World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW) April 15 – 21 and World Creativity and Innovation Day, April 21 (WCID) advocates solving problems in new ways an annual event.
The overall purpose is to free up, encourage and remind people to use their creativity (generating new ideas, making new decisions, taking new actions and achieving new outcomes) for innovation that makes the world a better place and makes their place in the world better too.
(Source: World Creativity and Innovation Week website, https://www.wciw.org/)
How to Develop Creativity and Innovation: World Creativity and Innovation Day
Creativity is so important that, in 2017, the United Nations General Assembly officially recognized April 21 as World Creativity and Innovation Day—a day to “raise awareness of the role of creativity and innovation in problem-solving and, by extension, economic, social and sustainable development.” (Resolution 71/284, World Creativity and Innovation Day, UN General Assembly)
Setting aside a day to focus on creativity and innovation was the brain-child of our colleague Marci Segal, a graduate of the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) at the State University of New York College at Buffalo (as are many of BridgePoint Effect’s team members, including Founder Janice Francisco). Marci is a prominent and important voice in the creative community, and advocates for new kinds of thinking to face the challenges ahead of us.
On May 25 2001, the Canadian newspaper National Post, published an article about Canada’s supposed creativity crisis. The article was, in essence, a debate between artists and scientists about who was more creative. Marci, in her words, “lost it.” “Give me a break!” she said. “This is how we have to spend our time, figuring out who is more creative? We ALL have the capacity to be creative; can’t we just use it?”
So Marci used her creativity, and World Creativity and Innovation Day was born. April 21 was selected as the date due to its proximity to Earth Day, thinking that people could apply their creativity toward greening the planet.
A Day Dedicated to Creativity and Innovation
World Creativity and Innovation Day is a day to take the time to, as Marci advocates, “create new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes to make the world a better place, and to make our place in the world better as well.” Thanks to the ICSC and the Creative Education Foundation, the first celebrations occurred in 2002. The idea caught on, and now fifty nations join in the celebrations.
In 2017, UN Ambassador I. Rhonda King, Permanent Representative to the United Nations from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, contacted Marci. She said, was looking for a way to bring creative problem solving to the United Nations. Do I have your permission to make World Creativity and Innovation Day a UN Day of Observance?” Of course, Marci agreed!
On April 27, 2017, Ambassador King read the resolution to the UN General Assembly for World Creativity and Innovation Day to be an International Day of Observance.
You can hear Marci tell the story of how World Creativity and Innovation Day came to be, including snippets of Ambassador King’s speech to the UN, in this video. Marci told the story as part of her speech in Buffalo this past fall at the Creativity Expert Exchange in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the International Center for Studies in Creativity. In addition, April 15-21 is designated as World Creativity and Innovation Week.
You can read the UN resolution here.
What excited and inspired Marci in particular about the UN resolution to observe World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21 of each year, was the focus of the UN on using creative problem solving to address all seventeen of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are a “universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.” As Marci says, “This is all of life on our planet. We have a day.”
How Might We Celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day?
The purpose of the day is to give people the space and time to be creative. For people who think creativity is frivolous, who think that some people “have it” and some don’t, who are too bogged down in paperwork to engage in creativity and innovation, this is a day to be creative.
Marci’s invitation is: “three people.” Tell three people about World Creativity and Innovation Day.
Her ask is to for you to do something new and different, to keep the energy alive and going. As Marci says, “There are lots of opportunities for new thinking and new innovation, and the thing is, we already have the capacity, so why don’t we just use it?”
Here are some ideas on how to enjoy World Creativity and Innovation Day:
Take a walk in the forest. The practice of “Forest Bathing”—simply being in the presence of trees”—originated in Japan in the 1980s, and has been shown to have many health benefits. As an added bonus, people who make Forest Bathing a part of their regular practice experience clearer intuition and increased energy.
Take a walk in a labyrinth. Labyrinths are tools for personal, psychological and spiritual transformation, also thought to enhance right-brain activity. Our Founder, Janice did her master’s thesis on labyrinths and their connection to creativity, and later wrote a book about the labyrinth experience. We offer this book to you as a free download; click on the book title to download your PDF copy of Creative Walker's Guide to the Labyrinth. If you are inspired to take a walk in a labyrinth, here's a handy Worldwide Labyrinth Locator to find one near you.
Do something you haven’t done before: Try a new flavour of ice cream, check out a new restaurant, or visit a new museum or art exhibit. Making a habit of doing something out of the ordinary; even walking around the block in the opposite direction to how you normally do it can shake things up and improve creativity.
Take a nap! Taking time to recharge is a great way to encourage incubation of ideas.
Read a book about creativity or innovation: Share the book with your family, friends or colleagues. Books make for great dinner time, lunch table or cocktail party chatter. We have many suggestions in this blog post on Reading for Creativity, and here are some more ideas. Yes, we are celebrating Canada’s connection to World Creativity and Innovation Day through these publications!
- Ingenious: How Canadian Innovators Made the World Smarter - David Johnston and Tom Jenkins
- And to show that there’s another side of innovation - check out Alex Benay’s book, Canadian Failures: Stories of Building Towards Success
And, through the following publication, written by colleagues from the International Centre for Studies in Creativity, you can learn through a fable how people apply creative problem solving to challenging problems.
Hint: Watch our social media feeds on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for our free book giveaway! Tell us how you’ll celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day on April 21, and you may win a free copy of one of the above books!
Finally, take a workshop with your team to learn how you can generate new ideas, make new decisions, take new actions and achieve new outcomes that make the world a better place. Here are four workshops that do just that!
Finally, tell the world how you are celebrating World Creativity and Innovation Day. Upload your plans here.