• Individual and Group Clients

    Project Regional Economic Development Council:  The REDC delivers a winning plan for the economic development of Western New York.  Facilitated process was the key to bringing together more than 200 business leaders in the community to create a cohesive plan for economic development.  Governor Cuomo responded by providing more than $100 million for Western New York initiatives and earmarked $1 billion for Buffalo.


    “Thank you for your commitment to the important work of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.  Your participation and enormous time commitment were critical to making this initiative a success. The completion of the strategic plan marks a milestone in our ongoing effort to turn New York’s economy around, and I am grateful to have you as a partner in this exciting endeavor.”

    -Governor Andrew M. Cuomo,  State of New York, Executive Chamber.



    Project Teamwork: The Individual and Planned Giving Department at Ithaca College uses Creativity to explore the elements of Teamwork


    An activity based approach to exploring the basic guidelines to effective teamwork added to the fun and helped identify the positive and address the challenging aspects of teamwork.  Individuals worked in many different groups and on a variety of activities including role playing, consensus building and concept developing. The following feedback from the client provides some insight:


    "I have participated in many workshops, team-building activities, and retreats over the course of the past 25 years, and yours is at the top of the list in terms of quality and impact.  Often these experiences fade into the background of routine very quickly, and one cannot quite recall any outcomes.  Our experience with you was very different.  While we practiced and learned quite a few things without feeling "taught" or lectured, because the activities were experiential and great fun, we also came away with some specific objectives to work toward and actions to support that process. Every member of our team found the day to be incredibly productive."

    Katy Noonan,  Executive Director, Office of Individual and Planned Giving, Ithaca College.









    "The tools and methods we used helped me arrive at my solution by letting me see all the positives and negatives of each potential answer. They let me choose what I felt was the most important criteria for my choice to have, and let me apply that to my choices. I could potentially use these tools to solve any problem. If I had to make a tough decision I could use these. I could use brain storming when I am having a difficult time coming up with ideas, card sort to organize my ideas so I can see exactly what is at the top of my list. The evaluation matrix to pinpoint the pros and cons of each choice I have, and the pluses, potentials, concerns, and overcoming concerns to find out ways to work around a problem, or to just solve it. Also, using statement starters for phrasing concerns will help me look past the negative and focus on the positive. Anyone can benefit from the tools we used because they are "one size fits all". You can use them for any problem, with any people. However, people who have a hard time coming to one conclusion may benefit best from these tools. I enjoyed the tools we used because they were simple to understand, and forced you to come up with one solution. Then when you look at the choices again you understand exactly why you came to this conclusion, and that makes you feel sure about your choice. I learned as I was being facilitated that although every choice has some potential problems, there is no problem that you can't overcome one way or another, if you don't think of it as a problem. If you phrase them as a question, they become a way to challenge yourself to see if you can fix them. I would like to use these tools in the future because they worked so well! Thank you for helping come up with a solution, showing me new tools, and teaching me that there is no problem without a solution." S.B. Eight grader.


    Project SB:  An eight grader uses Creative Problem Solving for school assignment


    An impromptu facilitation occurred at a dinner party where an eight grader asked for assistance with a homework assignment involving selecting and justifying a future career choice. This offered an opportunity to use several problem solving tools. The client enjoyed the session and offered the following feedback:

    Project BP: Individual Client Facilitation to take advantage of opportunity for personal goal achievement


    This client was looking for ways to tie in her performance arts training with a business opportunity while working with people. I used an Excursion technique with a Visually Identifying Relationships technique with the resource group. This was very effective and resulted in a rich flow of ideas. The session provided the client with a road map to starting a Puppet show with story telling for young children with workshops being offered to older participants.


  • Corporate Clients

    Project Haley Marketing:  Local staffing and marketing firm improves communication within the business


    Client’s Testimonial:


    “Initially, we told Izzy that we had hired consultants before, and we did not think an outside expert could really diagnose and resolve the issues we faced.  And that's when she really surprised us.  She said "I'm not a consultant, I'm a facilitator."  She told us that our team probably knew (or could figure out) answers to all the challenges we faced, and that what we really needed was someone who could help us tap our collective creativity more effectively.  Izzy then prepared an amazing four hours of facilitated group exercises, team discussion, and creative and critical thinking.  She showed us how to apply the knowledge and process she learned in the class room to our real world situations; she made the process of creativity and critical thinking easy for everyone on our team to understand; and she turned problem solving into a whole lot of fun!


    After a morning filled with post-its, lists, idea generation and analysis, we came up with some excellent solutions to many of our most vexing issues. We are still putting the tools Izzy taught us into action today.  It was a great experience, and Izzy really demonstrated her talents as not just a student of creativity, but as a gifted facilitator who was able to create an exceptional learning environment for our organization.”


    David Searns, CEO Haley Marketing


    Project TKD: Local Martial Arts school addresses business challenge


    Client's Testimonial:


    "As the largest provider of martial arts in WNY, our organization is always pursuing the answer to the question: “How can we retain more students, for a longer period of time, in order to provide the maximum benefit from our program?” 

    Among several significant findings through the CPS process, one of the lasting ways Ms. Mamnoon’s project helped me was by taking the original question (problem), “How do we improve the retention rate among white belt and yellow belt students?” and transforming the approach by asking a different question, “In what ways might we come to understand the challenges parents of our new students are facing?”

    Without ever presuming or passing judgment, while frequently providing her own personal insight, we were able to “draw out” more than enough “solutions” to the original problem.  Ms. Mamnoon’s knowledge of her subject and attention to the sensitive nature and scale of our topic was quite impressive and I commend her for sharing those qualities with me.  As a result of this project, there is a focused list of actions we are taking to provide “world class” instruction to our students.  One such example is the recent completion of a “white belt orientation” packet that will be provided to the parents of every new student, in all five of our locations!"


    Andrew Chong


    Master Chong’s World Class TKD



  • Educational Organizations

    Project Initiative for Creativity in Education: Lead facilitator for teacher training project at schools in the United Arab Emirates


    The Initiative for Creativity in Education has been a personal dream which came to life at Ibn Seena English High School in Sharjah, UAE.  The initiative was launched by a 2 hour introduction to the compelling case for creativity in education and the evidence that shows that the current education system fails to meet this need. The 110 teachers took part in activities designed to demonstrate aspects of creativity in action. This presentation was followed by a 5 hour intensive workshop with 30 team leaders who were guided through the use of the Creative Problem Solving process and how the specific tools can be used to deliberately weave creative thinking skills into the curriculum.  On going support for the teachers who are carrying this initiative forward will be provided through online support and future on site training workshops. This presentation was repeated at The School of Knowledge in Sharjah, UAE  and future projects are planned in other countries.


    The impact of the workshops and presentation was felt throughout the faculty at the schools and the message for creativity in education was further spread by the press coverage that the project received in the National newspaper.


    Teachers urged to let children dream by Afshan Ahmed


    Project WL: Assistant facilitator for faculty training at Wilfrid Laurier University


    Participated in a full day of training at Wilfrid Laurier University – Annual Teaching Day 2010.  September 1, 2010 at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario. Responsible for preparing materials for inclusion in the  Creativity Skill Set poster and for preparing a warmup activity based on the creativity skill “Be Original” for the team that I worked with.  On the day of the event I facilitated  a group of 8 university lecturers through a session designed to help them find ways to include Creativity in their classrooms.  I was also involved in answering questions about the posters we presented at the session.


    Project TMS: Classroom involvement in Middle school to facilitate use of Creative Problem Solving tools by 7th graders


    I have been involved on an ongoing basis with the Future City club at a local middle school. I have been introducing facilitation tools and techniques to the children in the club to help them apply their creative thinking to their projects. Some of the children have been applying the techniques for other school assignments with success.



    Project NCCC: Higher Education Facility developing a theme for a community celebration project


    Conducted a training in creative thinking and facilitation session at NCCC in order to help the Alumni and Foundation office plan a major event that they are hoping to host in May 2011. Used Visual Forced Connections techniques to help the client develop the theme for their celebration.


  • Conference Presentations

    Mindcamp 2010 (Toronto, ON) – Creative Problem Solving for Successful Parents and Children: Using creative problem solving to craft solutions to parenting challenges


    Wilfred Laurier University Poster Presentation 2010 (Waterloo, ON) – Thinking Skills: Outline of creative thinking skills and their integration into curriculum


    Mindcamp 2011 (Toronto, ON) – The Haha Moment: Exploring how humor augments creativity


    International Child Art Foundation 2011 (Washington DC) – Drawing to Music: Hands on activity for children and adults designed to engage a creative mindset


    Anne Frank Project 2012 (Buffalo) – Nurturing Ideas: Simple ways to facilitate an equitable exchange of ideas through experiential learning


    American Society for Quality Conference 2012 (Buffalo) (60 minute session) – 3 Powerful Creative Thinking Tools: Providing tools for understanding problems, generating options and evaluating ideas


    American Society for Quality Conference 2012 (Buffalo) (4 hour workshop) – Developing Thinking Skills: Learning to use the creative thinking process through application to personal challenges


    Creativity and Research Celebration Poster Presentation 2012 (Buffalo) – Teaching 21st Century Thinking Skills: Outline of approach taken to introduce creativity to educators


    Creativity and Research Celebration 2012 (Buffalo) – How to raise $100 Million:  A summary of the process used to facilitate successful outcomes for the Regional Economic Development Council


    Creative Expert Exchange 2012 (Buffalo) -  Teaching 21st Century Thinking Skills:  An expert to expert dialogue on introducing creativity to educators


    Creative Expert Exchange 2012 (Buffalo) – Adding to Your Facilitation Tool Belt: Introducing new facilitation tools to address common issues arising during facilitations; PACME (a tool for converging) and  $PPCo (a tool for evaluating ideas from a financial perspective)