inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seelig

What is the mysterious talent that creative people possess? Tina Seelig answers this question in inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity.  To some, creativity is an elusive characteristic that is difficult to acquire. But Seelig defines creativity as an innate ability within each person that can be refined, sharpened, and made into a tool. Much like the scientific method, Seelig provides a set of variables that can increase one’s natural creativity.

Seelig initially observes that in today’s world the focus is on being prepared for the future, instead of living in and exploring the present. She suggests that innovative people live in the present, are mindful, and do not fear nor dismiss any new idea. Seelig’s approach, called the Innovation Engine, is centered on six basic concepts looped together with purposeful steps within each concept. Each of these aspects can be cultivated and nurtured.

Three parts of this model reside within any one person: knowledge, imagination, and attitude. Teachers have abundant opportunities to build up knowledge, provide activities for imaginative thinking, and be role models of positive, explorative attitude to help foster creative work in students. With low pressure and high creativity, work is seen as an exciting expedition. Teachers can construct learning expeditions by cultivating engagement and inventiveness within the scope of their lessons. The feedback teachers provide will promote creativity and show that it is valued, thus improving mind-set and attitude.

Three complementary components lay outside an individual: resources, habitat and culture. This habitat design is particularly important for teachers because, as Seelig points out, over the years classroom environments become less inspiring for students. Imagine a kindergarten classroom full of opportunity to create and explore compared with a high school classroom full of bare walls and rows of desks.  Teachers have control over these habitats to develop opportunities for innovation by providing resources and establishing an encouraging classroom culture. On a grander scale, these strategies can also apply to administrators whose faculty works on curriculum design or pedagogical strategy. Seelig provides countless examples on how to arrange spaces to bring about inventive, collaborative brainstorming.

Full of anecdotal stories, inGenius provides real life examples of how to implement the Innovation Engine as it lays out concrete steps adaptable for any environment. Seelig also shares an informal bibliography consisting of motivating books on everything from gaming to writing to venture capitalism for those interested in further study.

inGenius instructs leaders how to liberate their own creativity, as well as advance creative evolution in others.

category: Book Reviews

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