Artificial Inventiveness (AI) – How to Spread Creativity

Creativity Compulsory – fall semester, 6 credits

New ideas always lighten up faces. It’s already a big thing, but they can – depending on their size and power – save a project or a business; become a device, a poem, or a patent; change a life; or just add a sparkling moment to it. It is so great to be – or at least to be known as – a creative person. But do we know how to develop new ideas systematically or, even more important, how to teach creativity? What are the tools for rational, logic-based ideation, for thinking out of the box?


Yes, we are so lucky: We have been developing, applying, and teaching tools of systematic creativity in our team for companies and universities for many years, so we have made creativity our profession. We know how to create a new e-learning course conceptually or how to invent a new concept for an active magnetic bearing compressor. It is not a unique piece of knowledge; it’s merely a roadmap to navigate amongst many “boxes”: mathematics, physics, system theory, biomimetic, axiomatic design, TRIZ, and other tools to analyse a problem systematically and to deliver new ideas to solve it. We will present, share, and discuss our experience at our Knowledge Factory entitled Artificial Inventiveness (AI) – How to Spread Creativity.


OK, now, do it to me digitally

By 2011, we knew everything about how to teach creativity and already had ten years of experience of teaching and applying the subject at universities and companies. We did it as most teachers and consultants did: with lectures, workshops, a bunch of PPTs, and a textbook. We wish we remembered who told us to record the first five-minute video as additional course material. It became Pandora ’s Box, with many problems that flew out one by one.


Why don’t we don’t just record the whole lecture? Because it is too long, full of noise and repetitions. Let’s record short fragments! – But it requires a completely different course structure:  shorter modules, a different ontology, texts that are edited for video, not for a written manual. Surprise! Recoding is not lecturing at all! It is much, much harder to engage and involve the small red “On” LED near the camera’s objective than the people in the class. Jokes are not funny on the video, and case studies need to be edited carefully.


OK, now we have videos to cover all the theory, but why don’t the learners watch them? Let’s add quizzes and place them every three minutes! Ok, now the learners watch the videos, but how can we digitalise exercises and project work? What does it mean to do the project digitally in a team? We need a learning-management system. Fine, there is an LMS at our university, but access is given to officially registered students only. What if we have a chance to teach outsiders?


Great! Now we have an open platform! We can invite business and industry to take our course, to provide their problems as student projects, or to headhunt. But what do you mean by “Business will never attend courses that are such lame, do-it-yourself quality?” Do you mean we have to do everything so it looks “professional”? Yes, yes, yes! We went through it all. Check where we are now: And sign up for our workshop Flipped Classroom Design with Open Online Sources.


Finally, big, very big questions

Why, when we go blended and succeed in getting our students “out of the class”, do we simply lock them in another class, a digital one?
Why, after all the digitalisation, blending, project-based learning, etc., is the education model still kind of an agreement between a teacher and student, a contract? Be good, and if you are, you’ll get your credits. Why don’t we offer employment, a project in which learners are paid by a company?


Why, when we teach digitally and evaluate digitally, do we still address last-century soft skills? Why don’t we teach students to organise their project work on the web; to pitch by means of video; to learn to communicate with a team sitting in six different time zones; to speak different languages and use a variety of e-cultural backgrounds; to prototype digitally; to design a project in Italy, produce in China, and sell in Canada?


Why, having digitalised our teaching, are we involved in advancing its benefits? Learning-data analytics can be used to evaluate the learners’ progress and to adapt the course accordingly. Openness can be used to invite industry and future employers to sit down at the same e-bench with students and to ask questions, suggest problems, and augment information passed on by teachers. Digitalisation can be used to award a digital badge or a learning blockchain rather than a credit. It can open up a clear and transparent way to see what has actually been learnt and how.


Written by Leonid Chechurin, Iuliia Shnai and Arnob Khan, representing Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and the Coordinating body for the EU Erasmus+ project CEPHEI “Cooperative Platform for Higher Education and Industrial Innovations”, co-financed by European Community (project number 586081-EPP-1-2017-1-FI- EPPKA2-CBHE-J).


Leonid Chechurin, Iuliia Shnai and Arnob Khan will facilitate the Pre-Conference Workshop Flipped Classroom Design with Open Online Sources on Wednesday 5-12-2018 and the Knowledge Factory Artificial Inventiveness (AI) – How to Spread Creativity on Friday 7-12-2018.

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