Why is Creativity Important in Education?

Hey!

So this is the first blog post coming out of The Creativity Campus and I thought it only natural to build it off of the company’s initial inspiration.

Sir Ken Robinson is a world leader in creativity and education. At TED in 2006 he spoke about how schools are killing our creativity. It has since become most watched TED talk with over 14m views as of August 2012.

Recently Sir Ken sat down with Adobe to talk about why creativity in education is so important from an economic and business perspective. There were a couple of real, standout points for me when I watched the video.

First, Sir Ken notes that we shape our curriculum on what we deem important today as the workforce skills of the future. We determine this on the assumption that the future will develop along a linear path, that we can predict what is to come.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, nothing is further from the truth. Over the past 25 years we’ve witnessed enough revolutionary technological change to know, without a shadow of a doubt, that predicting the future doesn’t work.

I was educated in the 1980s and 1990s. There were no classes on the value or implications of social media, I didn’t have the chance to learn to code or even consider the possibility of using an ipad in the classroom, let alone the workplace. Keyboarding and words per minute were the only computer connections one made and yet, for my entire working life the internet has been an integral source of information and tool for marketing, career development, research, learning and social connection.

Though I went to an amazing alternative school for high school the fact remains that most of what I learned, the facts, dates and important names and theories, can all be accessed with a few finger taps on my iPhone.

Realistically, what we can count on as consumers, parents, CEOs and members of society is that the world will change in ways that we have no way of predicting or preparing for. I couldn’t be educated about social media because social media didn’t really exist.

As support Sir Ken refers to this survey by IBM of over 3,000 CEOs which notes:

What we heard through the course of these in-depth discussions is that events, threats and
opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they
are converging and influencing each other to create entirely unique situations.
These firsts-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees
of creativity—which has become a more important leadership quality than
attributes like management discipline, rigor or operational acumen.

A more important quality than management discipline or operational acumen? Creativity is more important to CEOs than business skills?  This is yet another aspect of the future that most of us wouldn’t have predicted.

But, clearly, if thousands of CEOs are so focused on creativity than we should be too.

Whether we’re looking at career advancement for ourselves, entrepreneurial growth as business owners or the preparedness of our kids as we send them off in to the workplace the research shows that creativity is something that deserves at least a little more focus.

Unfortunately, in an learning environment of limited resources and increased standardization this is actually the opposite of what is happening in many cases. So the question becomes – how do we cultivate these skills for ourselves? How can we build activities and exercises into our daily lives that nurture the qualities that employers want?

I guess that’s why this is the first post and it was certainly the inspiration for my work. I was a super creative kid who thought that I had to give up the fun, imagination driven stuff that I enjoyed in order to get a job and make money. My building of this campus is as much for my creative fulfillment as it is for that of every  participant. I want a life that is fun and purposeful, that serves a greater need while giving me a space to build and create and interact with new people as they grow and explore their potential.

We were all children who had amazing creative powers, whether it was the ability to come up with the best games at recess, the quickest path to the value of X in algebra or the prettiest sounding ditty on the recorder. Creativity doesn’t come in one form and it’s not restricted to artists.

As far as I can tell, if we don’t break down those limited views of the value of a creative mind then we’ll be doing our children, our employees, our businesses and ourselves a disservice.

But that’s just me, what do you think? Have I drunk too much of the Ken Robinson kool-aid?

(For more Creativity resources check out our Links section)

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