Out of Our Minds

“Our ideas can enslave or liberate us. Some people never do make the transition and remain resident in the old world view; their ideological comfort zone.” – Sir Ken

Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative is a book that, for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed. Sir Ken gives a very broad overview of a changing world, a broken education system, shares anecdotes that sometimes relate to the points that he is trying to make and gives the reader a general framework for being a creative leader.

He defines common misconceptions about creativity; namely that ‘creativity’ as it is currently understood actually consists of:

  • Imagination – the source of creativity. The ability to bring to mind things that are not present in our senses.
  • Creativity – the process of having original ideas. Creativity is applied Imagination.
  • Innovation – the process of putting new ideas into practice. Innovation is applied Creativity.

Sir Ken asks us to challenge the many things that we take for granted,

“Like the medieval astronomer we continue to believe in the assumptions of mass education, despite all the evidence that the system is failing so many people within it.” – Sir Ken

and speaks about cultural aversions to change and why resistance to change is only natural.

After attending the Creative Innovation 2011 conference recently, I now know that many of the speakers where actually directly quoting this book as the book – and this is what is worrying me.

In 1780, Jacques Rousseau published Emile, in which he argued for a new approach to education that was based on play, games, pleasure and personal interests. For the next 200+ years their have been many who have argued for a more playful and creative education system, those such as Froebel, Montessori, Steiner, OrffDewey and Kohn, and yet despite their efforts, they have gone largely ignored. But in the fast-changing world of the 21st century, every business, government official and education leader wants a quick dose of creativity and innovation and will pay whatever it takes to say they have done the latest ‘Sir Ken’ workshop, and this in turn ticks the necessary innovation box. But can you actually ‘teach’ creativity? Granted, a framework can be introduced to encourage ‘creative’ thinking and a ‘creative’ culture and work environment (think Google), but in an age of the quick-fix workshop, how many of these organizations are willing to invest in long-term strategies to really drive systemic change toward a more creative and innovative environment?

Take the time to read this review of Out of Our Minds on Amazon – Is Creativity the New Snake Oil?

Is Creativity the New Snake Oil?

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