What is this?

August 22, 2010

At the conference “ICT and Innovative Learning Environments in Danish Universities” I learned this cool and easy way to start thinking about innovation from Dan Gilbert (founder and creative principal of Learning Innovations Inc.):

  • Take two minutes. Brainstorm on a piece of paper “What is this?” (e.g. a pencil. Not what it really is, but what it could be)

Point of this exercise? To see that innovation is a matter of opening up, being inventive, imaginative. Furthermore, innovation can be a matter of rapid generation of ideas, identification of problems, and finding solutions.

Innovation can be about finding ways to make (better) things happen faster.

I think that ‘the world’ I come from could learn a lot from this little exercise :-). Try it. It is an eye-opener!


  1. […] Connecting Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning August 22, 2010 The workshop with Dan Gilbert “Connecting Design Thinking, Teaching and Learning” was quite […]

  2. Miklas, I am glad you enjoyed this exercise. I was amazed by the quantity of ideas that we generated in that room as well – I like finding things that all of us can do that we can’t do alone, and one of those things is quantity. Then we have to look for the gold.

    Also, thanks for the great list of researchers and projects, very helpful. Hope we can stay in touch!

  3. Hi Dan,it was not quantity that amazed me. But how a deep quality learning experience could come out of such a brief, simple, and rather (in a sense) quantitatively organized (i.e. many people, few minutes, many ideas)exercise :-). And I see many different contexts in which this exercise could be useful.

    I am happy that you have found something useful here too.

    Thank you for letting me know :-).

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