This week, I discovered just how much I have strengthened my inner innovator and empathy muscle. We went around the school taking pictures of things to innovate (note: see previous posts with pictures), and the longer it went on, the more I could see things to change. And – to my complete surprise – I was taking pictures later that day and through the next without prompting simply because my mindset had changed. My work taught me to be able to see problems and more importantly, how to change them and find feasible solutions. My short-term efforts should still align with my long-term goals, as what I am learning in the short-term will impact how I accomplish my long-term goals. I do wish I had spent more time over the weekend “exercising my innovator’s DNA”, to help develop that innovator’s mindset. But, this was possibly affected by my uncertainty that I am not as creative as I would like to be. However, the longer I practice innovation and thinking creatively, the more I can clear the mental block that I am not that creative – because I am! Next week, I am going to start off fresh, reminding myself that I am creative, and to try and incorporate innovation and creativity in my life not only in iDiploma, but in my daily life as well.

Problem Solvers

In iDiploma, we dived deep into answering two fundamental questions without actually asking them.

Question 1: What do you want to be known for?

Question 2: How will you be a problem seeker and solver?

Then, getting into groups of four, we promptly created “sub” questions; trying to find ways to answer these questions by asking different questions. My group created quite a few questions; from “What do you want to be/are proud of?” to “How do you solve problems?” After about 10 minutes of creating these questions, we then paired off, and then began the interview. We asked each other the questions that we came up with, jotting down notes as we did. One question, “How do you plan on changing the world?” started a whole discussion about fictional scenarios ranging from solving global warming to an apocalypse started by the ice-burgs melting (which, as my interviewee pointed out, really wouldn’t effect Kansas to which I replied that this is all hypothetical and to just go with it. He decided to come up with a way to live underwater in bubbles made of glass. Neat.) By the end of this, of course, we had each learned a bit more about each other. Turns out, we both procrastinate, but are able to turn in a rather polished project, working well under stress and short time limits (though, to be fair, I am working on this. I have been  doing my work well in advance this year. Let’s see how long that will last…) I also discovered that some of these questions were rather hard to answer and open-ended. Such as “How do you confront problems?” Me: “What kind of problem is it?” Him: “World hunger.” Me: “Definitely gonna need help on that one.” Him: “So you work collaboratively?” Me: “No, just on big problems.” Him: “What about a hard math problem?” Me: “Yeah, I’d probably get help…” Him: “So not all big problems.” Me (protesting) “No, I could also use this amazing tool called the internet first…” Him: “Okay.” Another question, “What would someone say you are known for?” was also another hard-to-answer question. Him: “What would someone say you are known for?” Me: “It depends on who you ask.” Him: “You.” Me (hesitantly): “I don’t know….academic work? I like art?” Him: “Okay, what about your teachers?” Me (more confidently): “Definitely my grades.” Him: “Got it. What about your mom?” Me: “Uhhhh…I can read fast? I am artistic….I am organized…” As I said, hard to answer.

Looking back on it, I realize how much differently it forced me to think.  It also changed my sub – conscious thinking; every question I would ask, I would find similarities in my partner’s answer, another thing we have in common. It made me realize that, if one looks deep enough or asks the right questions, everybody probably has something in common. It also made me look at my life, and wonder how I should change my point of view to solve more problems, and to solve them differently. I realized I want to be able to think more creatively, view the world with creative eyes, to become a better person, and solve problems by embracing them as a challenge. And, knowing that I can, I will set out from this experience striving to change the way I view problems, my life, people, and the world, and embrace a lifestyle (and point of view) that ultimately will change me for the better.