Archive for the 'Creativity' Category

Dev Learn 2015 – Day 2 and Final Reflections

Social hub at DevLearn

Social hub at DevLearn

Apologies that this took me a few days to finish. In the spirit of creating an interactive infographic, I developed one that has links to the more helpful presentations and resources I found while attending DevLearn 2015. Click on the image  to open the PDF with active links to both .pdf and web resources.

DevLearn Summary InfographicHere’s my summary going clockwise starting at twelve-o-clock. Please note I’m not re-summarizing presentations & ideas I’ve already discussed in previous posts. As always, DevLearn is action packed and full of

Design is Key – successful eLearning design takes into account not only look and feel (intended impact on the audience) as well as good user engagement. Bianca Woods also presented an excellent how to demo on how to easily create your own graphic elements without being an “Art Wiz.”

Badges  – I learned first hand from participating in the badging system for DevLearn using the DL2015 app how competitive I am, and humorously enough, I eventually realized that I wasn’t trying to earn the points to get the swag. I did worry that many people might have been trying to load their points by filling out assessments for sessions they did NOT attend. Oh well. I suppose there’s a way to filter these responses out.

Badges can promote growth and learning by sparking learners’ curiousity, competiveness, or providing them with a tangible way to track their progress. Most importantly, they can offer “automated assessment tools” and “learning data.”

Still, for the execution of a badging strategy to work effectively, trust in the badging system must be built (by using trusted experts, both within and outside). Also, administrators and monitors of the system could effectively be training by having earn badges themselves.

Sticky Infographics – you can create engaging infographics using Storyline, Captivate, Lectora and even simple PowerPoint (publishing a linked and media embedded PowerPoint slide as a PPS or PowerPoint Slideshow).

Internet of Things – touched upon in David Pogue’s keynote, will change how we collect data on ourselves and others and how we learn from it. Some apps collect data that can drive competition (example: fitness & weight loss apps). Others will give us a picture of our own and sometimes our peers behavior over time.

Science and Art are Connected – Through his artfully presented talk, Adam Savage from the Mythbusters showed us how Science and Art have a lot in common and that curiousity sparks and drives achievement and discovery in both.  And Savage’s advice to all learners: Pay attention; speak your mind; stay curious; ask questions; and tell stories/listen to them too.

To view a very good summary of the Savage’s keynote, view Cammy Bean’s Live Blog Notes.

My top tools for learning & design

I tend to explore tools and software selectively, but after I’ve discovered their uses, I like to work the heck out of them.  Christy Tucker inspired me to write a post on my favorite tools for learning and instructional design. The only ones that are new to my repertoire from over five years ago are Twitter & Storyline.

To enrich my own learning

Twitter – through hashtags & twitterchats I still am able to remain connected to new or trending conversations in my field. I also get to explore and hear other’s voices on topics I care about or am interested in. Yes, sometimes it seems that the chats provide a meeting ground for those who want to collect followers, but they do allow me to connect with others on Twitter who have similar interests.  While engaging in a few MOOCs I found the Twitter backchat most helpful in getting help or being directed to help during the class. The backchat also provided a great channel for starting conversation about topics.

I began using Twitter five years ago and I still seem to be engaged with it.  I have wondered what my choice in primary social media says about me, and apparently according to this article: “long-time Twitter users are found to use the site for cognitive simulation by uncovering information w/o much socialization.”  Considering my introversion this makes sense. Though to be frank, I have been attracted to the character restriction on Twitter because it forces you to be concise and pointed in your use of language. I imagine masters of literary wit from the past loving Twitter. How would Mark Twain or Dorothy Parker used it to hone their sharp observances or comebacks?

Dorothy Parker

What would Dorothy tweet?


I still use Diigo to curate and organize resources I find on the Internet, especially when I’m trying to make a case for something I’ve tried using it to share resources with others, but I really only have one or two peers who gets the use of this tool, so I haven’t used it collaboratively.


I’ve started using linked in more, to learn about what my professional peers and connections are interested in and sharing. I have used the discussion and participated in groups in the past, but not as much today.

For Design/Creativity

Articulate Storyline is my primary tool for developing online courses. The software itself allows me to easily create paths and experiences for learning content. It allows Instructional Designers like myself to focus more on design and delivery rather than programming functionality. Thankfully there’s a highly active learning community out there supported by Articulate and its users.

PowerPoint, like my former colleague, Christy Tucker, I use it for storyboarding course content. To some extent I’ve used it to create simple designs for online course backgrounds. I’m not a graphic designer by trade, but I appreciate the ability to create simple yet somewhat aesthetically pleasing backgrounds and containers for my content without a lot of fuss. No it’s not perfect by design standards, but it will do in a pinch and I can easily import into Storyline.

Sample of course page designed in PowerPoint

Sample of course page designed in PowerPoint

For Creativity Outside of Work

SlideShare – Slideshare allows me to port and share my presentations to the public and also apply audio to them. I also use the entire site as a resource for design inspiration in creating and developing presentation and course content visuals. And While Prezi seemed at first to have a slicker design & delivery, I eventually got tired of using it because the constant zooming left me a little motion sick. I never bothered to figure out a way around it.

CEOs: Scratch the learning from the past. Embrace lifelong learning in your workpace

This environment did not train the workforce we need today and tomorrow:



We need to start fostering a learning environment and culture within our own organizations that encourages life long learners. Without this culture & environment we will not be able to generate the innovation and solutions that allow us to be leaders in the market yet alone keep up the pace demanded by changing technologies and a public who demands inter-connectivity via technology. 

Learning organizations both grow and attract star innovators and performers. Organizations that refuse to change wisely & rapidly often fade or fail. There are no magic bullets when it comes to developing a learning culture and environment. It’s really damn hard work, that doesn’t seem to pay off immediately, but it does require a vision and courage to change.


Slideshare: Meeting the Needs of a Rapidly Changing Workforce with the Learning Organization of the 21st Century

You’ve got diamonds in the rough, you just have to look for them

Sorry for the long hiatus from my blog life.

Wow, that’s an understatement, at almost 10 months with no writing or sharing.  I hope to be more attentive to this blog in the near future. It’s been too long.

Since I have been fascinated with the idea of the odd man out in corporate culture since I started working there over 15 years ago, I started crafting a story/presentation on the value of “Outliers & Misfits” within a corporate setting.

If you’re to summarize the message in three lines it would be this:

  • If you’re a CEO, manager, or leader, learn how to appreciate the value that these outliers can bring to your company or organization. Learn how to engage or entertain alternative perspectives.
  • Understand that their misfit energy & ideas should be channeled according to your business goals, and learn how to do so.
  • If you’re an outlier or misfit, then learn how to communicate clearly so that your ideas align with organization goals. And don’t forget to find a champion.



Week 2 reflections: No one is born “a creative”


It’s the 2nd week of Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations and the focus this week has been on individual constraints to innovation. According to Owen’s there are three main individual constraints to innovation: perception, intellection, and expression.

I’ve taken a cue from the last course I took (#edcmooc) and I’m making an attempt to define what I’ve learned this week visually (see the image above). But what I’ve really taken away from this week’s content are the following three bits:

Lesson 1: “There is no such thing as a creative personality.”

In other words, creative people aren’t born, they’re made or developed by their learning and experience. Numerous studies have shown that children are naturally open to experience and creative. But arguably our education system and life experience shapes or constrains this ability to be creative. We are taught the proper way to solve problems or how to keep our ideas and thoughts in check.

What Owens does argue is that there are personality traits conducive to creativity, and these are:

  • Agreeableness
  • Extroversion
  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness
Personality traits conducive to creativity

If neurosis is so bad for creativity – how does this explain Woody Allen?

Logically, if you are open-minded to multiple ways of seeing a problem you’ll come up with a number of different ways to solve it. If you’re agreeable and able to connect effectively with others, you’re better able to explain your solutions to them.   Neurotic behaviors and thinking on the other hand can negatively affect one’s ability to be creative here’s an example of how neurotic thinking can prevent creativity and innovative problem solving.

“I can’t share that solution or express that that in front of others, they’ll think I’m a.)wrong, b.)stupid and I’ll just embarrass myself.” 

In order to be a truly effective at innovation, you need to be able to share your ideas freely without fear of being judged.  Perhaps that’s ultimately what makes Woody Allen one of the most creative storytellers of our time. He’s portrayed himself as the lovable neurotic, but he has never flinched at attempting to portray this neurosis in stories that examine the human condition from different perspectives.

Lesson 2: It’s important to always approach the problem from multiple perspectives.

In reading through Chapter 2 of “Creative People Must be Stopped, I ran across the story of a playwright who purchased different “odd magazines” for hobbies or topics foreign to her. Her purpose was to “see” things from that particular magazine audience’s views and therefore reinterpret what might be seen in her own vision portrayed in her plays.  Of course, your savvy marketing professional would simply call this focusing on your target markets, but there’s something so simply empowering about this approach to seeing other’s views of the same situation or problem you’re attempting to solve.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re analyzing a problem:

  • How would someone who is completely polar opposite to me see this problem? How would they describe it?
  • Why might they not see it as a problem?
  • What solutions may they came up with?

Lesson 3: It’s not how cool your idea is, it’s how you sell it to your audience.

Inarticulate but might be right

Sometimes, and I admit I’m guilty of this as well, when you come up with what you think is a ‘great idea’ its logic seems to inherently obvious to you and therefore everyone else should see it that way. However, other’s way of viewing things may NOT be aligned with your own.  I feel that this is one of my greatest Individual Constraints to innovation. I’m not always adept and explaining or selling my solutions to others.  In actuality, I am really the Asian guy in the image above from Kathy Sierra’s blog post from years back. I often have hunches or feelings about when things are right or wrong, but I’m not always able to explain them to other people around me. This is where exercises and questions from my previous lesson would come in handy. Or…

Developing a ‘common language’ might be helpful.

Reminds me of that meeting game "B.S. Bingo."

Reminds me of that meeting game “B.S. Bingo.”

I had to laugh when Owens made a dig at using ‘buzzwords.’ As he noted, they may make you feel important, but they’re not a great way of gaining common understanding of both the problem and your proposed solution.  At one of my former jobs, a former colleague of mine and I played a game called B.S. Bingo in meetings that seemed like more verbal exposition than development or planning (or action).  Though arguably, these same buzzwords are the common language used by people in the corporate world to talk with each other. I do agree with Owens that when they’re bandied about to elevate your business klout or savvy they’re simply about posturing. However, I should consider that if this is the ‘speak’ that’s being used by people who are using this language, I should develop translations of my ideas in this language.

I’ve decided to create a template for writing out my ideas to better articulate them. It’s pretty simple. I would take the idea as I see it and then translate it into at least three or four different perspectives including the intended audience or end user, my peers, my boss, and my boss’s boss. This may take a little more discipline than I’m used to.


Image of worksheet

Click the link above to view/download the worksheet

Creativity Exercise: Circle Opportunities

David Owens has his students come up with as many uses for a paperclip

David Owens has his students come up with as many uses for a paperclip

I saw this somewhere, maybe it was part of a TED talk where people are given paper with a lot of circles on it and then are asked to draw as many pictures as they can incorporating or using these circles.

The Paper Clip exercise shared by Prof. Owens in this week’s lectures (from Leading Strategic Innovation in Organizations) inspired me to create my own worksheet for this activity. I’ll share it with you here.  For those of you who are not taking the class. Owens asked us to take a paper clip and a piece of paper and list as many uses as you can think of for a paperclip. Strangely, I haven’t kept paper clips in the house forever so I could NOT find one, but I made due with my imagination.

Print a few of these pages for yourself and go ahead and give yourself about 5 minutes to complete the exercise.  Go ahead if you’d like and comment on your results or observations.

  • How many recognizable options did you create?
  • What did you notice about the flow of your ideas? What do you think limited you?
  • How is this similar and different to Owen’s paperclilp exercise?

Click the link below to open the worksheet.




Digital artefact: The future of learning #edcmooc

I think I’ll have more time to reflect and comment on my artefact and the experience of making it in a few days, but for now here it is.

Frontpage of digital artefact for #edcmooc

Digital Artefact for my “Elearning & Digital Cultures” class


My place outside of work to explore and make connections with the ideas and things (sometimes work-related) that I'm passionate about.

My Tweets

Blog Stats

  • 260,614 hits


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 132 other followers