Creativity in the Bay Area: TEDxSausalito and Google Science Fair 2016

By: Stephan Turnipseed, Destination Imagination, Inc. Executive Vice President

The world around us is changing – and it’s changing faster than we could’ve ever imagined. Yet, much of the current learning landscape is still stuck in the 20th century where children are told to sit down, look forward and keep quiet. We’ve replaced meaningful learning with mindless drill-and-kill methods that promote memorizing for high-stakes tests. What we’ve been doing here is essentially robbing our children of their creative potential and we wonder why there is a growing workforce skills gap. Or, why many students lack the confidence to stand up and speak to the challenges of the 21st century, much less overcome them.

Next week will be a very rewarding and enriching few days for me. I’ll be heading to the Bay Area to participate in two events focused on the importance of creativity, scientific inquiry and critical thinking – some of the 21st century skills we at Destination Imagination believe can help solve some of the biggest challenges in today’s rapidly changing world:


What is TEDx? It’s a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share ideas worth spreading in a TED-like experience. The TEDxSausalito event will take place at the Bay Area Discovery Museum on Thursday, Sept. 22 and is focused on the theme, “Why Creativity?” A superfan of both TED Talks and all-things-creativity, it’s an understatement to say I was thrilled when I received an invite to speak at TEDxSausalito. My talk will reveal three “four-letter words” which have become dirty words in education over the past decades but have the power to unlock the creative potential in all learners. Together, these dirty little words, which I will share in my next post, can help students not only maintain their creative spark throughout their lives, but they’ll also build important skills needed to succeed in the fast-changing 21st century workforce.

Additionally, I’m proud to be presenting alongside some really incredible speakers, including experts involved in promoting creativity in our new world of work and civil society:

  • Alison Gopnik, Professor of Pyschology, University of California Berkeley
  • Paul Kocher, Chief Scientist, Cryptography Research Division – Rambus
  • Ali Partovi, Co-Founder of Code.org, iLike and LinkExchange

Google Science Fair

The Google Science Fair is an international online competition for young scientists to submit projects with the potential to make a world-changing difference. I was honored to be one of the judges last year and was absolutely blown away by the creativity of the solutions and diversity of the solutions presented last year. I’m excited to have been invited back again as a judge, where I have the opportunity to witness the 2016 class of Google Science Fair Global Finalists on Sept. 25-27 in Mountain View, California. I’ve looked at these top 16 projects from 9 countries around the world, and I can tell you now, they’re not making my role as a judge easy. I’m looking forward to meeting each of the finalists—our next generation of innovators, explorers and pioneers.