What processes stimulate creative inspiration? What constitutes a successful brainstorming session? Architecture student, Eryan Gwin (Steve Reifenberg's spring 2016 student), engages in a conversation with her mentor, Erik Jensen (spring 2014 student), through visualization of ideas. Read on to learn how "thinking out of the box" can foster a creative learning experience. 

Eryan Gwin: 

Erik and I had a lot of conductive conversation regarding the class that I specifically was going to design. The most exciting part of our conversation was that it captured the messy process of ideation -- we were drawing idea maps, creating visual models, and using ideas as springing boards for further ideas in a rapid creative brainstorming session. Relevant advice that Erik gave me included to think out of the box. This sounds generic, but the best way to learn from others is to go beyond the normal frameworks of questioning. Similarly, to communicate ideas or transfer learning to others, it is most productive to stimulate the same kind of innovate mindset by engaging in challenging, unusual activities or discussions that break down limitations of conventionality. Erik advised that specifically for my topic (mindsets to stimulate creative inspiration) I should find a new environment, experiment a little, find a space that would be nurturing to creativity. Furthermore, though some lecture may be important, Erik emphasized the importance of engaging the class in fast-paced activity and discussion, and to keep the flow of ideas going by organizing set amounts of time for each. For Development Advisory Team projects, he said that prioritizing communication is essential -- share every idea with the team, keep a google doc updated, and maintain regular contact with the client.


Development Advisory Team: Engineering2Empower; traveled to Haiti

"I am currently working towards an M.S. in civil engineering at Notre Dame. My research supports the work of Engineering2Empower, an organization housed at Notre Dame which designs with aspiring Haitian homeowners to pave a unique path towards an engineered, affordable home. In our Innovation Incubators, I have facilitated designthinking workshops with Haitian entrepreneurs to recognize patterns in human needs to create elegant solutions to the complex challenges of poverty in a new way, one rooted in empathy. I still think about this class ALL THE TIME -- take advantage of your incredible peers in this class, they are your biggest resource and will become infinitely valuable when you enter the field. They continue to challenge me to think about my role in development differently. I also went on an AMAZING research trip to Haiti for this class, a crucial component of my DAT project as well as my entire Notre Dame experience. "