Creative Courage: A Journey Into Clarity

I am leading a workshop for Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation at their 24th Annual Nonprofit Conference on Sustainability Strategies.

Thursday, October 20 at the Black Canyon Conference Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

clarityWorkshop Title: Creative Courage: A Journey Into Clarity

Workshop Track: Stimulating Creativity
Workshop Session:
Session 1 (9:30 a.m.) – to 12 noon
Sonoran Ballroom

Workshop Description: It takes courage and bravery to stand up in a meeting and share ideas. Some leaders naturally have this but many do not. For anyone filled with ideas but lacking the information needed to express those ideas — this session is for you. This session is designed to expose possibilities for creative courage and use it as a super tool for infusing innovation and redefining what is possible. Organization statements to be addressed during this session

  • Lack of creative courage impacts personal and team performances
  • Without creativity – innovation is stagnant
  • A workplace that is committed to creative innovation encourages all ideas.

This audience interactive experience will lead to break-throughs in ideation, problem solving and brainstorming. Participants will walk away with a tool kit of ideas to be a creatively courageous in work and life. Through interactive activities, participants will explore creative courage concepts as follows:

  • a focus on the creative courage mindset
  • a focus on methods for creative ideation
  • a focus on effective sharing of ideas and courageous ownership
  • a focus on collaborative creativity methods
  • a focus on innovative brainstorming

Participants will leave with a tool kit for creative courage capacity building for their team and organization.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the critical impact that creative courage brings to an organization
  • Learn innovative brainstorming techniques
  • Learn methods for creative ideation
  • Learn creative courage mindset skills
  • Learn the practice of courageous ownership.

Presenter Bio:

Cyndi Coon is the President and Chief Experience Officer of Laboratory5 Inc. Cyndi’s magical power is to help others find creative courage. Cyndi is a storyteller who sees the world in pictures. She connects with people to co-create big giant ideas as an intuitive thinker. Cyndi loves to explore, hike, camp, listen to music, read and create in her studio or on the go with her traveling creativity kit. She is a speaker, a writer, a teacher, a coach and a leader with contagious positivity and high energy! Cyndi is an expert in using creativity to expose clarity and experiential magic. Cyndi works with audiences to deepen the understanding of innovative creativity and to support the leap to the next level of their ideas. Her naughty, rule-breaking approach keeps everyone on their toes.


Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you



Make it S.T.E.A.M-Y

Arizona S.T.E.A.M fans – Join me on Sept 15th for my talk on making your S.T.E.M and S.T.E.A.M events S.T.E.A.M-Y at Scottsdale Center for the Arts
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“Make it S.T.E.A.M. – Y,” a session about creating experiences through S.T.E.A.M., is an interactive opportunity to see how creativity and play provide clarity around innovating and integrating S.T.E.A.M into business and educational practices with a focus on Process over Product.

Session Objective:

In this session you will learn how to leverage creative, playful methods to enhance your work. What you will learn from this session include the following discussion points:

Discussion Points:

1. Have Fun
Ask are you having fun? If the answer is no – make small ‘micro moment’ changes now!

2. Be Brave
Learn how to walk into creative play with bold bravery and a ‘let’s just try it’ attitude.

3. Brainstorm
Start with playful Ideation and creative brainstorming.

4. Experiment
Allow for the process to let experiential, organic magic to occur. Then learn how to capture this to use next time. This takes bravery to muster up the courage to play creatively but let’s talk about the fact that you have nothing to lose and will likely have a fun time experimenting.

5. Commit
Be deeply committed to Process Over Product because it is a journey – there will be many ever-changing destinations. S.T.E.A.M is already designed to celebrate this – learn how to harness and enhance it.

6. Just Do it
The way to allow for process to take root in your playful creative practice is to say out loud things like ‘I am playing’, ‘I am experimenting’, ‘I want to see what will happen if. . . . . .’ Learn how to Just play, enjoy the process, make and experience a lot of stuff. If you commit to the playtime to just be creative you will create all kinds of stuff, some terrible, some very cool, some you want to repeat.

7. Dump it or Deposit it
If you look at something you have been working on and think maybe there is something there but are not sure then store it for a while by depositing it in a place for safekeeping. Then pull it out when you have a fresh perspective.

8. Time
You have to dedicate time to this. When and how can you set aside time to play and be creative?


Ladies Talk (and draw) Science


Ernst Haeckel Diatoms

Friday July 22 | S.T.E.A.M.-Y Ladies Night Out

with artist Cyndi Coon and scientist Catherine Seiler

Did you know that people aren’t the only things that like “selfies?” Inspired by the work of artist Ernst Haeckel, this hands-on workshop includes down-to earth science talk about diatoms and the opportunity to draw your own mini “Cellfies.” It will be like taking a snap shot of your own cells!

Coon is the Chief Experience Officer and President of Laboratory5 Inc. and Seiler is a Program Manager at the Biobank Core Facility at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

STEAMY logo pic


This workshop is Free and takes place in the TCA Gallery from 6-8 p.m.

Location: 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway Tempe, AZ 85281 
Free parking is available for this event at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

Build Outside – Miniatures

Every summer we go camping and spend days, weeks and even months outside playing in nature. And every summer my girls and their friends build outdoor habitats for the magical, mysterious creatures known as fairies.


We encourage  magic and mystery with the kids while they are in their natural surroundings. Imaginative play through constructing outdoor fairy houses from natural materials such as bark, sticks, stones, flowers, grasses, acorns and pine cones; along with small pieces of trash they find around the camp site like bottle caps, broken sunglasses, pieces of plastic. We use this collection time to have conversations with our mini architects to talk about preserving nature and not littering. We talk about how harmful it is to birds and water life when people don’t properly dispose of their garbage.



When  building a fairy house think about all of the possibilities: such as creating a pebble path, making a fence out of sticks, a walnut-shell bathtub,  leaf hammock, a bark bed or a stone table.



You can do this in your own back yard, at a playground or even in a container filled with dirt on a balcony of an apartment. You need only to get outside, take a walk, carry a bag or a bucket and collect things. Bring back the found goodies to the place you will construct and begin the process to create a welcoming home for fairies.

Want more ideas? Check out these books – they are some of our favorites:


Fairy House: How to Make Amazing Fairy Furniture, Miniatures, and More from Natural Materials

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 12.38.43 PMFairies: Real Encounters With Little People

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

Build An Insect Habitat

Getting kids outside and teaching them about insects is an important part of childhood. Encourage kids to not be afraid of bugs. Exploring safe creatures such as the Pill Bug or Rollie Pollie‘s as most kids call them is a great way to start young explorers off with insects. Kids can learn about the stages of a bugs life from egg to adult. They can also do a bit of research at their local library after a day of outdoor play and learn that Pill bugs are actually not insects, they are crustaceans. They are related to shrimp and crayfish, breathe with gills, and need humidity or moisture to survive.

Insect habitats teach kids so many life lessons. Ants demonstrate the importance of working together. Praying mantids teach children about the food chain. Butterflies exhibit the beauty of metamorphosis bot to mention lessons in biomimicry. Bugs and insects make ideal pets for children who cannot own larger domesticated animals due to allergies, housing restrictions, or family finances. There are many prefabricated habitats available in the marketplace, but parents and children can also build their own. Check out this bug mansion:

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With this knowledge they could build a Rollie Pollie habitat to study and observe these creatures.


Share nature with kids while they are young and you will create, in them, a life long love of the outdoors. This is important to cultivate future scientists, conservators and explorers along with naturalists and artists inspired by nature.


Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

Play in Water

In the ongoing desire to get kids outside and off of tech give them access to one thing all kids universally love – water! Kids are naturally drawn to water and will happily spend hours playing in it or near it. Take kids out in nature and let them explore natural bodies of water near your home or make a day trip of it an drive to a near by lake, stream or creek.


Things to bring along:  a net, a jar or container, a shovel to dig in the mud, and buckets to collect things to investigate on site. Get the kids to catch little creatures to observe, looking at colors, shapes and textures. Kids love discovering things like minnows, salamanders, crayfish, snails and insects in these habitats.

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Can’t make it out to a nearby body of water? Create an outdoor water play station for the kids right at home. Let them explore the movement of water – they can use a spray bottle or a hose tow write words with water. Put their swim suites on and let them play in the sprinklers.

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Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you

Listen In Nature

Many children in this country have lost all understanding that they are part of nature and are connected to nature.We live so fearfully that children will be nabbed or will get hurt that we keep them inside and away from danger. But ultimately we are harming them far worse by robbing them of the experiences that can only be found outside in nature.

“To become stronger adults, kids need to be outside and allow their bodies to do what they’ve been designed for from the beginning. – Kacie Flegal, a chiropractor in Ashland, Ore., who specializes in pediatrics.

In college I studied Ornithology because I was obsessed with the film maker Peter Greenaway. His film A Walk Through H: The Reincarnation of an Ornithologist change my view of birds, film making and visual experiences.

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Some of Greenaway’s other best-known films include:  The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982), A Zed & Two Noughts (1985), The Belly of an Architect (1987), Drowning by Numbers (1988), and his most successful (and controversial) film, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989) also include references to Ornithology, birds and nature.

As a parent this has me thinking about sharing a love for birds with my children and if I want to get them outside to listen more I can start with the sound of various songbirds. Doing this can really can teach a child about the diversity of the natural world.

Once you spend time outside listing for birds why not get creative?  Set up an outdoor creativity studio where you can build and make things! Go grab these Free plans to build a birdhouse for your own back yard from Ana White

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While building your bird house listen to some classic music inspired by birds.

Laboratory5 Inc. is a small business based in Tempe, Arizona

Visit our website: Laboratory5       Follow us on Twitter: @lab5     Become a fan on Facebook: Laboratory5
Contact Us at anytime – we’d love to hear from you