Williamson brings ‘New Realities’ to campus

by Andrew Goodell

“Creative minds are the most important element of our futureeconomy,” David Williamson, motivational speaker and artist, toldan audience of business management students in Great Hall lastThursday night.

“Creativity is the primary survival skill in business,”Williamson said.

Since the age of 13, Williamson has used creativity to hisadvantage. As a teenager, the Keokuk, Iowa native was in a rockband called The Bushmen for two years. While in this band,Williamson discovered he possessed public-speaking skills.According to Williamson, everyone who came to see The Bushmenperform live was captivated by what he had to say betweensongs.

While attending the University of Iowa in pursuit of a career indentistry, Williamson realized he wanted to take a less linear pathin life. He decided to earn his bachelor of fine arts degree andthen his master’s degree at the U of I School of Art.

As he began to exhibit his art in galleries, Williamsonaccompanied his exhibitions by giving speeches. It was at this timethat corporate employers began to take interest in Williamson’sability to motivate people by teaching them to thinkcreatively.

Today, Williamson works as a freelance creative consultant inindustries such as agriculture. His job is to encourage the maximumlevel of productivity from people by teaching them how to think andwork as a network as opposed to trying to accomplish goals in acircular or linear fashion.

“I teach people how to question the answers,” Williamsonsaid.

During his talk, he encouraged Simpson students to think thisway as well. Williamson went on to motivate the audience by tellingthem that they had the potential to enter into what he called the”creative class” of people in the future economy. This group ofpeople holds a place in the economy that is based on creativethinking and an independent work outlook according toWilliamson.

“You are here at Simpson so you can end up among those who do’idea’ work,” Williamson said. “The creative class of workers isn’tloyal to corporations.”

As a speaker, Williamson sees the reaction from students asgoing through a predictable process that begins with shock.Students are surprised to learn that he is a sculptor and poetbecause Williamson dresses and functions like a businessman – not atraditional artist’s image. According to Williamson, students arethen intrigued with what he has to say because he includes his ownpersonal experiences of success in utilizing “networkthinking.”

The final stage of a student’s reaction to his presentation is akind of awakening to the fact that the student is a creativeperson. According to Williamson, this realization is spurred by hisdescriptions of outside-the-box thinking.

“The box doesn’t exist,” Williamson said. “That can be a shockfor a kid.”

With that in mind, multitudes of students left Great Hall with anew outlook on performance and creativity in the classroom.