American vision

Week 2: Creative Problem Solving class. Dressed as mailing package.


My package outfit had on it a US Postal Service box with name, address, stamps all Legal. Nobody really noticed (5 strangers, I live in quiet neighborhood) Only Noticed the unusual “crazy” factor.  They were responding from their habitual thinking.
I had a whole week and nothing came to mind that was unique enough. Am staying at my daughters place in New Jersey helping with her kids as she goes back to finish college. The point is that almost all my stuff is in storage in another state, Rochester, Upstate New York.
My grand kid got sick so i had to stay with him all day. I mention this because this pushed me out of my comfort zone. This put pressure and sense of urgency. After thinking and realizing that my time was precious these 3 thoughts flowed in sequence:

  • the mailman would be here at noon
  • i had saved packaging paper for painting but screw it I could use it for homework
  • dress up as a mailing package, how would be to be sent out like mail stuff?

At first I thought this was a lame idea because there was no story to it then i realized that i had to accept that is an idea. Give it a chance.
The thinking process that allowed this idea to come forth was Divergent Thinking. The honing of the idea and working it out is the Convergent Thinking part of the Creative Process. More about this on the Summary at end of the homework submission.

Mailing my self out 

 yup  and..then
what a wonderful bunch of paper, so wisely rescued, my daughter wanted to throw it out. Now it had a chance to be useful once again.
We usually send stuff everywhere. We have built rules about the efficiency of delivery. So powerful are our packaging habits that one of the best indicators for predicting the future of stocks is looking at how UPS, DHL and FedEx stock are performing. So ubiquitous that we think nothing and expect all accuracy.
What would people think if a human was mailed out just like a magazine subscription or a book from Amazon? Crazy? Why? Really what would make it crazy if not a cultural concept. Would it be cheaper to travel from New York to San Francisco if I shipped myself 3d class mail. OK 3 day delivery…is faster to travel those 3000 miles plus that going by bus/Grayhound.

    he took my picture also leaning

So what would the professionals would think of this?  I awaited for the mailman. He was pretty serious about not being in the picture, government regulations. He thought i was going to mug him =D
But was very gracious and took my picture with my my iPodTouch. It was hard because the screen cracked and shattered badly a month ago. I wanted to petend i was getting in the truck and have a picture taken but he did not want anybody messing with the truck or mail, a true professional, ahh

    …well the public agrees
a third person willing to take pictures and be in it is not here since the cracked screen prevented him from operating the camera buttons., so he took a video…oh well


  • The Divergent segment of this exercise was long and disorganized, ideas were expected not harvested. Therefore few arrived
  • I had no structured way to set place and time to do Divergent Thinking exercises, I was all brainstorming. After re-viewing the videos and taking notes I could see the wealth of information from the Professor’s video tutorials.
  • A week of Brainstorming did not do what 15 minutes of Divergent Thinking did.
  • I can see why is important to assess my Creativity skills are. They make  the process real.
  • Why did I chose to dress DSD[dress] as mail package.  I was clearly crazy and different no matter what. And it put me out of my comfort zone. Seeking social involvement dressed like this in this very conservative neighborhood was not a party.
  • What was Different, DSD?    It was not Halloween, it was noon middle of the day, my neighbors are very private and very very quiet, normal regular hard working folk. No non-sense is ever seen nor heard here…until today!  =D
  • The material was recycled paper I was saving for an ink job. The color was plain utilitarian brown.
  • The outfit was handmade by me for the purpose of discovering how unusual is to people the idea of being a package. Nobody noticed the “Package” only the “Crazy” or “out of the ordinary” aspect, even the mailman whose job is packages did not associate my mail package outfit.
  • We do not recognize elements that are out of the ordinary that are outside our force of habit. Outside our stochastic programmed goals.
  • Creativity is beginning to look to me as the ability to step outside our stochastic direction and programming for a moment long enough to see the opportunities and interactions available, grasp them and utilize them …and reap the benefits I hope  =)
American vision, Dilemas, Learn

Creative Problem Solving, week 1. A class

I joined the curse “Creative Problem Solving” at 8 hrs. ago. A different thing to do, imagine that. Soon discovered that class had started a week earlier and Homework was due in few hours. With 3 hrs left and feeling the pressure it was good to read and evaluate  a few of my peers, a divergent  solution. That exposure to different ideas did prime the creative side. The idea that just emerged was not connected to any process of analysis nor focusing an any problem. My problem was time,  a linear issue.

But what do we mean by being Creative?  *   What is this Creative Mind thing?

My personal belief is that Creativity is one side of the coin of Leadership.

We often view Creativity as an Insight Machine. So we look for ways to increase creativity(read this short Scientific American article) written Jul 21, 2009 |By Oren Shapira and Nira Liberman

We can see a contemporary meaning for creativity as the ability to find solutions that are brilliant and by that we mean solutions that enhance our lives to a new level. This solutions can be from inventing tools to managing resources, like the set of bow and arrow for tools or managing fire. Life has plenty of dangers, insurmountable  obstacles and just plain re-occurring complications.

How do we fix this? How do we make it better?  These are key thoughts.

And there is the rub, isn’t it? Our thinking. In particular our habits of thinking.  Much has been discovered and said about what aids the blossoming of this valuable skill. Even meditation has been suggested to help.  So I think today Creativity has come to crystallize one of 2 things:

  • for some the understanding that creativity is a birth quality
  • for others the challenge that creativity is a learning and a teachable process

This class on Creative Problem Sollving will examine both Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking, that Creativity can easily be acquired by changing habits of action and thinking. And we can develop Creativity as a skill just as we develop muscles to become strong. DSD, Do Something Different, Think different.

Divergent Thinking: the creativity engine under my rusty hood suggested several solutions after reading several posts from my class peer’s difficulties, and reading and identifying with their resolve. But one one suggestion had a louder voice.

On this first week’s lesson we are tasked to change how we eat.

Questioning the sources of opinions about ‘eating’ was first. Second: definitions.

What is eating? Eating means health now, but scratching the surface you will reveal the word Dining.
Dining and the cultural imprints of etiquette, cuisine, manners, social mores and style. These were strongly stressed in my family who had pride in gastronomical finesse.

You never ate in the bathroom and you never would,  … this is different!
This idea just showed up and I rejected quickly because it was a stupid and lame suggestion or not good enough to impress others and get a good grade.
What was stupid?  The idea intrinsically or the challenge of…” me doing such a thing! ” ?

It felt difficult to go through with it, yes easy activity to accomplish physically but not one a civilized human would do willing. Because

  • Eating in the Bathroom. It goes against everything I was taught on the subject of manners and have taught my children and struggle with my gran-children. Manners and a modicum of class.
  • This project has another difficulty, a personal one: I had to ask someone else to help me with the project. I hate to ask for help, it makes me feel dependent it makes me feel I owe something, unnecessary. My daughter and her fiancé, even worse. Did I mention that I hate to ask for help? Well I do. It is irrational, I know…may the time to change has come. But I hate it! di I tell you that already?

This project pushed me out to habits, my comfort zone and pride. If one was to solve one unsolicited problem, to my thinking then, submitting the homework within few hours after joining the class.

 So here is the proof I actually went through with the suggestion, and that I listened to that voice of creativity not the voice of my Habits and fears.

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Preparing the food. I don’t eat hamburgers, So I fixed one with green cold beans and carrots. The buns were spread with humus…yup roasted peepers humus.

Image Lime over cold burgers. Never had it before. I like limes but on a burger without salt? No..ok yes

No wordds are necessary. Did you say Hi-gene? I was cringing, but it got done.  It did not kill me.

Image In an clean environment  yet the mind has associated ideas with unclean and demeaning, rooted ideas that have emotional force.

  Summary for this lesson: 

  • A problem is a set of seemingly unbreakable physical conditions or/and mental rules that stand between achieving an agreement
  • The agreement can be a cognitive understanding of a value or material acquisition
  • There is a demand we call goal, a pressing urging from self or others
  • The creative process is the game of respecting the rules that contain us while finding a “Back Door” a …Hack!
  • There is no creativity without change through effort. Even accepting that one’s dire condition contain a hidden gift requires a paradigm change. Ask any Cancer survivor.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Creativity is a CHOICE. It speaks to us as well as our habits and fears and desire speak to us. Developing the habit of listening and following through the suggestions of your creative voice

Fin de camino.  Thank you and good night. Till next class.