Wednesday, December 23, 2009

InCo movement and InJo-InCo 2009 Manifesto


The year 2009 challenged our perspectives on life, values and understanding of the world as a whole. Perhaps we have not found all answers, but we have become aware of the fact they can only be reached through open dialogue and integration among all structures of the society.

The latter was successfully manifested through the InCo movement for an innovative breakthrough of Slovenia, coordinated by Vibacom. Within the movement, we have already interconnected more than a thousand people, interwoven thinking and enriched each other with experience, knowledge and wisdom.

Thus, to inspire and stimulate your awareness that ‘we can’, we offer you our e-publication in which we tell the story of the InCo movement which has recently been published in our InJo-InCo 2009 Manifesto. Congratulations and thanks to all co-creators and supporters for its splendid contents.


HIGHLIGHTS OF INCO MOVEMENT

What does the InCo movement mean to you?

VIOLETA BULC: The InCo movement is a platform for manifestation of active dialogue among different innovation space participants, for intergenerational interaction between the boldness of youth and the wisdom of experience in search of new solutions. Thus, it is open to everyone interested in others' views, soundness of their own thinking and possibilities for activation. Simultaneously, we use projects to constantly test various forms of networking, decision making, organisation and management that are the grounds for more effective innovation systems and processes. Our proactive attitude and professional approach enable us to incorporate the accumulated experience, findings and thinking into the European and global knowledge bases.

Why should we be concerned with innovation, its communication and creating conditions for it to flourish?

VIOLETA BULC: At the current development phase of evolution of the society as a whole we have identified innovation as the key factor for generating added value and the latter as a precondition for creating the necessary resources for development. And development means excitement, dynamics, joy, inner satisfaction and realisation, a decent life. Not that people were not innovative in the past. Quite the opposite, creativity as the source of innovation is as old as humanity. It is just that the modern state-of-the-art technology has created conditions for regarding productivity and quality as entry factors of success, while the role of the essential factor with respect to market success was taken over by innovation (variety, solutions adapted to people’s habits and needs). We will remain in this evolution phase for several years. Therefore, our understanding of innovation, innovation processes and innovation environments will become increasingly important to sustainable development and effective cohabitation in any society.

You see the InCo movement as a form of social innovation. What is its contribution?

VIOLETA BULC: The InCo movement can be considered an example of social innovation, due to its methods of integrating various interested parties, and activation of civil society, as well as the method of its management. Its contribution lies in interstructural integration in which the central issues and imperatives are communication and dialogue and feedback between cooperating individuals; thus enabling understanding of different 'languages', or jargons. This initiates new ideas and the creation of new business models which enable innovative breakthroughs. Simultaneously, it allows us to test new management methods, especially management 'from the inside out' which is becoming an alternative to the horizontal method.

What is the InCo movement's central message?

VIOLETA BULC: The fundamental message based on our experience of the past four years is that involving, and integrating sufficient numbers of people always leads to a solution, and the discovery of opportunities appropriate for the time and space they are working in.

How can the InCo movement help Slovenia become more innovative?

VIOLETA BULC: Firstly, since its beginning, the movement has been raising awareness about the fact that creativity and innovation should become values appreciated by individuals one one hand, and organisations and society as a whole on the other. Secondly, it provides a platform for quick exchange of interstructural experiences and mutual learning. Its informal structure enables it to respond quickly to current topics, but also to work with long-term goals.

And lastly, the beauty of movements is that they exist for only as long as there is an interest or need for their existence; afterwards, they decline. They die out as they were formed, whilst the creative energy of its members is directed towards new challenges.

You can read more about the InCo movement, its initiatives and key events and projects in the InJo-InCo 2009 Manifesto, an annual publication of Vibacom. You can find the publication at www.incogibanje.si/manifest2009.


STATEMENTS ABOUT THE INCO MOVEMENT
(taken from InJo-InCo 2009 Manifesto)

Dr Danilo Türk, President of the Republic of Slovenia, honorary speaker and supporter of the InCo Conference 2009

/…/ I would like to emphasise that the initiative of the civil society is critical for development. I am speaking about development in these post-industrial times, development requiring the highest quality of each individual and new forms of their engagement, as well as new topics in politics and new dimensions of development. This context requires integration of actors into a network structure where rules of co-creation and complementarity are applied, where differences in knowledge, experience and opinion provide an opportunity for enhancement without excluding competition, thus demanding responsibility and wisdom. /…/ I am confident we have enough of such wisdom in Slovenia and that your movement and other movements similar to innovation communication will help establish the necessary networks in our society and the necessary networks and bridges between exceptional individuals and organisations from different fields. We must overcome established patterns and demonstrate innovativeness in creating new and fresh social and business models, adapted to our time and environment and based on the fundamental values, such as work and solidarity.

MSc Blaž Kavčič, President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, speaker at the 2009 Idea Reserve where the InJo-InCo 2009 Manifesto was presented

Civil society, which, due to its rich diversity, serves as a platform and as a pool for new ideas and inventions, enables breakthroughs in thinking, which in turn are integrated into innovations that represent new development potentials for that society. However, for a breakthrough, the civil society requires a medium, a transmitter, a bridge to carry these ideas and a space where it can express itself and seek new paths towards realisation of new concepts.

Tatjana Fink, MBA, General Manager, Trimo, speaker at the InCo Conference 2009, supporter of the InCo movement

The strength of the InCo movement is in encouraging companies as the key generators of added value to systematically communicate within their systems and with their surrounding environments. With the application of various communication tools and channels this creates an innovation culture, which will promote interstructural, intergenerational and interdisciplinary cooperation. The thoughts of individuals and the ideas of groups are the strengths we integrate in comprehensive solutions. Innovation is the driving force of development and determines the dynamics of future development. This creates a new energy among different generations in the economy, science and art and provides the whole society with a positive inspiration.

Dr David Nordfors, VINNOVA Stanford Research Center of Innovation Journalism, originator of the InJo concept

This InCo movement is absolutely central. It is a multi-stakeholder movement, which is essential in the innovation economy. Innovation is all about bringing together different competences and stakeholder groups in creating and delivering new value to society. It is contradictory for any of these groups, for example journalism, to keep the discussion of innovation within their own group and not communicate about their own innovation with the others involved. The key for innovation is communication. And the key for innovation in communication is also communication - and not only among communicators. Therefore, the InCo Movement is a very important initiative, it's really at the cutting edge of developing our ability to do new things in society. The Slovenian initiative is showing a new approach that we all have a lot to learn from.

Wilfried Ruetten, Director, European Journalism Centre, coorganiser of the Stanford after Stanford 2009 conference

There seem to be different speeds within European countries as far as issues of innovation are concerned. Actors in some countries seem to embrace the concept quicker than in others. So credit must go to Slovenia, along with Estonia, Sweden and Finland, to be in the lead on this and to understand the urgency of the issue.




Sonja Šmuc, Managers' Association of Slovenia, partner in the InCo movement

Sometimes the environment that surrounds us gives birth to initiatives that quickly outgrow the initial idea and develop into a comprehensive movement. InCo is a movement that delights with its positive force and the desire to replace bad patterns with innovative, different, fresh and socially beneficial approaches – not only in the media, but also in the communication of companies with their stakeholders. The movement has an incredible ability of interconnecting exceptional individuals from all areas.


Dr Metka Stare, Faculty of Social Sciences, member of InCo movement

I was impressed with the InCo Conference 2009 and the positive views of its participants regarding internetwork cooperation. They have shown openness to cooperation between partners from various fields, with different views. In the future, representatives of the public administration need to be more actively involved as an important actor in networking. The public-private partnerships can serve as a good platform for innovative cooperation between partners for such partnerships result in mutual familiarity and trust, which are very important elements in resolving issues.

Erik Blatnik, journalist at the RTV Slovenija, initiator of the »Mladi izumitelji« (Young Inventors) programme

Innovation journalism as a form of journalism that informs the public about invention can significantly contribute to the development of the society. By presenting an inventor’s original idea to others, along with its realisation and later use in practice, we stimulate people to think. A thinking, creative and (social, technological) progress oriented individual can move mountains. And this is the kind of people the world needs in the current crisis – to drag the cart forward with bold and innovative ideas, thereby changing established norms that are sometimes obstructing a positive development of the society.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Story of Martin Krpan - diplomat and soldier

Milan and I met several years ago at a diplomatic dinner and spent the evening engaged in a chat about life, the issues of our time and space, and the challenges of a young state. After several years of silence, I received a call from him earlier this summer: "Would you like to have some coffee?" The meeting was sincere, as sincere and inspired as Milan's views on the world, life and expression are. His work drew me and his last book delighted me with its simplicity, remarkably expressive power, and most of all ,established a fusion with my own understanding of life in a completely new, straightforward, yet very modern way. If you are creative, in Slovenia or looking for something in this space that will enable you to gain recognition abroad, I sincerely recommend that you read this book. Reading about his views will help you understand it better. This is Milan's story. Enjoy.

INTERVIEW WITH MILAN JAZBEC

VB: Who is Milan Jazbec?
MJ: The name identifies a fifty-year-old who has not been using a shaver for half of his life, who daily goes to work as a diligent civil servant (as a member of the administrative international variant of diplomats) and who enjoys playing with words in ether, on paper and on the web. Well, I'm not just a diplomat; I also write and often lecture at various universities at home and abroad. One of the things that pleased me the most was organising the first diplomacy school for children with the pupils of the Brežice Primary School three years ago. It was excellent!

VB: Where are the origins of your passionate bond with books and literature?
MJ: I feel I have been captured and enchanted by the world of books since I picked up my first one. My grandfather Albin, who spent eight years in search of a better life in America, was always, as far as I remember, a subscriber to newspapers and bought various books, which I devoured with fervour.
For example, one of the favourites of the barefooted country boy was "Ti-Coyo and His Shark", while "Naš državljan" (Our Citizen) was one of the dullest. Thinking about the latter now, I can hardly imagine how I made myself read it, but I feel it was good that I at least tried before discarding it. Even as a pre-school child I used to arrange sheets of paper into books, gluing them together with home made glue and showing them to my neighbour who later became my school teacher. I was later embarrassed by it, of course.

Foto: Vibacom

VB: Are your charitable activities also connected to books?
MJ: They are. One of them is a bookshelf that we set up in the library at my old primary school in Artiče last December, and which holds all the books I have written. There are about twenty of them now making the bookshelf appear quite full, but it also holds interesting reading. My idea was to encourage primary school children to discover their own potential, to talk about it and seek to realise it. Everyone is good at something and we must all, whoever we are, help children discover their potential. This is one of the noblest things we can do in life.
I completely realised my greatest childhood plan of becoming a journalist and I enjoyed studying for it. Most of the rest came by itself. In a way, at least. I never considered diplomacy - quite the opposite, I was never interested in it, but now am immersed up to my ears in it, and my books on the subject are read by students at universities around the world. While studying defence studies after I had completed journalism I would have laughed at anyone who told me I would become Deputy Minister of Defence. Anyway, it happened.
VB: Where is your source of energy for all this diversity?
MJ: I believe it comes from being open and receptive to the new and the challenging, and in not forsaking what I have in me. I like to listen to my elders and learn from those younger than me. I currently have two informal mentors: my son who is a student and my former now retired professor who is over ninety years old. We cooperate on books.

VB: How do you balance writing books and diplomacy?
MJ: Writing is a good training for diplomacy: both activities require you tell a lot, as much as possible, while maintaining a reserve, and expressing yourself between the, lines,careful not to say too much,especially that, which as a civil servant or diplomat you are instructed not to. This is a winding path of a special kind and involves seeking for solutions which appear not to exist, but naturally, they do. They always do. This keeps a person fit, sharp and gives a sense of satisfaction. At the same time I feel diplomacy is an activity excellent at exposing and revealing the human soul and character, or their splendour and misery, if I borrow an analogy, while at the same time it conceals and hides the efficacy of a person's work. Or in the words of the character Močilar, how people live and how they have this and that between them.

VB: What is your guiding philosophy?
MJ: I write as Fran Levstik proposed - the truth must be wrapped in a pleasant joke written so that many see themselves in your text, but nobody recognizes themself specifically. I also write expert texts, monographs and textbooks which students, diplomats and perhaps even some politicians use to study diplomacy.

VB: Moving on to the reason for our interview. Your new book is about to be published. Why did you choose Martin Krpan (t.n.: literary character created by Fran Levstik). Where did you get the inspiration for its meaningful title - Martin Krpan, Diplomat and Soldier?
MJ: I have had a fascination with Martin Krpan since my childhood - since the special edition of the children's magazine Ciciban with illustrations by Ive Šubic - an experience I am sure I share with many people. The idea for this exciting book came from my wife Maja on a Sunday afternoon. Since I have also been planning to write a monograph about Martin Krpan, this book was a special challenge, partly because I have once more completely absorbed this unique work of art through my son's experience of it. I immensely enjoyed writing the book, although it was not an easy book to write. On the other hand, having insight into fields of diplomacy and the military was very helpful. I have firsthand knowledge of them, both theoretically and practically.

VB: So what is it about?
MJ: It is about diplomacy and the art of war and explains both through the wisdom of our excellent diplomat and soldier, Martin Krpan.

VB: Has writing this book change your perspective on the world around you?
MJ: Yes, it has. I see certain experiences in my life from a more critical perspective while I see others in a more forgiving light, and do not deal with some of them anymore for they have been demanding too much precious energy and time. I have become more rational and deliberate. It has also affirmed my belief that any encounter is worth at least ten minutes of my time, but some of them no more than that. All of the above strengthens my confidence and brings new value, ideas and projects. But perhaps the most valuable experience of writing this book was finding time to talk to some of my old friends again and meeting many new people. There would be less of that without the book.
I widely avoid anyone who- borrowing Krpan's words - has bad thoughts and bad intentions peeking from behind their hats. Both can be quickly exposed with a bit of practice.
VB: What did you learn from Martin Krpan?
MJ: A great deal, and he keeps teaching me.His perhaps most important lesson is that you have to keep to your path and persist on it.I already knew that and have been living by it, but it is nevertheless important. The character of Krpan, or rather the text by Levstik is remarkable and unique, holding an incredible amount of inspiration and encouragement. With respect to diplomats, Krpan holds up - with a little help from me - a clear and accurate mirror for every diplomat to review their reach and what they have to do to be true diplomats. Very demanding!
VB: Who is Martin Krpan?
MJ: To me, the Martin Krpan in this book and in general is an example of a confident, bold, brave and composed person, relying on his ability and keeping his word. He is skilful, resourceful, respectful and well-mannered, although many think otherwise. He is not greedy or arrogant, neither is he vain. He does not desire what he does not need or knows what to do with. His system of values is firm and allows him to be upright and proud. Thus he does not have to exchange his life for employment at the court and he does not wish to. It is very enlightening to see how illusory courts attract with their questionable glitter.
He is apparently capable of great deeds and cares greatly for his local environment - in general, he has a balanced positive relationship with himself and the world around him. Isn't that close to what ancient Greek philosophers saw as an ideal statesman?
I am certain Fran Levstik used Krpan to depict a free, enlightened, capable and content individual, which any country should be based on. This is in my opinion Levstik's central message to our time.

VB: Why is it important we should read this book?
MJ: Clearly because it speaks about a central Slovenian hero who is a limitless source of inspiration for contemplation and action. It contains a completely new, and consequently different view of the character and on the text about him. The book presents an aspect of Krpan, of his actions, attitude and thinking that is fundamentally contributing to the identity of the state. The book is a sort of a diplomatic and military manual, while at the same time it provides the author with a convenient alibi to use his interpretation of Krpan to express - or at least try to - a bit of criticism.
Additionally, the book also offers the reader criteria for evaluating diplomatic work and assessing its quality and the skill of diplomats, including but not limited to our own. This is very important for diplomacy is still mystified on the one hand and undervalued on the other.
VB: So, how should we read the original Martin Krpan and your book?
MJ: Krpan should not merely be read as children's literature, but as a work each reading and each paragraph of which reveals significant views, opinions and realisations that we have about ourselves and about what we could have been ,had we understood it in a broader sense earlier. While preparing to write this book I listened to the tale of Martin Krpan every day for about three months and discovered new meanings and hues to these meanings each time. What an inexhaustible source of inspiration and strength! I tried to transpose a part of it into writing that should be interesting, attractive and enlightening to anyone, especially Slovenian diplomats and soldiers.

VB: Any special treats?
MJ: The book contains a few original local approaches and inventions, if I may put it so. I will give you a taste with three examples: pages 128-129 captured Krpan and his mare in a way which will delight anyone who reads and sees them. Furthermore, page 140 announces the publication of an electronic facsimile of the first publication of Levstik's text from 1858. It will be available by the day of publication of this book. Also, the book contains a list of all Slovenian editions of Martin Krpan and its translations - more than 140 altogether!

The introductory pages present a series of thoughts on Krpan and this book, contributed by people who supported its publication. These thoughts are a treasure chest of original, clever and encouraging views on Krpan. They radiate confidence and pride, both of which we lack so seriously. And some simple everyday kindness.

Photo: Vibacom

VB: Do Slovenians really lack confidence or are we just modest and able to enjoy non-material qualities, such as simplicity, freedom, skill and wisdom?
MJ: I believe that the number of people who value the true qualities and virtues of life are growing. I wish there were more such examples in public life for that would be of great importance. We all know that good examples tend to be followed ,and that giving such
is worthwhile. Confidence, on the other hand, needs to be learned. Among great people modesty is a virtue of personal strength and integrity and not a weakness. The virtues you mention can make us rich and content which ultimately eliminates the lack of faith and self-confidence.

VB: What is your next step?
MJ: There are many steps on my path and more reveal themselves with. Krpan was very helpful, mainly in sharpening my focus, stimulating a critical view and adding to significance and confidence (not that I lacked any of these before).

First, I have two books I have already written. One of them describes bureaucrats with a pinch of humour, while the other one is a collection of short stories about diplomacy. Short, lucid and psychologically demanding views on fragments about diplomacy and a diplomat's life. I am also preparing a complex book on the sociology of diplomacy. It will comprise contributions from several authors and attempt to establish and new scientific field, as revealed by the topic.
Naturally, I also have new diplomatic steps to make in the service of our country. Having been involved since its beginning I find it a constant source of inspiration, motivation and encouragement. I take it all very seriously.
The book will be published by Zavod Martin Krpan (www.martinkrpan.org). The first presentation will take place on 19 November, at 5 p.m. at the great hall of the TR3 building in Ljubljana. It will also be exhibited at the annual book fair and presented on a tour across Slovenia.
It is inspiring how inquisitive, determined and insightful you are, Milan. Thank you for your wisdom and the pleasure of helping us to discover our selves, the strength of our space and the wisdom of our heritage. And for the modern version of Martin Krpan as an expression of the strength of a nation that is seeking its own identity so bravely. I hope your rhythms will expand further, across the borders of the known.

Violeta


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Thursday, September 24, 2009

INNOVATIVE YOUTH FOR THE TRANSITION TO AN INNOVATIVE SOCIETY

Creativity and its realisation in innovation are the key motivational factors for creating increased values of many sorts in the modern world, therefore we must activate, and energise all of our potential to ensure an awakening and transition to an innovative society, that is based on knowledge and wisdom.

Practice teaches us that effective development of society requires systematic and balanced approach by all the diverse participants in the innovation realm. One of the key protagonists of innovation should certainly be the school system that can educate and encourage new generations of creators and thinkers of radical concepts. Thus, it is important we build innovation awareness at all levels of pre-school, school and higher education systems, as well as among all those that are involved in shaping them.

This is an area of unique and immense opportunity for Slovenia, to ensure that sustainable innovation in society through a new and systematic approach to education of the younger generations engenders creative thinking and initiatives.

The first attempts at such activation of youth are already in place and are mostly of an entrepreneurial and civil nature.

One of the active projects currently invoked,include Vibacom's effort in the field of innovative communication is aimed specifically at enhancing the innovation potential of the younger generation. Below, you can read an interview with Mojca Štepic, InCo Jr. project leader, who has been actively promoting creativity and innovation among Slovenian primary and secondary school students and teachers.

INTERVIEW WITH MOJCA ŠTEPIC

Mojca Štepic is a member of the Vibacom Team where she independently manages projects in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. Her latest challenge is a combination of both of these fields as applied to the educational system, where she is encouraging students and teachers to look at existing and familiar subjects from a different perspective. She enjoys creative communication and working with people, which is not unusual for she is a natural mediator and a great listener. More about Mojca

Mojca Štepic (Source: MŠ)

EL: What sort of associations spring out to the phrase "innovation and youth"?

MŠ: They predominantly lean towards unexploited potential, an inexhaustible source of a different way of thinking, openness and to change (unlike most other folk in society) and persuant to this, the desire to express oneself and one's thinking.

EL: What drew you to working with young people in the field of innovation?

MŠ: It was mainly their need to express themselves in a different way within the educational system, to establish and affirm themselves among their peers through individuality and creative thinking, and also to learn of the vast potential of innovative thinking in their personal and professional development, and lives. Also, I did not want innovation projects to remain dormant or dead, forgotten statements within various strategic documents. I wanted to give them their full value in practice, in the field.

EL: How did the InCo Jr. project start, what did your initial work with young people involve?

MŠ: It stared four years ago with the so-called "Business Workshops" where we established that it was extremely worthwhile for young people to gain knowledge about tried-and-tested tools for bringing a product or service to life, but they also had some truly peculiar ideas about new and different approaches to the same, yet with even greater effect. They were uncertain whether they were acceptable, allowed or correct, to be able to have such non-conformist thought. The workshops within the InCo Jr. project offered them a means for self-expression and the results were astonishing.

Mojca among pupils at InCo Jr. workshop
(Source: Vibacom)
InCo Jr. is a programme for promoting innovation, innovation communication and journalism in educational systems. It is one of the key projects within the InCo movement aimed at an innovative breakthrough within Slovenia, coordinated by Vibacom and its partners. The mission of the project, is to promote the quality of communication and critical thinking on creativity and innovation among young people and teachers in Slovenian educational establishments of all levels. The project has been active since 2006 with over 100 workshops conpleted to date, involving more than 1100 students and over 1050 teachers and other professionals in the field of education. Data, and records show that the project is well-established in Slovenia and is already giving positive results which resonate even beyond our borders (in 2009, the project was presented at the Interface Innovation Conference in Brussels and at the 6th Innovation Journalism Conference at Stanford University, USA). Read more at: www.incogibanje.si/incojr.

EL: How do young people see innovation? Does it have any appeal for them?

MŠ: They basically see innovation as invention, that is to say something new and in the form of a product. They often think that creating innovation requires great levels funding, and that one needs to be a scientist or an artist to be able to achieve competence. Once they realise that anyone can be innovative in a variety of areas (e.g. products, services, work methods, relationships, models, etc.) they become more confident and open to cooperation, exchange of ideas and participation. They are motivated by the fact that no idea is ridiculed and and dismissed, and that mutual exchange and communication of ideas can produce the right results. We all know that young people have limitless imagination, which means that the ability to think about new and different subjects, in new and different ways, even within the educational system brings freshness to their thinking and actions.

EL: We know that one of the key tasks of the InCo Jr. project is to encourage young people to report on innovation. These reports are then evaluated within the InJo Awards programme. What do young people write about in their articles? Are there any flaws in the programme?

MŠ: They seek the topics for their articles everywhere - on their doorsteps, in their local communities and outside their everyday boundaries. The write about innovative products that are changing the society, innovative entrepreneurs and businesses, discuss the necessity of innovation and its influence on the future, the advantages and disadvantages of specific established innovations, areas where there is a significant lack of innovation, etc. They often cause great surprise with their contributions by revealing "unusual" areas where innovation is taking place - e.g. innovation among the disabled, innovation in control of emotions, etc. Among the articles received so far - 93 over the last three years - most deal with ecology and entrepreneurship, which is both encouraging and worthy of praise. As far as flaws are concerned, I would like to highlight the problem of replacing creativity with innovation without taking market manifestation into consideration.

The significance of training young people for quality reporting on innovation was also stressed at the 4th Regional Conference on Innovation Journalism, "Stanford After Stanford", organised on September 3rd 2009 by Vibacom in cooperation with the European Journalism Centre. The conference stressed that it was important to increase awareness of innovation and journalism, starting at the younger age, and teach them how to recognise it in order to learn, through later training, how to approach reporting on innovation professionally and with a critical eye, and simultaneously help them to grow into complete personalities who are able to write comprehensive stories.More about the conference

EL: What other ways are there for encouraging young people to report on innovation?

MŠ: Young people need diversity and the ability to choose. Not all of them like to write and express themselves with letters. Therefore, we will try to provide them with other communication channels within the InJo Award programme. In cooperation with the acclaimed photographer, mr. Bojan Brecelj, we are already drafting criteria for reporting on innovation through documentary photography. We will also promote expression through multimedia channels and are adding the possibilities for this through comics, computer presentations and interviews. The emphasis is on content, which means that practically any communication tool can be used. We try to adapt the possibilities to various talents and interests of young people and thus draw out their creative spirits.

Simultaneously with the InCo jr. project, the InCo Ba. Project is also being implemented, aimed at systematic education of university curriculum providers, and their students about the basic concepts and processes of innovation, innovative society, and about understanding the influence of innovation on added value and sustainable growth of a specific area. To this end we developed a special course (in partnership with the Ljubljana University Incubator) and a system of awards for the best student contributions on the topic of innovation within the InJo Awards 2009 project.


InJo Award 2009 ceremony at the InCo conference 2009
(Source: Vibacom)

EL: In addition to workshops for primary and secondary school students you also organise lectures on innovation for teachers. How do the latter view innovation?

MŠ: In addition to understanding that teachers must encourage creativity and innovation in young people, the lectures also focus on understanding and raising awareness about the importance of enhancing our own "innovativeness" and ensuring the environment and tools for others' (both students' and co-workers') innovative expression. We also emphasise personal growth, proactive participation of each school employee, and mutual cooperation, both within the school and with other participants, (parents, suppliers, other schools, representatives of local communities, etc.). Unfortunately, most school environments do not adequately realise the potential that innovation can bring. We often meet outdated work methods, resulting from old style education techniques, fear of standing out and conspicuousness, narrow thinking and the right-and-wrong or black-and-white concepts which do not permit the possibility of exploring the entire spectrum of possibility. Regardless of some teachers' awareness of the importance of promoting innovativeness, practice has shown that priority should lie in understanding and promoting innovativeness by school management and those responsible for educational policy.

EL: This year, you also introduced the project to kindergartens. What was your time with our youngest like?

MŠ: In the spirit of innovation, we decided to seek cooperation with the Trnovo kindergarten in Ljubljana which is very progressive in shaping and implementing innovative business models in pre-school education, and thus was a very suitable partner for the kindergarten part of our project. In cooperation with three members of the kindergarten staff and a star guest - the spacedoll Traja - we helped children make very special maps. Based on this cooperation, we also formed a very strong relationship between two Ljubljana and Maribor kindergartens which continue to exchange knowledge, experience and even children's visits.

EL: Are Slovenian companies aware that a creative and innovative youth is necessary for their long-term sustainable development?

MŠ: Absolutely. Many Companies and organisations have so far supported the InCo Jr. project, and within their local communities are fully aware that their own creativity requires supporting within the immediate environment. It is difficult to be innovative, and, simultaneously, create an environment that does not understand these concepts nor seek to implement them. Furthermore, companies that invest in the "innovativeness" of young people are also critically aware that these youngsters represent their future. Naturalčly, unlike young people, adults find it more difficult to develop values directed towards constant change, constant seeking of new solutions, creativity, individuality and boldness.

In its fourth year, the implementation of workshops was supported by the following organisations.
development centres(Center za razvoj Litija d.o.o.),
municipalities (Občina Hrpelje – Kozina),
schools (OŠ Danile Kumar, Ljubljana),
companies ( ETI Elektroelement d.d., Trimo d.d., Adria Mobil d.o.o., Kostak d.d., Elektro Maribor d.d., Vinakoper d.o.o.).

EL: What is the next step for the InCo Jr. project?

MŠ: An ongoing and systematic implementation of such workshops in specific schools; the active participation of parents in the project; participation of innovative individuals and companies from the locality in the workshops, and in the organisation of international camps where young people from different countries could meet and exchange their experiences of innovation based on concrete examples and experience.

Statements by InCo Jr. project participants

"It's good that somebody is stimulating us to think.The workshops enabled us to get to know our schoolmates' and friends' new ideas and their ways of thinking. It would be great if people would encourage us more in creating new ideas, perhaps even pay for education abroad, so that we could get to know new ideas and people." Maja Jug, 9.a, Gradec Primary School, Litija

"The workshop was interesting for it gave us an opportunity to share our opinions and beliefs, what we could do differently, change or make easier." Urška Pribožič, 4.b E, Brežice Secondary School of Trade and Commerce

"The lecture was interesting, informative and well-presented. The lecturer added graphic examples from practice to the lecture and applied them to everyday life. The importance of innovation and creativity as values is not sufficiently realised in the school environment. I believe this seminar clearly demonstrated to all participants how important it is to promote innovation at both levels, with education professionals and students. Innovativeness and innovations are often ascribed solely to the field of business where the products of creative thinking are readily noticeable. Concrete workshops on innovative communication would offer us clearer guidelines for encouraging innovativeness with our students." Polona Kralj Zupančič, Assistant Headmaster, OŠ Mokronog
Estera Lah and Mojca Štepic
during the interview (Source: Vibacom)

We hope that these, and similar stories will serve as a big incentive and encouragement for a more systematic approach to promoting creativity and innovation in the youth of Slovenian, in these autumn days when they are returning to kindergartens, schools and faculties. We hope our youth will become the driving force of an innovative society, to the betterment of Slovenia!

The interview with Mojca Štepic was conducted by Estera Lah on September 21st.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

INTERACTION AS A PLATFORM OF CREATION


Creativity has no borders. It connects, expands and is enriched through infinite new discoveries. It never stops exploring. It penetrates all levels of our conscious and unconscious. It feeds us, stimulates, dissolves and composes. It helps us discover ourselves, our beauty, our emptiness, our core, the keys to our efflorescence and our mission. Some merely coexist with art, while others wilfully challenge the borders of its universe. The latter include our guest of
the day. Peter Ciuha is a man who connects worlds, of life, art, music and new media. His current field of creativity is interactive. He unpretentiously aims to enable people better access to music and other creative endeavours. He seeks new methods for manifesting a creative spirit. For beginners and for those used to free-diving into the depths of creativity. This is his story.

INTERVIEW WITH PETER CIUHA

VB: Who is Peter Ciuha?
PC: Academically trained artist, specia
list in graphic art, MA of fine arts, a lecturer of drawing and painting at the Academy of Design. Essentially a creator and seeker of the limits of possible in art. A dreamer exploring the borders of his activities in all areas. In my work, I’m exploring the limits of art; in my teaching, the limits of pedagogy and didactics; while sitting at the piano or at the computer, I’m exploring creation of music. I am endlessly seeking windows to a new world, which cannot be seen without a special attitude towards art.

Peter Ciuha playing piano in The Womb (Source: Peter Ciuha)
Peter Ciuha continues studies of Video and New Media at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in the field of visualisation of music. The computer part of the project is being developed at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science; the author of the software is Bojan Klemenc, computer engineer. He is the author and co-author of fine art textbooks for 7th, 8th and 9th grade of primary school, published by Založba Mladinska knjiga publishing house. He is currently preparing guidelines for teachers. Father of 14-year-old son Jakob, future archaeologist. More.
VB: How do you perceive borders?
PC: A border is the point where things get interesting. The centre is dead, distanced from the action. Borders are exciting. Even within oneself. You can stay where you’ve always been or you can seek new challenges within you, crossing the borders of the habitual.

VB: Where and how can we discover and surpass such borders?
PC: All the senses lead to the brain. Among different languages; I believe all these worlds can be connected (specifically: sight, hearing and motion – I haven’t visited the others yet). Among the two opposite states: the state of creativity and the state of the mundane.
The unknown has another dimension. In older versions of our religion, the name for God was a word meaning “the unknown” and it was only the modern society that shaped God in its image.
VB: How do these states influence you?
PC: For example; the mundane is what is performed routinely and attached to the centre where rarely anything happens. We often find ourselves in this state because we take things for granted, ignoring what we actually hear or see and acting mechanically, automatically. Thus we close ourselves to experiencing life and live in a false reality of our preconceptions and imagination.

VB: And in the creative state?
PC: In the creative state we eliminate censorship. We observe, listen and feel the entirety of the moment, the world around us and ourselves. We could call this the state of highest openness and awareness. In such a state we are prepared for the dialogue with the unknown, and especially with what is not entirely made of thought. Therefore I see creativity as
exploration of something not determined in advance.

VB: How is this implemented in practice?
PC: I will try to explain on the example of my model. In it, art consists of five mutually complementing worlds. The first is driven by motion and chance. There are no expectations, no preferences, no choice of one above the other and the results is insignificant. This is a state of acceptance of everything unknown. The second world starts with the creation of the first symbols which serve as tools for understanding.
Through time, these tools become self-serving. The image becomes more important than the world. This creates standard schemes in the language of art. If you want to proceed, you must implement attention in your activities. Which leads us to the third world: In the third world, you focus yourself on the journey into the unknown, into abstraction. This is where it gets interesting. The whole is no long clearly defined; it depends on the connections between constituent parts and their mutual relationships. Painting needed a long time to free the line, the colour and the light of the linear and of meaning and to free the person who has had this ability since birth.

VB: Do we then need to study if the aim is to be creative?
PC: Creativity does not require study. However, some people require studies to eliminate obstacles.
According to an existing theory, the human brain is functionally divided into the left and the right hemisphere. This theory supposes that a half of the brain is dedicated to cognitive activity (symbolic: calculation, language), while the other half is dedicated to recognition of relationships between parts and the whole.
VB: The first three worlds make the drawing seem as a form of intuitive experience?
PC: True. In this state, drawing is often related to intuition. Intuition is the ability to accept inner sensations and beliefs about the world and yourself for which you have no cognitive foundation. To accept the unknown and the logically unexplained. If we managed to trust our intuition, the world would be a different place. This would enable us to discover our true essence and not waste life for something that is not innate.
Peter Ciuha's drawing Katarina (Source: Peter Ciuha)

VB: Do you see that in your drawings?
PC: I know that I can realise everything I draw and I have noticed this with many scientists as well (e.g. Noordungu). A drawing is my second birth.

VB: Where do the fourth and fifth worlds lead us?
PC: The essence of the fourth world is observation of nature. This is basically a technical matter of trying to experience and draw what you see. You surpass the images of the symbolic worlds within you. By observation and sensing of the outside world as it is, we expand the borders of the inner world. Such enhancement of perception of nature also enhances the perception of human relationships. Your subjective view can develop into a more objective one. This opens passage to the fifth world. This is the world of expression and art which are the opposites of the natural world. This is the stage of synthesis. Here you combine the previous four worlds into something new. The fifth stage is where teaching ends and where independent exploration begins. At this stage you
free yourself of fear regarding your creations. It is my belief that the greatest sin of any society is repressing creativity. The universe will defy such a society and create conditions for its dissolution and crumbling.

The Womb (Source: Peter Ciuha)

MULTIMEDIA INSTALLATION “MATERNICA/THE WOMB”
The Womb is a fine arts environment. It expands the limits of experiencing graphical art and printing. An ingenious technical solution enables the viewer to enter a live image, shaped as a shell, where they are enwrapped in the rhythm of their own archaic memory. With the donation of The Womb to the Draga Training, Occupation and Care Centre, exploration of its therapeutic possibilities as an educational environment began within the framework of an innovation project of the National Education Institute. It can be used in high-stress work, medical, educational and school environments as a tool for relaxation, creative inspiration, dealing with fear, addiction and aggression, thus enabling improved human interaction, and higher quality of work and living.

VB: What is the situation in Slovenia?
PC: Slovenians have to free ourselves of our phantoms and admit that creativity needs support from the society at all levels, ages and in all areas. Then, there will be no lack of innovation.

VB: Do you have any messages for the business world?
PC: The creative man asks himself “Why?” thus not accepting the existing and constantly experimenting and playing with everything. This is not always necessary on the material level. A solution can offer itself through dreams or other activities. Such insight is not a consequence of logic; it is mainly an experience of the right cerebral hemisphere. Life is much more interesting if you limit the use of cognition and replace it with intuition.

Violeta Bulc and Peter Ciuha (Source: Vibacom)

VB: What can art offer to the business world?
PC: The artist creates from nothing and makes something that did not exist before, something new. This we know how to do, and can teach others.

VB: What is your opinion of managers?
PC: The meaning of the modern word manager originates from the French word manège for handling horses. This role is essential for the operation of any company. Even I have to have a manager or manage myself if I want to make a living with my work and art. How does the manager motivate his or her co-workers and himself or herself to give their maximum and exceed own capability? This is where there is a lot of creative potential. To start with, they should abandon the model of copying and apply a creative model.

VB: Thank you, Peter.
PC: Thank you for precious and creative moments.

Connecting worlds of the present constantly offers itself as an overlooked dimension through which our own worlds can be expanded and success and happiness achieved. Merely by strolling through this interview you were touched by something new that has changed your world. It has made it wider, brighter and bolder.

Take care, Violeta

p.s.: The interview with Peter Ciuha was conducted over two days and is a part of a wider model of discovery of the depth of Slovenian creativity and innovative thinking, implemented through cooperation between the Vibacom Team and the Managers' Association. An extended version of the interview, substantiated with several concrete examples and a comprehensive description of the five worlds will be published in the next issue of the MQ magazine.