The Science Of Creativity – Homework!

I was going to deconstruct an article on creativity I just read in Newsweek.

Instead, I’m just going to say you need to read it for yourselves.

Get past the scary call to action about creativity declining in the United States. (Scary for those of us who live here at least) This is one article where the really interesting and useful stuff is in the second half.

As you read keep in mind:

  • Creativity is about the creation of something original and useful – don’t limit your thinking to fine art categories.
  • Creativity can be learned and encouraged in every part of the educational process, possibly improving overall effectiveness more than when limiting to traditional categories.
  • The need to be creative is a deep, neurological need.

Kudos to Po Bronson and Ashley Merry at Newsweek for a great synopsis. ¬†Creativity is messy, which means there’s plenty to argue about in the article. But given how central creativity is to our humanity, putting the discussion front and center seems like a good idea.

The article is: The Creativity Crisis, Newsweek, July 10, 2010 by Bronson and Merry.

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9 Responses to The Science Of Creativity – Homework!

  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Hi Fred, Interesting article, discouraging. The reasons for our declining creativity are so deep, so basic, and so intertwined, it’s hard to imagine a recovery coming quickly. Instead of solving problems, our current mentality is to postpone dealing with them, either by ignoring them or trying to spend our way out of them. As a result, we’re heading toward crises in health care, education, defense, immigration, financial infrastructure, etc. – while at the same time numbing our own ability to creatively respond.

    • I’m looking at this from a glass is half full sort of way. The alarm klaxons are ringing. We’ve actually been measuring at least one aspect of creativity. And a rather high level summary of creativity doesn’t focus on turning us all into actors, musicians and artists but recognizes the inherent creativity needed by every adult. (Of course that being said I can vouch for the power of some good fine arts training) If a measurement of creativity becomes an educationally identifiable goal there’s no telling how quickly this particular measurement could rebound. More importantly – defining creativity as socially desirable will drive progress — make the glee kids cool — free engineers up to think useful as well as efficient —

      It could happen. :)

  2. Paul Cornies says:

    ‘Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put into homeroom.’ So true. If students are provided with the opportunity to use their creativity in the maths, sciences, as well as the arts, great possibilities exist for life long productivity and fulfillment.

  3. kay plantes says:

    Thanks Fred. I am very happy to have read this, and also concerned. A Business Week article talked about how the Gates Foundation is pushing our nation more and more into testing and standards. These need not dumb down creativity, but organizations seeking efficient ways to achieve measures often do standardize, which then reduces opportunities for students to approach learning creatively. I may refer to this article and your blog in a blog I am writing about school testing.

    Best regards, K

  4. J.D. Meier says:

    Very interesting.

    Yesterday, one of my colleagues mentioned that one of the keys to moving up the stack is creating value … not just adding value or doing your job, but creating value where there was none.

    The beauty is there are some amazing patterns and practices for creative thinking — from de Bono to Michalko.

  5. Fred,

    Have you ever read Robert Kiyosaki’s book, ‘If You Want to be Rich and Happy, Don’t go to School’? In it, Mr. Kiyosaki describes a number of ways in which he feels that the educational environment in your country stifles creative thinking amongst young children.

    Central to his theme is what he sees as an over-emphasis on a one-dimensional thought process and on finding a singular ‘right answer’ to questions or problems. Kiyosaki argues that as adults, people need to ‘unlearn’ many of the lessons they learnt in school, and to understand that many of the challenges in life do not have a singular, one dimensional ‘right answer’, but rather many possible approaches, each with different advantages and disadvantages.

    • Haven’t read the book but sounds interesting. In some ways it feels like creativity is something that survives education rather than being enhanced by it. On the other hand I’m a product of the system and feel as if the creative juices continue to flow…

  6. Fred,

    No doubt they do – you’ve always struck me as a creative thinker, and from what I’ve read on this blog, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.