Monday, February 25, 2008

Marshmallows and spaghetti

I began teaching today - my first class in what I hope will be a long series of workshops geared toward igniting creativity and infusing work with fun. We started with Peter Skillman's game to build the tallest free-standing structure with spaghetti, string, and tape that supports the weight of a marshmallow. And with this seemingly simple activity, the laughter began, and the eyes lit up.

One of the participants said at the start of the activity, "I'm at a complete loss of what to do." It was the greatest way to start our discussion. Innovation, along with creativity and design, begins with this simple statement. We are confronted with a problem, and the only thing we have to help us move forward is our own imagination. This is where the fun begins.

The best thing I fond about beginning with a game, and laughter, is that it opens people up. We flew through the two subsequent powerpoint presentations and got to the good stuff - the questions and exchange of ideas on how to further fold new thinking into an old company. The group taught me as much, if no more than, I had taught them. It's the best thing about being a teacher - with the right questions it puts you in the position of being a student as well.

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