Thursday, January 29, 2009

Creativity Block

I got home today (3 apples down) really excited to start reading 'Out of our minds' by Ken Robinson.

His talk on TED is still my favourite and I have been looking forward to getting his books ever since I discovered that site courtesy of Presentation Zen.

I have had to force myself to put the book down so that I am not too stuffed tomorrow, and so I can vent some of the energy he has bubbling in me on this blog.

The start of the book is about how fast the world is changing and has changed. Our grandparents lives were not that different from their grandparents. Ours are world's apart from our parents childhoods and our children will struggle to imagine the world we grew up in. The big thing that he looks at is what this means for how we think about education and learning and what is important.

When last did you need to do mental maths in your head? We use excel to do vastly complicated calculations. Instead of walking to a stream, getting water and spending the day hand washing clothes, we pop them in the machine, grab a glass of wine and a book or watch a movie, then they are done. Tough life. The things we used to have to learn are not going to be what matters any more. The rate at which computers, technology and nanotechnology are advancing, we will barely recognise our own world even 10 or 20 years from now.

What you can't replace though is creativity... that is the the distinctly human illogical mindset that allows us to solve all sorts of problems without the computing power. We need to feed our creativity.

One of my favourite Robinson stories is of walking into a classroom of 5 year olds and asking how many can draw? All their hands go up. How many can write... maybe one or two. 10 years later, you go into a classroom of 15 year olds and ask those same students who can write and all their hands go up. Who can draw? Maybe one or two.


We get taught to stop being creative because we are so scared of not being the best. Of not adding value. We don't do the things we enjoy. We make excuses and we delay acting. Inertia. Blocks. Barriers. Boundaries.

It's time that changed. That thing you used to enjoy doing. That thing that used to put you in your element, that made you smile... do it.

Exciting times.
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