Out of Our Minds: The Power of Being Creative by Sir Ken Robinson

8. You Are Not Alone

  • Individual creativity is always stimulated by the work, ideas, and achievement of other people. Even if you aren’t part of a creative team, you are heavily influenced by the culture around you. The diversity of creative output is impacted by the world’s cultural diversity. New technologies present fresh possibilities for creative work. The cellphone is a good example. Sometimes innovation happens when two cultures collide. For example, the innovations brought by rock music in the 1950s and 1960s happened mostly in art schools, not music schools.

9. Being a Creative Leader

  • The big idea is that as a leader, you don’t have to do all of the creative stuff. What you need to focus on is facilitating creative activity in all of the people you lead at every level in the organization. You also need to make sure that there is a balance between the freedom to experiment and the proper systems of evaluation. Be aware of the impact of the external culture, which offers changes in things like technology and demographics, and the internal culture, which deals with the habits and habitats found in your organization. It’s wise to make sure that everyone has a sense of what everyone else does.
  • The vast majority of creative activity today involves creative teams in organizations. It is the leader’s job to put such teams together and provide them with the resources they need to innovate. This should include regular opportunities to engage in professional development. When hiring, try to avoid only hiring people who remind you of yourself. Be patient as you can’t be creative on a schedule and make sure that a trial and error mentality is in place.

10. Learning to Be Creative

  • The key idea here is to personalize learning as much as you can. There is no doubt that there are some things that students need to learn, but there needs to be flexible time for them to explore their interests. Here Sir Ken gives a number of specific schools as examples. One cool example involves people from a senior living facility routinely meeting with “book buddies.” Not only does this provide quality one on one learning for the students, it also gives the seniors a reason to live.
  • There will still be a need for assessment, but it needs to be more nuanced and personal rather than standardized. When students are allowed to create, the process can be as important as the final product. We need to move from the idea that kids are like freight cars being filled by the school acting as grain silo to the idea that kids are rockets and we are just trying to find the fuse. “This kind of transformation is not easy. The price of failure is more than we can afford and the benefits of success may be more than we can imagine.”

Sir Ken Robinson

  • Sir Ken is an internationally recognized leader in the development of creativity, innovation, and human resources. He is in high demand for speaking engagements worldwide and has many of the most watched TED Talks. He is professor emeritus at the University of Warwick in the UK. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II is 2003. His best selling books include The Element: Finding Your Passion Changes Everything and Finding Your Element: How to Discover Your Talents and Passions and Transform Your Life. He was born in the UK and now lives in Los Angeles, California.
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