SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 20

PersPectives

Steven Rodgers

SAMPE Past President and
Consultant, EmergenTek LLC
Steven.R@EmergenTek.com

Accelerating Technology: Full STEAM Ahead, Episode 2
"Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people." - Leo Burnett1
The problem with writing a column like this is that it is inherently a one-way process. If I do my part, I write. If I am
fortunate, you read. It is related to the performer/audience relationship and we have traditional, distinctly-defined
roles. I throw and you catch.
How is that a problem? For me it is a problem because I often set out to stimulate dialog. I receive a lot of emails
thanking me for a given column or expressing appreciation of my treatment of a topic. That is greatly appreciated
because otherwise I would wonder if I were writing for the wall or some other inanimate object. It is nice to know
there is somebody out there.
Occasionally I get an email or a comment that rounds out the factual side of a column, presents anecdotal
reinforcement to it or shares a personal parallel to the perspective expressed. This is also appreciated and brings
me a step closer to what is missing: The dialog itself.
I am eager to explore the dialog I strive to initiate. I want to have a little back-and-forth conversation in which both
of us are enriched by thoughts and ideas we might not have had if we remained intellectually isolated. It is the
dialog that gives texture to our thoughts, and that cannot happen in a unilateral relationship.
Imagine my glee when a friend of mine emailed me within a few hours of the time the last column was made public
and entered into the dialog. I had written about the need to stimulate creativity among ourselves. I expressed that
it is really only the creative engineers who can turn out the simple, elegant solutions we all crave and admire. Then
this friend sent me an email response and brought me back to something akin to pragmatism with the following
observations:
"[This] then begs the questions:
1) What is creativity?
2) What are the similarities/differences of brain functions during periods
of creativity and periods of problem solving?"
Eureka! We now have The Dialog!
In that moment I began to consider writing a follow-on column to address those questions. Then I sat. And I
thought. And I thought some more.
What is creativity? I began to realize how glib I had been in tossing the word around. Of course, everybody knows
what creativity is. That is, we all know what it is until we are asked to define it. It isn't a simple concept. There is a
lot going on here.
So I turned to the fount of all knowledge; the dictionary. And as well all know, there are several dictionaries, some
of them better than others. The first definition I read was the one so stupidly simple and non-definitive that even
I could have written the definition: "The state or quality of being creative." It is the linguistic equivalent to A=A.
It's nice and it is technically true, but it really doesn't really provide much illumination. I then turned to a second
dictionary for a better definition:
"The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new
ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination."
1
Leo Burnett was an advertising executive who changed the face (for better or worse) of advertising and branding. In 1999, he was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most
influential people of the 20th Century.

20

SAMPE Journal, Volume 52, No. 4, July/August 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016

Contents
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover1
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover2
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Contents
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 2
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 3
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 4
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 5
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 6
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 7
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 8
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 9
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 10
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 11
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SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 19
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 20
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SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover3
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover4
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