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Future & Skills

98% of 5-year-olds are ‘creative geniuses’

We’re born creative but lose this way of thinking

Imagination is more important than knowledge

Albert Einstein

Dr George Land and Beth Jarman were commissioned by NASA to develop a test for creativity, so they could put their best minds to important projects. The test worked well.

This was the start of real interest in creativity and innovative thinking, about where it came from, whether some people were born with it or whether it was learned. Dr Lands and his team tested 1,600 children at age 5. 98% of those 5-year-olds scored in the creative genius range, a finding they were shocked by. So, they developed it into a longitudinal test, retesting at age 10. At this age 30% scored in the creative genius range. They continued the tests a further five years, retesting at age 15. By this point it had dropped to 12%. Only 2% of adults score in this range.

They identified two types of thinking, divergent and convergent. Divergent is creative, convergent tests and criticises. In school we are taught to use convergent thinking at the same time as you come up with new ideas, because you’re evaluating and trying to find a ‘right’ answer. If we’re operating under fear we produce even less creative ideas, logic again will dampen down creativity.

We need to allow children to retain their creativity, to give them opportunity to develop and practice it, not crush it. School is failing at this right now. Even if you can’t see the inherent value in creativity and innovation everything we know about skills needed for jobs now, certainly what is predicted for the future, tells us it is vital.

Watch the talk: George Land, The Failure of Success, TED X Talk

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