Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Creative Edge in Pretoria

Following the African creativity conferences my friend and colleague Francois Coetzee organised a day long Creative Edge workshop for a small group of people at the Ubuntu Training Centre in Pretoria.

We explored the characteristics of creative people and 'measured' ourselves against them. This at times meant we tied each other in knots!

We explored the six habits of creative people - be open, collect, surround, seek, challenge and play - and looked at ways making them a greater priority in our lives. And played with with modelling clay

We spent time using Speed Thinking - a very effective thinking process developed by Dr Ken Hudson - more at

Red Zebra

"Red Zebra uses music, dance and creativity to design projects and workshops that are inspirational and unforgettable.

They encourage people to recognise their uniqueness and give them the opportunity to share this with others. They create a situation where differences are valued and viewed as strengths.

In exploring who we are, we discover beautiful similarities, exciting differences and develop new understanding. When we work together, sharing our differences, amazing things are possible.

Using music and creativity, people experience this in a tangible and exciting way. This principle is the foundation of their work."
The above is from the Red Zebra Linked In profile.

For me they are all that and more. I have experienced Mark and Peter from Red Zebra a two creativity conferences in Africa and they have been my highlight both times.

To take a large group of people, many of whom have not played any percussion before, through a 4 hour development workshop, the last two hours of which involve working with percussion, and turn them in to a group that performs to the conference audience as part of evening key notes is extraordinary.

To see the smiles on the performers faces, to feel the energy of the audience and to hear comments such as 'I have to get a photo of this. My family will not belive that I have done this' is testimony to the great work they do.

I'll be back for more next year!

The 16th Annual Creativity Conference in Africa

Take 300 participants, 40 odd presenters [no pun intended], a stunning African resort and expose them to new skills and knowledge , good food and great company and you have the mix for a very successful creativity conference. I was privileged to be invited back to South Africa to deliver workshops based on my new book The Creative Edge Workshop. You can get a copy at

Every year Kobus Neethling and his team put together this wonderful conference. This year the theme was The Great Awakening.
In a message to participants Kobus quotes from an article titled 'From Participation to Creation' published by KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

"This 2020 Forecast illuminates how we are shifting toward a culture of creation in which each of us has the opportunity - and the responsibility - to make our collective future. People are creating new selves, organisations, systems, societies, economies and knowledge. Networked artisans and ad hoc factories are democratising manufacturing and catalysing new local economies. These creators are highlighting the significance of cooperation and cross-cultural intelligence for citizenship and economic leadership.

Furthermore advances in neuroscience are creating new notions of performance and cognition and are reshaping discussions of social justice in learning. Communities are beginning to re-create them,selves as resilient systems that respond to challenges by replenishing their vital resources and creating flexible, open, and adaptive infrastructures.

Together these forces are pushing us to create the future of learning as an ecosystem, in which we will have yet to determine the role of educational institutions as we know them today."

In the words of Seneca "Its is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult."

Will there be a great awakening or will we attempt to maintain the status quo? I know my preference.

Report 103

Report 103 is a twice-monthly newsletter on creativity, imagination, ideas and innovation in business edited by Jeffrey Baumgartner. You can find archived copies at

The latest issue includes and article of mine on Strengths, Fatal Flaws and Allowable Weaknesses - A Whole Brain Strategy for Success.
Also included is a link to a great article by Steven Johnson whom I have featured in a previous blog. Steven Johnson has just published a book entitled Where Good Ideas Come From, which looks at the collaborative nature of creativity and the evolution of ideas. You can read a fascinating interview with him in the Guardian Newspaper at

There is also a link to a podcast where Liz Massey, a writer, editor, media producer and a creative agent provocateur, interviewed Jeffrey and enjoyed a wide ranging discussion on creativity, business innovation and idea generation. The interview is now on-line in Liz’s web site and you can download a podcast of the interview on
You can read more of Liz Massey's work on

Sign up to Report 103. Its one of the best of its type around.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Neethling Brain Insruments

One of my reasons for going to South Africa was to get further training in the whole brain thinking preference tools developed by Dr Kobus Neethling.

Kobus developed the suite of tools as a result of extensive international research beginning in 1980 and ongoing research at a number of universities remains an essential part of whole brain science.

Ken Wall [pictured] from Australia and Rache Rutherford from South Africa faciliated the workshop

You can visit for frequently asked questions and to download your own copy of 'Understanding your whole brain'. Its free.

If you are in New Zealand contact me as the New Zealand agent for the NBI

The 5th Annual International Creativity Conference for Educators in Africa

On the 3-5th of October I had the pleasure of running workshops at the International Creativity Conference for Educators in Pretoria in South Africa. The weather was warm the hospitality even warmer. We were welcomed teacher trainees from the University of Pretoria under the guidance of Annalie Botha. These remarkable young people greeted us dressed to the theme of the conference - storytelling.

Participants could choose form a range of workshops - 90 minutes to 4 hours in length - delivered by local, national and international presenters.

Workshops went by the intriguing names of:

Don't just sit there - be creative
Complex creativity - six simple steps to brilliant ideas Inspiring breakthrough ideas in others Creativity is zigging in a zagging world

There were also two excellent key notes - one by David Venter 'Inspiring Africa's principled, radically innovative leaders of the future - a new paradigm and the other by Bruce Baum -The laughing classroom: challenges and opportunities.

The setting was just great for a conference - great accommodation and food, baboons and monkeys, small bok, dassies [like a very large rat].

Nearly 300 people went away motivated and inspired to meet the very real challenges facing teachers in South Africa.

My workshop - The Six habits of Creative People - was very well received and I sold all my books!!

Monday, October 18, 2010


On the weekend of 25 / 26 September I had the privilege of presenting at Interwoven -a joint symposium of ANZATA [Australian and New Zealand Art Therapy Assoc]

and CTAA [Creative Therapies Association of Aotearoa]

On the Sunday CAN [Creative Access Network] held a forum showcasing a range of creative spaces and their programmes. More information here.

It was held at the Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, which is the only New Zealand provider of a masters degree in arts therapy.

Included in the weekend was an exhibition of art works by people challenged by mental and physical disabilities. Some out standing work was presented.

It was a great weekend - both informative and entertaining - and then I had to leave to catch a flight to South Africa. Oh well - never mind!