James Rolling, Jr.

Author of
  • Swarm Intelligence
    Palgrave Macmillan (11/13)

James Haywood Rolling, Jr. is the chair of Art Education and a dual associate professor in Art Education and Teaching and Leadership at Syracuse University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Art Education Association, and is the author of over 25 articles, nine book chapters, and three books on the subjects of the arts, education, creativity and human identity. He lives with his wife Me’Shae near Syracuse, New York.

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Swarm Intelligence

What Nature Teaches Us About Shaping Creative Leadership

A surprising look at the origins of creativity, and why future innovators are best forged through group collaboration and adaptive social networking

Companies and organizations everywhere cite creativity as the most desirable – and elusive – leadership quality of the future. Yet scores measuring creativity among American children have been on the wane for decades. A specialist in creative leadership, professor James Haywood Rolling, Jr. knows firsthand that the classroom is a key to either unlocking or blocking the critical imagination. He argues that today’s schools, with their focus on rote learning and test-taking, work to stymie creativity, leaving children cut off from their natural impulses and boxed in by low expectations. Drawing on cutting-edge research in the realms of biological swarm theory, systems theory, and complexity theory, Rolling shows why group collaboration and adaptive social networking make us both smarter and more creative, and how we can design education and workplace practices around these natural principles, instead of pushing a limited focus on individual achievement that serves neither children nor their future colleagues, managers and mentors. The surprising truth is that the future will be pioneered by the collective problem-solvers, making this a must-read for business leaders, educators, and anyone else concerned with nurturing creative intelligence and innovative habits in today’s youth.

Praise for Swarm Intelligence

In this book, James Rolling challenges commonplace notions of creativity as the inspired activity of select, uniquely endowed individuals. He advocates for restoration of the vital and contagious possibilities of collaborative ventures to restore potential to communities and the individuals who draw upon their shared resources. This wonderfully readable and researched text takes its readers by the hand and points to what we are, and what we can be, as a people whose destinies intertwine and affect one another in countless complex ways.

Christine Marmé Thompson, Penn State University

In Swarm Intelligence, James Rolling takes on many long- held beliefs about creative behavior as an individual human capacity, and instead offers a picture of creativity as a swarming enterprise of social activity, common impulses, and fluid systems for shaping our lives in meaningful ways. This activity is found in private or public spaces, businesses, communities, and places of collective learning. It is not surprising that the evidence of this phenomenon is found in abundance in the arts. Rolling paints an optimistic, yet convincing picture of how we can see things differently as we look to our common futures.

Graeme Sullivan, PhD, Director, Penn State School of Visual Arts
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