Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Creativity Crisis ... and You
Guggenheim Museum gets credit for the Kandinsky image
"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."-- Picasso
"Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses. The problems we face now, and in the future, simply demand that we do more than just hope for inspiration to strike. Fortunately, the science can help: we know the steps to lead that elusive muse right to our doors." (excerpt from article below it's complimentary piece)
An alleged predictive test in the creativity arena, the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. here
Experts assess 10 drawings by adults and children for signs of out-of-the-box thinking. How Creative Are You? Gallery here
The Creativity Crisis
by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman July 10, 2010
For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it.
Experts assess 10 drawings by adults and children for signs of out-of-the-box thinking. How Creative Are You?
Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the “Torrance kids,” a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, “How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?” He recalls the psychologist being excited by his answers. In fact, the psychologist’s session notes indicate Schwarzrock rattled off 25 improvements, such as adding a removable ladder and springs to the wheels. That wasn’t the only time he impressed the scholars, who judged Schwarzrock to have “unusual visual perspective” and “an ability to synthesize diverse elements into meaningful products.”
The accepted definition of creativity is production of something original and useful, and that’s what’s reflected in the tests. There is never one right answer. To be creative requires divergent thinking (generating many unique ideas) and then convergent thinking (combining those ideas into the best result).
In the 50 years since Schwarzrock and the others took their tests, scholars—first led by Torrance, now his colleague, Garnet Millar—have been tracking the children, recording every patent earned, every business founded, every research paper published, and every grant awarded. They tallied the books, dances, radio shows, art exhibitions, software programs, advertising campaigns, hardware innovations, music compositions, public policies (written or implemented), leadership positions, invited lectures, and buildings designed.
Nobody would argue that Torrance’s tasks, which have become the gold standard in creativity assessment, measure creativity perfectly. What’s shocking is how incredibly well Torrance’s creativity index predicted those kids’ creative accomplishments as adults. Those who came up with more good ideas on Torrance’s tasks grew up to be entrepreneurs, inventors, college presidents, authors, doctors, diplomats, and software developers. Jonathan Plucker of Indiana University recently reanalyzed Torrance’s data. The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ.
Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist—has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.
Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”
The potential consequences are sweeping. The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.
It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing video-games rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.
Around the world, though, other countries are making creativity development a national priority...
Read Rest of Article GO here
Related Article: Forget Brainstorming » GO here
NOTE: from one heart blogger:
I suggest that in order to Creativity to become especially fertile, constructive and nurturing, the elements of Spirit, Beauty and Nature are necessary ingredients.
The way I want to end this post is with the beginning of 'Fireflies' - one of my favorite poems for years now which has a way of inspiring my creativity when in nature...
by Rabindranath Tagore
My fancies are fireflies, —
Specks of living light
twinkling in the dark.
...In the drowsy dark caves of the mind
dreams build their nest with fragments
dropped from day's caravan.
Joy freed from the bond of earth's slumber
rushes into numberless leaves,
and dances in the air for a day.
My words that are slight
lightly dance upon time's waves
when my works heavy with import have gone down.
...the butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough.
...Days are coloured bubbles
that float upon the surface of fathomless night...
( Sometime soon look for more of 'Fireflies' just below )
Posted by CN at 4:20 AM