Part B: Read the following texts and reflect on how the previous videos and these two quotes connect to each other as well as other aspects of your life.
"The further we push out the boundaries of knowledge and innovation, the more the next great value breakthroughs... will come from putting together disparate things that you would not think of as going together... Conventionally your approach to any problem or challenge was breaking it down to manageable bits and smaller parts, but today you are trying to create value by synthesizing disparate parts together... synthesizing it all together around consumer demands is the key. So in an organization you need the dot people and the big-picture people [who can connect the dots]." ~ The World is Flat by Tomas L. Friedman
As students or attendees begin to record their thoughts, the ideas are often unclear, not well developed, and not very deep—even when sufficient time is give during the initial lesson. Ed Catmull, the founder of Pixar and author of Creativity, Inc., explains that all creative ideas (including all of Pixar’s movies) start out as what he calls “ugly babies.” Catmull further explains this notion that creative ideas at their inception, “are not beautiful, miniature versions of the adults they will grow up to be. They are truly ugly: awkward and unformed, vulnerable and incomplete. They need nurturing—in the form of time and patience—in order to grow.”
Consider the traditional use of note taking in school. Are they used to reflect and synthesize? Consider how notes and other forms of recording thoughts and ideas can be used in this way, rather than just the traditional sense of copying information.
In education we use the term “creative incubation” to clarify the notion that students need time and attention to further cultivate ideas like any seed needs time and nutrients to grow, develop, and fully mature. Time is absolutely essential in fostering a creative environment but is the piece most commonly left out. During this incubation stage, students or attendees revisit and reflect on thoughts and ideas over the course of days, weeks, or even months. They ask questions, collaborate with others, clear-up misunderstandings, maybe even revise old ideas and notes, and ultimately refine their own thinking about the concepts. This process builds upon their own network of neuro pathways. If notebooks are used in this way, they can become a physical map of one constructing those networks and associations; without sufficient time to “organize and transform” their understanding and reflect on their notes, their neuro networks are built too weakly to transfer that understanding. Hattie explains that:
"To think more conceptually, students need to figure out how the surface knowledge they have acquired to understand concepts, and the deep knowledge they have developed about how ideas relate to one another, comes more fully under their own command. In large part, students benefit from organizing conceptual knowledge, so they can analyze their understanding and identify where they need to go next in their learning. Importantly, it is the student who is in the driver's seat."
Part C: How will you encourage reflection, creative incubation, and synthesis?
The next two sections are designed to help you explore some possibilities.