Twelve years ago I met another Iranian who became my wife. Because of the difficulty of getting visas and other life events it’s taken twelve years for me to visit Iran to meet my wife’s family. As soon as it was decided that we would visit Iran I began to search for my Iranian friend and found articles he had written on medical geology on Research Gate. I saw he was a Professor at the University of Shiraz and so searched the University website to find him. But initial attempts to contact him by email were unsuccessful. However, through my niece who is studying at the University, we managed to make contact and arranged to meet.
37 years have passed and the world is very different so not surprisingly I was a little apprehensive about meeting my friend, although the email exchanges we had prior to the visit confirmed that he had the same sense of humour as the young man I once knew. Our meeting was very friendly and a little emotional but what emerged was quite interesting. As we talked we realised that although we had begun our academic careers in a very similar place, studying the geology of mineralisation of granites in Cornwall, as we trundled through life our interests and circumstances took us in very different directions. However, at this particular moment in time our interests again overlapped. He had recently been appointed Director of the Fars Science Technology and Innovation Park and in this capacity he had become interested in the role of creativity in science education and research, recognising that while much good research was being done at the university, turning the results of such research into useful and commercially viable products and services was a significant challenge requiring creativity and enterprise skills and mind sets.
He saw that an important part of his role as Director of the Science Park was to encourage creativity to support innovation and enterprise and he recognised that this was a long term project beginning with undergraduate and continuing through post-graduate education and progressing into the people working in spin-off companies and projects. Consequently, he was very interested in my work on creativity in higher education and Creative Academic and the result of our conversation was the intention to stay in touch and develop a programme of workshops and Guides to begin the process of developing a better understanding of what creativity means with Faculty and postgraduate students.
The Social Age is all about connectivity, creativity and productivity facilitated by contemporary technologies linked to the internet. The ecology of life has its own logic when it comes to connecting and reconnecting. When you make a new connection you never know where it might ultimately lead and a broken connection still holds potential for interaction and productivity when circumstances encourage or permit. Loose connections such as we have through social networks like Linked-in can be reactivated at any points when interests, needs and ambitions collide.