Thursday, September 21, 2017

Spotlight on CEE Presenter: Jayme Cellitioci


FourSight preference: Ideator/Implementer

Childhood dream: to study and protect the ocean

Currently proud of: the reach she has with her work at the National Inventors Hall of Fame through Camp Invention

Dream for the future: to impact as many parents as possible through her words around weaving science into everyday family life in a humble, engaging way

Jayme is happiest with her “feet in two worlds.” She grew up fascinated by the sea and wanted to study marine biology as far back as she can remember. She studied aquatic ecology in high school, but fell in love with the social sciences when she got to college. She found a winning combination in a psychology/biology program focused on marine mammals. Since then she has been combining her love and knowledge of the ocean and science at large with her interest in people and their potential.

But, like most people, her path to where she is now is not a straight line. “I was working for the Maui Ocean Center as the director of education when I reached a point where I felt a little like a doctor that did pre-med but not medical school. I felt some skills gaps, particularly in the areas of management and leadership, that made me want to feel more equipped.” Jayme decided to move back to her hometown of Buffalo, NY to explore her options and began working at the Buffalo Museum of Science. There, she noticed a folder on the desk of a co-worker. It happened to be about the creativity program at Buffalo State. “And I thought, this might be exactly right.

After finishing her master’s degree at the ICSC, Jayme found herself in yet another certificate program across the U.S. at Oregon State. This time she was focusing on “free-choice learning.” “I used to feel like a ‘pseudo-teacher’ because I was always drawn to the education department of places like museums and aquariums, and people would ask me ‘Are you a teacher?’ And I’d say no. And then I found out I was part of this whole world of ‘informal learning’ or ‘free-choice learning,’ which is any learning that happens outside of the classroom. It’s all about following one’s own curiosity and often involves hands-on, immersive experiences.”

And these figurative and quite literal zig-zags of Jayme’s experience are no surprise when you learn that her personal motto, and the title of her talk at the Creativity Expert Exchange, is “Wonder is my compass.” From filling up journals with everything she knew about the ocean as a child to flying to Australia for 3 months with just $200 in her pocket as a young adult, to her work in Hawaii, her degree in Buffalo, and program in Oregon, Jayme was certainly living by her motto.

Until she wasn’t anymore.

In 2015, Jayme started writing a book with her motto as the title. “As I began writing, I really started reflecting on whether I was living the phrase. I felt like instead of using wonder as my compass, I had started using fear as my compass.” Jayme, being drawn toward the sea, had long wanted to live in California but had let her fear of the unknown keep her from doing it. “After stopping in California for a quick visit on the way home from Maui, I decided to take the leap. I feel like there are often two distinct choices in the way that I can live my life– to be uncomfortably comfortable, or to be wildly uncomfortable on the way to fulfilling a higher vision.”

Now Jayme lives with her family in northern California, where she works remotely for the National Inventors Hall of Fame creating science and creativity-based experiences for school-age children. “The most exciting part is that I spend time with the inventors we induct into the Hall of Fame to glean wisdom from them, then I take those insights and use them as the clay to mold the programs that we have for children in grades pre-K–12. It is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with our nation’s greatest innovators and to give them the chance to pay forward their insights into the invention process.” Jayme designs and pilots the programs (looking at everything from instructor background information to materials, etc.) that then get sent to schools all over the country. “I explicitly use my creativity training, including CPS, every single day in my job. I am grateful to combine the two areas for which I have the most passion—creativity and science.”

Next on the horizon for Jayme is her soon-to-be published book Wonder is my Compass, which is about weaving science into everyday family life (keep an eye out for it in the ICSC Press!). And surely, with wonder as her compass, much more is yet to come from Jayme.

Don’t miss Jayme’s CEE talk on “Wonder is my Compass.” She says, “You can really plug any topic into the story I’m going to tell, which is, ‘How do you embrace the true definition of creativity - going from the state of what is to the state of what you hope and want it to be?’”

Spotlight interview conducted by Sara Smith.  Sara is an educator and writer and is wildly curious about the link between learning and creativity. She graduates from the ICSC with her master's degree this December. You can find her co-administrating the community Parenting for Creativity on Facebook or at her website

Spotlight on CEE Presenter: Marci Segal

This year the United Nations declared April 21, World Creativity and Innovation Day (WCID) to direct global attention to use creativity in problem-solving to make the world a better place. I had the honor and privilege of interviewing Marci Segal, the founder of WCID, and World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW) which is April 15 – 21.
Marci is globally recognized for contributions to the fields of creativity and psychology, and for partnering with leaders and teams to achieve new results through her Passport to Innovation® program. Marci is a dynamic speaker, thoughtful writer, and masterful facilitator and coach. She holds a M.S. degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY College at Buffalo, International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC).
How did you hear about the Creativity program at Buffalo State?
In 1975 I took a one-year art fundamentals program at Sheridan College, Brampton, Ontario called CPS for the Visual Arts. I’ll never forget this. On the last day of class the teacher sat on her desk and said “I’m going to tell you about Buffalo”. She spoke about CPSI and said if we were interested in going it was going to cost us $250. My hand shot up straight. I didn’t care how much it cost. I learned about the program at CPSI.
I worked in civil service as a file clerk and I hated my job. After returning from CPSI I said “I’m going to Buffalo to study creativity and then coming back to help change civil service.” That was 1977. My family said “You’re going where to do what?”
What are some of the fond memories that you have from being at Buffalo State?
Ruth was amazing. She was “Mother Ruth”. A freshman suite-mate, who was a dancer, did this warm up exercise in our room. I told Ruth about it and she said “Why don’t you lead it here?” so I did. Ruth was our mentor. She opened many doors. I remember when she saw me she would say, “Here comes trouble. The status quo is about to shift. Some kind of change is going to take place.” I was forever challenging assumptions and asking questions. That hasn’t changed.
What’s the history behind WCID/WCIW?
May 25, 2001 I saw the headline, “Canada in Creativity Crisis” in one of Canada’s National Newspapers. My reaction was that there is plenty of creativity in Canada. People just don’t recognize it when they see it. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if people knew how to use their natural ability to generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes?” WCID and WCIW were born that day.
What is your CEE Talk about?
A tiny idea is now on the world stage. The U.N. adopted a resolution for WCID to become one of their days of observance. The word creativity used to be taboo. UN Ambassador I. Rhonda King, Permanent Representative from St. Vincent and the Grenadines called for the use f critical thinking and creativity in problem solving to reach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals because new thinking is warranted. She found the website while searching for information on creativity to further the UN platform.
Because the public says “I don’t know how to be creative” or “I’m not creative,” we in the creativity community have an opportunity to bridge the gap through stories for a new future. The public often also says there’s no time for creativity. Now there is a date, April 21.  It’s already celebrated in over 50 countries around the world.
What is your definition of creativity?
Even though the conversation about creativity is changing I find the word creativity stirs emotions as if it were taboo, so in the work place, I often don’t mention the word creativity. I talk about new ideas, new decisions, new actions and new outcomes. I let people know they don’t have to be creative to do creative things.
Ruth used to say “a true facilitator is a guide by the side, rather than a sage on the stage.” Everyone has the capacity to make new combinations. We are born from a creative act; we have the natural energy to nurture what is within us.
How would you describe what you do as creativity professional?
Have you seen the cartoon Sid used to use of the two bound prisoners behind bars with the caption “Now here’s my plan”?  I help people use their brain in new ways to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. I free people’s thinking so they can create new futures
Some of my favorite phrases are “New ideas need a soft place to land” and “creativity is like water it seeps in everywhere, let’s make space for it.”
Your website says “creativity is needed to help the transition from chaos to clarity”. What does that mean?
It’s about resilience. There is a definition of creativity that talks about our abilities to overcome self-imposed constraints, to go beyond feeling stuck to feeling free. Ruth talked about CPS as “channeled freedom”. Creativity involves using our minds in ways they haven’t been used before. The phrase “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” opens the heart and elevates the spirit.
What do want your legacy to be?
I hope Ruth would say that “I was a guide by the side”, that I mentored people and helped them grow using a facilitative framework or two, that I helped Ruth happen on a global level and that I helped bring the spirit and energies of Alex, Sid and Ruth to the new creativity conversation. Oh, and I think it’s neat to have a small idea born from passion, taken to the world level, and adopted by the United Nations.

The vision of the ICSC is “Igniting creativity around the world.” Marci Segal is doing the best she can to help set that world ablaze!

--> Spotlight Interview conducted by Latise Hairston. Dr. Hairston is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of HOPE Consulting. She has held a position at the SUNY College at Buffalo for over 20 years collaborating with organizations to develop creative strategies and products that strengthen, energize and empower customers. Latise holds a M.S. in Counseling and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy (concentration in Organizational Development), as well as certifications as an International Coaching Federation coach and FourSight facilitator. She is currently completing a M.S. degree in Creativity and Change Leadership at the SUNY College at Buffalo.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Spotlight on CEE Presenter: Dr. Roger Firestien

Interview with Dr. Roger Firestien

Dr. Roger Firestien, one of the CEE (Creativity Expert Exchange) conference presenters, is a Senior Faculty member at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State. With more than 40 years of experience in the field of creativity, he has presented programs to over 600 organizations nationally and internationally ranging from major fortune 500 corporations, government agencies, universities, associations and churches. Additionally, Dr. Firestien is the author and co-author of five books. His expert views on creativity have been reported in “Fast Company” and “The New York Times”.

In his CEE talk, Roger will reflect on his forty years of experience teaching, facilitating and researching Creative Problem Solving (CPS).

“As I was researching this talk, I discovered a diagram that shows the overlap of CPS and Synectics that I created in 1981. I am pretty sure that this is the nexus point that created the Creative Problem Solving process that is taught at the International Center for Studies in Creativity and practiced world-wide today,” Roger stated.

“The beautiful thing about the Creative Problem Solving process is that is continuously evolving. The model that I learned when I received my Master’s degree in Creative Studies in 1979 is different than the one we teach today.” Roger noted that although the basic building blocks of the CPS process are the same as they were 40 years ago, there have been many refinements of the process over the years.

As a Creativity professional, it is important to keep abreast of the latest creativity research and practice. The Creativity Expert Exchange, October 13-15, is a fantastic opportunity to network with colleagues and alumni of the International Center for Studies in Creativity.

As Dr. Firestien stated, “I fell in love with creativity in 1977 and have never stopped loving it.”

Interview conducted by Pingjing Wang

Pingjing is a graduate student at SUNY Buffalo State pursuing a Master of Science degree in Creative Studies (creative thinking, creative problem solving and change leadership) at the International Center for Studies in Creativity.
Pingjing has over 14 years working experience in Human Resources area, specializing in talent development. She has been an Asia Talent Development Manager in an international automotive company for nearly 4 years and she has been a training and development manager at Robert Bosch GmbH for 6 years.

Pingjing has a B.S. in International Economics from JiangNan University in China. She is also a certified trainer by DDI.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Spotlight on CEE Presenter: Marta Davidovich Ockuly

I had the pleasure of interviewing Marta Davidovich Ockuly to gain insight into her life, her work and her upcoming talk at the Creativity Expert Exchange.  I was particularly struck by Marta’s confidence and her strong resilient nature. I greatly look forward to Marta’s talk at the Creativity Expert Exchange. 
Marta has been a full-time creativity researcher since arriving at ICSC in 2010. She earned her Master's in one year and was accepted into Saybrook University's doctoral program in 2011. Since then her focus has been researching the lived experience of creativity using humanistic, heuristic, qualitative methods. Heuristic inquiry is Marta’s chosen method to redefine creativity from the perspective of an educator/practitioner teaching for creativity in higher education.  Marta has been an award winning corporate creativity professional for 20 years. As a futurist she constantly scans print and social media, as well as a wide variety of journals to fuel her hunger for relevant new research findings.
Driven by her passion, Marta encourages and inspires people to take creative action to express their creativity. Marta shares Mark Runco's view that all creativity begins with personal creativity. She explained that creativity is an inside out experience. It is a person-centered process that can be practiced both individually and collaboratively. She compared creativity to swimming when she explained that creativity must be practiced and engaged with much like learning to swim in which you must enter the water in order to learn how to swim. She is passionate about creating conditions that facilitate awakening of adult creative potential with joy for personal and professional growth. When Marta shared some of her techniques I felt inspired to find my expressive pathway to engage in creativity every day. According to Marta the value of practicing personally meaningful creative process is the proven path to increasing self-awareness of creativeness.  Self-awareness leads to more engagement in and expression of personal creativity.
Marta wants creativity to be understood as a priceless gift that represents freedom and is a part of our nature as humans.  Our survival as a species may well depend on activation of untapped human potential. This will be particularly important as AI moves in to take over more jobs.  Humanity is facing huge challenges. Ultimately our well-being and power lies in building the confidence to actualize our most meaningful ideas.
As the founder of the she considers herself to be a “word nerd” with a fascination for the implicit definitions and other definitions of creativity grounded in the lived experience of practitioners.  The current scholarly definition of creativity is operational. It is meant to measure elements in the conceptual definition. But after 67 years there is no widely accepted, precise, descriptive, and imagination-infused conceptual definition of the lived experience of creativity.  Marta is committed to bringing the first descriptive, concise, and conceptual definition of creativity into the literature. She will be reveal her definition at the Creativity Expert Exchange. When Marta shared her definition with me, I felt inspired as it resonated deeply and is relatable to all of humanity.
Marta’s topic is something everyone can relate to. In the talk she will discuss the ‘elephant in the room’ that is known but not acknowledged in creativity research, theories, or definitions.  She will present a new way of seeing, understanding, and engaging in the lived experience of creativity. It is her hope that the audience will take away from her talk, a new definition of creativity that’s foundational, relatable and actionable.  Marta wants to inspire everyone present to engage in personally meaningful expressive creative process by being a beginner, trying fun ways of making and pushing old boundaries with joy!

Written by Melissa Miller

Melissa is completing her MS in Creativity and Change Leadership at the International Center for Studies in Creativity this semester. She holds the position of nursing lab coordinator for Genesee Community College. Melissa’s background is diverse with years of experience in a variety of domains including healthcare simulation, veterinary, research, academic advising, and counseling. Melissa is an experienced creative problem solving facilitator working with children, adults and college students in a variety of settings from 1:1 instruction to group instruction and from classroom to experiential settings. She enjoys travel, hiking, scuba diving and photography to capture images of life underwater and on land focusing on plants, animals and natural landscapes.