1 + 1 = blue // Creative Thinking Gymnastics

1+1=blueWhen: Saturday, October 15

Where: Room 101 – CERAS Building, Stanford

Who: Dimitris Grammenos (Foundation for Research & Technology – Hellas, Heraklion, Crete, Greece)


Just like we need to exercise our body muscles to be healthy and strong, so we need to exercise our creativity in order to keep it in a good shape and not let it weaken as years go by. The Creative Thinking Gymnastics (CTGs) comprise a series of entertaining activities coaching many major ‘muscle groups’ of creative thinking (curiosity, imagination, open-mindedness, inventiveness, unconventionality, nonsense, etc.) through 12 hands-on creativity exercises which utilize simple materials such as a pen, blank sheets of paper, napkins, aluminum foil, balloons, etc.

The workshop is targeted to anyone interested in getting involved in and learning fun engaging ways for triggering creative thinking and setting the mood for conducting any type of creative activity. Participants will acquire and practice exercises for sparking and training different aspects of creative thinking. They will also take away the ideas and artefacts which will create during the workshop.

CTGs support the step that precedes (digital) fabrication, i.e., coming up with creative and innovative ideas. They can also be used for refreshing one’s mind and creative powers throughout the whole creation process.

Workshop schedule:

Creative Thinking Gymnastics consist of 15 steps, each of which lasts about 4-5 minutes. Steps 4-15 comprise a short introduction followed by a creative exercise. The steps and their goals are outlined below:

  • Introduction: Introduce the notion of creative thinking, as well as the concept, goals and approach of CTGs.
  • Never give up: Emphasize the fact that a key trait of creative people is that they persevere and never give up on their dreams.
  • Warmup: Inspire, generate laughter to help participants relax, ignite participants’ idea generation mechanisms.
  • Curiosity: Re-learn to ask questions even for things that are deemed as well-known.
  • Imagination: Start seeing the world through ‘different eyes’.  Uncover the ‘amazing’ that lies beyond the ‘obvious’.
  • Inventiveness: Put imagination to real use.
  • Time out: A short fun exercise used to introduce the next subject.
  • Open-mindedness: Learn to identify stereotypes and prejudice and attempt to think beyond them.
  • Unconventionality: Understand that, often, in order to innovate you need to be able to recognize mainstream and go against it.
  • Time out 2: A short fun exercise to introduce the next subject.
  • Nonsense: Understand, appreciate and exploit the power of nonsense.
  • Stupidity: Realize the fact that there are no inherently bad or good ideas – this attribute is determined by their occasional context.
  • Transformability: Start from the ordinary and transform it to extraordinary in your own unique way.
  • Fun: Fun and play are integral parts of creative thinking. Also, occasionally, creative activities do not begin with concrete goals, but rather as playful explorations.
  • Cooling down: Let the mind relax and calm down after all the intense activities and excitement.