Between Monday 15 and Sunday 21 April 2019, the University of Malta’s Edward de Bono Institute collaborated with various entities to celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Week (WCIW). This initiative has been celebrated annually for the last twenty years in an ever-growing number of countries, with the aim of inspiring new thinking and fostering a culture for creativity and innovation. In 2018, the United Nations resolved to include World Creativity and Innovation Day, 21 April, as a ‘Day of Observance’ to encourage people to use creativity in problem-solving for all issues related to achieving the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
WCIW kicked off in Malta with an announcement that the Institute has formally changed its name from ‘The Edward de Bono Institute for the Design and Development of Thinking’ to ‘The Edward de Bono Institute for Creative Thinking and Innovation’. “The old name did not adequately reflect the Institute’s current core areas of expertise”, explained the Director Dr Leonie Baldacchino. “As the Institute was set up in collaboration with Prof. Edward de Bono in 1992, we wanted a new name that is still faithful to our roots while being more meaningful to key stakeholders including our students, staff, employers, and the general public”, she added.
In addition to the announcement, a total of nine events were organised to celebrate WCIW under the #WCIW2021 and #IamCreative social media hashtags. Locally, the main theme for this year was ‘sustainability’. This was approached through a variety of activities that addressed sustainability from different perspectives and helped to raise awareness about the need for creativity and innovation across different sectors in society. Events varied in form and content with the aim of attracting different audiences, but they took place almost entirely online due to the pandemic.
The first event was an interactive webinar aptly titled ‘Living Sustainably’ on 15 April. Three panellists from different creative backgrounds spoke about their activities and how they support sustainability from diverse points of view. Throughout this event, which was open to the public and attracted close to 100 delegates, Ms Ann Buhagiar from Dear Maggie, Ms Joanne Scicluna from Createhope, and Ms Susan Warner from Gozo Crafty Ladies, Kercem Branch delegates discussed how making the time to create items can induce sustainability through mindful activities that encourage individuals to repurpose previously used items. This event was moderated by Dr Margaret Mangion.
In the second event, which was also on 15 April, Mr Jean-Michel Azzopardi, founder of Kralanx Cyber Security, was interviewed by Professor Sandra M. Dingli during an online lecture held as part a study unit on ‘Innovation and New Digital Technologies’ that is offered to students on the Institute’s Master in Creativity and Innovation. The students had the opportunity to ask Mr Azzopardi additional questions.
On 16 April, another two events were held. First, through an interactive webinar which was open to the general public, students following a BA in Fashion at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology spoke about how they designed a fashion collection made out of recycled material. Inspiration for this collection came as a result of the practical implementation of the Six Thinking Hats framework designed by Prof. Edward de Bono. This webinar was followed by an online workshop that was held in collaboration with the Commission for the Rights of Persons with Disability. During this workshop, young persons with different challenges had the opportunity to talk about their aspirations with employers and representatives from industry from the CRPD Business Forum. Attendance to this workshop was by invitation.
Next on the programme was an online mindfulness session held in collaboration with Ms Petra Spiteri, a certified trainer and practitioner. The aim of this session, which was open to the general public, was to increase emotional awareness and to give practical tips about how we may be more mindful and conscious of our surroundings. This session took place on 17 April.
Added to the programme was a workshop about critical and creative thinking organised by the Edward de Bono Institute in collaboration with the Doctoral School at the University of Malta on 19 April. Students enrolled on a doctoral programme were in attendance and contributed to an interactive discussion dealing with the importance of being critical and creative when approaching resources and writing at doctoral level. This workshop was designed and delivered by Dr Margaret Mangion.
A webinar titled ‘Meet the Entrepreneur’ took place on 20 April. This event, which was open to students on the Master in Creativity and Innovation and the Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, involved a panel discussion among four entrepreneurs, namely Ms Krystle Penza founder and managing director at MVintage, Mr Mark Farrugia and Mr Stefan Debattista, co-founders of ShowsHapening.com, and Ms Sarah Woods, co-founder and director at SHE: Social Hub Entrepreneurs. The panel of speakers transmitted a positive aura and spoke about core values needed in business including passion, perseverance and resilience. The panel was moderated by Dr Margaret Mangion.
A collaboration between the Edward de Bono Institute and the Department of Digital Arts within the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta saw the production of another webinar which took place on 22 April. Alumni and current students enrolled on the Master in Fine Arts in Digital Arts reflected on their work throughout the programme with a focus on their creative process. A video clip aptly prepared by colleagues at University of Malta’s Communications Office gave a snapshot of what will be displayed during an exhibition titled Ennead which will be held at Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta in May 2021. The webinar was led by Dr Margaret Mangion in conjunction with Prof. Vince Briffa and Dr Trevor Borg. This event was open to the general public.
The final activity in this year’s WCIW programme was held on 23 April. This event saw the culmination of a five-week online programme that took place at St Margaret College, Vittoriosa Primary School, where students in Year 5 and Year 6 were introduced to the Six Thinking Hats framework. At the end of the programme, an exhibition was set up showcasing artefacts that the students produced from recyclable materials using the Six Thinking Hats framework to guide their thinking process. All students were awarded a certificate for their participation in the presence of Dr Margaret Mangion who led the programme.
These events enabled further outreach by the Edward de Bono Institute. The Institute offers a Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (part-time evening), a Master in Creativity and Innovation (full-time and part-time day) and a Ph.D. Programme (full-time and part-time).