From Novice to a Rising Creativity Thought Leader: My Thirty-One Months of CPS, Daberechi Okedurum

Being a Sidney J. Parnes Global Fellow and joining the Creative DabEducation Foundation network has fostered a huge breakthrough in my career and personal quest to find purpose and satisfaction in my life. The Fellowship helped me find direction in committing to economic growth in Nigeria, Africa as well as growth for the global society.

Unsatisfied with the happenings in my life, I sought a new challenge, trusting that it would yield my ideal job of helping individuals and organizations find value from the chaos within and around them. This journey started for me with no experience of the Creative Problem Solving process (CPS), and like most of the 500+ individuals in Nigeria who participated in my CPS sessions, I used to see creativity as an exclusive reserve for the artist.

Over the past two years, my CPS sessions have focused on education and entrepreneurship. In education, we are working with parents and educators to prepare today’s learners for life, not just for exams; bringing concepts in their curriculum come to life; and deliberately working with these students to meet needs in our local communities. We combine problem-based learning and CPS tools to achieve this. This year, 120 student-leaders from 30 institutions of higher learning in Nigeria engaged in a CPS session during a leadership training organized by Enactus Nigeria.

We consistently seek out and work with startup clusters, institutions of higher learning, and individuals in applying CPS to entrepreneurship training, from idea conception to implementation. Budding entrepreneurs gain clarity, develop innovative business propositions, and hit the ground running. Entrepreneurship for us is not just about starting up businesses; it is about empowering people to see the opportunities cloaked within problems and unveiling these problems to meet the needs in our society. One of our success stories is an online platform that links T-workers to clients across Nigeria. This was developed by a group of students who participated in our CPS session.

CEF is home for me and this amazing family has been with me all the way providing the perfect network and resources, such as being at the South African Creativity Conference where the creativity community brings home a rich content of creativity to education and business.

There is still a long journey ahead for me in Nigeria; however, I am grateful for the progress so far, and look forward to opening more doors to enable others to gain access to CPS, which is changing my life. My network has grown tremendously in just two years of going through the Fellowship and, most importantly, lives are being changed consistently following this experience.

Follow my Creativity work and progress on this blog and on Linkedin to read some of my short articles.

DABERECHI OKEDURUM (2015/2016 Sidney J. Parnes Global Fellow) is a creative thinking and problem solving facilitator. He is experienced in helping Individuals, organizations and institutions apply deliberate creativity, critical thinking and innovation in solving problems, maximizing opportunities and implementing feasible solutions. He was a Spotlight speaker/facilitator at the prestigious Annual Creative Problem Solving Institute Buffalo New York in 2016, guest speaker at Pepperdine University’s Business graduate program in Malibu California and several other institutions where he leads interaction on creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

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