Thursday, October 5, 2017

Spotlight on CEE Presenter: Ginny Santos

Written by 
Nicole Colter

We are all on a creative journey of becoming and we can learn a lot from those that came before us.  As we wait to attend the Creativity Expert Exchange conference on Oct 13 - 15, 2017, we might consider what we hope to learn, who we hope to meet and how we want to be changed by this experience. 

Those were the questions simmering below the surface as I started my interview of Ginny Santos of NeOlé Strategy & Innovation Consulting.  Ginny is hosting Diverge & Converge the Digital Way, a pre-conference workshop that will teach how to use Stormz to facilitate online problem-solving for 2 to 2000 people.  This training is offered over 5 weeks online at a cost of $300 USD so you won’t want to miss this incredible value-added training at no cost.

After a few minutes of getting attuned, which was incredibly easy as Ginny is a warm educator with a spellbinding Spanish/Canadian accent, our conversation broke open when I asked if her life changed after getting her Master of Science at the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC). 

“Oh absolutely!  It's changed everything that I do!” exclaimed Ginny.  She proceeded to articulate what I can only suspect is a similar story for alumni of ICSC, a story of wayfinding, adapting and reinvention.  She emerged on the other side with a consulting business, a series of positions teaching creativity at the college level, most recently in entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, and this passion for Stormz that is contagious.

A love of technology set Ginny on a quest to find a technological alternative for creative problem-solving (CPS).  She explored a variety of sites offering virtual post-it notes that can be moved around and voted on, but was never satisfied.  This dissatisfaction prompted her to keep trying to find a solution that would meet her growing need to facilitate meetings across time and space.  Eventually, she found Stormz and the rest is history. 

Ginny explained that Stormz is useful for any divergent or convergent stage so it can cover the whole CPS process.  She expounded “If I have a choice to use post-it notes or Stormz, I definitely go for Stormz.”  She has noticed that it makes people who are not used to ideating more comfortable.  A practical benefit is the ability to export data without having to retype post-its.  Ginny also points out that given the multipurpose nature of workspaces these days, the fact that the facilitation can stay active online and be accessed from anywhere makes it easier to come back to after a period of incubation.  She adds that people also tend to write clearer sentences than on Post-its. 

“It doesn’t do the facilitation for you” warns Ginny.  That’s good news for us skilled facilitators as we aren’t looking for technology to replace us. 

I must say, as a person more interested in teaching creatively and teaching for creativity, I wasn’t expecting to get so excited about a facilitation tool like Stormz.  Ginny intrigued me and I wanted to know more about her experience in higher education.  So I was surprised that our conversation ignited my own creative thinking for the potential of Stormz as a Massive Open Online Collaborative Community Engagement (MOOCCE) tool for solving wicked problems.  I was delighted to hear that Ginny created a series of Collaborative Learning Stormz templates for educators (see Collaborative Cheating and Collaborative Quiz).  I don’t know where you will be on October 13th, but I will be experiencing the future of facilitation at Ginny Santos’ Stormz training.  Hope to see you there!

Nicole Colter is passionate about hopes and dreams.  She’s on a mission to disrupt pervasive mindlessness and set people free from self-imposed constraints.  As she gets ready to complete her Master of Science in Creative Studies at Buffalo State College in May 2018, she is particularly interested in exploring education practices and environments that create self-directed learners and is currently focused on open education including connectivism, rhizomatic learning and emergent curriculum.  Her other interests include entrepreneurship education, mentoring, community development and cooperative business.

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