Meet ProjecTHINK Keynote Speaker: Ismet Mamnoon on Creativity as Necessity

Education

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY FEB 13, 2019

This March 1–2 comes the return of ProjecThink—an annual conference dedicated to exploring the world of innovation and creativity in learning. Hosted on the Ringling College of Art and Design campus, the conference kicks off this year with a presentation from Ismet Mamnoon, founder of Beyonder, TedX speaker and featured by Time magazine for her work weaving creativity into parenting and education. SRQ grabbed a seat up front for a preview.

Why is creativity just now being thrust to the forefront and seen as a necessity? Mamnoon: It’s been a necessity all our lives. Evolution would have made us extinct if we hadn't had been creative right from the start. But it has certainly come to the forefront in the last 10 years.

Why? Because the world is changing at such a rapid pace, and that creates all kinds of stresses in our lives. It creates all kinds of challenges that we didn't necessarily have to deal with even 30 years ago. In this landscape of constant change—the only constant is that there will be change. And if we're not going to raise a generation that is agile, adaptable, has the ability to navigate complexity and ambiguity, we are really doing a disservice to the next generation.

What are you most looking forward to in your engagement with ProjecThink this March? I love it when I know that the audience is going to be people with an open mind. They’re open, they're looking, they're listening carefully, and that is such a wonderful relationship to have with an audience. It really is a very powerful thing to come in and have willing participants, people I can learn from.

Everything goes both ways, right? Exactly. When I was creating my parenting model, I actually did a project with 86 teenagers, to get their point of view on this approach to parenting. We don't engage with them in this conversation. If nothing, if I can get people to go home and engage someone new in the conversation, someone who is a stakeholder but doesn't get a voice, then that is everything.

Pictured: Ismet Mamnoon.

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