Offered online via Zoom.

Let’s face it: the world is, and has always been, full of problems large and small, dire and trite. Throughout history, we have called upon creativity and innovation to address and solve these issues. Think: wheel, radio, pasteurization, Silly Putty. Necessity is, after all, the mother of (most) invention. 

But how are these ideas generated? What creates the spark that eventually leads to a Cray CDC 6600 Supercomputer, a prosthetic limb, or even a Barrel of Monkeys?

According to product designer Professor Barry Kudrowitz, researchers have found that having a playful attitude is helpful to creative problem solving and ideation. In fact, improvisational comedians produced more creative ideas than professional designers in controlled, time-limited idea-generation challenges. And following improvisational training, engineers were able to generate significantly more ideas.

“Specifically, humor and creativity both involve making non-obvious connections between seemingly unrelated things,” says Kudrowitz.

So why, then, do we promote play for children but discourage it for adults?  

Join us on December 3, when Kudrowitz delves into the connections between creativity, prolific idea generation, humor, and play, and why these things should be included in our work environments if we want to enliven creative leaders.

Barry Kudrowitz, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a Morse Distinguished Associate Professor and the Director of Product Design in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota. A frequent speaker and workshop leader, Kudrowitz has presented his research findings to industry leaders at Target, 3M, Mayo Clinic, and Kaiser Permanente, as well as educators at MIT, Vanderbilt University, Purdue University, and City University of Hong Kong, among others.  

His many design projects include a biopsy needle, a codesigned Nerf toy, an elevator simulator that is currently in operation at the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC, a ketchup-dispensing robot that was featured on The Martha Stewart Show, and an Archimedes Death Ray, which was used to set a wooden boat on fire for an episode of the Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters.

His awards at the University include a 2016−2018 McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, a 2015 Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Design, and a 2015 Founder’s Day Teaching Award from the Carlson School of Management.

Follow Headliners on Facebook @UMNLearningLife and
Twitter: @LearningLife#umnheadliners
Follow Barry Kudrowitz on Twitter: @kudrowitz 
Follow Barry Kudrowitz on Instagram: @wonderbarry
Follow the College of Design on Twitter: @uofmdesign

Headliners takes place monthly, October through May (no event in January). Dates for the 2020−21 season are October 1, November 5, December 3, February 4, March 4, April 1, and May 6. Individual event tickets are $20. Subscribe to the series by October 1 and get tickets to all seven events for $90. (A savings of $50!).

This fall (October/November/December), in a reluctant but steadfast nod to social distancing, we'll be offering Headliners online via Zoom. Spring 2021 locations TBD.

Headliners tickets are nonrefundable. If you have questions, please call 612-625-2900.

See complete list of Headliners events.

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