Thank you everyone who read my last blog in July - this is a continuation of the topic. So far we have established that the purpose of our education system is to equip our children with the skills they need for their future and that 'creativity' has been identified by IBM as the most critical leadership skill. So what do we mean by creativity?
The Oxford Dictionary describes it as, ‘the use of imagination or original ideas to create something.’ The Ideas Centre describes creativity as the generation of both novel and useful ideas. So let’s look at 'novel' ideas - you only need to give a child an empty box and they will come up with the most amazing ideas of what it can be used for - from a time-machine through to a hat, and everything in between!
In business however, the additional ingredient to a 'novel' idea, is that it also needs to be 'useful'. As adults we are very good concentrating on the 'useful' part and not so good at the 'novel' part. Whereas children are great at the 'novel' part but not always so good at the 'useful' part! If you want to learn how to rediscover your 'novel' creativity skills, then please do take a look at The Idea Centre's website and books. What I want to concentrate on however, is how we can nurture the 'novel' part so that children don't lose this critical skill - the 'useful' part will then develop naturally over time.
As quoted in 'An introduction to Creative Problem Solving Techniques' by The Idea's Centre Group, research using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking has shown;
'At the age of 4, it is found that over 95% of children are highly creative
At the age of 10, this reduces to 34%
At the age of 17, this is less than 11%'
So, our children are highly creative when they are young - but what happens to them? There are many contributory factors that reduces their creativity over time - not least the structure and rules within which we live, the mind-set that as adults we transfer to our children, the 'conformity with the norm'. Of course we need some guidelines to live otherwise there would be anarchy. But how do we ensure that the creativity, which is so critical to the success of all of our futures, is nurtured and not eliminated?
My next blog starts to explore how we can do this and how we can nurture and even learn from our children rather than to eliminate this skill.