By Samantha Kutcher
Special education has always been something I have been passionate about. My sister, Trista, has down syndrome. In the 20 years I have known her, she has won multiple medals at the Special Olympics World Games, lived independently, become a major influencer, and started her own business. I spent my whole life watching Trista excel. However, her friends did not have it as easy. They often struggled to keep jobs, live independently, or even maintain relationships. I believe that this is based off of the limitations that are set at a young age. Parents often have previous expectations of what their children can be capable of. This is one of the most common obstacles for these children. Parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities must work very hard when the children are young because their brains slow developing at a young age. If they fail to do so, their child suffers later down the line. My parents were incredibly involved in Trista’s education. They believed she was capable of being the person she is today. Unfortunately, this is fairly uncommon. After many disabled children struggle through school, they are expected to become “couch potatoes” because those around them do not think they can be anything more. But why should anyone’s presumed ability limit them?
In my senior year of high school, I created a non-profit organization, Prepare4Work, that provided job education to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This idea stemmed off of creative self-efficacy, the belief one has the ability to produce creative outcomes. This is the idea I used to help others understand the goal of my business. I believe that everyone is able to form creative solutions, but some may need some guidance. My idea was to provide job training with room for creativity. The training consisted of instructors leading students to proper workplace responses, but not telling them exactly how to get there. This allows students to learn and find solutions creatively on their own. After fully developing my plan, I quickly gained grants and sponsors. The idea had sold itself. People had believed in it. Paul M. Capobianco and Thomas Vogel believe that “The first step to recognizing and cultivating a personal relationship with creativity is to believe that the relationship is possible.” I know that the relationship is possible.
I created this business because I believe that anyone has the ability to produce creative outcomes if given the opportunity to. With this company, these presumed “couch potatoes” could seek additional guidance on how to obtain a normal life, even if their parents do not think they can. At a young age, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are incredibly influenced by the people around them. If they are taught that they will never amount to anything, then they won't. Capobianco and Vogel stated that “self-efficacy completely mediates the effects of individual factors such as personality, ability, and motivation”. This is the belief that special education is based off of. The belief that, despite obstacles and presumed limitations, anyone can produce creative outcomes. This belief is what these children need to be influenced by instead of negativity and hopelessness.
However, there is cause for inevitable delusion. Like the idea of creative self-efficacy, my training had to follow a straight path while knowing some students would not end up successful quickly enough. While creation leaves room for an exceptional amount of possibilities, positive results do not come out of thin air. I believe everyone is able to solve a problem creatively, but I think it comes easier to some more than others. My training was designed to be only 8 weeks long. To see how effective Prepare4Work was, I offered my services to 5 of my sister’s friends. 4 out of 5 of the students were successful and had a job by the end of the class. However, 1 did not end successfully. I believe if he were given another few chances to find his skills, he would have ended well. This proves that the idea of creative self-efficacy always rings true, just at different paces.
Creative self-efficacy grew special education and I hope it is an idea that continues to drive special education further. So much improvement could be made if limitations on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities vanished. The growth and independence that could form at a young age would change the outcome of their lives. The possibilities for innovation are endless, but the world continues to put a hold on it. Even today’s society fails to believe that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are as capable as any and deserve the same opportunities. The idea of creative self-efficacy needs to spread like wild wildfire because creativity can lead to all types of problem solving. Special education needs this creativity to gain effectiveness.
Work Cited Capobianco, P. M., & Vogel, T. (2019). Intro to Self-Efficacy & Creativity Tests.
By Jordan Hill
When presented with an obstacle, we, as humans, must find a solution to the issue. Creative thinking can be used in many different formats and situations but is used universally. I have spent the last four months on a long-term project for my internship, which has required an immense amount of creative thinking.
My internship has been with Prisma Healths’ non-profit, The Midlands Foundations. At the Foundation we raise money for the hospital to acquire the necessary equipment and funding needed to maintain and improve its health care system to all its patients. As a non-profit organization we have to be very creative with how we raise money. It is not easy work to raise millions of dollars a year for a hospital.
During the Fall, The Foundation puts on an event called the Walk for Life/Hot Pink Half Marathon, which raises money for breast cancer research and testing. It is arguably the biggest event Prisma Health holds annually that takes place in Columbia. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world, it affected events and gatherings of all kind. The hospital was in a crisis mode; understaffed, underfinanced, and exhausted. Just because the Covid-19 Virus was making its presence known, did not suddenly stop all of the other diseases in the world. Breast Cancer is still a leading cause of death amongst women. How could we hold an event with thousands of participants who had weakened immune systems? We would have to adapt and think creatively.
After some research, The Foundation decided to hold a virtual walk/race in its predecessor’s stead. I still get funny looks and questions when I tell people about virtual races. A virtual race is an independent activity that you run on your own whenever and wherever it is convenient for you. The idea itself is brilliant but needed to be developed and would take an overwhelming amount of change to the event we were used to having. My boss, the vice president of The Foundation, used creative thinking when presented with an obstacle and she made a solution. I soon would have to do the same.
This was not an issue that we had ever had before, this took true creative thinking. There were only a handful of virtual races that had ever been held and the idea itself was very new. Virtual races are highly dependent on the access to technology, so most of the world and United States has never had one. Disney is one of the more notable companies that has been doing virtual races for a while. If you cannot have the event in person, bring the event to the person. Disney is all about the experience; we had to still give the race experience to the participants. Racers expect bibs, shirts, medals and goody bags with cool stuff when they sign up for an event, and that is exactly what we were going to give them.
I was brought on as an intern in May after the decision to go virtual had already been decided. My team was still very unsure on how the event would look and if people would even be interested in such a crazy idea. My long-term project was to match the virtual event by creating a virtual goody bag. I had no idea what a virtual goody bag was or how to create one. Looking back at when I was presented with the task, I would never have imagined the end results.
I started the virtual goody bag the same way most people start their creative thinking process; with brainstorming and research. I knew the goody bag would include e-discounts and e-coupons and that my audience had to be able to navigate to. I typed in the words, “virtual goody bag” into the search bar of google and was on my way. I realized what a virtual goody bag really was and looked like. I found out that coupons are put on a page with codes that have links to discounts to online stores or can be printed out. I found out how to construct the virtual goody bag and felt very confident in my ability to carry out the task at hand. Knowing how to make a virtual goody bag, and being able to, are completely different tasks.
I needed to be able to effectively reach sponsors and donors for the virtual goody bag and convince them to give me discounts and coupons to their stores. The world was in the middle of a pandemic and I had the audacity to ask businesses to give me free merchandise and food after just reopening. I had to convince these businesses and stores that they were not only benefitting the hospital but themselves. I drafted a list of reasons why a business would consider donating to The Foundation. The association of helping the hospital was good publicity for these establishments, but I needed more than that to get smaller businesses on board. After some additional research I found out that smaller businesses could use the discounts and coupons given to us as a tax write-off. Sales had been slower for brick and mortar stores in June and July, this was my golden opportunity to get them on board. The coupons would not be used until October, so the businesses were not losing any money or giving anything for free at that time of the ask. Once businesses began to recover, we would release the virtual goody bag in October and help drive business.
The most challenging part of my creative process has been securing donors for the bag. Even though many of the businesses agreed to help with the bag initially, most of them would never follow up or respond to emails when it came time to send the coupons. It has been a four-month process and I have only secured six donations. It can be frustrating when you put a lot of hard work and thinking into a project and the success does not pay off. I am currently taking a step back from my major project and working on smaller projects and daily tasks to give myself a break. I am hoping that by working on other things related to the event I can have another breakthrough that will help me find a way to secure more donors.
I have realized that this project may have been too big to only be put into fruition by me. I have reached out and started asking for help from my coworkers and the board, where it is appropriate. Our IT and media specialist is going to be putting the bag together for me online. This way the bag is put together by a professional who knows what he is doing and can give The Foundation the best look. I have also reached out to the board of directors for Walk For Life and a few of them have agreed to help find potential sponsors. I already have one new sponsor our chairman found for me and I have another one being secured by a long-time supporter.
Creative thinking does not have to be just you; it can incorporate others. I was looking at this project as if I was all alone and had to have some creative miracle to pull it off, when really, I just needed to start treating the project as a team effort. The bag may only have six sponsors, but they are notable ones such as, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Panera, Athleta, Twisted Spur and the state museum. My internship was originally supposed to end September 1, however I was offered an extension until the end of October, and since that offer there has been mention of me coming back for various events later in the year. This was my first professional job and project I had ever been tasked with, but clearly my bosses have taken notice of my work. I am so glad to be taking this class and learning more about creative thinking and its processes. I had no idea how much I would need it and use it in my internship.
By Lexi Hack
I thought about the project in the back of my mind for days until this past weekend. No idea seemed really great, but I would actively think about it as I walked through the house. My work progress began with some simple mind map brainstorming. I took my list that had the most promising outcomes and tried to think of all the ways I could possibly make a chair. I narrowed it down to clothes, my original idea, drawers, and Tupperware. For clothes I tried and failed with a few different structures. I began with four different piles, like four chair legs, and was going to crisscross pants in between the layers to make a sort of zero gravity type chair. Then, I tried this with only two chair legs. Neither of these worked. I finally ended with one large pile to sit on with pants stretched to a pile on the floor: my stepstool. This worked and would have been fine, but I was afraid that it was not going to check all of the rubric requirements. In hindsight, I probably should have kept the structure up, just in case my last idea did not pull through. While the drawers would have worked, the structure was getting dangerously tall. I then took both structures apart and put everything away before walking to my pantry to see how many containers I had. I realized that I had enough to build with. The structure does not have four legs like a chair, but the seat is around the same height as a kitchen chair and it is sturdy enough to sit on for a period of time. Would it be practical? No. But I could see myself putting this together for some extra seating just for fun as I sat in the kitchen with friends. I’m hoping it ticks all the boxes and that I completed the project correctly. After finding that this structure stands, I still have not thought of a better way to do this project.
My process was mostly trial and error. I tried everything that I thought was plausible and played around with it until I could not get it to work any better. Then, I went on to the next idea. I think my Tupperware “chair” is original and creative and would definitely be larger if I had more containers! The process getting to my final product was stressful because I do not think of myself as a creative person (but I am trying!) or an engineer, so I was definitely out of my comfort zone. I began with just a bench that had two legs and was going to finish with that. Then I found a way to make three legs work and if three worked, then four had to! I just had to find a way to make the legs an even height. I had to add an extra top to two of the legs to be able to balance my salad container on top as a seat. My chair came out better than expected! I’m glad I did not just settle for my first idea and that I really wanted to try and perfect this. All three of my final brainstorming ideas would have held but they definitely worked better in my head. Trying all three to see which worked best was a good idea because it allowed me to visualize the end result as it actually stands. My clothing idea was foolproof in my head, but I certainly did not account for gravity. My drawer idea was pretty sturdy, but I would have had to lay the sitting drawer vertically to account for my weight which made the chair a little dangerous to sit on. If I would have given up trying with idea one, I may not have thought of trying my Tupperware idea, because it certainly is a bit strange for a chair. And I am usually one to get frustrated and give up easily, so let’s just say this whole project definitely worked in my favor! I am not sure if there was a better process for me to follow because I know now it was imperative that I tried all three of my best ideas in person. I spent a good amount of time brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of my roommates but did not research online for fear of copying another’s idea. I am also glad I was able to make a four-legged chair work as opposed to a two-legged bench or a one-seated clothes mound. This process taught me to work with even the craziest of ideas because it might just work! It also taught me to exert all possible options before moving on to the next idea. I believe because of the work I did with the clothing and drawers that I was able to quickly find a structure that held with the Tupperware. Overall, this was actually a fun project and I do feel a bit more like a creative!
By Lara Zwiebel
Creativity is conscious. That is something I did not realize before studying creative thinking and problem solving. As an artist and an advertising major, I often tell people I am a natural creative, and while it is true that I may be more inclined to think creatively, it is impossible to be creative without effort. Studying creativity has shown me that anyone can learn the art with a lot of effort.
My two roommates major in nursing and international business. I had a conversation with Caroline (the international business major) yesterday about how she did not deem herself “creative.” In fact, she said:
“Obviously your major is creative and you as a person are too. Julia (our other roommate) may not be creative in her nursing career, but at home she is still very creative. I am simply not creative anytime.”
The thing is that Caroline had to be creative at nearly every stage of her college career to accomplish a degree in international business at UofSC – the #1 IB School in the nation. It’s just that creativity takes a lot of different forms. Today, I am excited to dive into the world of business (one very different than my own) and the positive effect of creativity in a business environment.
One of the first things I learned about creativity was the art of brainstorming. It seems like an easy task, but it turns out there are a lot of professionals who have spent time studying to figure out the best way to do it. Picture this: Caroline is in a conference room in New York City, and her team is addressing how to pitch to a potential client.
Did you know that not everyone should be at the conference table? After learning about her colleagues, Caroline should identify those that will contribute to a positive pitch. For example, she should leave the non-participants, close-minded individuals, and maybe even her boss out of the room during the first round of brainstorming.
Her team’s next step should be guided by Osborn’s 1939 theory on brainstorming. In the beginning, no one’s ideas are dumb ideas. It is far too easy to get distracted by critiquing an idea and explaining why it couldn’t work before the idea is even complete. Stop saying “that won’t work” right away. I catch myself doing this all the time – even internally. Someone says something I do not like, and I automatically block my brain from considering the idea. Truth is, this very idea could be one that I piggyback off of to create something genius.
Beyond brainstorming, there are a lot of methods to generate creativity, or in this case, a creative pitch. Have you heard of SCAMPER? A quick Google search will lead you to its method of madness, which involves questioning the substitution, combination, adaptation or modification of any idea/problem to create a grand idea. How could a past pitch be modified to contribute to this new one?
This summer, I worked for a startup and was quickly introduced to the world of business. Every time my team came to a problem, we would chat about it and then decide we were just going to wait for a lightbulb moment. We would have to do our own work. While this might be true in some cases, and intubation is real, it also would have been beneficial to go down SCAMPER’s checklist of questions to avoid our own stress and waste of time.
One of the most important business and life lessons studying creativity has revealed is the importance of asking questions. This could be in the form of SCAMPER or asking “why” five times while trying to solve a problem. Even in the simplest of forms, questioning leads to discoveries, answers and self-betterment. Side note: my grandfather, who has spent the past 20 years consulting and devoting his time to leadership development, believes questioning to be one of his top 10 rules of life. I think the best leaders and professionals would agree with him.
There is a difference between artistic and creative, and I think the comparison often makes it difficult for non-artistic (say business-minded) individuals (like Caroline) to put effort into being creative. The following traits are those of a creative thinker: flexible, courageous, curious, imaginative, proactive, independent. So, who would not want to be creative? It really isn’t even a want, but a need if you wish to succeed.
A businesswoman must be flexible with a busy schedule, courageous enough to pitch to clients, curious about new prospects, imaginative about the future of their career and proactive to stay on top of competition. Caroline does all of these things. She is creative. And with a little more study into the methods of creativity and problem solving, she can be even more successful.
By Jonathan Davis
First Things First
Columbia and its neighboring cities are rapidly developing. Like the United States and the rest of the world, Columbia is experiencing a massive shift of population from rural to urban areas. Getting around Columbia and the greater area, one will quickly notice that the automobile and automobile infrastructure dominates the landscape. It isn’t uncommon to see more vehicles than people in a day. There are exceptions however. For example, in and around the University of South Carolina, during festivals, and the Main street farmer’s market which can get quite crowded. The Vista and Five Points also receive decent foot traffic Thursday through Sunday night. For the most part however, sidewalk usage remains low between destinations.
The University of South Carolina has a student population of nearly 35 thousand people, and the vast majority live less than 2.5 miles away. There is massive potential and reward for incentivizing students who live especially close to get there by foot, or perhaps by bicycle.
The city of Columbia itself has a population of 131,674 and is only a few miles across. It is a mere 15 to 25 minute bike ride away from other fast growing regions such as the City of Cayce, West Columbia, and Forest Acres. All welcome people from all around the world, many coming from regions where walking and biking is the primary mode of transportation. In fact, 5.4% of Columbia’s population is foreign-born.
For all things considered and more, there is no good reason why downtown Columbia explicitly shouldn’t be incredibly bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The opposite, however, is much closer to reality.
The Reality of Our Roads
Columbia and its neighboring cities are simply are not well-designed for anything other than the automobile. Sidewalks are often very narrow and disconnected from one another. On Columbia’s main roadways, drivers tend to far exceed the already high speed limits and half-mindedly carry that speed into residential and dense urban roads with low speed limits. As a result it isn’t uncommon for aggressive and/or negligent drivers to race to cut off pedestrians and cyclists, preferring to save a few seconds over respecting the lives of their fellow citizens.
Furthermore, South Carolina drivers often text and drive with very little legal incentive. There is virtually zero enforcement to be wary of. Drinking and driving is also a built-in part of Southern culture, even those with suspended licenses often opt to drive until thrown in jail.
The reality is that many drivers in the South are simply not looking for pedestrians, cyclists, and in many cases other drivers. The reality is that South Carolina has the nation’s 3rd deadliest drivers. There is an utter disconnect from reality of what is actually occurring behind the wheel.
Severely lacking public participation in this matter goes hand in hand with the lack of the past and current government failings. Our communities infrastructure, policy, culture, and standard of living should represent an international modern city in 2020. We should be connected in a well-designed, sustainable manner that encourages everyone to participate in daily actions than support local business, personal health, which drives face to face connections in shared public spaces.
Being Part of the Solution
Columbia needs to look and operate like a modern urban center. This does not mean that it needs to give up its core identity. Things however, must change. Failure to adapt is the acceptance of failure.
To say that lack of creativity is the root cause however, would be largely uninformed. South Carolina suffers from other major problems. A lack of education, a prevalence of poverty, and cultures that are often insular are just some of the major obstacles preventing the advancement of our traffic culture, policy and infrastructure.
It is an illusion that roads can be forever widened. That towering, or football stadium-sized parking lots along with accepting congestion is the solution. There must be a better way.
The Columbia cyclist must be creative in order to inspire others. It takes a certain amount of ballsyness to claim space on the road while riding a bicycle. An incredible amount of spatial awareness is absolutely required if you wish to both be respectful of the right of way of others, but to also hold your ground in a legally-aware manner.
There is also a certain amount of gear that is necessary if you wish to get around Columbia alone on a bicycle to maintain enough visibility, get yourself out of basic mechanical issues, and properly lock up. A helmet, lock, high quality front and rear lights, flat-kit, and mini pump is generally is the base minimum. It may seem like a lot to ask for in the beginning, but all adds up to a lot less than what maintaining and owning a vehicle costs. Think a couple hundred dollars instead of thousands. Not to mention to benefits of exercise, community building, and density of those traveling compared to a road full of largely single-occupancy vehicles.
Bicycle Community Building & Bicycle Action
A steady effort that grows in popularity over a long period of time is what is required to reach a tipping point. People who ride, or simply support the use of bicycles must have incentives to be long term loyal supporters. There must be victories, and there comes a time for pragmatism.
The Cola Town Bike Collective and the area’s bike shops are the vehicle for this pragmatism. They provide bicycle repair services, and a public space for people to meet and organize. People get show up and get together to organize rides, bolster public participation in action for infrastructure and policy, and become more familiar with their community. It is sometimes one of the first places people visit when they first come to Columbia when they have a background in bicycle riding. It was my first real social base that I ended up successfully branching out from, and people from all walks of life love bicycles.
It’s about creating a community that looks to future and is here to stay, and that, is something that certainly requires creativity.
N/A. “South Carolina Motor Vehicle Death Rate.” World Life Expectancy, 2018, www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa/south-carolina-motor-vehicle-death-rate.
United States Federal Government. “U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Columbia City, South Carolina.” Census Bureau QuickFacts, July 2019, www.census.gov/quickfacts/columbiacitysouthcarolina.
By Miles Dailey
Creativity is a special aspect that has always been a part of my life. As
you probably know by now I love to make music and that has boosted my
creativeness over the years. Along with school projects and paper that I have
written over the past 8 years of school. In didn’t know what to expect from
this class but I am beyond happy that I decided to take it. This class has
opened a whole new side of me. It has made me think outside of the box
more times than often, and it has really pushed me to become my most
creative self. The reflection really help a lot. They help me get stuff off of my
chest at times and allow me to say how I feel about certain things involving
being creative, working with other people, and talking about my life in
general and explaining where my creative ability sprouted from. We have
had three reflections so far. As I said before I loved completing both of them
because they helped me express myself a little more. But what I took away
from the first reflection are couple of things. These include Sternberg’s
intellectual abilities of a creative. I really feel like I can relate to the synthetic
ability because I find myself thinking of problems differently than other. I
don’t see a problem as straight forward as others may, I see problems as
something I can improve on and help better myself. I also really enjoyed
talking about the different levels of creativity.
I want to really consider myself a High C creator due to the mere fact that I make music and have sold my music for a good amount of money over the past two years. I don’t
do music just for the money, I do it because I love it and it makes me feel a
certain type of way when I’m doing it. But I want to be able to change
people’s lives with my music and not just my own. The last thing I took away
from the first weeks of class were the characteristics of creativity. I like the
idea of all of them but there were only three characteristics that I took away
from the list. These really stood out to me because they all relate to an
aspect to my life in one way or another. The three characteristics include
taking risks, staying focused, and being independent. It doesn’t matter what
I do or when I do it. Taking risks should be a big part of anyone’s life because
that is what helps someone move forward, step out of their comfort zone,
and gain an edge on other people who are competing against you. Staying
focused Is very self-explanatory. This will help anyone succeed in whatever
they put their mind to. Being independent is also very important. If you are
independent you don’t have to rely on anyone and you just don’t care what
people think of you which is key to being successful. Lastly the one
intellectual ability that I took away from the first weeks of class was
analytical thinking. Analytical thinking is important due to the fact that it
helps you explore all ideas that you may come up with. You can’t be
complacent when you are trying to create something. It limits your ability to
be creative and you will never be able to unlock your true potential. The first
two power points gave me the most insight on being creative and I took lots
a way form that, but these were a couple more ideas in the later power
points that really stuck with me.
One topic being, idea generation. Idea generation is so important to me not only because it gets all of the ideas out, but it is important to me because it helps me identify the best idea possible and that is the one that I will stick with. With Idea generation comes
brainstorming. I like brain storming in different groups because everyone has
a different mindset and when you put our minds together the ideas are
endless. I have done this many times throughout school and I must say that
this makes it easier to narrow down the list of ideas and pointing out the best
one of them all. The last thing that I want to discuss is creative problem
solving. This probably the biggest one of them that stuck with me the most
in in my opinion. This skill can be put towards many aspects of life no matter
the severity of it. One prime example that I can identify where the whole
class and I had to use creative problem solving recently was the chair
project. This was probably one of the most challenging but fun projects I
have ever dine in my life and it made me think outside the box and step out
of my comfort zone for a decent period of time. The best part about this
project was that I got to see everyone else’s ideas and see how they
compared to mine. I really enjoy watching and listening to other people’s
creative process because it opens up ideas that I would’ve never thought
about and it honestly inspires me. All in all this class is amazing and I can’t
wait to see what is in-store for us in the near future.
By Ty Young
I believe the most interesting and fun thing about creativity and problem solving is that there is and always will be a need for it. Even when we solve our problems or come up with our best idea yet, the work is never done. Just as time continues to wait for no one, things continue to constantly change. The famous phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is irrelevant in my opinion.Even if something is working perfectly and is also satisfying to the eye, if it can be better, I believe the effort to make it better should be made.
As for me personally, I need creative thinking and problem solving for not just my career path and interests but for my personal interests as well. Especially creative thinking so I can push my writing and continue to grow as such. In communications, no matter who you are working for or with and no matter what area of communications, creativity and innovation is always welcomed and needed. Mass communications, journalism, print or broadcast, public relations, advertising, and visual communications all need people to think in new ways to convey the information and news they are trying to get out to the people. Trends and pop culture in general are constantly changing. What's popular this week might not be so popular in a month or so. It is up to journalist and communications team to figure out how to connect pop culture and trends with the information that they are trying to give to the people whether it is a significant piece of information that a lot of the public might want to know or it is a comedic advertising a new food special at a restaurant or fast food place.
I don’t believe that you can just give someone creativity but you can introduce a new way of thinking. Some people, like me, overthink and sometimes the most obvious seems like the most wrong way to go about something. When someone says their idea out loud, it is sometimes the first thing that one person came up with but was too ashamed to say aloud for fear of being rejected or embarrassed. We tell people to think about what is something that they believe should be invented or innovated for the benefit of them and how that very same thing could also be fort he betterment of the environment. I know since starting my education in communications, I tend to think about what message am I or are we trying to get out and also what seems to be popular and trending nowadays. Maybe we can use a famous phrase and make a pun out of it to get people to pay attention to our commercial or billboard.
One of the more fascinating things about creativity and problem solving is how different things such as environments or activities stimulate different people in different ways. Some people love to operate where there is a lot of buzz from the public and the community around them while others might love the solitude of their own home to think or just simply the quietness of a library or an educational building after the students and faculty have gone home. Sometimes it can be even more complex than that. For me personally, the environment I want to study or work in really depends on my mood as well as what exactly I need to work on. Not to mention that my schedule and the amount of free time I do or do not have also dictates how or when I can get a chance to think and create. Some people do better when they have one person or a group of people that they can bounce their ideas off of and collaborate to come to an even better solution. Some people like working and hitting all the bases of creativity and problem solving themselves and then present their findings and conclusions to their peers or partners and let it go from there.
Finally, one thing that I came to conclude is that between creativity and problem solving,
one of those concepts can not really have a wrong answer in it while the other one technically can. You can’t just question someone's creativity and how they do things or go about their activities when it comes to art and creation but when it comes to solving a problem, some ideas are better than others and some ideas might not even be as much of assistance.
In conclusion, since starting this course, so many revelations, a lot that I have included in
this paper, have come to me. As well as a lot of different ways to think. These are definitely
concepts that I can and do plan to incorporate into my everyday thinking especially when I’m
working on a personal project, doing work for an organization that I am a part of, or am simply just trying to complete a complex or difficult assignment for a class. Creativity and problem solving doesn't just belong in just one area of life or in just one occupation.
By Lily VinCola
Being in the midst of a pandemic, many people, including myself, have had to get creative as they adjusted their new lives to fit into these changing times. I have realized through this class that while many problems will be thrown at me that I won't be able to control, I can control how to handle them. Throughout quarantine and even now, adjusting my life to COVID has allowed me to use my time for working and creating. Being able to use this time to create art has not only helped me resolve my issues of boredom, but has also replaced my work in restaurants. Using my art as a form of income has allowed me to do something I love full time and is perfect for people looking to purchase new decor. Knowing your audience and catering to them is key in succeeding, I looked at the problem of people wanting to redecorate their spaces over these past few months, as they are spending more time than ever in them. Once I found the issue I came up with a faster way to create my art that was more efficient for the big orders coming in. Incorporating free shipping and even selling masks has been beneficial for customers taking safety precautions during this time. As a business it is crucial to analyze your customers needs and cater to them accordingly.
Businesses have had to change their ways of advertising to fit the needs of the customers as it can be difficult to sell and cater to an audience being quarantined in their house.Creative leaders in these companies took a different approach to marketing and advertising to their customers by reading the room and knowing how to adjust their work through these issues.Companies like Publix have used empathy as a way to connect with customers. Primus Nair, the head of creative of Lego “Consumers are not looking for you to be clever, but there is a conversation that needs to be had.” It is crucial that customers feel important instead of a number for profit. When businesses advertise that they are here for their customers makes them seem genuine instead of trying to sell products during a global pandemic. This example reminded me of convergent vs divergent thinking. These companies worked on quality of ads instead of quantity, and focused on how they would make their audience feel. This pandemic was last minute and no one had planned for it, the need for producers to adjust to this new normal required creative problem solving. Looking to thrive in the economy, businesses had to make cuts while keeping sales high in a time where no one is making purchases. Some solutions many producers benefitted from are zoom interactions instead of face to face meetings, doing contact free delivery, using virtual menus for a germ free dining experience.
Sumeli Chatterjee, vice president of The Times of India said, “We always look at creativity being a marketing function, or a function on the side, which is tapped into when there's a problem. But, I think this is the first time that marketing has become a true business function. I literally is like the binding factor that puts everybody together in the room and says, ‘there is a problem, and we have to solve it together’.. The whole definition of the marketing function and what marketing does in the organization that has become crystal clear right now.” Creativity is a key factor in resurrecting companies that have suffered from COVID.The way these businesses handled marketing during this time relates to how we navigate through problems ourselves. At the beginning of the semester I often resolved to the first idea in my head when navigating through my daily obstacles. Since taking this class I have realized there is a better way to solve any issues or come up with the best idea possible. I have used the SCAMPER method when
designing my logos for businesses and for my personal art. I have noticed that my thoughts flow more clearly now that I have a plan to follow as I brainstorm.
We should be using this time of uncertainty as a way to grow and create things we
usually wouldn't have before. Connecting with others in a safe manner not only will give us a
feeling of comfort in isolating times but will also allow us to learn from each other and gain
knowledge from others. Even when brainstorming, having a diverse group of individuals to come up with ideas will result in solutions that would have never come up if you worked alone. Taking this time during COVID to expand on our thoughts and network with others will aid in personal projects, business growth, and our creative mindset.
Long, Danielle. “Can Creativity Help Businesses Recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic?”
The Drum, The Drum, 25 Aug. 2020,
By Tehya Tuerpitz
Throughout my JOUR 499 class we have dove into the topic of
creativity and the different concepts within the creative process. I have
found that the main topic that sticks out to me the most is brainstorming.
Gathering different ideas for a solution to a problem or need is essential for
the success of the result. After our class discussion on brainstorming, I
continue thinking back to this concept, and I find how the time applied to
brainstorming and the quantity of results really works to enhance the final
answer to the creative situation. Throughout my classes, specifically my
“Creative Thinking and Problem Solving” class, I find that it is a step which
could be overlooked when students, such as myself, rush to find an answer.
However, brainstorming is a crucial step within the creative process, and
allows the researcher/creative person to find the best results for their
creative problem/situation they are working through.
One situation that brought the importance of brainstorming to light
recently was the chair presentation project that our journalism class
completed this week. Though the presentation was only a couple days ago, I
felt that it highlighted the importance of brainstorming. One thing the
teacher mentioned that stuck with me was how many people had similar
ideas such as clothes, suitcases, and notebooks. This showed her that we
limited our time and ability to brainstorm, and we rushed ourselves to find
the answer. I hadn’t realized the impact of brainstorming until she said that
at the end of our presentations. My chair even ended up being made out
clothes. Yes it was a functional solution, but how much more could I have
expanded my ideas and created a solution that stood out more from the
class if I had taken the power of brainstorming more seriously? I found the
chair project very illuminating to the creative process in action, as it was
one of our first projects in this journalism class.
I feel that one of the most important aspects of brainstorming is the
quantity of ideas generated. Some people may have to retrain their brain to
think about brainstorming differently, because sometimes we all get ideas
and quickly utilize those to solve the problem. This was my downfall to the
chair project. Getting an idea that serves as a possible solution does not
necessarily mean it’s time to move on with the solution. This potentially
hurts one’s ability to find the best possible answer. It is especially important
as I find myself entering into a new career after graduation, that I
understand the importance of working through each possible solution
before completing a project or task.
Another example within my semester that exemplifies the power of
brainstorming is through my industry project for my management class. As
a team of three students, we are given the task of choosing a corporation
and finding ways they can improve and expand their business. The teacher
encourages the brainstorming process by giving us the whole semester to
work on this project. We will present at the beginning of December for our
final grade. This shows the importance of the project, as well as the
importance of taking our time to come up with solutions. I know
brainstorming will be prevalent during this semester in our management
class, because there will be many quick ideas as to how a company can
improve, however, finding an idea that will help us stick out and exceed
expectations will require the power of brainstorming.
Throughout my time in this journalism class, I’ve been exposed to
different ways of going about the brainstorm process. I find these
techniques useful because it guides me through the process of discovering
new ideas. One of the techniques I find that works best for me is mind
mapping. I find mind mapping useful for me, personally, because it allows
me to visualize my ideas and highlights the main themes within each string
of ideas. I appreciate the ability to further expand when using thinking
maps on every idea. Mind mapping also works well within a group. I have
utilized this technique in the past on group projects, because it allows
enough room for everyone to add an idea. A completed mind map gives a
nice visual and thorough process to find a creative solution.
Throughout this class I have learned the importance of brainstorming
and different techniques of brainstorming to utilize for future projects. I
learned that one of the main benefits to brainstorming is the ability to
further expand ideas, and create solutions that stand out from the general
census. Brainstorming has improved my progress as a creative thinker and
will continue to be utilized throughout my semester and career. As Albert
Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55
minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about the
By Sydney Maxwell
As a Marketing major with a minor in Advertising, skills such as
creativity, innovation, and strategic thinking are vital to my success within
my course of education as well as my career after graduation. I have always
had a passion for coming up with new and unique solutions for every
problem I face; these competencies are what drove me to my current
education and career path. However, when I started my education, I was not
fully aware just how important the skills of creativity and innovation are in
the various fields of the business industry. While I assumed that advertising
required a lot of creative thinking, I did not understand the deep reach
creative thinking has in each of the other branches.
I am currently in a Marketing Communications and Strategy course and
each day we dive deeper in what it means to be successful in Marketing. My
professor, prior to teaching, worked with various major advertising,
marketing, and communications companies. Due to his strong creative
background he understands the best way for students to learn this
information is through the assignment of a semester long project. In this
assignment, we are taking on an individual company and repositioning some
aspect of their brand. Creative problem solving is essential for this task as
we are forced to think about a pre-existing company in a new and innovative
way. Throughout this project and various lectures, he pushes us to think
deeply through new processes to find the most innovative and creative
solutions. I have learned that creative thinking can solve even the most
difficult of problems, including budget and production issues. This has further
piqued my interest in the field and has made me excited for finding a career
in this industry after graduation.
Over the summer, I partook in a series of online Zoom lectures by
executives from a health and wellness company, Havas Health & You, in
place of a marketing strategy internship I was supposed to attend during the
Summer. Havas Health & You is a branch of Havas, a multinational
advertising and public relations company, and one of the largest global
advertising and communications group in the world. One of the key values of
this brand is creativity and innovation. I distinctly remember that their
opening seminar included a discussion on what types of people are most
successful within their company’s workforce-- creative, innovative, and
strategic thinkers. This ideal was further emphasized during each separate
lecture as the importance of these traits was necessary for every task and
position each executive discussed.
As we are progressing through this class and learning the various
methods of brainstorming and the creative process, I am reminded of the
similar processes the company uses when creating marketing strategies.
They discussed group brainstorming sessions where marketing strategists
and art directors would sit down together and fire out idea on how they could
best accomplish the task at hand using various modes of media while under
the restrictions of the tools and budgets they were given. Their ideas were
then researched before being evaluated by the company they were working
with. After this initial evaluation, the company would implement and execute
their plans and then reevaluate their successes and losses. If unsuccessful,
they would go back to the drawing board and begin all over with their
A couple of these lectures were held by executives that manage their
international brands and shared how when operating business in a different
country, there are cultural obstacles that their creative departments have to
overcome in order to effectively and appropriately communicate their
messages. This affects the channel of media chosen to convey the message
as well as details as precise as colors and fonts. The creatives in these
situations have to best educate themselves on the culture around them and
familiarize themselves with the way people from that specific country think
to best replicate what is considered creative. This innovative way of
conducting international business has given their company a huge leg up on
the global scale and has led to large successes within the global
Within the month I have been in this class, I have been challenged to
think in new ways and face new situations that I would have previously been
uncomfortable in. I am a very shy person and being thrown into class
activities where I have to think using creative problem-solving strategies
with a group of random students has greatly brought me out of my comfort
zone. It has shown me the importance of getting multiple opinions and
thoughts to give diverse perspectives on the problem at hand. It has also
shown me that creative thinking is a great way to get to know a group of
people and can ease tensions. I look forward to this class each day as I know
it will be a lighthearted and happy environment, making the perfect
atmosphere for creativity.
Creative Thinking & Problem Solving
Fall 2020 class, students contribute posts.