Public Speaking

    Help Detained USA Citizen In Abu Dhabi

    This is a departure for this blog. While there is a direct connection to creativity and innovation it is essentially a press release written by concerned leaders in the creativity and innovation international community. One of our own, Dr. Robert Alan Black, has been detained in Abu Dhabi. The details are below. My request is that if you are so moved, please contact the offices of your elected officials. USA citizens can find contact information here. 

    Press Release

    For Immediate Release

    Contact:                     Rosemary Rein

    Phone number:       239-910-3354

    Email:                         rosemaryrein@rosemaryrein.com

     

    American Creativity Expert Detained In Abu Dhabi

    Friday October 31, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.  His family does not know if he’s been charged with a crime, or, if there’s been a date set for a hearing. Dr. Black currently does not have access to a phone.

    Robert Alan Black, Phd, CSP

    Robert Alan Black, Phd, CSP

    After speaking at a creativity conference in Abu Dhabi — as a volunteer — he took a walk alone to view local sites. This was sometime the morning of October 21. Dr. Black had not checked out of his room at his hotel. Alan, as he is known to his friends and family, walked out with his camera in hand. It’s not known exactly what happened, but sources in Abu Dhabi say that he was detained by the authorities because he took pictures in a restricted area.

    His detainment was not known until Dr. Black failed to show up at a speaking engagement in Malaysia. On October 27th his colleagues in the creativity and innovation community alerted his family of his absence and the search began. It was eventually discovered Dr. Black was being held by the authorities in Abu Dhabi. The United States Embassy in the U.A.E. has been alerted by Dr. Black’s family, and the Embassy has taken preliminary steps to advocate for Dr. Black.

    Upon discovery of the situation on October 30th, members of the creativity community launched a web-based petition, asking the Department of State of the USA, American Citizen Services Unit, to use every tool of diplomacy to secure the release of Dr. Black.  See: http://chn.ge/10zNU5u?share_id=XEkErfpNuH. As of 8:30 AM EST October 31, the petition had over 1,000 signatures.

    Alan Black illustration

    Alan Black illustration

    Dr. Black is a well-known, much-loved, and highly respected figure in the creativity community. Known as “Wandering Alan” because of his extensive world travels, his gentle and humorous teaching style underscores his sensitivity and creative genius. He’s been a featured speaker at many universities and conferences around the globe and has been a professional consultant in creativity and innovation since the early 1980’s. His customers include multi-national companies like Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestle. He’s been a professor at the University of Georgia, and also lectured at Drexel University. Indeed, Dr. Black has dedicated his life to bring the power of creativity to many around the globe. A citizen of the world, he’s worked with disadvantaged youth in South Africa, and volunteered his time at many conferences around the world. Including conferences in Italy, Canada, Holland, Turkey, the UK, Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia. At the time of his detainment, he was in Abu Dhabi donating his time teaching creative problem solving at the second annual Creative Thinkers Conference. The Creative Thinkers Conference was attended by government and public sector officials of the U.A.E. as well as educators and non-profit organizational leaders from many Arab Gulf countries.

    Broken Crayons is a book he wrote and illustrated which has been translated into Turkish, Japanese, and Slovakian. He’s published cartoons, done illustrations, and written articles for numerous publications. A former architect, and an avid photographer, he’s taken pictures of landscapes, buildings, andbrokencrayonscover500_002 people around the world. He’s highly qualified, with a BS in Architecture, and three Masters degrees in Visual Communication, Interior Architecture, and Guidance/Counseling. His doctorate is in educational psychology where he was a student of Dr. Paul Torrance. Dr. Black is also a Certified Speaking Professional, the highest designation of speaking skill given by the National Speakers Association in the USA.

    Dr. Black’s website shows the extent of his work and travels: http://www.cre8ng.com.

    Alan is a widowed father of two who lives in Athens, Georgia. He spends the majority of his time traveling the globe volunteering — speaking, teaching, and consulting. He’s 70 years old, and a diabetic, with high blood pressure and cholesterol problems. His daughter, Jessica Beasley of Sawanee, GA and his son Scott Black of Boyton Beach, FL are both gravely concerned for his health and well-being.

    His family, his colleagues, and his students around the world attest that:

    1. Alan has spent his life in the service of others.
    2. He has always demonstrated the highest respect and appreciation for the diverse cultures of the world, and the laws of nations.
    3. If there was any transgression we believe that it was unintentional.

    It is hoped by his family and the creativity community that the US Embassy in the U.A.E. will make every possible effort to insure his health and safety, and will work to secure his release at the earliest possible date. If you wish to communicate to your US Government elected official about Dr. Black it is encouraged that you either call them directly, or write a letter. Email is the least effective way to get attention.

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    Five Ways to Gain Story Fluency

    Story Fluency and Innovation Every time I blink these days I see another article on story. It’s something of a too popular buzzfad, but for good reason. Clearly, story is important in many aspects of marketing, communication, and innovation. The current literature tends to focus on understanding story, and, aligning a story with a brand, or an organization. There is also the related trend of story telling, ala The Moth. I’ve been involved this last year with a similar regional group, Indigan Storyteller here in Michiana, and its been a transformative experience. I’ve written a business novel (Jack’s Notebook) and I can tell you this, I’m still learning to create and tell stories. Story is a saw we can all sharpen. What doesn’t

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    Have You Made the Creative Choice?

    Have you made the Creative Choice? There is a ton of written material about creativity and innovation. I make an effort to keep up with the waves of literature — there’s a new methodology, a new process, fresh brain research, best practices, anti-best practices, etc. Some of this literature is quite good. There is also stuff about how creativity relates to mysticism and spirituality, also quite interesting. Finally there is also a good deal of useless, boring drivel that only reinforces unhelpful mythology about creativity. If you intend to be more creative and to use that capacity to innovate, I would encourage you to read widely and make your own judgments, but don’t get lost in all the words, don’t

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    Take Advantage — Innovate More for Less

    I’ve done 385 general interest creativity and innovation posts in the last few years. This post is different — it contains a commercial offer — albeit a fairly innovative one. If you’re not interested please ignore this post. Here’s the offer – I’ve decided to double the value I provide to my customers by offering a good old fashioned two-for-one deal. Why? I want to generate more buzz about my service offerings. To generate more buzz I want the perception of my value to be exceptional. So exceptional that people will talk , tweet, and refer. There is no sleight of hand here, I’ll be working twice for one fee. For both services delivered I won’t be cutting preparation time or the customization I

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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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    Building Bridges in Oklahoma

    Briefly noted: Registration is open for the fourth annual State of Creativity Forum. The main day is Tuesday, November 19th. It’s in Oklahoma City — but make no mistake — this is now an international event. This conference is 1000+ people from all parts of the country and around the world. It has a strong speakers list, a vibrant exhibit hall, and a palpable energy. The theme this year is Building Bridges, and it is an apt one for a diverse state like Oklahoma. Also apt in that it’s always a challenge to bridge the gap between creative people and productive innovation. This kind of conference is a great way to cross that chasm. It’s still a very affordable price

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    Luke Williams at World Innovation Forum (a review)

    The following is a review of Luke Williams talk at the recent World Innovation Forum. Roving reporter and colleague Dr. Orin Davis gives Luke high marks as both a speaker/entertainer, AND as an innovation expert, high praise indeed. I’d not heard of Luke Williams, apparently he’s a fellow at Frog Design, an author, and a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. I’m putting his “Disrupt” on my reading list. Here’s Orin’s report: ************** Disrupt Yourself!  Luke Williams at the World Innovation Forum by Orin Davis, Phd I note in jest that what Luke Williams primarily proved at his WIF talk is that showing pictures of babies doing really cute things, like trying to dance to Beyoncé’s “All the Single Ladies,” gets

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    Innovating Congress: Elect Intelligence & Competence

    As the on-going battle between parties in the congress winds on, it occurs to me that USA citizens might want to change how and why they vote for a representative. We’ve got it wrong. We voted for Gridlock! Representatives in a republic are not supposed to “do your bidding.” No, they’re supposed to Think and Act For You. When you elect someone to vote a specific way on a specific issue what you’re doing is closing down creativity, opportunity, and solutions. It’s the opposite of innovative. Let’s ignore party entirely. How about if we vote for intelligence, competency, and effectiveness? Let’s ignore specific positions on one issue. Let’s be more holistic, and, let’s vote for people who really know something. I

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    Why Make the Creative Choice?

    I believe that one of the most fundamental choices a human being can make relates to creativity. The choice is: do I wish to be a creative person or not? It would seem to be a no-brainer, but it’s interesting that at least half of people I talk to make the choice to Not be a creative person. This is done without a lot of thought, but sometimes it’s deliberate. Oh shame! For a long time I’ve taken for granted that people would want to be creative, but now I’m getting that there are reasons why folks might go the other way. Here are those reasons:   I don’t want the pressure of people looking to me for creative options

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    Gonzeaux #8 — Florida

    I spent most of the past week in the great state of Florida. While I hardly exhausted the potential of it’s vast expanse and endless coastline, I did get a gonzeaux dose of it. The FEI 2012 Conference lived up to it’s billing and reputation as the “serious” innovation conference. Hard to summarise, but let me try: great, insightful, relevant speakers, interesting interactions with both participants and vendors, and lots of fun and conversations around the edges. All about innovation of course. It’s expensive, but it you’re serious about innovation at your organisation and want to be aware of trends in the “industry” it’s well worth going. I made some great connections for KILN, which was my personal goal in

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