Editor’s note: I caught up with Marci Segal and spoke to her about why she started World Creativity and Innovation Week 15-21 and to learn more about who gets involved and why?
What is the World Creativity & Innovation Week?
WCIW is a dedicated time worldwide to inspire new action, create novel ideas, make new decisions; solve problems in new ways, do something new, support new thinking, partner with new people, hold new conversations, use a new pair of eyes.
It is a global launch pad for receiving, giving, sharing and considering new ideas, new decisions and new actions.
How did it get started?
As an Alberta resident, in response to a May 25, 2001, a headline in Canada’s National Post newspaper that read: “Canada in Creativity Crisis”, I decided it was time to call attention to and celebrate the creativity in all of us.
I was Canada’s first undergraduate and graduate student to hold a degree in Creativity and Change Leadership, a program of study that I began in 1977. In 2001, I began a World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21, which later was lengthened to a week in 2006. It’s now running as a global event starting every year on Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday, April 15.
What is the goal for World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21?
To have a globally-shared human experience that opens doors for new innovations, creations and growth, tangible or intangible. The goal is for WCIW to be used as a time portal to unleash the power of imagination and realize potential.
The purpose of WCIW is to raise awareness and provide support that people can:
• express themselves in new ways
• find new solutions to old problems
• create new opportunities
• overcome barriers
• open new choices
• make new decisions
• create new futures
In what ways does World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21 relate to innovation?
• Creativity is personal, innovation is societal. In order for an innovation to occur, the idea must be valued by others.
• Innovation drives growth and opportunity
• Creativity drives innovation
• Knowledge enables creativity & innovation
Innovation managers can leverage WCIW to:
• engage colleagues
• strengthen dimensions of a culture of innovation
• get creative juices going
• inspire people with new ideas
• launch programs that build a climate to foster creativity and innovation
• reinforce that innovation is vital to success
• anchor innovation communication and activities
• bring employees together in new ways
• give permission to let loose and have fun
• exercise and delegate creative leadership
• celebrate success and recognize innovative colleagues
• have fun
Opportunities to celebrate include:
• idea jam on a specific topic
• share past successes with innovation
• design a remarkable experience
• invite customers to hear a guest speaker
• plan a company-wide event and build the topic into it
• teach people how to be more creative and inspire creativity in others
Can you share a story of a large organization that embraced this opportunity?
A global pharmaceutical company celebrated in each of its country main offices. Over 25 countries participated engaging over 1000 colleagues. Activities were documented and recorded for world viewing by their colleagues. Leadership teams leveraged the opportunity to create colleague engagement to support the company’s overall commitment to innovation. Their global survey showed 92% agreement that WCIW helped them build a culture of innovation.
Are there common barriers why people don’t leverage this week as an opportunity to explore, or create something new?
A few are: too busy, haven’t put resources aside, we are already creative or we don’t need creativity or innovation, not on strategy, boss won’t go for it, have to tie it to tangible results, economic downturn, don’t want everyone here to start wearing black or sporting those 1980’s ponytails. But, we find that when people or organizations do get involved, at any level, there are always positive, unforeseen outcomes.
Formally and informally, all actions are welcome, big and small. World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 to 21 is a do-it-yourself celebration, like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. Whatever you do, be sure to upload your action/event to wciw.org/wciw2016 to join a growing list of celebrants worldwide. Think of WCIW a week of creativity and innovation that happens every year that is celebrated in a way that fits your situation.
You can find inspiration and examples of past celebrations here or at wciw.org; or connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @worldcreativity
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Marci Segal is a Creativity Context Professional specializing in Human Dynamics of Innovation, since 1984. She consults, coaches, team builds, and gives interactive conference presentations for inspiration and as initiatives kick offs. Marci founded World Creativity and Innovation Week April 15 – 21, in 2001, and is now celebrated in 52 countries, and in countless schools, businesses, public service organizations, communities and households. See wciw.org for more info.