The Creativity Crisis
I started off blogging because I had an upcoming book and guidebook ( collaborated with Dr. Kerry Monick), and my advisors said that I needed to catch the wave of using the internet to get the word out. Selling as an idea, is being replaced, courtesy of social media, by actually finding people who are looking for what you have to say or offer. The internet has made this possible and one way to achieve this is by introducing one’s self through a blog. So here I am.
My upcoming book, How Frank Lloyd Wright Got Into My Head Under My Skin And Changed The Way I Think About Thinking, a Creative Blueprint for the 21st Century is about sharing the results of various thinking patterns at different states of consciousness over a long period of time and simply reporting my results. I am not an academic per se although I did spend seven years in the college and graduate school arena. A career in advertising led me into the field of creativity. One immediately thinks of creativity as the ability to come up with novel and breakthrough ideas. It is certainly that. But creativity from that perspective is the content. The prize is to also understand the context. Think of the context as a container and the content as what goes into it. You want both.
I have been looking for articles to include in my press kit and immediately ran into Newsweek’s fresh off the press (7/10/2010) article entitled “The Creativity Crisis.” http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.htmlThe authors, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, reveal that until 1990 creativity scores among kids in the U.S had been rising as measured on the Torrence Test. But since then the scores have been slowly trending downward and particularly among children in kindergarten through the sixth grade where it is the most serious. They go on to point out that the consequences are sweeping as the necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. To drive home the importance of all of this they point out that a recent IBM poll of 1,500 chief executive officers identified creativity as the No.1 leadership competency of the future.
They suggest that it is too early to determine definitively what the culprit is. Time in front of television, and lack of emphasis on creativity in our schools are two of the detractors. Certain countries are ahead of us and certain U.S. schools have moved to the forefront; and once kids get placed in the right environment they can perform. The Newsweek authors go on to identify perhaps the salient cause by saying,
“ Preschool children, on average, ask their parents about 100 questions a day. Why Why Why-sometimes parents just wish it’d stop. It does stop. By middle school they’ve pretty much stopped asking. It’s no coincidence that this same is when student motivation and engagement plummet. They didn’t stop asking questions because they lost interest: it’s the other way around. They lost interest because they stopped asking questions.”
Once a person a person quits asking questions the “ intent to find out” vanishes. It is the “intent” which seems to stand as a perpetual command to marshal forces in the universe towards fulfilling our desires. In this regard I refer to this as the “context” in the example above. It seems to be much more important to have intent than to simply be “smart.” Intent keeps the door open, keeps the order out there . What happens and how it happens after that is frequently viewed as the content. But it is the perpetual state of curiosity, the why? the how? that seems to keep the magic forces employed. So if one lives in a perpetual state of wonder it is like keeping the contextual switch on. The ideas that seem to flow after that are the content.
Edward Tenner writing in Forbes in an article called “Crisis Creativity” http://www.forbes.com/2006/04/15/edward-tenner-reinvention
points out that big changes arise from the gradual evolution of ideas and techniques but that in times of crisis , such as war and disease, great strides can be made. In these times many people are collectively in a state of perpetual inquiry and breakthroughs seem to accelerate.
What is the take away? One idea is to employ one’s subconscious consciously and as frequently as possible. Let’s say you are having a meeting tomorrow to brainstorm with the group an idea of how to improve something. Instead of waiting until tomorrow’s meeting. You could ask yourself with high intent, knowing that this is connecting to other forces, how can we best make this improvement.? Your subconscious connection is now engaged in the process long before the meeting. When you do arrive at the meeting, what ever you can contribute has had the added benefit of your consciously employing this additional resource.
In the Forrest Gump story, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrest_Gump , an innocent idiot accomplishes incredible feats because he doesn’t know he can’t. He intends to accomplish with all that is within him. Perhaps this is the message for all of us. I would love to think so.