Business success

Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity, and innovation, bringing fresh perspectives to the challenges facing business and education in the new global economy. You can’t help but be challenged by Robinson to think about a different way of looking at innovation and creativity.

This Ted Talk jumpstarted my thinking on what can be emphasized in order to advance education, society, and work. Robinson points to creativity (not the traditional way that we necessarily think about the educational system right?) as the way to nurture a successful generation. “Creativity is as important as literacy.”

Creativity is about taking a chance and not being frightened if the results don’t turn out as expected.

The issue, as Robinson makes clear, is that unfortunately it isn’t easy to take a chance on creativity—everything we learn is based on hierarchy. Think to your schooling…the emphasis is always first with Mathematics, Languages, and Humanities. Where do the Arts come in? How many articles do we read about arts, music, and gym classes being cut?

To reframe it into a business context, the easy answer is that this subject matter isn’t contributing to the bottom line so to speak. But, as Robinson points out, and we can all anecdotally express, in reality, creativity isn’t boxed into one discipline or one approach. That’s precisely WHY it’s so valuable to cultivate!

We need to allow students and the workforce to embrace a natural form of creativity for each person. And it’s got to be consequence free—Robinson argues that by stigmatizing mistakes, we shutter creativity and innovation. And it’s true.

But let’s take that idea even further—how can we reframe mistakes?

Everyone approaches work differently. Everyone approaches communication and action differently. Why wouldn’t everyone approach creativity differently? A mistake isn’t necessarily a mistake if you reframe what is considered creative.

Take different ways of thinking—in today’s organization, it can be intimidating to have your Social thinking be more apparent than your Structural or Analytical thinking. Process and hard data are still the end-all-be-all in many cases. But, Robinson makes the case that when your true attributes are not able to flourish we aren’t functioning at 100% capacity.

Creativity and openness are stifled…and even with the emphasis on the bottom line, results are stifled as well. So how do you achieve greater creativity that equates to results? Well, you start by reframing creativity around what it means to a person. What is creativity? What stimulates creativity? And how does creativity manifest itself into results?

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