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Applying creativity for solving challenges (Door to Design Thinking Part 2)

This is the final Module 5 of the Youth Creativity Training Course. Participants have already discovered the power of their creativity, explored different creative approaches, increased their skill to team up with other participants and are now in the final phase of this journey, where they can “harvest” the knowledge and think further how and where in their lives they can apply it.  

Module 5 starts with a recap of the work from previous module and check-in with DiARC Digital Cards: https://nmct.eu/creativecards/  

At the end of the final two modules, there will be a reflection time on what are the main learnings from the whole course. 

  • How to practice creative solution design?
  • What is the challenge? 
  • What are the individual and group tasks? What is the impact we would like to achieve? 
  • What are the outcomes from our creative design? 
  • What have we learnt from the course and what has been improved? 

You can access the whole module here: 

The Youth Creativity Training Course that was developed within the DiARC Project, consists of 18 academic hours, broken down into 5 modules. In between the modules learners are to be engaged in individual and group learning activities. 

The Course contains 5 modules covering spectrum of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that will equip learners to be social innovation practitioners in the CSO space. 

Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

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Applying creativity for solving challenges (Door to Design Thinking Part 1)

The current Module 4, as well the next Module 5 are dedicated to demonstrating how creativity can be applied to our daily challenges, both individual and community. The content will introduce trainers and learners to a tailored process of creative solution design and implementation, based on Design Thinking, entrepreneurship, and project management methodologies. 

Learners will be introduced to a brief description of the methodology and invited to engage in a group project on a community challenge they identify. 

You can access the whole module here: 

The Youth Creativity Training Course that was developed within the DiARC Project, consists of 18 academic hours, broken down into 5 modules. In between the modules learners are to be engaged in individual and group learning activities. 

The Course contains 5 modules covering spectrum of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that will equip learners to be social innovation practitioners in the CSO space. 

Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash.

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Exploring ways of developing your creative practice: Common art projects 

Art comes in many forms; you could address the art form of storytelling and writing in module 2, whereas in module 3 learners will be immersed toother forms of art, particularly visual art

The current module 3, “Exploring ways of developing your creative practice: Common art projects”, will guide you through a common art project resulting in the creation of an online art exhibition. To come to the opening of the exhibition, the participants need to address other relevant competencies. 

In this module, learners will embark on the path on gaining new competencies, including learning  about their inner saboteurs. 

At the end of the course further readings, links to creative content and videos are available. 

You can access the whole module here:

The Youth Creativity Training Course that was developed within the DiARC Project, consists of 18 academic hours, broken down into 5 modules. In between the modules learners are to be engaged in individual and group learning activities. 

The Course contains 5 modules covering spectrum of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that will equip learners to be social innovation practitioners in the CSO space. 

Photo by Sergio Rota on Unsplash

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Exploring ways of developing your creative practice: Creative writing 

Youth Creativity Training Course | DiARC Project

The Youth Creativity Training Course that was developed within the DiARC Project, consists of 18 academic hours, broken down into 5 modules. In between the modules learners are to be engaged in individual and group learning activities. The Course contains 5 modules covering spectrum of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that will equip learners to be social innovation practitioners in the CSO space. 

The objective of the module 2, on creative writing is to provide a concrete training structure with accompanying training materials and concrete exercises for people to boost their creative writing skills. Creating compelling stories that inform, touch and inspire audiences is one of the most sought-out skills in the history of humankind. 

Creative writing is a form of writing where creativity is at the forefront of its purpose through using imagination, creativity, and innovation in order to tell a story through strong written visuals with an emotional impact, like in poetry writing, short story writing, novel writing,
and more. Given the fact that creative writing is often of an experimental and innovative nature, it is no surprise that it takes a number of different forms such as: poetry, short fiction, novels, plays and screenplays, comics, graphic novels, and graphic narratives, personal essays, humor writing, etc. 

In this module, learners will enhance their creative writing skills by following and implementing short yet powerful exercises. At the end of the course further readings, links to creative content and videos are available. 

You can access the whole module here:

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

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Discovering the power of creativity:  

Youth Creativity Training Course | DiARC Project

The Youth Creativity Training Course that was developed within the DiARC Project, consists of 18 academic hours, broken down into 5 modules. In between the modules learners are to be engaged in individual and group learning activities. 

The Course contains 5 modules covering spectrum of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that will equip learners to be social innovation practitioners in the CSO space. 

In the first module, “Discovering the power of Your Creativity” DiARC trainers help the participants  to connect with their inner creativity as individuals and share the different ways one creates things in our everyday lives. 

At the end of the module, participants arrive at three main guidelines on how to nurture creativity, based on the research presented in the documentary “The Creative Brain: 

  • Try something new;
  • Push boundaries;
  • Accept failure.

You can download the file here.

The Youth Creativity Training Course that was developed within the DiARC Project, consists of 18 academic hours, broken down into 5 modules. In between the modules learners are to be engaged in individual and group learning activities. 

The Course contains 5 modules covering spectrum of knowledge, skills, and attitudes, that will equip learners to be social innovation practitioners in the CSO space. 

Photo by Joshua Woroniecki on Unsplash.

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Use Active Thinking to Solve Your Problems

Article by Mira Yossifova, The Creative Spot

One of the essential things to learn is active thinking. Active thinking is the actual process of thought used to solve problems. It is the way we see ordinary things and information and organize them into new, unknown patterns. The way we look from a different perspective and go beyond the typical boundaries that shape everyday problems, constantly reshaping and managing information into new forms.

To engage in active thinking, one must apply a different set of thinking skills. Provide a holistic approach to solving problems and use creativity to connect the dots.

One of the ways to solve a problem successfully is to explore different routes and approaches to it. After finding the most apparent solution, don’t stop. Sometimes, we think we’ve found the best idea, but if we dig deeper, we can see an even better, a not so obvious one. When making a list of possible solutions, we first record the most common and ordinary ideas. Only after a while we begin to examine the less obvious ones. But they could be the ones that solve our problem faster, cheaper, or better.

You can discover the less common and abstract ideas by making an idea quota. Say you’ll stop searching for solutions only after you reach fifty ideas. Write down ideas until your reach the predetermined number. Don’t stop until you reach your quota. Examine the list and then leave it for a while. After a day or two, your subconscious brain will start to add more. Re-examine it and add new items. Then invent a rule for judging ideas that depend on the specific problem you face. Such criteria might be strengths and weaknesses or relevance to the issue you face. Or any other that you think might be appropriate.

The key to finding the correct answer is to produce more and more ideas. Quantity is important. The more, the better. Don’t limit yourself to the first thing that comes to mind. Get as many concepts as you can, even if they seem absurd at first. Search all possibilities. Use as many different approaches to the problem as you can imagine. Get a view from different angles. Sometimes the solution could be counterintuitive, but that doesn’t make it wrong; on the contrary.

Having a diversity of thought beats clichés every time. We are most creative when we produce a lot of stuff and discard most of it. The gem you are looking for lies somewhere in between.

The key to creativity is active thinking.

Challenge all assumptions.

Try to gain flexibility of thought and de-standardize your brain.

This is a guest article, first published on author’s website: https://www.thecreativespot.co/post/why-use-active-thinking-to-solve-your-problems

Image: freepik.com

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Jump to the Web – Research of the International Ray Research Network and Slovenian Good Practice.

When planning youth work activities during a pandemic, it is crucial to recognize the wider impact of this situation on youth work. To this end, here are the results of a study on the effects of the pandemic on youth work in Europe (RAY-COR). Below you will find short highlights of the research. The results of the research are presented by Andreas Karsten, a journalist and researcher (Hostnik, 2020).

The RAY-COR survey identified both bad and good effects and was done in collaboration with national agencies such as Slovenian one – Movit and universities, with the aim of determining the extent to which youth work was accessible to young people during a pandemic. Research has shown that a pandemic has the greatest impact on the mental health of young people, which is why we can also talk about a mental crisis. The pandemic has also had a major impact on youth employment and education. (Hostnik, 2020).

What is then the good news? Youth work has quickly come to digital online platforms where young people have been able to discuss more serious topics and their future. And the bad one? The most excluded were marginalized groups of young people who fell out of the reach of social networks (Hostnik, 2020).

Below, here is a good practice The Center for Youth Assistance (CPM) on how to how to adapt your work online:

The Center for Youth Assistance (CPM) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization that offers free psychosocial counseling and the possibility of free psychotherapy to young people between the ages of 15 and 30, and those associated with them, with experienced experts in the field of psychosocial counseling and working with young people.

The counseling center welcomes all young people who find themselves in various difficulties, who do not know or cannot solve them on their own and who need support in finding suitable solutions for themselves. Often, the plight of young people is related to relationships with parents, peers, partners, authorities, or loneliness. Relative problems of young people, however, are reflected in the form of various behaviors such as escape from addiction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, self-harm, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and other forms of mental distress (Romih, 2021).

During the epidemic, the association created an additional digital activity “Scene without a name”, where they created an open online environment in which participants can anonymously expose their plight. Based on the expressed hardships and challenges, young people with similar problems discuss and look for solutions. This creates more understanding, young people get an interlocutor who they do not have in the real world without this activity (Hostnik, 2020).

Observing changes:

Certainly, with the online implementation, they have reached young people who would not otherwise. Even before the epidemic, young people from all over Slovenia visited the counseling center, and online implementation is certainly logistically more acceptable for those who do not live in Ljubljana or its surroundings (Hostnik, 2020).

Recommendations:

The project came out of the need to offer young people from the counseling center who are experiencing similar challenges, as well as other young people who would be interested in the project, a safe place to talk. The response of the young people was surprising, at this moment it is a challenge for the association to ensure the regular implementation of activities. If they were to start the project again, they would pay more attention to the time availability of the staff that implements it, include the activity in the annual plans, make a strategy (who implements what and the scope of implementation) (Hostnik, 2020).

If you would like to know more recommendations on how to tackle online youth work, more information is available here.

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Fine-tune your mindset from growth to great.

Growth Mindset is for Leaders and Great Mindset is for Leaders in Art

Article by Svetoslava Stoyanova, NMCT

Growth mindset is a well-known concept of not only the ambitious novice – it is also a conscious corporate target of many renowned employers. Carol Dweck, a lead researcher on the topic and author of the book with the same name, states that as humans, we operate in both a fixed and a growth mindset. Apparently, one should intentionally strive for amending their brain to the growth state of mind.

GROW INTENTIONALLY

Growth mindset is an attitude that allows us ‘to understand that [our] abilities can be developed’ (Dweck, 2014). It is often intertwined with the idea that if someone demonstrates a growth mindset, they are determined to succeed. To succeed in arts however, we need something more. We need Great mindset of inspiration. 

GROW PURPOSEFULLY

I now invite you to build on the idea of possessing a growth mindset with something I’ll call a great mindset. It is an attitude that every time I witness as a coach in my sessions, no matter if the coachee’s work path is in arts or in another field, it fuels my belief that people actually can change for the better. Great mindset in my view is the ability of a person to admit and acknowledge their individual pace in achieving a goal. It is a matter of velocity and a matter of momentum too. Like when we create.

GREAT MINDSET BASICS

Great mindset is about Growing Reasonably, Eagerly, in an Admirable manner that makes you Thrive  feeling GREAT.

How will you know that you experience the great mindset yourself?

While fulfilling a desire or a goal, climbing the career ladder or euphorically launching an own artistic project, here are five signs of that unmatched mindset as an acronym for GREAT:  

1) Growing

The change is going through your veins. You are partially out of your comfort zone, but you are savoring the effort of, for instance, waking up an hour earlier to learn the alphabet of a new language or code. 

2) Reasonably

Growing reasonably is growing in a satisfactory way at a price that is not too expensive for you to pay. It means you know your Why, and the gravity of the change you want to create or the milestone you are about to accomplish.

3) Eagerly

“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded there” they often say. You pursue your better self in a joyous and fulfilling way, you have the energy to go that extra mile, and you are exhilarated to do so.

4) Admirably

You follow your way in a fashion worthy of admiration. Moreover, a tribe of followers, inspired by you, is about to form and it seems that your goal or cause is enlightening others too.  

5) Thrivingly

This is the thing and this is the way. You feel it, you see it, you know it. What differentiates it from bare enthusiasm though, is that it doesn’t appear as a sprint, but is much more like a marathon and you have the capacity to endure it. You don’t need a special energy recourse to fuel your stamina, by taking action itself you gain the energy to keep going towards the direction you have chosen.   

The great mindset is the sweet spot of doing and being altogether. The sweet spot of Chiksenmihai’s flow. This is a territory where there is no need to define yourself. You are a work in progress, you are the designer of your day and your way forward, and it feels… yes, it feels exactly GREAT!   

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5 CREATIVITY BOOSTERS FROM THE NETFLIX “THE CREATIVE BRAIN” MOVIE

Summary by Iana Avramova, NMCT

Creativity is a buzz-word that we have been hearing every day the past decade. There are many definitions of creativity. The one that resolute the most with us is that creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. One of its characteristics is the ability to view the world from different point-of-view, while finding hidden patterns and connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena. But most importantly it is about generating solutions.

The Netflix documentary “The Creative brain” introduces to us professionals from across the creative spectrum that unravel the creative process, and encourage all of us to be more creative.

At the very beginning of the movie we are shown that our brains have a predisposition to creativity as we are the only specie on Earth that can consider our options before making a choice. This means that the input of sensory information is not directly related to our output. One great example that is given in the movies is about food. If you give a mouse a piece of cheese it will only eat it. It will not think of using it for anything else. While we, humans can think of many other uses to food. For example, we can use it for decoration, we can use it for a fight (the Spanish tomato fights), we can use an apple as a paperweight or crave pumpkins for lanterns.

The fact that we can disengage our instincts and see things beyond their original purpose is the foundation of creativity. As it is shown in the movie, creativity is all about taking ideas from one place and applying them to another place, maybe in a an utterly different context. This is one of the creativity boosters in the movie:

  1. Creativity is about taking in a new information and combining it with what we already know. The richer and broader the inputs, the more the brain can play with them. This is how seemingly mutually exclusive ideas when combined can lead to a third entity with aspects of both. So, creativity is about playing with the convention rather than rejecting it.

  2. Creativity emerges of the interplay of neurons from all around the brain (not only from one of the two hemispheres as we were though in the past). Sights and signs are mixing with memories, thoughts, emotions, new and old. It is all about going outside into the world, using what is around us to generate new concepts, new designs, new perspective.

  3. Our brain weights only about 1,5 kg and it takes up to 20% of all our energy. In order to optimize the use of energy, the brain always show us first the easiest solution (not necessarily the best one). This property of our brain is called “the path of least resistance”. In order to be creative we need to ignore the easiest solutions and to dive deeper to find innovative solutions.

  4. The brain is a novelty seeker because what is old and familiar becomes less and less stimulating. It is pushing us to look for the new and unexplored. Creative ideas have to exist in a balance between the familiar and the new. It is all about pushing the boundaries in all directions to see where good enough and new enough is.

  5. Last but not least, the movie shows that most people successes rise of the ashes of their previous failures. We have to accept failure as we are not our failure. We are more than just on failed act. But if we never fail, we will never succeed in creative solutions.

Long we have been thinking that creativity is anteriority just to some people – mostly the ones that are engaged in arts. However, recent studies from research centers and universities around the World and the movie “The creative brain”, show that creativity is a skill and it can be learned like we learn math, languages, and science. It is all about changing our perception, going outside, and releasing the creative potential that lies in each one of us.

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How does creativity happen?

A new study reveals that “hot streaks appear to be associated with neither exploration, nor exploitation behavior in isolation, but a particular sequence of exploration followed by exploitation, where the transition from exploration to exploitation closely traces the onset of a hot streak.”

It seems that we employ the mechanism of creativity when we not only embrace our interests and talents, but also when we commit to do the work.

More inspiration and knowledge on the topic, please find in this article.

DiARC team