Dr. Thompson in SRQ Daily

The Intersection of Data and Creativity


Reposted from SRQ Daily article 2/25/17

There are plenty of misconceptions and myths about creativity. For example: “It’s magic.” “It’s random.” “It just comes to you.” Or the common remark, “Some people have it; some don’t.”

One of the most dangerous misconceptions is that thinking creatively does not demand research, data or analysis. On the contrary, creative problem solving is at its best when it springs from knowledge and preparation.

Ringling College of Art and Design, and all other members of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design in our country, educate emerging artists and designers in this school of thought: creativity is a skill that is based on having a solid foundation of knowledge and discipline.

Earlier this week, Jared Cohen, president of the Google-owned company Jigsaw, addressed an audience of over 1,600 people at the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture Series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Cohen, former staffer for both Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, laid out the ideas he’s gleaned from his experience about the future of technology and the omnipresence and ever-important role of data in our society.

In essence, he forwarded the ideas that technology, data and the digital world are rapidly becoming one with our physical world—and that we should embrace the evolution. More succinctly, he claimed, “Data is the new oil.” This comes as no surprise, since it was the founder of the think tank Google Ideas who said it.

Such a statement may ring familiar. When I speak about creativity and its importance to our future economy, I often use the phrase, “Creativity is the new oil.” After all, it fuels and bolsters every successful industry and company on our planet. Creative thinking will always be in demand—today more than ever. And the key to creative thinking? Steeping ideas in data and information. The more we know about our audiences, our products, our services, our goals and our results, the more refined and targeted our creative ideas can be. Without a doubt, “data” and “creativity” work hand in hand to fuel our economy.

This ideology is reflected in every facet of our programs, facilities, and curriculum at Ringling College. Our students, who are among the most successful creatives, will enjoy and accept the ever-changing data climate we live in. They will stay at the forefront of their industries by utilizing every piece of information they can get their hands on. While somewhat perplexing, the beauty lies in the intersection of data and creativity, and the fact that their delicate balance will drive our future.

Dr. Larry R. Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art and Design.






Director of Library Services


Claire Powell

Digital Curation and Special Collections Librarian


Janelle Rebel

Technical Services Librarian   


Janet Thomas

Instructional Design Librarian


Claire Powell

Instructional Design Librarian





Alexandra Vargas-Minor

Library Technician III (Cataloging and Metadata Assistant)   


Lisa Martinez

Library Technician II (Periodicals and Interlibrary Loan)



Library Technician III (Circulation Manager)  


Tim DeForest

Library Technician III (Acquisitions Manager/Office Support)  


Yolanda Coleman

Library Technician II (Assistant Circulation Manager)  



Assistant Circulation Manager


Christina Song

Circulation Assistant 


Jean Ferderber

Circulation Assistant Sooyeon Baek


Patron Type # of Items Type of Material Borrowing Time
Student 40 Books 3 weeks
CDs and CD-ROMs 3 days
DVDs and Blu-Ray 3 days
Magazines (unbound) 3 day
Magazines/Annuals (bound) 5 days
Videogames* 7 days
Faculty and Staff 40 Books 6 weeks
CDs and CD-ROMs 3 days
DVDs and Blu-Ray 7 days
Magazines (unbound) 3 day
Magazines/Annuals (bound) 5 days
Videogames* 7 days
Trustee, Alumni, Cross College Alliance, and  15 Books 3 weeks
Ringling College LibraryAssociation Members CDs and CD-ROMs 3 days
DVDs and Blu-Ray 3 days
Magazines (unbound) 3 day
Magazines/Annuals (bound) 5 days
Videogames* N/A
PreCollege 5 Books 3 weeks
CDs and CD-ROMs 3 days
DVDs and Blu-Ray 3 days
Magazines (unbound) 3 day
Magazines/Annuals (bound) 5 days
Videogames* N/A
Local Teacher 15 Books 3 weeks
CDs and CD-ROMs 3 days
DVDs and Blu-Ray 3 days
Magazines (unbound) 3 day
Magazines/Annuals (bound) 5 days
Videogames* N/A
Chartwell’s and Follett employees located at Ringling 15 Books 3 weeks
CDs and CD-ROMs 3 days
DVDs and Blu-Ray 3 days
Magazines (unbound) 3 day
Magazines/Annuals (bound) 5 days
Videogames* N/A
*The video game collection supports the research and teaching of the Game Art & Design program. Video games may not be checked out by Alumni, Ringling College Library Association members or Family members.


The Alfred R. Goldstein Library features a wide variety of quiet, group study, and work process spaces. Looking for a quiet study area? Make your way up to the 3rd floor to look for a book in the Research Collection or peruse the new art magazines while relaxing in comfortable seating. When the weather is nice, you can take your coffee from Roberta’s Café on the first floor to one of the four terraces to work outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Looking for meeting space to get together with a group? Check out the group study rooms, which are available on all three floors of the Goldstein Library. The 10 group study rooms are available to students on a first-come first served basis, or available for booking by Ringling College faculty and staff for group and class meetings.

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Contact specialcollections@c.ringling.edu to schedule an appointment.

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