Two-day seminar aims to boost participants' creativity

18:33, Nov 26 2012

Creativity goes much deeper than its "arty-farty, airy-fairy, touchy- feely" stereotype, creative soul Wayne Morris says.

It's a point he plans to prove during the New Zealand Creativity Challenge, a two-day seminar being held in New Plymouth next year.

The Taranaki musician, artist, and business coach says the creative process is responsible for much of the accomplishment and success in the world thus far.

"Everything around us was started with somebody's idea, then it was put into practice, and then it was improved. That's basically what the creative process is."

The word "creativity" put a lot of people off, he said, but there was a lot more to it than people thought.

"When you look at some of the innovations in the engineering industry and the dairy industry, people might not recognise that as creativity, but it is.


"It's the stuff that makes a difference, that produces new products and new techniques and new tools. So it's not just restricted to the arts by any means.

"I guess innovation is what business people get excited about and that's when creativity generates value."

The idea for the weekend conference came from Morris' trips to similar events overseas, along with his view that, basically, the entire world was in the poo.

"Worldwide, New Zealand-wide, things aren't working for us. The economy's rough, education's taking a dive and there's a whole lot of stuff," he said.

"Somewhere along the way, creativity has got to be acknowledged as being one of those things that is going to get us back out of or at least help us get back on track. If we don't think creatively or innovatively, we're not going anywhere."

Eight presenters from around the world, along with seven from within New Zealand and seven Taranaki locals, will run workshops across the two days.

Morris said the whole idea was to encourage people to think creatively about how things could be done differently in their own lives, around the workplace and in the community.

"The other aspect about creativity is that there is a critical element. So it's about saying OK, we've got these creative ideas, now how can we implement them.

"That was the thinking behind the conference. To get some of those conversations going, to get some people who are creative across business, education and the community, and get them together in one place to see what happens."

Some of the big names attending include Canadian Tim Herson, world renowned for his ability to transform workplaces with creative innovation programmes, as well as Jennifer Goddard, who is the colleague of Mind Mapping inventor Tony Buzan.

"In their own right, they are acknowledged as experts in their particular areas," he said.

The objective of the April 27-28 event was to get people excited about creativity, Morris said.

"I would like to see the bubbling of some creative collaborations out of the people who come. That for me would be the ideal result."

For co-organiser and presenter Shona Glentworth, it's more about breaking down the barriers associated with creativity.

"Sometimes it is either you're a business person, so you're not creative, or you're an artist, so you are creative.

"We need to break down some of those barriers and realise we're all creative in our own way," she said.

"For me, it's also about bringing it into the workplace, so businesses can see and use creative processes to be more innovative.

Morris said they were unsure whether the seminar would become a regular event, but were hopeful there would be a repeat in some shape or form after the inaugural year.

"We haven't got all the answers - we're kind of a bunch of creative people anyway, so it's not surprising we don't have all the answers - but it's something we've put out there and people have responded accordingly.

"The response has been pretty amazing. Nobody's saying it's not a good idea, so I guess that's all part of getting it right," he said.

Taranaki presenters involved include Dan Jane, creative bloggers Sonya Cole and Bridget Roper, musician Penni Bousfield, and arts therapist Stacey Waterson.

For more information, see

Taranaki Daily News