Creativity abounds at Nov. 1 forum in Norman

If so, don’t tell the people of Creative Oklahoma, which will be holding its inaugural Oklahoma Creativity Forum from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Embassy Suites Conference Center in Norman.

The event, which is held to inspire and encourage creativity in all walks of life, sprang from last year’s 2010 Creativity World Forum event held in Oklahoma City. That event attracted more than 2,600 attendees from 38 states and 18 countries.

Organizers say this year’s forum will hopefully inspire attendees to use their imagination to create and innovate in everyday life and will include collaborations with the arts community, local entrepreneurs, businesses and educational institutions, featuring more than 50 creative and innovative businesses and organizations.

The event is organized by Creative Oklahoma, a statewide nonprofit organization formed in 2006 that promotes innovation and creativity in education, commerce and culture, with a stated goal of transforming “the state of Oklahoma through initiatives that lead to a more entrepreneurial and vibrant economy along with a better quality of life for its citizens.”

This forum’s theme this year is “Out of the Box” and will feature Whole Foods Market Co-Founder and Co-CEO John Mackey as a keynote speaker. Whole Foods recently opened an Oklahoma City branch.

Mackey and Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon will discuss the importance of creativity in the marketplace, said the event’s master of ceremonies, two-time Olympic gold gymnast Bart Conner of Norman.

“The forum will be a totally new conference experience for our attendees as soon as they walk through the doors,” Conner said. “It will be an immersion into a creative environment that will inspire them to think outside the box on commerce, education and culture.”

More than 30 speakers are confirmed, including:
• CEO of the online auction site Quibids, Matt Beckham;
• Gregg Fraley of Kiln Ideas;
• owner of AliveCor and LifeTone Technology, David E. Albert;
• scientist, artist and author Bulent Atalay;
• Oklahoma State University provost Robert Sternberg;
• MomentumXDesign founder Tamara Christensen;
• Capacity Sports CEO Chase Curtiss; and
• Sport for Social Change advocate Kevin Carroll.

“The forum is a rare opportunity to hear some of the world’s most creative and innovative business, education and cultural leaders,” said Susan McCalmont (pictured), president of Creative Oklahoma. “The speakers will inspire attendees to imagine ideas and create ways to innovate their ideas into products and services for the marketplace.”

Conner, who has been involved with Creative Oklahoma since its inception, said the idea of embracing creativity and innovation is important in shaping the industries of the future.

“I think we have to just shake up people’s impressions of what’s possible,” Connor said. “The idea is you have to figure out a way to accept creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and encourage it whether it’s in your workplace, your cultural place or your school. If we create a culture that encourages creativity and innovative thinking, who knows what can bubble up out of it?”

Photo by Mark Hancock

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