How about adding creative thinking to the whack pack?

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, September 8, 2016

Robert Kelly’s latest book, Creative Development, addresses the transformation of education through design thinking, innovation and invention.
Photo, left, by Warren Harbeck; cover image supplied

Last week’s column on what to include in a whack pack for a world out of whack drew some great suggestions. This week I’d like to add a suggestion of my own: How about the transformative power of creative thinking?

But first, a few of your suggestions. You’ll recall that I’d referred to Linda Kavelin-Popov’s view that without certain virtues (“the essence of the human spirit and the content of our character”), civilization would cease to exist – virtues such as justice, forgiveness, integrity, and most importantly, love.

Don’t forget to include beauty, Cochrane author Cary MacWilliams reminds us. She’s even published an eBook about its importance, The Virtue of Beauty, available at

Or how about horses? Kateri Cowley, an equestrian services professional, says: “I would include horses. They teach us so much about what each of us is personally lacking and expose it. Is it humility? Fear? Patience? Boundaries? Strength? Or maybe the need to be lifted off the ground and carried by another for a while?”

This horse sense relates closely to what two other readers suggest. We cannot begin to meet the needs of an out-of-whack world without first looking within our own heart and spirit, they write. It’s not just the world’s leaders who are the problem, Tom Bartlett writes from Florida; “We, all of us, are the problem.” To this, Ontario reader Helen Hare adds, we must call on our Creator to instill in each of us “the will and ability to achieve every virtue.”

This brings me to this week’s focus. Just imagine what the world might be like if we could break free from the bonds of limited vision constrained by what used to be, says Cochrane author/educator Robert Kelly.

That implies a paradigm shift in our model of education, the associate professor of creativity theory and practice at the University of Calgary argues in his just-published book, Creative Development: Transforming Education through Design Thinking, Innovation, and Invention.

In this sequel to Educating for Creativity (2012), Kelly extends “an invitation for educators and learners to embark on a journey of lifelong creative development to enable an engaging educational culture and life journey of hope, imagination, exploration, experimentation, and invention.”

Kelly’s is a vision for collaborative education that goes beyond what has been to what could be, liberated from a “self-destructive preoccupation” with simply regurgitating the past as the measure of educational success.

I must include in the whack pack, therefore, creative thinking. Thanks for the inspiration, Robert.


© 2016 Warren Harbeck

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