October 13, 2009

Fitzpatrick's Hotel Killiney



Practitioners share Creativity & Innovation ‘Works-in-Progress’

10th–12th October, 2009, Dublin, Ireland

The conference was officially opened by Damini Kumar – Ireland’s Ambassador for the EYCI 2009, who presented her own project ‘Imaginate’.

This private conference (limited to 20 participants) focused on evidence from practitioners in different countries that those pioneering Creativity and Innovation projects are drawing more and more attention from leaders in business and industry, education, and government.

On Saturday afternoon, Sunday, and Monday morning, those presenting ‘Works-in-Progress’ (WIPs) were given the following time-slot for presentation and discussion:
15 minutes to present their WIP, followed by 10 minutes of dialogue with the other members of the Virtual Advisory Board (VAB). Then, in three groups, the VAB discussed feedback to offer the WIP presenter (25 minutes), and then (in the final 10 minutes) give these comments and suggestions to the presenter, allowing them to respond.

This makes up a one-hour slot for each WIP.

Here are some examples which were presented and discussed at the conference:

DAMINI KUMAR’s Work-in-Progress: earlier this year Damini launched her ‘Imaginate’ programme and competition, aimed at Irish secondary school students, challenging them to come up with ideas about what equipment would be needed in the ‘Classroom of the Future’. The winning designs and their young designers were awarded their prizes on a special TV programme.

HUMBERTO MATAS’S Work-in-Progress: Humberto heads the dnx Consultancy in Madrid and has recently established a new institute for human-centred innovation called ‘h2i’. He feels there has been too much emphasis on technology-centred innovation, and wants to shift the focus to people and their contribution.

MARY WHELAN’s Work-in-Progress: based in Ireland, Mary set up The Creative Thinking Network in 2004, with the aim of helping business owners/managers to take a more innovative approach to their business. She developed the BIN (Business Innovation Network) Programme in collaboration with Kilkenny County Enterprise Board. She is currently promoting BIN throughout Ireland.

EOIN KENNEDY’s Work-in-Progress: at Irish PR company SLATTERY COMMUNICATIONS, Eoin Kennedy is working on an internal ‘Creativity Bible’ for his team of 15 colleagues aimed at sparking new thinking and greater use of each person’s creative talents. As the shift away from traditional media intensifies, they are developing new communications programmes for their clients using New and Social Media.

JEAN BYRNE’s Work-in-Progress: DESIGN TWENTYFIRST CENTURY, set up by Jean Byrne and Jim Dunne to pioneer an understanding of the role of Design Thinking in Ireland, has initiated a pilot-project called ‘Designing Dublin – Learning to Learn’, which involves a mixed team of local government staff, plus architects, engineers, graphic-designers, and other disciplines, in re-thinking a community in Dublin and all its facilities.

JOSEPHINE BROWNE’s Work-in-Progress: As Head of the Business and Humanities School at the Institute of Art, Design, and Technology in Dublin, Josephine and her colleagues have pioneered an Entrepreneurship Education Programme which puts strong emphasis on Critical Thinking, Learning, Creativity and Innovation and is aimed at third level students who aspire to becoming entrepreneurs.

IRISH NATIONAL CENTRE FOR CREATIVITY’s Work-in-Progress: The city of Kilkenny in the heart of the island of Ireland has ambitions to host the National Centre for Creativity (NC4C). The local County Enterprise Board, represented by Mary Whelan and Bernie McCoy, will report on these plans and present a project called The ‘Imagine Animation’ Enterprise Programme.

TOMAS MOTOS’s Work-in-Progress: Tomas has just published a book on Augusto Boal (Theatre of the Oppressed) and focuses on ‘Theatre in Education’ and ‘Social Theatre’ in his work as Professor of C & I in Education at the University of Valencia, Spain. He uses Drama activities as tools to improve the skills of teachers and to integrate the socially excluded, such as the homeless, and drug addicts.

Conference delegates from Ireland and Spain

Conference delegates from Ireland and Spain


At the end of the Conference, the 20 members of the Virtual Advisory Board published a list of 10 Recommendations for increasing Creativity and Innovation in Ireland.

    We recommend that the people of Ireland – through widely representative organisations – shape their own future by creating ‘The Museum of the Future’.
    We recommend that the Minister for Education implements training in Creativity in all teacher-training programmes.
    We recommend that the Minister for Education introduces a National Competition in Creativity in all primary and secondary schools, building on the excellent work being done by Damini Kumar with her ‘Imaginate’ (Classroom of the Future) project.
    We recommend that FAS (Irish National Training and Development Authority) develop a menu of motivational Creativity Programmes focussing on those out of work.
    We recommend the Taoiseach’s (Prime Minister’s) Department to form a Creativity Task Force to input to the existing Education and Innovation Task Forces.
    We recommend that the Minister for Science, Technology, Innovation and Natural Resources should also take responsibility for Creativity and establish a network involving all Creativity and Design activities throughout the country, adding the word ‘Creativity’ to his title.
    We recommend the Minister for Science, Technology, Creativity and Innovation, and Natural Resources to support the establishment of a National Centre of Excellence in Creativity to coordinate this network. We note that there are already encouraging initiatives being taken in this area.
  8. MEDIA
    We recommend the National TV and Radio broadcasters to introduce programmes for children and young people aimed at spreading an understanding of the importance of Creativity, and to celebrate it.
  9. MEDIA
    We recommend all parts of the Media to start a national conversation about the role Creativity can play in all our lives by telling the stories of individuals and organisations who have demonstrated what this can mean.
    We recommend the nomination of county and all-Ireland Ambassadors/Champions of Creativity and Innovation as role-models and promoters, who express a spirit of Creativity in their own lives, as well as pioneering new ideas, products, and services.



  1. Sheila Fogarty on October 10th, 2009 3:31 pm

    Wish we had heard of your project before so could maybe have linked in with what you are doing,as we are hoping to launch REFRESH Dublin in November at our office in the City.