Eletrobrás is the Brazilian government state company responsible for electrical energy efficiency and they offer several energy efficiency programs. One of these programs helps small municipalities reduce consumption of electricity and improve the energy efficiency of operations that use electricity. Until 2004, this program followed an approach that failed to meet the company's targets for improvement, and thus a new approach was proposed. This paper reports on the successful implementation by Eletrobrás of a creative process in 43 small municipalities. The results show that both the municipalities and their inhabitants managed to reduce consumption as a result of the new approach. The municipal employees – people with varying but often low schooling – felt their self-esteem increase as they solved problems and taught their clients to save energy.
Our research began in 1958 and by 1960 we believed we knew enough about the creative process to start our own invention company, Synectics, Inc. In addition to inventing products to develop ourselves, we offered a service called a Problem Innovation Laboratory. When a company wanted a new product, service, process, or had a serious problem, we asked it to bring the relevant people to our laboratory. Over a two and a half day period we facilitated meetings in which they solved their own problem.
The introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBac) has raised questions about the value of some subjects within the UK’s education system, including Design and Technology. This is the first of two papers responding to the situation. This paper is in two parts. Part One is a short summary, demonstrating that mixed messages from the UK Government are causing leading representatives of Design and Technology to realign the subject with Engineering. Part Two proposes an alternative to their proposal based on findings in a recently awarded PhD (Bradburn: 2010). This part claims that Design and Technology should place the teaching of thinking techniques (in this case creative thinking techniques) at its heart. In making this claim I provide a conceptual framework with the potential to fundamentally change Design and Technology teaching and learning. The second paper gives an account of how the creativity alternative was introduced to teachers and pupils and how it impacted upon pedagogic practice.
The capacity to imagine is a key aspect of creativity and, in this paper, it is argued that it is this capacity which needs to be harnessed in history education for young people. Although the creation of fiction and the use of imagination has tended to be regarded as a literary method, in this paper it is argued that it has an important role to play in helping young people discover history – something which might normally be seen as a purely scientific process. An interdisciplinary approach is needed. Researchers who study pedagogy confirm that in contemporary education, how teachers are interested in their subject and how they use their imagination is becoming increasingly important (Zeldin 1995). The problem is not particularly ontological (what to present in a history class) – instead, it is epistemological (how to present it). The choice of material stems partly from the topic but even more from the approach to the topic. It also depends on the target audience (e.g. children of various ages and carrying out various roles), the values of the society and ideological choices (what we are trying to tell the students about a topic).
There are probably around a hundred proofs of the Pythagoras theorem. Functionally they are the same; they all prove the Pythagoras theorem. But some of these proofs are beautiful, some are surprising, others are dull. If you 'speak maths', then one proof is a like a poem, and another is like an excerpt from a safety manual. One proof is creative, another one is utilitarian.