BY KASIA HENLEY
A Sheridan College professor led a room of business professionals through a lecture on creative problem solving in the hopes that a new way of thinking will help them solve the housing issues that currently affect Halton.
Michael McNamara, professor of Creativity and Creative Thinking at Sheridan, was at the First Canadian Title building in Oakville giving a talk to help housing advocates bring in charitable dollars to address the housing needs of Oakville’s most vulnerable.
“We hope to take these stakeholder groups represented here today to take a challenge that they’ve identified as being pressing in their particular sector and to use the creative problem solving methodology to take them through the various stages of the development of a creative response to that challenge,” McNamara said.
Among the topics he covered at the Halton Housing Alliance event were playing with Lego, Pictionary and bathtub improvements.
“Add a wine glass holder,” one participant joked about the latter.
The attendees were split into groups to facilitate collaborative thinking. Groups were encouraged to say any and all ideas out loud, with McNamara stressing quantity over quality.
“There are no bad ideas,” McNamara explained. Sure enough, groups mounted the walls with tens of sticky notes with suggestions on how to improve a bathtub – including the wine holder addition. He also suggested that groups use the Lego and Play-Doh available to them while they worked, explaining that menial tactile tasks can help with concentration.
These activities may seem to have little to do with housing, but McNamara believes that giving his audience the tools to problem solve creatively will help them come up with solutions to their problem. “Those creative responses could take the form of a new initiative, a new program, a new project designed for funding,” he said.
“We think we could really make an important impact on the sector.”