Patricia by Patricia

Patricia by Patricia
Patricia by Patricia

Saturday, October 12, 2013

SD Incubator for Innovation

Nan Renner and Lynn Susholtz at the San Diego Air & Space Museum Pavilion Metaphorming Session

Judit Hersko

San Diego Incubator for Innovation held their first convening of the 100 artists and scientists for this two year project to promote creativity, collaboration, and innovation. The beginning session was a "metaphorming" workshop which is basically a way to use visual metaphors created out of a variety of collage materials to gain insights about a topic of choice. In this case it is water innovation in San Diego.

Ronnie Das  is one of these volunteers and he is an advocate who makes films in support of various environmental issues like the one on the greening of Balboa Park Institutes. He sees the arts as a way to communicate about these topics but we are hoping to see the artists as more than illustrators. By combining artists and scientist at the beginning of the project, the idea is to track the value that the arts bring to a project. There will be hard data gathered at the end of the project so that we can see how STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) is an economic driver. Ronnie is also interested in seeing how the art and science labs can be combined to accommodate both disciplines.

The first meeting was also a way to let all 100 “fellows” start to get to know each other. This is a unique cross-sector, multidisciplinary group of adventurous learners from both sides of the border, and of all age group including teens and professors eager to collaborate and innovate, targeting our regional challenge of water supply and demand.

It was a pleasure to see Judit Hersko from CSU San Marcos as a fellow working along side of those who may have never worked in this area. Shifting Baselines was an art and science project displayed at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido in 2006 which was one of her first forays into this area with her students.

Lynn Susholtz from Art Produce Gallery was present and she will be a future session teacher and perhaps host for a part of the project. Hamsa Thota will also be teaching a component based of his professional skills as an innovation performance manager. He told me the most amazing story of how he learned from a cultural experience in Africa how to empathize with his audience and make connections with them on a level he never experiences using just his linear thinking process.

 This San Diego group is one of three tackling problems chosen city by city. Chicago has picked food insecurity and will start in January and Wooster will begin about three months later.  Just as the DNA of Creativity project of SDVAN is nearing completion (showing results at the Oceanside Museum of Art starting in Feb 2014), this much larger project should assure San Diego’s reputation as a hub for collaboration between the arts and sciences.   

In an other project funded by BMW and shown at the  Guggenheim Lab, featuring 100 city trends, the Water Bench was one creative solution for water shortage in Mumbai which has monsoons but then suffers from lack of water during other parts of the year.  What real products will the Innovation Incubators discover?  We shall see in the next few years. 

There will be a chance for the public to join future workshops on Dec 14. More information from Nan Renner, who is the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership coordinator and from Art of Science Learning, a program of funded by the National Science Foundation led by Harvey Seifter.