Imagination Conversation Applies to Philanthropy

Posted on November 09, 2011 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation

By Debra Jacobs, President and CEO of The Patterson Foundation

After attending the Lincoln Center Institute's Imagination Conversation at Ringling College of Art and Design this week, I couldn't help but think the themes relate to philanthropy and its future. It's the immense imagination...creativity....innovation that will really facilitate impact of tomorrow.

The discussion on creativity featured David Houle, the futurist in residence at Ringling College of Art and Design and president of David Houle and Associates. Houle challenges people to face the Transformation Age with creativity and collaboration.

The following are some of Houle's insights that apply cross sectors:

1. Imagination leads to creativity and creativity leads to innovation - Houle asserts this doesn't happen out of order.

2. Education must shift to teach the five C's: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Content and Context

3. In uncertain times, people seek 'normalcy' - Houle asserts we are in an age of transformation, so things will not and should not go back to 'normal.' The future is and will be different so don't be chained to the past.

Some great nuggets of inspiration also came from the conversation panel, which included moderator Carson Cooper of WUSF, Diane McFarlin, Herald-Tribune Media Group; John Lack, founder of MTV and partner at Firemedia Partners; Ed Mango, NASA; David Houle

1. Creativity is not about being artistic – but rather looking at what can be in life. It's a way of thinking and doing.

2. Who is the most successful artist in the 21st century?  Steve Jobs.

3. STEM - The acronym that's big in education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) needs an 'A' to move forward (STEAM) arts/creativity must be part of math and science.

4. If someone from the 1600s come into this world – they would have no idea what they were looking at with all of the new inventions since then. If they walked into a classroom, they would recognize it.

5. We need to change the question. What do children need to be successful instead of what should schools teach children? Children learn beyond the classroom – they learn in life/experiences. Along those lines, growing up with technology is the new norm - so what can leap frog experiential learning in the digital world?

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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