Creative Social Change Projects

I was rereading Edward De Bono’s book Serious Creativity and got some ideas. De Bono describes many techniques for generating new ideas, and some techniques for introducing creativity into organizations. These are really formal mechanisms for eliciting new ideas.

Activist organizations and social service nonprofits need to keep up a list of specific areas where creative ideas are needed. This is what De Bono called a Creative Hit List.

People interested in changing the world in some way, big or small, could benefit from creating new concepts to use or to promote. This much is probably not news, but maybe you have never thought of an organization implementing a formal process to create new concepts. This is called concept R&D. Maybe some of the big activist organizations, like Greenpeace, need Concept R&D offices. Maybe some of the big social service organizations like the United Way need the same sort of office.

Activists often concentrate on solving problems, which is a reasonable thing to do if you genuinely believe that ___________ is a big problem. Creative Hit Lists and Concept R&D can be useful here. As De Bono points out in Serious Creativity, there is a need to go beyond problem solving and make a conscious effort to look for opportunities. An Opportunity Search could be done in broad subject areas like fund raising, public policy, marketing, and public education. Searches could also be focused on issue areas like animal welfare or renewable energy. What opportunities exist to advance our agenda? To change more behaviors in the direction we desire?

We can’t help but act on assumptions about the world, about people, about social institutions, and about what tactics or strategies will work best. Sometimes we need to tease out then challenge assumptions about the world and even our assumptions about what needs to be changed.

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~ by chetdavis on September 30, 2006.

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