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ICP 091 Dr. Cyndi Burnett on Generating Ideas and The Future of Creativity in Schools and Education


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In this episode you’ll learn:

  • The 4 stages of creativity
  • What can be done to inspire more creativity in schools
  • The 3 reasons why people get stuck with their creativity
  • What adults can learn about creativity from children
  • 2 idea generating exercises you can try right now

Cyndi Burnett profile picture smiling

Dr. Cyndi Burnett is an assistant professor at the international centre for studies in creativity. She believes everyone has creative capacity.

Her work includes understanding creativity in a hyper-connected world whilst connecting together communities of creative thinkers using social media.

In this episode, Dr. Burnett reveals how the desire to improve can ignite your creativity and why weaving creativity into education is critical for the livelihoods of future generations.

Dr. Burnett also shares her own insights from her creative research plus what more she believes can be done to promote creativity in schools, at home and in education.

Learn how, and why, Cyndi moved on from a career as an actress and why Cyndi’s office has 6 chairs (and has never had a desk.)

Items mentioned in this episode (quick access):

Singing, dancing and creative thinking

[0:00:42] Introducing Dr. Cyndi Burnett.

[0:01:20] Cyndi describes her work in creativity.

[0:02:02] What she enjoyed doing as a child.

[0:03:12] What she does when she hits a slump.

[0:03:25] Linking physical movement and creativity.

“Everyone has the capacity to be creative” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Creating a creative environment

[0:05:00] Creating the conditions for when you are the most creative.

[0:05:53] Why Cyndi’s office doesn’t have a desk.

[0:06:16] Alex Osbourne and brainstorming.

[0:06:32] E. Paul Torrence, the father of creativity in education.

[0:07:03] Psychological dimensions.

[0:07:10] Dr. GÖran Ekvall and idea time.

[0:07:28] Finding people in your life who will support you.

“My definition of creativity is… about living an open, curious and authentic life and embracing ideas and challenges as opportunities” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

People and praise first

[0:08:06] The importance of praise first.

[0:08:43] Hal Elrod’s book Morning Miracle. How Cyndi prepares her day for creative work.

[0:10:17] What creativity means to Cyndi.

[0:10:54] Mindfulness and creativity. Being in the present moment.

[0:11:20] Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow.

“Mindfulness is such an important part of the creative person” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Expression and improving on everything

[0:11:30] Creativity as an opportunity for improvement.

[0:13:06] What life was like for Cyndi before she found the creative tools and insights she has today.

[0:13:30] Overwhelm. Getting by. Not taking care of herself.

[0:14:25] How Cyndi’s house-plants reflect how much attention she’s paying.

“I’m always looking for ways to improve on everything” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Early acting career

[0:15:15] Donny Osmond in Joseph and The Technicolor Dreamcoat.

[0:15:45] Cyndi’s first audition in New York City.

[0:16:12] Becoming an understudy. Travelling and touring.

[0:16:43] Columbine High School tragedy.

[0:17:43] Asking, “What do you want to learn about?”

“If we act as if we’re creative…and we make time for creativity then our children will do the same” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Creative thinking for parents and children

[0:18:38] Studying a Masters in creativity at Buffalo State University.

[0:19:08] What Cyndi’s creative research involves.

[0:19:40] Teaching in the Virgin Islands and The Netherlands.

[0:20:07] Creativity in education.

[0:20:20] Cyndi’s book Weaving Creativity into Every Strand of Your Curriculum.

[0:20:40] Cyndi’s new book My Sandwich is a Spaceship.

“Being on your own and in your own thinking can be frightening” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

My Sandwich is a Spaceship

[0:21:01] How do we bring creativity into education?

[0:21:10] 43,000 students enrolling on a free on-line course in creativity.

[0:21:50] The importance of creativity in education.

[0:22:20] Standardised tests. One right answer. Creating sustainable opportunities for kids.

“Creativity… in the academic world… is the generation of novel and useful or valuable ideas ” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

A creative revolution

[0:24:22] Teacher training. What can be done to inspire more creativity in schools.

[0:25:00] Bringing creativity into lessons and creating an environment for kids to play.

[0:26:05] What Cyndi believes stops people from being creative.

[0:26:14] Akoff Bagherrea.

[0:26:25] Fear. Time. Identity.

“Creativity is the ability to modify self-imposed constraints” – Akoff Bagheera

Creative connections

[0:28:07] Creating a safe environment for cultivating creativity.

[0:28:26] Phrasing problems as questions.

[0:29:09] Why it’s helpful to look up what’s already been done.

[0:29:27] Divergent thinking. Creative ideas. Quality vs. Originality.

[0:30:03] Cyndi’s two favourite idea generation exercises.

[0:30:29] Portable think-tank.

“Creativity can be a bit scary but you have to believe in yourself” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Creativity at home

[0:30:53] Changing the rules to games. Creativity at home.

[0:31:47] Inspired by Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat.

[0:32:36] How Cyndi and her husband use their creativity to reduce issues with her children.

[0:33:25] Breakthroughs and insights Cyndi has had learning from her children.

[0:34:30] Creating more engaging, meaningful and spontaneous experiences as adults.

“It’s OK to fail…we’re not going to move forward if we don’t take a risk” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

Generating more ideas

[0:35:50] Foresight. The four stages of creativity.

[0:37:40] What has inspired Cyndi in the last 7 days.

[0:38:16] What Cyndi is grateful for today.

[0:38:48] Cyndi’s new book and what she is working on.

[0:39:32] Where you can learn more about Cyndi.

“When you’re dealing with challenges that you’ve never had to solve before – and there’s no one right answer – then you’re using creativity” – Dr. Cyndi Burnett

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