Archive: European Conference on Creativity and Innovation

November 19th, 2009 | By Amy Frazier | Posted in Art & Society | 2 Comments

Creativity and Community: Notes from A European Visit

I recently returned from presenting a workshop at the European Conference on Creativity and Innovation in Brussels. The theme of the conference was “Make It Happen,” with a focus on moving from the idea space, into implementation. Keynoters Kobus Neethling, Tim Hurson, Mark Raison, and others brought passionate perspectives to the task of realizing creative efforts, with an almost universal recommendation to envision going beyond what you had imagined.

Creative thinking and thinking about the future are two sides of the same coin. Creativity is often defined as the act of bringing something new, or novel, into being. Ideation — coming up with ideas — is a good first step. But it’s not, obviously, the whole system. How to manage the energies and possibilities, to converge and select one option out of many, and bring as much creative passion to the articulation of the idea as to the idea itself, is a less-studied part of the process. Hence the conference theme.

A few days later, I was in central France, in the small city of Poitiers, where I used to live. There, by chance I had the opportunity to connect with a man named Jacky Denieul, who is involved in a program to bring creativity into community development, along the line of Richard Florida’s work. The ambitious program to identify and nurture regional creativity draws upon culture, economy, environment, science, and connection to the land.

Once again, I thought about the power of future thinking and creativity. At, we write often about the city of the future, or the community of the future, with the implicit understanding that creativity is that force which will bring us from what is to what can be. To see creativity per se being brought into the process of community development, brings the implicit to the fore.

The whole trip was inspiring–with theory, practice, and vision contributing to the pervasive sense of a world full not only of possibilities, but also plans for making them happen.

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