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For Interdisciplinary Thinking, Knowledge Integration,
and Advanced Applications of Imagination

Leadership, Purpose, Solutions, Imagination, Synergy, Creativity, Connectivity, Generative, Integrative, Renaissance, Nature, Culture, Renewal, Transformation

Persons, Whole-Systems, Living Systems, Global Challenges, Innovation, Inclusion, Learning, Teaching, Mentoring, Perspective, Wisdom, Adaptive, Regenerative, Change

The RENAISSANCE CENTER is a revolutionary collaborative space and ideation laboratory designed

to bridge multiple sectors, disciplines and cultures and to positively impact the course of society’s greatest

challenges. It seeks to cultivate and challenge the common interests of educators, leaders from business and

government, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs, and to serve as a springboard to collaboration, research

and social change. Not least, the Renaissance Center is a crucible for the formation of inspired leaders and

engaged citizens, and an interdisciplinary hub for innovation, whole-systems thinking, discourse, renewal

and transformation.


Renaissance Thinking for the 21st Century

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Raison d’etre for the Renaissance Center

“The need for thoughtful, competent, mature, empathetic and ethical leadership is unparalleled in human history.  The UN's Sustainable Development Goals and Global Challenges such as climate change, the resilience of our institutions as well as our leaders and our youth, the threat of pandemics, nuclear weapons proliferation and the growing potential of nuclear war, marginalized educational opportunities, environmental degradation, failing governments and failing socio-political systems, social inequities and more, are front and center for our generation to address and resolve.”


“The raison d’etre of the Renaissance Center is nothing less than the development of the individuals, the organizations and institutions that will succeed in finding and implementing solutions to the Global Challenges and SDGs.

A Renaissance for Colleges and Universities

“Colleges and universities need to embrace a whole-systems perspective that will enable them to educate the whole person and to frame and resolve the Global Challenges before us. Helping colleges and universities excel in developing future leaders who apply imagination, synergy, creativity and connectivity to addressing the Global Challenges is a strategic priority of the Renaissance Center.”

“Secondly, brilliant scholars and professors must become equally brilliant and dedicated teachers and facilitators of learning. The Renaissance Center is dedicated to helping colleges and universities reclaim the excellence and authenticity of their core business – teaching.”






Renaissance Thinking for the 21st Century

Guiding Principles and Signature Methodology

The first principle of Renaissance is Imagination, and the second is Synergy: a generative principle matched with an integrative one. So too, Creativity and Connectivity: a generative principle matched with an integrative one. That’s the key – applied across the disciplines and branches of knowledge: the arts, sciences, humanities and technology -- and no less in business, government, research, the social sector and the economy: in each case, a generative principle matched with an integrative one.   

"Does there not exist a high ridge where the mountainside of 'scientific knowledge' joins the opposite slope of 'artistic imagination'?"

Origins of the Renaissance Center Concept

The Renaissance Center is a concept more than a dozen years in the making, first conceived by founder, president and CEO of Creative Leaps International, John Cimino, and developed in close consultation with his advisors, board members and senior faculty.   The concept springs directly from the company’s work over three decades in business, education, the arts, sciences, leadership and creativity as well Cimino’s personal background as a lifelong interdisciplinary explorer.  Special acknowledgement is also due Cimino's mentor of many years, Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, for his invaluable guidance in refining, shaping and advancing the vision of the Renaissance Center in its present form.

Founder’s Story:
Early Adventures of a Renaissance Minded Kid

Bouncing back and forth between the sciences and the arts and reveling in discovered or imagined points of connection has fascinated Renaissance Center founder, John Cimino, since he was 12.  He lived in an Italian American neighborhood and playing stickball and eating his mother’s meatballs were definitely top of the list. But a close second was reading scientific biographies beginning with Michael Pupin’s autobiography, From Immigrant to Inventor, and onward to Einstein’s collaboration with Leopold Infeld, The Evolution of Physics. A world was opening up to young John and it was full speed ahead.

Renaissance Thinking for the 21st Century:
Three Articles from the President 

“To Think as Nature Thinks”

Optimizing Connectivity: Envisioning The University as a Complex Living System

Planning for Higher Education Journal 


Connectivity must become the first principle of our higher education universe.

The university is a veritable seedbed for innovative thinking, yet all too often its own structures inhibit innovation in the university master plan itself.

“Leadership and the Inner Work of Art”

Leader to Leader Journal

As a man is So he Sees. As the Eye is formed such are its Powers. (Blake)

The aesthetic dimension of leadership is one of felt knowledge, felt relationships and deeply felt values. It is seeing through the Eye of Imagination and feeling the heartbeat of the world.

“A Catalyst for New Thinking” 

The Concert Of Ideas

Creativity and Education

Thinking of Things As If They Could Be Otherwise

When my colleagues and I work with university faculty, business leaders,

and other professionals, our goal is to help people think in new ways, i.e.,

to set the mind and heart in curious exploratory motion.

Founding Sponsor & Donors

The Renaissance Center completed its 18-month pilot year at the University at Albany with funding from two principal sources: the University President’s Office, Dr. James R. Stellar, interim president, and a President’s Discretionary Grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Dr. Vartan Gregorian, president.



“I know very well who I am,  and who I can be, if I choose!”

   -Don Quixote de La Mancha 

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