_MG_8372Creativity and Innovation

In this course, we will practice principles and methods of creative thinking and experimentation and design processes to take business ideas through an innovation management process. Real-world examples of innovation for individuals, teams and organizations will provide a foundation for field trips to learn about local business and economic systems on Cortes Island. This contextual inquiry in a micro-system will inspire design and systems thinking and be applied to opportunities for macro-system shift.

The workshop will be a fast-paced week of structured participatory learning and collaborative prototyping activities on Cortes Island, including 2 pre-island webinars in July to cover basic design processes and finalize planning. You will be using creative processes for: exploring & questioning, imagining & communicating, brainstorming & synthesizing, building & testing, evaluating & iterating, presenting & appreciating, learning & laughing.

  • Lowering inhibitions to creative imagination and promoting conditions for generative thinking with teams
  • Translating behavioral and emotional motivations to professional roles with collaborative ways of working
  • Discussing real-world experiences and risk factors associated with innovating for change in organizations and in business to shift toward sustainability
  • Understanding strategies to navigate through complexity with creativity
  • Collaborating on opportunities inspired by the field trip by thinking creatively to explore problems, imagine solutions and evaluate ideas for business applications
  • Building imaginative, interactive experience prototypes
  • Telling visual stories in compelling ways

Learning Objectives

Identifying needs, designing research, contextual information gathering, synthesis, creative visualization, build to think, experimentation, storytelling, business planning, case presentation.


Sunday, August 3 through Saturday, August 9, 2014
(travel days Saturday, August 2 and Sunday, August 10)


Creativity and Innovation is a one-week intensive retreat workshop held at a very special eco-village haven called Channel Rock on Cortes Island, British Columbia. Google Map. To say you will explore learning in a beautiful, natural setting is an understatement.

Channel Rock features solar energy and wood stoves, a communal cob house for dining and learning, a sauna and other hand-hewn structures surrounding a 100-year-old heritage orchard and permaculture garden, encircled by a seaside wilderness of giant trees growing from a moss and fern-carpeted forest floor.

Guests sleep peacefully in cabins, yurts, tents and tipis and enjoy sumptuous meals created by our talented chef that showcase ingredients from the abundant organic garden. And yes, there is always time set aside to explore this idyllic learning environment. Beautiful hiking trails are at our doorstep; kayaks wait in the sheltered cove.


Gifford HeadshotGifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot III is President of BGI and a well-known author, speaker and consultant specializing in new venture creation and innovation management within large organizations. He has helped launch over 700 business units within corporations, several of which are doing over a billion dollars in sales. Gifford brings his inventor’s mind and innovator’s experience to this retreat workshop, held in a magical environment of his own creation at Channel Rock, designed and built on sustainable principles and practices.

Nina HeadshotNina Serpiello

With experience in design and research at NeXT Computer and at IDEO, and consulting in systems change across many industries, Nina combines verbal, visual and projective methods in human factors research and organizational systems transformation. Nina specializes in applying design process with experiential learning, inspiring design by unveiling values, motivations and relationship dynamics. Nina has co-designed the Channel Rock class with Gifford Pinchot for 5 years, and is an influence for design and innovation at BGI.


Cost: $2,250 (alumni rate $1,750)
(Food and lodging provided, travel expenses not included)

Nina Serpiello

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BGI believes that learning is most productive and engaging in learning communities. BGI reserves the right to cancel classes with less than ten (10) enrollees.

BGI is aware that lives are busy and there are times that previous commitments no longer “fit.” BGI is unable to refund fees for class registrations and, we will apply the funds, minus a modest administrative fee of $10.00 to another class of your choosing. If BGI cancels a class, your fees will be refunded in full.