The inGenius Book Club Series, Part I: Reframing

Now that National Poetry Month is coming to a close, I am excited to move on to a new series for the next several weeks on creativity (my recent post at Psychology Today is also on this topic). This is the first in a series of eleven posts over the next several weeks that will serve as a kind of companion to or book club for Tina Seelig’s book inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, and I encourage you all to get a copy of the book to follow along. (Note: On Thursday of this week I will take a short detour from the series to participate in a blog hop sponsored by Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page.)

inGenius, by Tina SeeligOne of the hats I wear is as Adjunct Associate Professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, and my favorite university class to teach—hands down—is Creative Thinking. In fact, while I have now made the transition from being a part-time teacher and part-time writer and part-time indexer to full-time freelance work-at-home indexing and writing, I am happy to say that I will be able to continue to teach this course from time to time. I guess I still am refusing to choose.

For the past couple of terms, I’ve used Tina Seelig’s inGenius as the course textbook. Tina Seelig is a Stanford Professor and Executive Director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. Because her book is such a wealth of information, examples, and inspiration, and because I firmly believe that adding more creativity to our lives will make us more fulfilled, more engaged, and better able to weather life’s challenges, I want to share some of what I put together for my students with the rest of you. The posts will go through the book chapter by chapter, touching on the main idea and sharing links to resources.

The inGenius Book Club: Reframing

“[B]y changing the frame, you radically change the range of possibilities.” ~ Tina Seelig

hands photo courtesy of sanja gjenero
hands photo courtesy of sanja gjenero

Chapter One of inGenius is all about reframing: seeing things from a different perspective, through a different lens, from a new angle. In many ways, this is the heart of creative thinking and, while simple, often very difficult.

“We make the mistake of assuming that the way we do things is the one right way.” ~ Tina Seelig

A few of the examples of reframing from this chapter include the classic and still powerful 1977 “Powers of Ten” video by Charles and Ray Eames, which shows us our world both from the macroscopic and microscopic perspectives, the visual artistry of M.C. Escher, the reinvention of Netflix just when it seem poised to fail for good, and the prosthetics company Bespoke, who reframed the idea of what artificial limbs can look like and, in turn, how they can make wearers feel. I have included at the end of this post videos to learn more about several of these examples.

We reframe in our everyday lives when we repurpose objects for new uses and when we practice empathy by seeing the world through another’s eyes.

What are some examples of how you reframe problems to find new, creative solutions?

See also (videos)

Powers of Ten:

Apple’s “Think Different” commercial (unreleased, narrated by Steve Jobs):

On M. C. Escher:


%d bloggers like this: