The Creativity Crisis

Newsweek just published a must-read article, The Creativity Crisis, co-written by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman (both well-known for their best seller, Nurture Shock). In the article, the authors make a great argument for infusing childhood experiences and school curricula with creative-thinking methodologies, stating that children who are stronger creative thinkers will fare better when faced with life’s problems and that “the correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.”

They go on to state that creative thinking skills have been on the decline in school age kids since 1990, and that the numbers are making no real signs of popping back up. Despite the seemingly dire news, the authors share that a solution could lie in enriching children’s educations with creative-thinking activities, and that infusing current educational practices with project-based learning and creative problem-solving pedagogies will also help.

Related to this, they wrote a companion piece called Forget Brainstorming, with seven great tips on how to foster creativity.  It’s a useful list for both kids and adults.

Highlights from the Article

  • “A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 ‘leadership competency’ of the future.”
  • “Claremont Graduate University’s Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and University of Northern Iowa’s Gary G. Gute found highly creative adults tended to grow up in families embodying opposites. Parents encouraged uniqueness, yet provided stability. They were highly responsive to kids’ needs, yet challenged kids to develop skills. In the space between anxiety and boredom was where creativity flourished.”
  • “Preschoolers who spend more time in role-play (acting out characters) have higher measures of creativity.”

Comments

  1. TD says

    What an important set of thoughts. Creativity does indeed drive our worlds; it means innovation economically and socially to make our lives all the better.
    Stay at it with the kids. It is they, after all, who will save the world.
    TD

  2. Erich says

    I have to wonder if part of my own creative development was fostered by early videogames like tetris… Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

    • says

      Hmmm….I wouldn’t underestimate Tetris’ ability to foster some good skills, but I happen to know that you also grew up in a family that encouraged uniqueness while providing stability. Lucky you :)

  3. danielle says

    hey rac,
    This post has been on the forefront of my mind since I read the blog. the subject addresses many questions and issues I’ve had most of my life. I am creative, but only as far as my impulses will take me. As far as being creatively educated – trained, encouraged, supported and challenged by individuals or a culture to BE creative, the kind of creative mentioned in the article, I can only think of one person. Kim Abeles.
    I have attended four separate colleges, taking art and design in all of them and all of them approached the subject techniquely and historicly. Not until Kim, and she was my last professor, was I exposed to art as creative.
    I am still trying to find my way with what I am supposed to do with my creativity. First thing I am going to do is continue reading and following this concept of a creative crisis. it’s got me jazzed!!! thank you rachelle for spot lighting this article and to both you and Scott for constantly raising my awareness and intelligence. xo

    • says

      I agree, this is a pretty provocative article. There’s a huge difference between a traditional formal arts education and a creative arts education. Of course the two can be intertwined (as I imagine it was with Kim), but just because someone is teaching painting or ceramics does not mean that they’re also considering the creative elements of said media. A strange realization, right? Shouldn’t the arts be at the forefront of creativity? But, sometimes they’re not (couch art, for example!!). And further, creativity can be found in just about any discipline. Keep me posted on your quest. xo, rad

      • danielle says

        yes. I like and have recently sensed the idea of creativity in any discipline. parenting opened me up this concept. the doors are wide open and there is infinite possibility.