Pop Culture

    The Flaming Lips and Economic Development

    flaminglips1Consider Attending the Creativity World Forum 2015

    As many of you know I’ve participated in the annual State of Creativity Forum in Oklahoma for several years. I’ve written here previously about how effective their model is in getting broad-based involvement, participation, and attendance. This is arguably the most successful creativity conference in the world right now. Those interested in the creativity and innovation field should attend Creativity World Forum 2015 if at all possible. It’s affordable, the content is superb, and it’s a great networking opportunity. It’s in just a few weeks, so register, and make plans now to arrive in Oklahoma City for the March 31st one day event. The illustrious Sir Ken Robinson is  returning as a keynoter (he has a long history with the conference and the state of Oklahoma) and there is a terific line up of speakers from Disney, Lego, Faber-Castell, and other notables from government and education. But wait, there’s more…

    The Creativity Forum Conference as a Trigger for Economic Development

    This is a great conference for all the usual reasons, but it’s interesting the role a conference like this can have (and has had) on real world economic development. Music fans know that a lot of great talent emerges from Oklahoma — and then moves to Nashville or Austin. Exporting cultural talent is never a good idea if you want to grow the quality of life, and, bottom line, jobs in a region. Jobs and money follow on culture (see Richard Florida). In cities like Nashville, Austin, and San Francisco, technology, manufacturing, and good paying jobs grew dramatically after those cities established a thriving arts culture. Why? Because creative people (of all kinds, not just artists, designers, technologists, etc.) like living in culturally rich places, and, creative people start companies and invent things. And big companies like locating where there is a rich talent pool. Oklahoma City has turned the corner on talent exporting, let me explain.

    Oklahoma City is Emerging as a Creative Cultural Center 

    and — What do the Flaming Lips have to do with Economic Development?

    Here’s an economic development story case-in-point: the good news to report is that as a result of a conversation held several years ago — at the very start of the Creativity Forum — a fantastic music school is prospering in Oklahoma City. The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) was not a sparkle in anyone’s eye in 2005 when the former president of the University of Central Oklahoma, Roger Webb, and an unknown music promoter, Scott Booker met. Booker happened to be the manager of an OKC based rock band, The Flaming Lips.  In talking, Scott revealed to Dr. Webb that he had graduated as a history major from the University of Central Oklahoma several years prior, but he perhaps could give back to his university and help build the music culture in Oklahoma by teaching a class in music business.

    It’s quite a story how that random discussion evolved into a new school that now boasts 500 students in the Bricktown entertainment district area of Oklahoma City. The initial idea grew from one class to an entire curricula. Sir Ken Robinson suggested networking with Paul McCartney’s old school in Liverpool. They visited the ACM school in Guilford, UK, and eventually the University of Central Oklahoma created an ACM degree and school. The school (an official branch of the UK school) has been in operation since 2009, growing fast, and is attracting students from around the USA. Scott Booker is CEO . The school has pulled in such diverse artists as Daft Punk, Ben Folds, and Jackson Browne — to name just a few — to teach and share. If I were 18 and wanting to grow as a music professional I’d go there!

    The founding of the school is a direct result of Oklahoma making a decision to support creativity and the conference. When they established the conference in 2005 and invested in staff (President Susan McCalmont is a hands-on visionary) they didn’t know what the results would be, but they had faith in the idea. They took a calculated risk, and their continued support has allowed for the lovely gestation of real world results.  The result of the music school, and the jobs and money flowing into Oklahoma City because of it — is just a beginning, and a very good one. A flourishing arts community bodes well for the economic future of the city and the state.

    Kudos Oklahoma, let’s keep hearing such good news. I have no doubt we will. And go to the conference, who knows what magic might happen.

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    Rural Broadband Necessary for Rural Innovation

    Tuesday– September 23, 2014 It’s nice to see that people are recognizing that innovation isn’t always in Silicon Valley. Writing you today from the countryside in Three Oaks, Michigan, aka “Michiana” — where my poky web access is satellite based. Steve Case’s article earlier this week in the Washington Post  – Why innovation and start-ups are thriving in ‘flyover’ country –  is spot on. Case, you may recall, was co-founder of AOL. He correctly identifies the reasons why Chicago, Denver, Cincinnati, and other smaller cities are becoming vibrant centers of start-ups. He’s asking for investments of time and money to be made in order to further the trend. I agree, and… He didn’t go far enough with his article — he missed one

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    Ten Ideas for Using Innovation Film Clips

    I’ve written an article on Innovation in movies – Inspiring Innovation Films: a Top Ten List.  It’s been published on the Innovation Excellence portal — I’d be most grateful if you’d read it and comment over there. Today’s post is a value add to that article with some ideas on how to use creativity and innovation clips in projects and meetings. If you’re an innovation educator, manager, or team leader you may want to consider using clips as training and/or stimulus tools. I’m a big one for keeping things entertaining no matter what you’re doing. Movie clips are a great way to do that. Here are Ten Ideas on how to integrate film clips into an innovation project: Send out a

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    Ted Nugent Lacks Creativity

    The Golden Triangle of Inanity I’ve resisted the urge to write an enraged post about the inflammatory comments made in recent weeks by Ted Nuget, Sarah Palin, and Duck Dynasty guy, Phil Robertson. I call them The Golden Triangle of Inanity (GTA). Many writers and observers have responded to their words in kind, so, I guess that base is covered. I had the notion to take Ted Nugent’s recent statement (called Obama a “subhuman mongrel”) on word for word, and then I thought, it’s not worth the energy. Why spread around even more negativity? Suffice to say I think the recent statements of the GTA are crass, ignorant, and grossly inappropriate. If you believe that these celebrities are speaking out

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    Reading Widely Means More Dots to Connect

    People ask me what I read. I think this question is inspired by my citing some arcane fact or that I make a weird connection now and then. I am a voracious reader, but I think what I actually read might surprise. Most of it is NOT directly about creativity and innovation (that’s a way to guarantee you’re boring!) Reading widely provides more dots to connect. Broadly, I’m thinking I’m improving my database by reading a lot of varied and weird content. There is some science to this; one can make more conceptual blends if one has more to blend. And, concept blending, new connections, are where innovation comes from. So, this is a snapshot of what I’m reading, for

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    Need Ideas for Creative Alternatives to Government Paralysis

    I’m sick of having a dysfunctional government. I know it’s a complex power struggle. I know there are many points of view as to why this dysfunction exists. I think this crazy partial government shutdown is probably going to happen, and to me this signals a new low. I’m not interested, right now, in a right or left opinion of whose fault it is, or why this is necessary. I think both sides share the blame in this, and, it will require both sides to return to a productive government. I want ideas. I want to focus on ideas that can motivate those in government right now. Before new elections. For years now, it would seem the only thing the

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    America, where everybody has a chance to win

    The new Miss America is a real stunner. I saw the clips at a pub — they had the sound turned down.  I thought, so that’s who won the contest this year — can we please get to the baseball scores? It would appear others had a different reaction. Miss New York, now Miss America, is a Syracuse native and University of Michigan graduate, her name is Nina Davuluri. She’s the first woman of Indian descent to win the contest. Born in America, an American citizen, and by all accounts an exemplary young person. Congratulations Nina. You live in America, where everybody has a chance to win. You just proved it. I’m an innovation commentator and from that lens it’s

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    Yes, I Tweet a Bit (Innovators Use Twitter)

    I was just named as one of the Top 50 Innovation tweeters by Innovation Excellence. A tweeter is one who uses Twitter. It’s a fairly informal sort of top 50 list — I don’t think there is a great deal of analysis around content or reach, but still, it’s nice to be recognized. I crossed the 10,000 follower line about a month ago, and weirdly, it felt like a real accomplishment. Then I saw that my friend and colleague Dr. Cindi Burnet (@Cyndiburnett) is over 50,000 followers and I didn’t feel quite so glamorous. And, you get out of Twitter what you put into it. I’m happy with my results at my current time-investment level. 10,000 feels like a “very

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    Spontaneous Thinking and the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Jonathan Winters

    “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.” Jonathan Winters Last week, a personal hero of mine, Jonathan Winters, passed away. He had a long, full, complicated, crazy, and indeed, mad, mad, mad, mad, life. If you don’t know who he is or why I’d be doing a post about him in a creativity and innovation blog, please just go to YouTube and watch this. If you really want to snort milk through your nose, try this one. Winters was a comic genius, a creative tour-de-force, and, a man who “used” his affliction with bi-polar disorder positively. He was one of the first public figures to admit to treatment for mental illness having “gone to the zoo”

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    Imagination, So What?

    I don’t mean to be cynical with that headline. Still, what’s imagination got to do with it? Imagination is a revered idea isn’t it? Everybody seems to want it. And yet… Who actually sets aside time to imagine? Is it focused or completely not, or both? Who tolerates the imagination of others when it’s expressed? Who and how often do people actually take action on some dream? John Lennon practically has trademarked the word, but I find his song quite challenging. “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky…imagine all the people living for today…yohooo” I find this very difficult to imagine, not at all easy. And my vision of children

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