Peter van Lindonk: ideas, passion linked

Peter_van_lindonk_01Photo: Geoff Oliver Bugbee,

Bloggers attending the ideaFestival, please tag you posts with "IF06" or "ideaFestival06."

Before we begin, two professionals behind me are amazed that they could come to this morning's event for free.

Peter van Lindonk is speaking on the subject of creativity. His introductory slide is "it's not how creative you are, but how you are creative."

He announces that he will talk about creativity and passion. He has published books for 44 years. He refers to books as magic. He also shows off a book with a radio, a fine old mashup. Another book he delivered in blocks of ice just to heighten the anticipation.

Next slide: "Books are bullets in the battle for the minds of men." 

Discussing PINC, he calls it his "baby." Referencing ideas, he says he "does not search, but find."

He talks about attending a conference on digital story telling a dozen years ago. "The problem with creativity is no one knows exactly what it is." Is it a process? Is there a link between creativity or something defined? He does not believe it is a form of intelligence.

Creative collaboration: requires a network of trusted people "who will not think you are completely nuts." Two kinds of people who are creative: "kids and artists." Two-fold creativity is the result of two previously "unrelated ideas meeting for the first time." It can be learned.

He holds up a book created by 1800 children. He does not have them contibute drawings to a book. He asks them to write in words what a flower is. One little girls said the "heart is in the center" which touches him.

Slide: "you won't find the road to creativity on any map."

What is the difference between "creativity and the moment of creation?"

PINC stands for "people, ideas, nature and creativity." It's a horizontal conference with 60 speakers in a day. It's not for doctors, dentists and accountants. It's for generating alternative views.

He started it with no money and throws up an image saying "Do you think Columbus had a business plan." He contacted a Rolodex of 50 people and promised to take only six minutes of their time or he would provide them with 12 bottles of expensive wine. All but one signed up for a non-existing conference. He went banks and asked for money. Having been turned down, he gave them the signatures of the 49 people and got the money.

The pace of the conferences is designed to present ideas very rapidly with little time to reflect. A slide on screen says creativity is stifled when everyone must follow the rules.

When it comes to creativity, what role, rules?

He runs a clip of the founder of Eden's garden, who describes the power of common cause, which I take to mean that rules can be overcome.

What is in an event like IF or PINC? You decide. The pace is designed to keep one busy.

All attendees at PINC gets a gift. He demonstrates a shoulder bag that also doubles as a chair. He also describes "little in-betweens" (sometimes as little as one minute long) for demonstrations. Again, the pace is designed to mix up the unknown in one's head.

He concludes with some video clips of Robert Swan, who walked to the South Pole, and Lorraine Monroe, who teaches in Harlem who raised from 4 to 95 percent the children in her care who go on to higher education.

Lorraine talks about "service." She says we should all be an "incredible interruption."

My concluding thought: his presentation was a bit like being in church: passion, humanity lead to ideas. The PINC blog (in Dutch) is here.