thinking, rather than ‘yes…but’ (‘yes, but we’ve got an exam’). Using a map with an axis (‘Measurable performance’) titled ‘Rock values’ (refuge, solidity), and on the other ( (creative development) a ‘Whirlpool values’. Both people have to be willing to give up their idea and to come up with another one.

Pitching is a very important skill in life, and part of it is being aware of some of the barriers you are going to face. Really neat idea of using speech bubbles to capture the negative comments that are likely to occur in response to an idea, and then coming up with responses to them. However, you also need to have the flexibility to come up with your idea if it’s genuinely flawed (see Pitching at NLC schools on the No Tosh site). You need also to be able to almost predict the conversations, and work out what you are prepared to compromise on – but also what your underpinning value are that you are not willing to give up on.

Think this could be an approach…a great catalyst. Thanks, Ewan!!!


About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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