Ideas and where to find them #46 #cong18

Synopsis:

You don’t have to be an ‘ideas’ person to make an idea work!! It’s important to surround yourself with people who challenge you to look at things differently and to sometimes take a chance on something and see how it might work out. What’s the worst that can happen?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. You don’t have to be an ideas person!
  2. Find others who bring out your creativity
  3. Take a chance on things
  4. Think about how you might be able to use someone else’s idea in a way that might work for you

About Pamela O'Brien:

Pam O’Brien is a Maths and Computer Science lecturer in Limerick Institute of Technology. The integration of techology in education is a key driving force and is an area to which she devotes a significant effort. She organises the ICT in Education conference (http://lit.ie/ictedu), an annual event which provides an opportunity for educators to share ideas for the integration of technology in teaching and learning. She is an advocate for the student voice and the maker education movement and has been been involved in CoderDojo for more than seven years.

Contacting Pamela O'Brien:

You can follow Pamela on Twitter

By Pamela O’Brien

What if you’re not an ‘ideas’ person? I’ve struggled a bit with this blog post because I don’t really see myself as much of an ideas person …. but that doesn’t mean that I’m not creative!! Sometimes we hold ourselves back by our own (or other people’s) view of us. So it’s important that we work to find and nurture the creativity that we all have lurking inside.

I’ve been involved in many initiatives that are seen by many as being creative but, if truth be told, I haven’t really come up with the idea for many of them myself. Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that … But seriously, you don’t have to be the ‘ideas’ person to bring ideas to fruition, and I would contend, that sometimes the people who come up with the best ideas might not be the ones who can bring those ideas to where they achieve the most.

What has worked well for me over the years is surrounding myself with others who are creative in different ways to me. In this way we spark off each other and toss around ideas of what might work in a given scenario. Once the idea has been germinated I often find that this is where I can come into my own …. I can be the ‘slogger’ who takes the hint of a concept and see how it might work and then hone it further into something that might work.

The key in my humble opinion are the people you surround yourself with and how you work together. I have found that, particularly over the past 10 years, my views and how I work on so many things has changed because of the people I have come in contact with. Taking the opportunity to interact with people outside your normal sphere of contacts can have far reaching consequences by challenging you to look at things differently.

About 10 years ago I got involved in the organisation of the ICT in Education conference, an annual event hosted by Limerick Institute of Technology to provide a space for teachers to share ideas around the integration of technology in the classroom. The whole idea behind the event was to show teachers what others are doing, with a view to sparking creativity on how those ideas could be used in similar or different ways.

As a card carrying risk averse person, my early interactions on the organisation of the event was often to ask ‘What if it doesn’t work?’ I can still remember having sleepless nights in the run up to the event worrying about a Skype call to Australia or America not working as it should … fast forward ten years and my thinking has completely changed! Now I’m more likely to say ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ As I moved from being a supporting organiser to now being the main organiser the look and feel of the event has changed radically over the years.

What has changed my thinking are the people who have pushed me to take a chance on things and who are there to support me when taking those chances. These are the people who have come up with the ‘ideas’ such as incorporating students into educational events or getting people up and moving during conferences. Neither of these ideas have come from me but they have had a significant impact on the on events that I now organise. Looking back now it’s not rocket science to hear from the very students whose learning environment we are trying to improve, or to get people up and moving and talking to each other about what they are hearing and seeing, and yet so many events we go to don’t do this. So maybe I’m not an ideas person … but I am someone who can see the value in an idea and take it and use it in a way that works!

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