Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why is creativity important?

This is an extract from my book The Creative Edge Workshop

In the introduction to his book A Whole New Mind Daniel Pink makes the following statement:

The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind – computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could draft contracts, MBA’s who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind – creators and empathisers, pattern recognisers and meaning makers. These people – artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers – will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys. [p.1]

And this from Ken Robinson:
The challenges we currently face are without precedent. More people live on this planet now than at any other time in history. The world's population has doubled in the past 30 years. We're facing an increasing strain on the world's natural resources. Technology is advancing at a headlong rate of speed. It's transforming how people work, think, and connect. It's transforming our cultural values.
If you look at the resulting strains on our political and financial institutions, on health care, on education, there really isn't a time in history where you could look back and say, "Well, of course, this is the same thing all over again." It isn't. This is really new, and we're going to need every ounce of ingenuity, imagination, and creativity to confront these problems.
Also, we're living in times of massive unpredictability. The kids who are starting school this September will be retiring—if they ever do—around 2070. Nobody has a clue what the world's going to look like in five years, or even next year actually, and yet it's the job of education to help kids make sense of the world they're going to live in.
You know, for my generation—I was born in 1950—we were told that if you worked hard, went to college, and got a regular academic degree, you'd be set for life. Well, nobody thinks that's true anymore, and yet we keep running our school systems as though it were. So many people have degrees now that an individual degree isn't worth a fraction of what it used to be worth. So being creative is essential to us; it's essential for our economy.
I work a lot with Fortune 500 companies, and they're always saying, "We need people who can be innovative, who can think differently." If you look at the mortality rate among companies, it's massive. America is now facing the biggest challenge it's ever faced—to maintain it's position in the world economies. All these things demand high levels of innovation, creativity, and ingenuity. At the moment, instead of promoting creativity, I think we're systematically educating it out of our kids.
Source: Educational Leadership September 2009 Volume 67 No.1

How would you answer the question why is creativity important?

Here are some other thought starters:

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns. Edward de Bono
In today’s world creativity is fundamentally important for our personal, social, economic and cultural well-being. The most important developments in civilisation have come about through the creative process. Robert Fritz
The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift. Albert Einstein
I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones. John Cage
The one fundamental choice – to become the predominant creative force in your life – is a foundation for the entire orientation of the creative. Robert Fritz
Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives . . [and] when we are involved in it we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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