Hang on to your creativity. 1

I recently delivered a short talk on ‘Creative Leadership’ to a group of Grade 7 students on the occasion of their Valedicition. I asked their parents to raise their hands if they believed they were creative — two or three hands were reluctantly lifted. I then asked the children the same question and every single one of them thrust their hands skyward with great enthusiasm. The parents all clapped and it was a wonderful moment.

There is however a depressing side to this story and it’s this — very few adults seem able to hold on to their creativity. Research shows there are a number of reasons why. Firstly, the majority of education facilities teach in a way that discourages divergent thinking (the ability to seek out a number of possible correct answers to a challenge). Instead students are taught that there is only one correct answer and if they don’t know it, they’re not studying hard enough. Secondly, thinking creatively involves a certain amount of risk. Children aren’t scared of making mistakes, but as we get older, we generally become more risk-averse and feel far more comfortable with the status-quo. Finally, adults seem to consider creative people somewhat weird. Non-conformity is discouraged almost from the time we are born and continues through education and into the workplace.

It’s time creativity was valued for what it is — the innate human ability to solve problems, face challenges and bring about change. I believe we are all creative but as we go through life, we repress this gift in order to conform to the norms of a society that isn’t really working. It’s time for us all to unleash our creativity for the good of our organisations, our country and the world.

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One thought on “Hang on to your creativity.

  • Miro Bagrov

    Creativity demands freedom.

    Freedom is not given to employees – since an employee is there to follow orders not think. Freedom is not given to people work all day, every day even weekends.

    Neither is there freedom in policies, procedures, and processes which people love to waste time creating.

    No freedom in deadlines. Freedom is the difference between parents who spend all afternoon painting as oppose to all afternoon in front of the TV where they learned nothing and created nothing.

    Then we wonder why no one is creative.