David Kwong: Finding Creativity within Constraints

DKGoogle-Plus-PhotoI often hear eLearning designers and developers discussing the challenges they deal with in their work. The list of challenges we have to deal with in our work is not exactly short.

As I think about the different challenges on theme starts to arise as the biggest overall issue. That theme can best be summed up in a single word: Resources.

The Challenge of Resources

Dealing with projects in which resources are limited is a natural part of our work. We’ve all likely said or thought things like:

If we had more TIME we could…

I’d love to be able to do that, but it would require more MONEY…

Sure, I could do that, but the QUALITY would suffer…

Constraints are a natural part of work. We all have to deal with them. What matters isn’t the constraint, but how we deal with the constraint.

The Possibilities of Limits

Constraint, by definition, is a limitation or a restriction. It’s something that can easily be used as an excuse for not pushing our work further – an excuse that is sometimes justified.

I use the phrase “sometimes justified” because I feel we need to push against those constraints more then we may do by default. Our work isn’t defined by the limitations of the project scope; it’s defined by how creative and innovative we are within the limitations of the project scope.

We need to examine the true limits of the constraints we are dealing with, and push ourselves to find creative solutions.  The people that do really good work – the designers and developers of truly innovative learning programs – are the ones that embrace the constraints of their projects and find ways to leverage the restrictions in creative ways.

Finding Creativity in Constraint

We’ve invited David Kwong to explore this perspective on creativity as a featured keynote at the 2016 Learning Solutionms Conference and Expo and The Learning and Performance Ecosystem Conference-within-a-Conference, taking place March 2016. David works in two distinct environments that embody the need to find creativity despite constraints.

  • David designs crossword puzzles for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. Crossword puzzles are by their very nature, constrained environments. To build one, you have to build a grid of words that have limited letters and that share letters in spaces where words overlap. It’s a labyrinth of constraint that must be tied to an overall experience that people enjoy exploring.
  • David is also an illusionist, and served as a consultant on magic-themed films like Now You See Me, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and The Immigrant. Magic is another area that must deal with constraint, as magicians must find ways to entertain and create illusions all while performing in front of a live audience.

David will share stories of how constraint has influenced both of these areas, and how he has found ways to not only be creative in the face of limitations, but to use those limitations to enhance his approach to creativity. It’s sure to be a session that inspires the way you see creativity in your own work.

To learn more about David Kwong’s keynote and how you can join us in Orlando this spring, visit learningsolutions16.com.

Want to get a small sneak peek into the type of work David Kwong does? Check out his TED Talk exploring how his two “nerdy” interests in magic and crossword puzzles intersect.

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