Picking up on my last post…

Across the public sector, in the professions, and in business “creativity” and “innovation” are buzz words of the day, and barely one passes without some new article about or plea for creative and innovative solutions to the many challenges we face today in the workplace.

And the call-out is not restricted to Chiefs alone.

So what’s stopping us? Let’s get creative!

But wait…

According to a study conducted by Tony Buzan, author and MindMapping master, and expressed in different ways by many more commentators (see links below) there is a concerning problem regarding human creativity in our modern age…

Creativity Drain

It has long been acknowledged in educational circles that cram-for-exam education methods may get the optimum number over the pass line, but can seriously conflict with the higher purpose of education; the nurturing of curious and enquiring minds, in preparation for the much bigger challenge ahead that is adult life.

This is in no way meant to be a condemnation of teachers, many of whom do the business day in and out, and often in the most unfavourable of circumstances. It’s the system that’s the issue…

If you are feeling unconvinced on this point, you clearly haven’t heard Ken Robinson’s TED Talk (Do Schools Kill Creativity?) and you really should (links below)!

Perhaps then it isn’t so hard to understand why some adults have genuine inhibitions when invited to participate and collaborate as active learners; tapping into their own experiences, expressing a considered view, trying out a different approach, attempting to see things from another perspective, or even (perish the thought) “reflecting”?

Experience tells me that it is a great thing to raise awareness of different learning styles, and it is an even greater gift to assist less-then-willing adult learners to value and make us of their own experience as a resource, and at the very least encounter other ways of learning, that provide the breadth and depth rarely attainable in any given learning preference or style alone..

Not all are going to be a comfortable fit (and some we may realise we never want to experience ever again!), but please, please avoid guiding learners (or yourself) to shroud themselves in exclusive learning-style-cloaks (be it pragmatist or theorist, activist or reflector) that discount their (or your) ability to be creative, to develop, change and grow.

Learning shouldn’t have to draw blood, but it should stretch us beyond our comfort zone, involve and challenge us, if it is to be of any lasting worth.

Why? Because we’re Worth it!

I’ll close with gratitude to Stephen Shapiro (link below), whose words articulate my closing thoughts well…

“As adults, although we have creative ideas rolling around in our heads, we self-censor. We don’t want to look silly. We don’t want to say something that might have us look bad in the eyes of our peers or boss. This need to “look good” stops us from playing.

Fortunately, there is no reason why adults cannot recapture their creative juices … It just takes a shift in mindset and a bit of practice. And it requires us to relearn how to play like children.”

Further Reading

 Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Ken Robinson TED Talk, filmed Feb 2006



Do We Get Less Creative As We Age?

Author Stephen Shapiro

Posted 07/02/2008



The Creativity Crisis

Authors Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

Posted 10/07/2010



Creativity and Innovation: Your Keys to a Successful Organization

Author Daniel Burrus

Posted 23/10/2013


Start typing and press Enter to search