Tapping Creativity One Innovative Invention at a Time


Go to VisionMondaySummit.com for Summit highlights, including VM’s overview story summarizing the presentations of the day, a slide show, PDFs and videos of speaker presentations.

 Frank Moss, PhD, director of the New Media Medicine Group at the MIT Media Lab posed thought provoking questions to the audience.
 Bruce Nussbaum, a professor at Parsons The New School for Design, tapped into his experience as a journalist and author.
Two leading experts from the private sector led off the Summit’s first session titled Tapping Creativity, with both speakers delving into what today’s imaginists are working on to change society, commerce and invention. Frank Moss, PhD, director of the New Media Medicine Group at the MIT Media Lab posed a thought provoking question to the audience when he asked, “Are the big inventions behind us?” He admitted that as a scientist, an enginner and an innovator, the question was “an obsession” for him.

As director of the Media Lab from 2006 to 2011, and author of The Sorcerers and Their Apprentices, Moss knows a thing or two about new ideas and innovations that are allowed and often encouraged to flow freely. “We have to think very radically about everything we are doing nowadays and realize that innovation and disruptions may come from anywhere and may happen anytime.”

He was able to cite several examples of unusual, game changing inventions at MIT saying, “the power of passion” played an important role at MIT, where students and faculty were encouraged to “invent and create.” He outlined several groundbreaking inventions including robotic prosthesis for amputees, designed by Hugh Heir, a professor at MIT who had lost his legs in an ice climbing accident. He said this was a great example of radical innovation even though there was no formal or directed research utilized.

Moss spoke about the end of “area disciplines” and said great innovations bring together different disciplines, making it possible for students at MIT to design an all electric city car that would help reduce congestion and literally folds up to save space in parking spots. Ironically, most of the research for the project was done by those who have no specific expertise when it comes to cars. Once the idea was brought to the attention of U.S. car makers, they could not accommodate the invention “because they were not prepared for disruption,” Moss said. Currently, the car is being built by a Spanish car parts maker and will be deployed in Barcelona.

To view video highlights of this session, click here.

Bruce Nussbaum, a professor at Parsons The New School for Design, tapped into his experience as a journalist at “Business Week” and author of the book Creative Intelligence. He talked about the importance of reframing philosophies and experiences and encouraged the audience to explore their creativity, which he dubbed CQ. “The present is driving us crazy and the future is unpredictable. Creativity is a source of anxiety for many and people will always choose the predictable over trying something new. ” He struck down several myths about creativity saying the process had to be social and cultivated. “Knowledge mining is key—prospect what you are good at and use that to reframe your view of things. Creativity will eventually follow.”

Nussbaum is a firm believer in “casting and connecting”—creating more opportunities for new ideas is possible by casting a wider net and connecting the right two or three ideas. “For example, driving and sharing resulted in Zipcars and integrating robots into our daily lives brought us the Rumba floor cleaning robot, founded by MIT researchers.”

The power to see what is new or different will bring about the power of change and he urged the audience to be brave about playing the reframing game to alter their way of thinking. “Creativity scares us, because let’s face it, we have so many myths about creativity. Most industries today are in the mud. But there are creative skills we can use to plot a path to the future and we can all amplify our creativity.”