Why is creative thinking useful for urban managers?
According to the 2016 “Future of Jobs” report of World Economic Forum, Creative Thinking is one of the top skills one needs to thrive in the future.
Public and private sector urban developers often apply the same old choices and perspectives in city planning, preventing innovations and insights. With that in mind, a set of interactive workshops on creative thinking were offered to the UMD 2016-2017 students and IHS staff, as a part of the under the IHS&I engagement programme.
The workshops stimulated the knowledge of different creative thinking tools to help move outside “the habitual routes” in working life. The facilitators, Mansi Jasuja and Michael Stork, created a high energy and playful atmosphere, which included thinking about serious urban issues using fun group tasks and negotiations.
The facilitators based the workshop around real questions that urban management professionals face in their work or research. Then they applied creative thinking tools to look at these problems from different perspectives and arrive at surprising solutions.
Instead of beginning the thought process with problems and limitations, the participants learned to let their imagination wander in search of new approaches and they came up with surprising, out-of-the-box solutions to these everyday issues.
The participants also learnt to use the time pressure and the collective multicultural creativity of the group in this process, stimulated by games and real-life cases. The innovative examples varied from public transportation in East Africa, to GMO food production, to exploring how to make cities safer for women by using urban design.
The participants realized what the benefits of Creative Thinking are and its essential role in today’s urban management practices. At the end of the day, participants were eager to use the new tools in their future workplace, stating that the workshop really helped them think outside the box and that it provided a lot of inspiration for their future work life, as well as a better understanding of past experiences.
Mansi Jasuja is an independent consultant working in the field of resilient urban development, climate change impacts and adaption. Mansi is working closely with the Royal Dutch Waternetwork (KNW) and also currently holds the position of President, IHS Alumni International Board (Erasmus University, Rotterdam). Originating from India and living in the Netherlands since the year 2000 has given Mansi the privilege to be a part of multiple worlds. She uses the opportunities of having this cultural duality for co-creating creative solutions, networking and facilitating processes. What gives her a lot of energy are interactions that involve catalysing change and inspiring soul-searching that incites moves towards a sustainable world.
Michiel Stork is a skilled workshop facilitator and trainer, with a strong track record in sustainability. Michiel is able to create a very open and constructive atmosphere in workshops and trainings, enabling “the real talks” and generating new ideas using creative thinking tools. While Michiel has a focus on the goal(s) of a workshop, where possible and desired he aims at simultaneously delivering impact along other impact lines – such as teaching new skills, strengthening the team, and personal development. Michiel’s passion for creative thinking and interactive workshops, help him in getting participants enthusiastic.
Katariina Kokkonen is a Marketing & Communications intern in Institute for Housing and Urban Development studies. She is studying International Business in JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Finland. With high interest in event management, she assisted Mansi Jasuja and Michiel Stork in logistics and execution of the workshops.