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News & Press: ICA News

NEW ToP Course Inspires Creativity for Innovative Action

Friday, June 20, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennie Flores Broadhurst
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What do a court judge and a french chef have in common?


It may seem strange, but taking a few moments to brainstorm commonalities between two unlike professions can stretch your creative muscles just enough to help lay the foundations for the breakthrough you have been hoping for.


This is just one example from a new toolkit of approaches for expanding group creativity presented in the new ToP course,  Facilitation for Innovation: Inspiring Group Creativity. 

ToP approaches are known for moving a group's ideas from creativity to innovation through action.  Yet, facilitating group creativity and innovative action can be a challenge, especially when a group is put on the spot to come up with new solutions to enduring problems or dilemmas.

Over the past three years, a group of ToP Network members have been exploring the rich and dynamic field of research into the group creative process.  They have integrated this research with ToP methods and developed multiple approaches that answer the question: 
How do we inspire group innovation and creativity to produce breakthrough results?


On May 29, Ann Epps, Cheryl Kartes, Cherie Lockett and Eunice Shankland brought their sticky walls to the ICA GreenRise conference center and offered the course to 13 ToP colleagues.


The course introduces fresh approaches to explore, facilitate and practice group innovation with a variety of stakeholders.  There are tools for a variety of situations, from short activities to "shake up the mind," to longer exercises for shaping innovative strategies for action.  The methods are designed to take groups on a fun and productive journey that probes the edges of possibility, inspiring novel ideas to emerge.


Reflecting on the course at the end of the day, ToP mentor trainer Mary Flanagan was excited by the impact of the Framing exercise, noting, "We began to see the connections between aspects of the issue that were across all its different dimensions, connections we had not made before, and that was powerful. I will use that."


As with all ToP approaches, the course is useful beyond facilitating groups.  ICA staff member Fara Taylor observed, "These are tools that I can also apply to my everyday thinking, or while sitting at my desk, or with my work colleagues, to move past the roadblocks that come up along the way."


The course will be offered on August 12 at the International Association of Facilitators Conference in Singapore, September 12 in Minneapolis, and November 7 in the Bay Area.