The Devonfield Institute
The Devonfield Institute is a non-profit, global think tank that collaborates with academics, business leaders, educators, producers, authors and influencers who are committed to supporting education, creativity, quality content, family values and the arts. Our council meets regularly to discuss issues such as improving our educational system, promoting the arts and redefining media programming. The Devonfield Institute conducts roundtables, seminars and panels to encourage learning and share ideas and information with people around the world who are committed to improving our future. Hosting more than two hundred industry experts, our conferences and symposiums help participants deepen their knowledge and find solutions to problems prevalent in society today. We promote exceptional films, thought-provoking documentaries and world-class workshops and panels in the areas of creativity, innovation, film, media, publishing, education, trends, and technology. Our mission is to inspire ingenuity, originality and character-driven leadership.
"Aut viam inveniam aut faciam"
The Devonfield Institute is dedicated to encouraging our youth to learn and advance in knowledge. Creativity and leadership is at the core of our programs. Partnering with schools and organizations throughout the nation, Devonfield wants to put creativity back into the classroom. Most children are highly gifted if given the proper opportunity and support. From their imagination comes a wealth of original ideas and pioneering innovations. Yet most of our educational organizations are designed to discourage creative thinking and undermine the very attributes that foster individualism and original thought. Based on our research, we have found that most children flourish when given the chance to write, paint, invent, build, dance or learn music. These talents open a world of creativity that foster exceptional leadership.
Creativity • Innovation • Leadership
However, the problem lies within our entire educational system, which has driven out the passion for learning. This educational mindset transitions into vocations and corporate protocols: what subjects are deemed important and what choices dictate lifelong careers. What was once the standard of a well-balance educational system that promoted the arts has been replaced with a narrow set of topics deemed significant. One example is the cognitive importance of learning music and mastering a musical instrument at an early age. Research has found that people with a musical background tend to make exceptional organizational leaders: their creativity, agility, refined attributes, brain development, cognitive reasoning and capacity to overcome problems were superior to those without musical training. Music gave them an edge in the corporate arena. Even Apple and Google have implemented workshops in music, painting, and drawing to improve their employees’ creative abilities. So why is music and the arts the first subjects disregarded or discontinued at schools when we know scientifically and statistically how important they are?
Globally, there were few public educational systems before the 19th century, which came into existence to meet the needs of industrialism. Therefore, most schools worldwide have the same hierarchy of subjects founded on two principles: first, that the most useful subjects for work are at the top, which is why most children are steered away from subjects enjoyed at school, because they will never find a job doing it. “Don't do music, you're not going to be a musician; don't do art, you won't be an artist. Benign advice—now, profoundly mistaken. And the second is academic ability, which has come to dominate our view of intelligence, because the universities designed the system in their image,” Sir Ken Robinson, Do Schools Kill Creativity? Our entire educational system places conformity above creativity, and the consequences are that many talented, imaginative and gifted children never discover their creative abilities or their true potential.
People’s careers usually start with the quality and impact of their education. However, our entire educational system is predicated on a well-established hierarchy of academic ability, with mathematics and languages at the top, followed by humanities, and at the bottom, the arts. Why? Why not offer a more balanced curriculum when research proves that creativity and the arts are essential to cognitive development and intelligence? The question who pursues creative careers is answered simply: most anyone, if given an opportunity or chance. Few stumble into a career in music, film or the arts, but when given a chance, they pursue these careers with passion. Truthfully, there are few engineers or lawyers who love their jobs. Very few accountants or financial advisers believe they have found their calling. Noble careers that have mostly been replaced with computers or offshored to other countries. We know this, because we have spoken with countless professionals over the years.
Education should be a dynamic experience. Everyone thinks and learns differently. Therefore, children need to be encouraged, not discouraged; motivated, not ridiculed for processing information in other ways. The nefarious and prescribed conditions attached to creative and active minds do not exist. “We know three things about intelligence. One, it’s diverse. We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it. We think visually, we think in sound, and we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms; we think in movement. Secondly, intelligence is dynamic. If you look at the interactions of a human brain, intelligence is wonderfully interactive. The brain isn’t divided into compartments. In fact, creativity, often comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things,” Sir Ken Robinson, Do Schools Kill Creativity?
Two Research Themes that continually emerged: Creativity and Storytelling.
Profiling top companies, most adults we spoke with acknowledged the necessity of creativity in their work environments and the need for creative people who could offer new ideas, envision the “big-picture” and embody the ability to create something from nothing. These people are visionaries who can think beyond the box and have a wonderful capacity of conveying clear thoughts. Creative people are willing to take risks, to think differently, and to look at problems from multiple sides. They are the engine behind any original breakthrough or innovation. This is true whether the topic was non-profit, human resources, product development or film production.
The second theme is great storytelling: the ability to tell a compelling story. This would seem obvious with film or television production; however, it is also relevant and even critical in business consulting, product development and non-profit segments. Essentially, everything we think or do is about a story. When dealing with new clients or global organizations, being able to pitch a concept or sell an idea is based on storytelling—everyone loves a good story. Story envisions a beginning, a middle and an end. It inspires, captivates and connects us emotionally. Every idea comes from a story: a product has a story; a CEOs vision has a story and a company’s image tells a story. Nevertheless, very few have mastered this art form.
To prepare students for the evolving challenges of our world, our educational system must help children achieve their full potential. It is our belief that all children have unique talents, but unfortunately these gifts are often squandered, underutilized or simply dismissed because these talents are not recognized or nurtured. Our schools stigmatize mistakes, criticize individualism and censure independent thinking. Leadership has become a word without meaning, and creativity is deemed a disruption in the classroom. For children to be successful in school and beyond, they must learn the skills that foster innovation, creativity, leadership and critical thinking.
Devonfield Institute Programs
Creativity, Education & the Future of Children
Think • Engage • Create
Phase I: Creativity Presentations
Devonfield wants to bring back the valuable skills of creativity, entrepreneurship, group dynamics and business savvy into schools and classrooms. We have established dynamic interactive programs that help inspire, foster, and encourage students to nurture their ideas into real innovations and products: a book, a website, a service or a business.
Our programs consist of three phases: phase one introduces exciting, interactive presentations to foster children’s creativity and innovation. The second phase is to build on their ideas and help cultivate them through classes and workshops that collaborate with additional experts guiding and directing the creative process. The third phase is to choose unique ideas and a select group of students with talent, ambition and gumption. Then mentor these students with further assistance and financial support to bring their ideas to market: whether it is a film short, book, commercial, website, app, product or service, we will make these concepts into realities.
Creativity: Writing, Art, Music, Film, Dance, Innovation
- Analyze stories, themes, books and authors
- Review paintings, painters and different mediums
- Listen to musical themes and classical composers
- Watch movie clips and trailers (from the 1930s to present)
- Study forms of dance: From ballet to modern
- Explore cutting-edge advancements and breakthrough concepts
From Devonfield’s vast network of contacts in multiple industries, we will bring in experts, bestselling authors, innovative thinkers, business gurus and flourishing entrepreneurs. Whether in person or through Skype, industry people will engage with the class, share their experiences and answer questions.
We think about the world in all the ways that we experience it and storytelling is at the heart of every program. With our high-level, professional approach, we help students think creatively, to brainstorm with others, to take an idea and develop it, to articulate clear communication, and to present their ideas in class or groups.
Story & Storytelling
- Expressing a narrative
- Conveying ideas clearly
- Creating a theme
- Connecting with emotions
- Developing a message
- Understanding the 3-Act Structure
- Story: The Hero’s Journey
We think visually, we think in sound, and we think kinesthetically. We think in abstract terms; we think in movement. Therefore, to properly promote creative ideas, a supportive environment must be created with opportunities, mentors and resources; a trusting atmosphere that is fun and collaborative. While our programs have been refined, they are also tailored and enhanced.
Approaches to Fostering Creativity
- Visual, sound, kinesthetic environment
- The methods of developing an Idea
- Free flow of creative thinking
- Debate and group brainstorming
- Learning clear communication
- Problem/Solution: Logic Tree
- Multiple choices and opportunities
Exercises to Foster Creativity
- Numerous examples of different mediums
- Individual and group assignments
- Creating a Story: Concept, Structure, Characters
- Narrative: Writing and developing a story outline
- Themes: Viewing movie clips and commercials
- Artistic: Drawing to express an idea or concept
- Choosing a topic to develop
- Discussions and Feedback
Phase II: Interactive Workshops
Our creativity programs are flexible and designed for either a two-hour session, a half-day workshop or longer engagements. These programs are designed for either auditorium presentations, classrooms, after school curriculums or weekend workshops. We have multiple approaches depending on the school, timing and availability of students. Furthermore, any of our programs can be offered throughout a semester or as summer courses. We will always start with creativity as the main theme and implement individual and group exercises to engage the students to think creatively. The programs are visual, interactive and offer exercises for the students to think, engage and create.
Devonfield Institute Workshops
- Writing and Storytelling
- Product Development
- Strategic Marketing
- Film and Digital Media
- From Inventing to Innovation
- Business and Leadership
Phase III: Turning an Idea into a Book, Product or Service
While the Devonfield programs will have a lasting impact on students, along with follow up and an interactive website, one goal is to assess the few gifted and willing individuals who desire to develop their unique ideas and devote the needed discipline to work with other experts in refining their idea into an actual book, business, product or service. This phase exists as a mini Shark Tank: further developing an idea, brainstorming best solutions, debating alternatives, refining the thinking and initiating a strategic plan of action. This exciting process will be documented for other students and schools to watch, learn and be inspired.
We will help students understand the entire creative process from concept to final product; we will assist with all the areas of development; we work with the students on communication and public speaking, so they can present and articulate their ideas; and we will fund these finalized products and potentially take them to market. Through our evaluation process, top students will be awarded prize money and scholarships for college.
Some areas for future development
- Short story into publication
- Movie script into a finished draft
- Book into publication
- Business idea into a polished business plan
- Commercial written and filmed
- Service idea into a polished business plan
- Website created and launched
- Product created, launched and marketed
- Phone app develop for use
Once some of the best or most creative ideas have been chosen from numerous schools throughout the country, these ideas are further fostered with experts and professionals to develop and finalized into business plans and presentations. These presentations will be voted on and the top three (1st, 2nd and 3rd) will be further developed, properly funded and moved into either a finished book, website or product. Often, other investors may want to further an idea or financial support a concept, business model or product. While the creative process and experience is what counts, if an idea is great or compelling, it may go straight to market.
- Bringing in a panel of experts
- Collaborate with top professionals
- Process: Refine and finish
- Fund an idea: Book, product or service
- Awards and finance for top students
- Scholarships for college
The Devonfield Institute is dedicated to encouraging our youth to learn and advance in knowledge. Creativity and leadership is at the core of our programs. Partnering with schools and organizations throughout the nation, Devonfield wants to put creativity back into the classroom.
Work with the student or student team to develop the concept or story into a finished book or product. Develop locally and expand nationally. Website: information, links and articles