Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I stumbled across this talk by Tina Seelig, Stanford Technology Ventures Program's Executive Director, The Art of Teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  How fortunate for me.  I recommend it.  

Check out their website at:

What struck me were the parallels between the course she describes and my course for high school sophomores, Theater and Creativity.  We both ask our students to solve problems.  The problems are simple at first, then become more sophisticated.  The solutions sometimes  (We both believe in fail fast and fail frequently.)  have merit.  I believe the essence of each course can be boiled down to what I call the Four C’s:  Communication, Collaboration, Connection, and Creativity. I’ll leave it to Ms. Seelig or her students to correct me if I’m wrong. 

Consider what Howard Nemerov describes in his poem, Poetics.


You know the old story Ann Landers tells
About the housewife in her basement doing the wash?
She's wearing her nightie, and she thinks, "Well, hell,
I might's well put this in as well," and then
Being dripped on by a leaky pipe puts on
Her son's football helmet; whereupon
The meter reader happens to walk through
and "Lady," he gravely says, "I sure hope your team wins."

A story many times told in many ways,
The set of random accidents redeemed
By one more accident, as though chaos
Were the order that was before the creation came.
That is the way things happen in the world:
A joke, a disappointment satisfied,
As we walk through doing our daily round,
Reading the meter, making things add up.  

I describe my course as a purposeful hunt for naked ladies in football helmets.  An assembly where the collision of individuals, problems, and purpose yields something new.  In my case pieces of theater.   In Seelig’s case entrepreneurial ideas.  Sure, not every solution is perfect.  But it has been created.  It never existed before and then it does.  Ready for discussion, development, refinement and giving to the world.  Creativity not as the result of accident, but of practice.

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