To state the obvious, in our business creativity is a pretty important commodity.
And creativity can come in many forms – from the strategist with the new approach, to the designer with the amazing concept, to the programmer who finds the unique way to communicate the message – everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the big idea.
And yet if you ask me – I would never describe myself as creative.
That’s because in school I tried to follow the rules, listen to the teachers, make sure I did everything the way I was taught.
And therein lies the problem I have had with the school system over the years, and the role it plays in developing our children’s creativity.
I think inherently we are all born creative. Watch young children play – creating games in their minds, creating scenarios, solving issues – all without direction. All with imagination that comes from an unrestricted thought process.
When they get into school those same children are asked to “toe the line”, colour in the lines, think “this” way. And worse yet – they are asked to spew back the answers they are told to find important without thinking or interpreting.
There is a lovely song by Harry Chapin called Flowers are Red that I heard many years ago and it has stuck with me all of these years. It is my theme song for Elementary School and I mention it each year in parent teacher interviews (I can tell you that until this year – it was not appreciated!). The chorus quotes the teacher saying:
Flowers are Red, Green leaves are Green
There is no need to see flowers any other way,
Then the way they always have been seen.
But as Chapin says later in the song – “there still must be a way to have our children say – there are so many colours in the world, and I see everyone!”
If you know a teacher that has eschewed the rote teaching methods and actively encouraged our children to draw outside the lines and to dream in many colours, please give them a hug for me.
Having more adults that have not lost their creativity not only helps our industry – it will help society as a whole.