When Thinking Spirals, Great Things Happen

By Ann Gill (M.A., ’76)

How does a failing elementary school go from being one of the most academically challenged to one of the best schools in town in a single year? How does a small civil engineering company become a national award winner for creating a highly effective work environment through creative surroundings and experiences? They, along with many others, were trained in creativity processes and thinking developed by brothers Ed (B.S., ’77) and Dave (B.M., ’79) Goodman. Ed, a civil engineering major, and Dave, a music education major, had extraordinarily creative careers themselves, which spurred them to develop methods to help others envision, execute, and experience their ideal future.

Ed Goodman

Ed plays trumpet and, while still in college, he shared the stage with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinsen, The Four Tops, Temptations, and Blood Sweat and Tears. Unlike most college students, Ed not only attended the classes in which he was enrolled but also snuck into a back seat in many other classes, just to learn new things. After graduation he worked for several engineering companies, produced TV programs for stations ranging from PBS to Discovery, and was a city and community planner. Eventually he launched his own marketing and strategic planning agency with The Walt Disney Company Theme Parks as his main client.

On this career journey, Ed began to think about his own creative thought processes, which he termed “spiral thinking,” and he began to develop methods to guide others in thinking more creatively. He created a company and website, spiralexperiences.com, and presented experience design and ThinkShops for groups ranging from businesses and associations to college students.

When Ed started talking to his brother about experience design projects, Dave said that he used similar thinking processes in his own work. Dave, who plays drums, spent much of his career as an award-winning executive producer of major events, including music festivals, sporting events, award shows, movie premiers, large extravaganzas such as Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, and promotional events for U.S. presidents. Dave not only did consulting work around the world, he also served as vice president and executive producer of Walt Disney Entertainment and Anheuser Busch Entertainment.

Dave Goodman

The brothers put their creative heads together and developed The Mindshare Network, a web-based network of thinking tools and inspirations to help individuals and organizations develop their potential and use spiral thinking to be more creative and more successful in careers and personal lives as well as to develop new dreams. Ed and Dave also wrote an ebook, Creating the New American Dream – The Spiral Renaissance Theory. The brothers focus their digital toolkits into categories of life, health, career, innovation, engagement, and happiness.

Does it work? Using the Mindshare techniques, that failing elementary school raised standardized test scores by more than 60 percent in a single year. That civil engineering consulting company transformed not only their training and business practices but also their office environment and won the 2007 EXPY award as “the world’s ‘Experience Stagers of the Year.’” The owner of TST Inc. Consulting Engineers, Don Taranto (B.S., ’72), has high praise for Mindshare, and he describes his company’s perspective as “creating experiences in projects for people who come into our office.”