Creative Inquiry
eBook - ePub

Creative Inquiry

From Ideation to Implementation

Mary Stewart

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eBook - ePub

Creative Inquiry

From Ideation to Implementation

Mary Stewart

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About This Book

Creative Inquiry introduces both undergraduate students and general readers to the exploratory mindset and hands-on skills essential to the cultivation and implementation of new ideas. Using active learning, this book combines concise explanations and real-world examples with engaging exercises for readers to complete. The writing style is conversational, yet substantial, and the examples given reflect a wide range of disciplines, from early aeronautics and linguistics to zoology. Creative Inquiry emphasizes the importance of direct experience, personal initiative, and the generation of new knowledge. Step by step, the exercises build the skills students need when they tackle the final self-designed Capstone project. Positioned at the end of major sections, five brief self-reflection papers are designed to help students assess their progress and revise their assignments. To encourage collaboration and strengthen metacognition, teams of three to six participants work together on these papers. This encourages an iterative mindset and provides extensive practice with writing. The appendix provides a lively and practical "Top Ten List" of writing strategies for students who need extra advice.

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Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
Year
2021
ISBN
9781438486116
Topic
Art
Subtopic
Teaching Art
Module 1

INTRODUCTION

A shared vocabulary is essential for effective communication. So, we must begin our journey by exploring the rationale for this book and defining several pivotal terms.
RATIONALE
Why Read This Book?
The reason to read this book is simple: it can help you develop ideas, solve problems, and pursue innovation. Ideation (the development of concepts) helps us to expand and refine our initial ideas. Implementation (the process of putting a plan into effect) helps us to turn our concepts and intentions into actions. This can result in innovation: the development of an improved product, process, or service.
There are many general-audience books that emphasize connections between ideation and innovation, but none offers the interdisciplinary and hands-on approach most beginners need. This workbook is designed to fill that gap. It is especially aimed at college undergraduates, yet it is sufficiently self-explanatory to be used by highly motivated readers outside of a classroom.
Perhaps you don’t consider yourself to be a creative person, and you aren’t sure you can develop new ideas. If so, you’ve been selling yourself short. Humans are naturally creative! Taking it step by step, you can discover unexpected abilities and realize hidden potential. Even if the exercises are unlike anything you have done before, they can help you expand your thinking and enrich your life.
What Are the Main Characteristics of Creativity?
Creativity provides us with the capacity to identify hidden possibilities in any situation and develop new connections. Rather than passively accept things as they are, the most creative people seek improvements and devise alternative courses of action. Whether they are composing music, inventing a new product, developing a business, or engaging in scientific research, the most creative people seem to see the world afresh every day.
Why Is Creativity Important?
Creativity drives scientific breakthroughs, sparks innovations in every conceivable field, and inspires social change. As a result, more and more businesses and nonprofits list creativity as one of their primary strengths. In response, coursework in entrepreneurship, innovation, creative inquiry, and design thinking is rapidly being added to curricula in universities and colleges worldwide.
How Does the Creative Process Work?
As shown in figure 1, creativity tends to shift from empathy, definition, and ideation to prototyping, testing, and critique. As we work our way forward, new opportunities as well as new obstacles appear. We often have to circle back to expand on an earlier step. Prototyping and testing are especially important. These steps turn abstract ideas into tangible objects and actions that can lead to crucial revisions.
image
Figure 1. Design process. Forward movement is often interrupted by both setbacks and new insights. Source: Rachel Perrine and Mary Stewart.
In recognition of this one-step-forward-and-one-step-backward process, three premises will be reinforced throughout this book:
The more ideas that we develop, the greater our chances of finding a great solution.
By focusing on the most promising of our initial ideas and then developing them, we can avoid squandering time, money, and energy.
A great idea never saved a bad solution. Even the cleverest idea is worthless if it doesn’t really solve the problem.
What Is Creative Inquiry?
Creative inquiry is a problem-solving process that combines a wide range of ideation strategies with targeted research and purposeful critical thinking. Because creative inquiry emphasizes the development of compelling questions as well as the presentation of convincing answers, it encourages exploration, risk-taking, and independent thinking.
creative inquiry
is a problem-solving process that combines a wide range of ideation strategies with targeted research and purposeful critical thinking
Creative inquiry began as a premise, has evolved into a collaborative teaching and learning process, and is now stimulating wider exploration of ideas and their implications across many disciplines. More volatile than traditional university coursework, it can take many different forms, depending on the teacher, the students, and the institutional context. In all cases, though, creative and critical thinking work together to advance viable solutions to significant problems.
Why Complete the Exercises in This Book?
Creative inquiry requires personal initiative and is best developed through active learning. The readings in this book make a lot more sense when they are connected to the exercises. This calls to mind an old proverb: “I hear, and I forget; I see, and I remember; I do, and I understand.” By doing the exercises, you can apply the book’s content to your own life.
ORGANIZATION
What Are the Eight Modules?
Creative Inquiry: From Ideation to Implementation is organized into eight modules. This introduction provides the rationale for this book, its organization, and its essential terminology. In module 2, three short warm-up exercises provide a lively introduction to the hands-on working method we will use. In module 3, the ideas you develop through these exercises are expanded through four creative challenges. In this section, we will focus on understanding user needs, incremental and transformative change, the importance of clear problem definition, and the value of targeted research. An extensive discussion of idea-generation strategies (module 4) and idea-selection strategies (module 5) follows. Creativity requires exuberant ideation; implementation requires careful selection and practical action. Because both are so important, modules 4 and 5 are especially robust. Their exercises set the stage for module 6: a capstone project. This project gives you a chance to define a problem of personal significance and then to design a solution. Module 7 consists of seven interviews called innovator insights. These can help you understand the ideas that have inspired innovations and the obstacles that entrepreneurs have overcome. The concluding eighth module includes a special section on internships, which provides practical advice to readers seeking hands-on experience and a potential career springboard. This book ends with practical advice on writing, a glossary, and examples of further resources.
Whose Stories Will Be Told?
The interviews focus on the achievements of inventive people who have done extraordinary things. In this book, you will meet
an entrepreneurship mentor who has helped to redesign numerous Canadian businesses,
a scientist and educator who emphasizes problem solving in his teaching,
a biomedical engineer whose inventions transform patients’ lives,
an engineering project manager and writer who uses creativity in both disciplines,
an interior designer committed to improving housing for homeless populations,
an independent filmmaker whose projects publicize social problems and solutions, and
an entrepreneur who is working to connect leadership, education, and community in Puerto Rico.
Each interview ends with engaging and encouraging down-to-earth advice.
What Strategies Will You Learn?
Upon successful completion of the exercises in this book, you should be able to
use research as an essential aspect of innovation,
identify connections between creative and critical thinking,
develop and utilize multiple ideation techniques,
improve an initial idea through multiple iterations,
clearly identify and overcome obstacles, and
begin to connect your coursework to your career.
How Can You Apply These Skills?
Truly creative people develop a strong capacity for thinking outside the box. To increase your self-motivation and encourage independent thinking, all of the exercises in this book are designed to help you develop the skills you need to pursue a self-designed project that is personally significant. As a preview, a concise outline for this project follows. The expanded description begins on page 56.
By understanding the overall direction of this book, you can begin collecting ideas and identifying resources at any time. Being on the lookout for potential mentors or collaborators is especially important. Someone almost certainly knows more than you about the research you plan to pursue. Talking with that person can help you focus and move forward. Maintaining a small notebook with your ideas and potential resources will help you keep your notes organized and active.
CONCISE CAPSTONE PROJECT OUTLINE
Title: Give your project a descriptive and memorable title. You want it to stand out, and the title itself can help define your intentions.
Investigator(s): Who will complete the work—a single person or a team?
Problem Description: What will you do?
Significance: Why is it important?
Audience and Users: Who will gain from the result?
Potential Supporters: Students are surrounded by helpful people, including instructors, other ...

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