Monday, October 4, 2010

Connecting the Dots by Dr. Jo Yudess

Since I started on the journey of creativity “back in the old days,” I’ve been thinking about novel and useful for more than thirty years. At the time I graduated from the Master’s program, the degree was an MS in Creative Studies and ____ (whatever your other work or passion was.) My degree was in Creative Studies and Personnel Administration. People often wondered how the two connected. I could hammer them for hours about the need for new ideas, good interpersonal skills, a facilitative approach, tolerance for error and ambiguity, etc.; but it was when I could help them solve problems in the workplace they began to take notice.

My next foray into education recently resulted in an Ed. D. in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College in Rochester and a dissertation entitled, “Strategies, efficacies and synergies of teaching creativity and leadership together: A grounded theory.” Again I was questioned about the connections, but for me, and I expect others who study these areas, it was more like a blinding flash of the obvious. In the beginning I was warned that creativity was not a serious subject and that I would have to treat it as something that had not been proven. I explained that I “drank the Kool-Aid” over thirty years ago and I could still taste it. When the dissertation was done, with connections to masses of excellent references on creativity, they took it very seriously.

As I think about our programs and the studies I’ve done, it occurs to me that those connections are almost a definition of what we think about creativity. Everything connects. We even teach “forced connctions” between seemingly unrelated items as a way of stimulating new and different ideas. Students from many fields find that studying creativity helps them relate to their job or major subject better. Some students want to use the degree to get a job in creativity the way you might use a degree in engineering to get an engineering position. I’ve had jobs in secondary education, higher education, consulting, editing, not-for-profit, human services, retail, manufacturing mangement, production, and human resources. They were all jobs in creativity. It’s about thinking. It’s about connecting. What do you do with what you have? How do you inspire others to do the necessary work? How do you facilitate problem solving so that everyone involved feels energized, committed, and proprietary about the solutions? How do you work with people, places, materials, circumstances, time frames, issues, and processes for a successful product or outcome? It’s all in the connections.

1 comment:

  1. The last paragraph really captures the essence of this program - we come to it from so many different fields and we return to those fields with fresh insight and a major advantage over our peers in that field because now we see the world through creativity tinted glasses and we are more deliberate in using our creative thinking skills.