Good news, Oklahomans: You’re creative. At least, you have the capacity to be, and Tuesday’s State of Creativity Forum aims to give you the tools to channel creativity and innovation into every aspect of your life.

“The goal is that we will, individually, take something away that will inspire us to be more creative individuals but ... we also want to take away practical tools on how to increase innovation in our state to improve the economy and our quality of life,” said Susan McCalmont, president of Creative Oklahoma.

The daylong forum will feature creativity experts from around the world, including Ken Robinson, whose TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” has received more than 12 million YouTube hits; and Peter Diamandis, chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes breakthrough ideas and strategies.

Robinson will lead a panel discussion about how creativity played a role in the peace process in Northern Ireland and was used to reduce violence in Ugandan schools.

“It’s the third year that Creative Oklahoma has had an event that brings together Oklahomans and interested individuals nationally and internationally to look at how we advance idea-generation and innovation in our communities, our schools and our workplaces,” McCalmont said. “We are using a broad definition of creativity. It certainly embraces the arts, but the definition we’re using is ‘the generation of ideas that have value.’”

Her sentiments are echoed by keynote speaker Gregg Fraley, an innovation expert and author of Jack’s Notebook, a 2008 “business novel” about creative problem-solving.

“A lot of people believe in a myth that if you’re not artistic, you’re not creative. If you’re not a super-high-IQ type, you’re not creative,” Fraley said. “The truth is that creativity is a human capacity and it’s better defined as problem-solving and not self-expression. Self-expression is a part of creativity — and an important part — but the mythology is that it’s only self-expression.”

Creativity and action
Fraley will lead a breakout session to offer practical advice on putting a creative idea into action to create new products and services. He described his closing keynote address as more motivational.
“The message there is that creativity is great, but if you don’t take action on your ideas, it’s a waste of time,” he said.

McCalmont said evaluation surveys from previous forums have shown that many young Oklahomans considered leaving the state before learning about its strong creative community. That creativity, she said, will help Oklahoma’s economy grow.

“We’ve moved quickly from an industrial age in the 19th century to a knowledge age in the 20th century. And the 21st century is an ideas-based global economy,” she said.

New this year will be a pre-forum event, the cSchool Bootcamp, that on Monday will provide in-depth creativity workshops. During Tuesday’s forum, creativity slam sessions will offer three-minute presentations on creative ideas. Afterward, the Ambassadors Gala will honor Oklahoma’s Creativity Ambassadors. IgniteOKC will host the after-party.

“This is a really great thing Oklahoma is doing,” Fraley said. “I have been a featured speaker, participant or panelist at 30 or 35 creativity conferences in the last 15 years, and this conference really does stand out as unique. They’ve put together a great combination of diversity in the audience and in the speakers, and they’ve kept the price low.

“They’re really doing something special and Oklahoma should be proud of it.”

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