Archive for September, 2011

Sunni Brown: Doodlers, Unite! (TED Talk 2011)

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Just watched the TED Talk video by Sunni Brown (one of the authors of the book “Gamestorming”) about the benefits of doodling. They key point is that it helps retention and promotes creative thinking. According to Brown, this is an instinct that gets suppressed with age (social pressure) – sound familiar? This somewhat relates to the face-sketching and Lego Design-Build exercises we already have, but I think we could come up with a true doodling exercise to fit into our YCISL program. Specifically, we should encourage students to doodle (sketch) while listening to something (possibly unrelated). One idea is to have them doodle while listening to a TED Talk video. I would like to have them possibly sketch a map of their Stanford tour, then while listening to something else have them doodle on their map – in the hopes of creative embellishment of the map.

TED Talk Video:

Sunni Brown web site:


Lessons Learned: Singapore Polytechnic YCISL 2011

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

“This is just the beginning.” This is how I started the first meeting in the Stanford classroom for the group of YCISL students from Singapore Polytechnic. It was the beginning of their Stanford experience, of course, but it was also the beginning of the CSDGC YCISL program and they were a part of it. That point of time was also the beginning of their journey towards a greater appreciation of their creativity and potential for leadership through realizing innovation projects. This journey would continue, I insisted, past the workshop end through maintaining contact and actively expanding the network of YCISL alumni for future idea exchange and discussion.

Here are some of the LARGE lessons learned (for me) from this recent workshop program (June 12-25, date of arrival to date of departure):

(1) Conversation is a primary objective.

(2) Buried with creativity may also be personal ambition. Look for it.

(3) Sometimes, you let the moment speak to them.

Exercise: Ball Conduit (executed)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

I managed to insert the ball conduit exercise into the SP YCISL program. And I am very pleased that I did. I decided to do it because I noticed how well they responded to the Lego-PostIt exercise. I placed it over the slots for youth leadership and teamwork/team building.

I did the almost all the shopping at Target: golf balls (real and plastic practice), aluminum foil, elastic bands, paper clips, …

This will need to be refined for the future, but in the meantime, it did provide valuable experience in teamwork, execution and communication.

Rory Sutherland: Sweat the small stuff (TED Talk)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This is the second TED Talk by Rory Sutherland I have seen. One of the key points is that those who are focused on the “strategy” (ie, the large, expensive stuff) tend to forget the details – partly because it is beneath them to work on the details. The result then is (often) that grand solutions are created that do not work. I particularly like his simple graphic that places “Stuff that costs a lot of money” vs “Stuff that has a big effect.” His main point is that not enough attention is given to the quadrant that is high on “Stuff that has a big effect” and low on “Stuff that costs a lot of money”, and that this poses a lost opportunity. In general (and what is signified by the quadrant large in both these aspects), large organizations look for large projects that depend on large projects – but they don’t bother with the details ending up with wasted effort. Then there are the large budget things with little impact – consultancy. He argues that we need to dedicate more energy to low cost-big effect quadrant.

Just how does this mesh with the YCISL? Actually, low cost-big effect is the perfect focal point for youth [How many youth have large budgets?] Not having had a big budget project previously is an advantage that youth have large claim to, and youth in general have not yet learned to spend on a big budget. If we focus youth creativity, we can increase the chances of reaching a big effect without the big budget.

This video:

Previous video: