Dr Robert O’Toole, Director of Student Experience
Associate Professor (Design Thinking)

What’s the secret of creativity? There’s no simple answer, as every case is different. But there are things we can do to be more creative, to make it more likely. I teach an approach called Design Thinking, in which we have a strategy for creating the conditions in which creativity can happen. There are three essential aspects to this:

  1. Exploring, playing with, tech and materials, getting to know what they can do and what we can do with them. We do this in an open-minded way, looking for alternative applications rather than just seeing the obvious.
  2. Getting to know people, their challenges, ambitions, needs, capabilities.
  3. Imaginatively putting 1 and 2 together, to help people address the challenges they care about using the possibilities we have seen in tech and materials. Making connections and following them up with action is essential to creativity.

Recently, I’ve been playing with a new kind of camera. It captures a 360 image of the world. I also discovered a new feature in the WordPress blogging software, called H5P. This allows the 360 images to be displayed on a web page and interacted with. Annotations, links, images, video and audio may be added. I’ve also been looking at ways in which we can help people to feel at home in a space before they go there. Most importantly we want to keep the presentation of the space feeling fresh and up-to-date, populated with exciting events and new experiences. I connected all these ideas to begin innovating, creating a 360 tour we can keep adding to, giving a sense of the space as a living place. I’m still working on it, but you can have a go here.

Think about how you have connected together challenges, needs, people, spaces, places, and the possibilities of new technologies, materials and techniques.