Creativity, Coffee and Ping Pong for #WCIW

AmericanoAfter an early meeting this morning, I found myself enjoying a delicious Americano in the Balzacs coffee shop at the Toronto Reference Library. Today’s creativity challenge included being playful so after some hesitation I decided to strike up a conversation with the woman sitting next to me.

I asked permission to tell her a little about World Creativity and Innovation Week and she agreed. This started a very interesting conversation that lasted for more than 30 minutes. It turns out that this individual works at a local University. This was of interest to me as I see myself presenting my highly interactive workshops at local colleges and universities in the near future. During our conversation, we spoke about the importance of creativity in education and shared resources.WCIWlogo

I shared: – a tool to help one write daily. I also told her about my positive experience yesterday and how I first heard about The Academy of the Impossible. This was a direct result of my creativity challenge which was to be curious.

I learned about:

Subtle Technologies which, “brings people together to promote wonder, incite creativity and spark innovation across disciplines”. Amazing! I have found yet another world to explore.

Something called Peer Scholar. It is described as, “a powerful online pedagogical tool that helps develop your students’ critical- and creative-thinking skills”. I’m interested.

When it was mentioned that she had heard of Mindcamp – Toronto’s creativity conference – through someone who she knew at OCAD, I immediately knew that she was speaking about Kristen Peterson! She is a creativity and innovation expert whom I also know and is the Program Director for the CPSI conference 2013 – Creative Problem Solving Institute. Never mind the 6 degrees of separation, this was just 1. WoW. I literally started a conversation with a complete stranger in a coffee shop to find that we both had a strong interest in creativity and knew the same person. Not only that, but I enjoyed a great conversation and learned about some new things that might move my career forward.

How many other people are out there who we are this closely connected to at all times?

Once the sun came out this afternoon it was time to play ping pong in public for my real ‘play challenge’. I thought that this would be a great excuse to hand out some more of the fantastic little cards that I had for promoting WCIW and to speak to more people about it. I was correct.

A good friend of mine, Ryan Jeans kindly offered to help. He and I play a shocking amount of ping pong and he brought all of the equipment necessary to set this up in Yonge/Dundas Square – Toronto’s Times Square.

Security immediately asked us to move as we did not have a permit to do this but Ryan’s  persistence allowed us to legally play on the sidewalk. We dressed up to be creative and playful, and to attract some attention. Knowing that we would be photographed, I made a sign with #WCIW on it to encourage people to explore through Twitter.puzzle

Several people joined us as we listened to music, played ping pong and laughed. It was worth the effort just to have done it, and to have created some more awareness about creativity. Through today’s activities, I spoke to over 30 new people about World Creativity and Innovation Week and encouraged them to look up the events in Toronto. More than just enjoying myself (which I very much did) I expect to benefit from learning about the new ideas and resources that I’m discovering through the people who I’m meeting.

Thank you vanGrey for the logistics support and to Heather Glumac for the photography. This was such a fun day!

Tomorrow, the creativity challenge is to get out of my comfort zone…. I wonder what I’ll get up to. What will you do?

Happy #WCIW