CCs Talking

In 2012, I had the pleasure—the joy, really—of attending MindCamp. It is a 4-day creativity fest held near Toronto. Along with CPSI, CREA, and other creative problem-solving conferences, it focuses on using structured creative thinking to solve real problems. 

On the surface, it's a professional conference where you can learn real tools and techniques to infuse creativity and innovation into your work and your life. But I find it's as much about personal growth and reflection as it is about work. It seems to be the case for most people who go. 

The attendees are a diverse community of bright, caring, supportive, open-minded people who are generous with their time, their learning, and their attention. It's also a bunch of people with big brains and humble attitudes. We had a neuroscientist, a rocket scientist, a dermatologist, a famous new-age pianist, a PhD who researches intelligence and mind development, a workplace diversity specialist, a sensory scientist, and a host of educators, creativity consultants, artists, humorists, authors, students, and businesspeople—just to name a few. 

I was struck by how simply spending time with people in a variety of other creative endeavors re-sparked my own creative juices. I found myself being more curious, more open, more optimistic, more interested and more interesting–all as a result of nothing more than talking with people doing interesting things.

One of the basic tenets of creative thinking is to do things differently, and to do different things. So if you need to reignite your creative thinking, do something completely new. An acquaintance of mine recently attended a conference on green energy, even though he has no expertise in that area. His account of all the interesting things he learned and fascinating people he met reminded me that simply broadening your horizons will also broaden your mind.

So try something new today.

If you’re interested in trying a creativity conference, here are a few to explore:


CPSI – Creative Problems Solving Institute

This is the mother-ship of creative problem-solving conferences.  It's been around for 60 years.  It spawned nearly all the others listed below.  Longer and more structured than the others, but still fun and lots of fascinating people to be found here.  May be easiest to justify to your boss, since there's a structured curriculum.

Varies.  Often Buffalo or Atlanta.

Usually third week in June


Held at a YMCA camp outside Toronto (so you sleep in a cabin or lodge).  Gorgeous scenery, outdoor activities, a campfire, creative sessions, and again, fascinating people. A la carte sessions – no structured curriculum.

YMCA camp outside Toronto

Late August

CREA – Creativity Europe Assn.

Similar to CPSI, but with better food & wine, and lots of beautiful Italians! Did I mention it's in Italy?

Sestri Levante, Italy

April 17-21

ACA – American Creativity Assn.

I haven't been to this one in several years.  I recall it as being a bit more academic – with research papers being presented – but it may have changed since I was there.

New England


ACRE – African Creativity Conference

I haven't ever been to this one, but know many who have.  I believe it is similar in structure to MindCamp, but held in a conference center.  (They don't have coffee breaks – they have tea breaks.)

Bela-Bela, South Africa


Florida Creativity Weekend

A taste of many things creative.  A la carte sessions.



Creativity Cruise

Creativity conference on a cruise ship.  Duh.  A la carte sessions.

Departs Ft. Lauderdale


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Ideas To Go

Ideas To Go is an innovation agency that works with Fortune 500 companies in ideation and concept development to incorporate the voice of the consumer.