HONOLULU-CUNA introduced a popular new feature to its Future Forum this year with the Innovation and Energy Center. Developed in concert with Creative Marketing Consultant Kevin Carroll, the center consists of three `pods' to inspire the creative thinker in everyone. The first centered around the history of credit unions with historical photos hung around the intentionally small, darker area. It was designed to give `tourists' a feel for what it was like in the earliest days of the credit union movement in somebody's cramped basement with hard wooden benches, Carroll explained. A documentary on credit unions' beginnings starts the tour. Next is a larger area with computer kiosks covering what credit unions are doing now. One monitor shows innovative ideas and programs at the credit unions, while other kiosks are available for attendees to input fresh ideas in play at their credit unions. As CUNA Manager of Learning Technology Marlo Foltz described, it is intended to serve as a "living document." The final and largest section Carroll claimed as his domain. It included books on innovation, a collection of sports balls from around the world, and a sound therapy booth. Here, those on the tour could experience international creative thinking from the sports balls, he explained. In Carroll's travels across the globe, he would trade children playing in the streets their tattered old home made balls for brand new soccer balls. One ball he got in Uganda was made entirely of dried banana peels while another was nothing but trash bags held together by rubber strips peeled from old tires. Carroll explained that creative thinking in play is crucial to really successful organizations. In the sound therapy booth sound and light flashes tickle the brain into `theta,' the dream state of sleep, without messing around with the rest of a person's states. Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, known for his work on creative thinking, developed a series of `Brainwave Suite' CDs that are available in stores that actually help stimulate the creative parts of the brain. "It's like push ups for your brain," Carroll, who has studied Thompson's work, explained. In the sound therapy booth, participants take an exam on creative thinking. Then they are cradled in a unique recliner with speakers all through it while glasses with flashing lights and headphones with one of Dr. Thompson's CDs playing. The CDs consist of various sounds from space to serene jungle noises. Afterwards, the test is given again. "I've never had anyone not increase (their creativity)," Carroll said. [email protected]

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