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Creativity and New Ideas

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Puneet Gupta, CEO of Connectbeam, and I were having a conversation earlier today regarding entrepreneurial thought and creativity of idea.  I love these types of discussions, taking a step back and assessing where “we” are in general.  They are always compelling and if nothing else, forces you to take a step back from your current position (if just for a moment) to reflect.

During our discussion, Puneet mentioned a great talk that Sir Ken Robinson gave at the TED conference a couple of years back.   I had not seen it so decided to take a look.  So as TED 2009 takes place here in California, I am watching videos of TED keynotes from prior years.

Sir Ken Robinson discusses the concept on how we need to re-assess how we approach education and educating our children.  That education normally goes towards the math and science disciplines rather than the arts.  His view is that we must think very hard about the arts and how developing these skills as well is fundental to creativity and thinking outside of the box.  Two things I find compelling about this line of thought:

1)  You hear more often than not that we need to invest more not less in the math and science educational system in order to continue to progress innovation forward.  Completely the opposite of the lens that Robinson takes.

2)  On merit, what Robinson says is true.  The education system simply by its nature is geared to teach students what is already learned and known by others who have determined it.  Makes sense.  It is not that math and sciences are bad but that it conforms everyone’s thinking to what has already been thought of.

So, where does that leave us?  How do we develop new ideas?  Very interesting discussion points particularly when you talk about entreprenuerial attitude, trying new things, creating new businesses and ways of looking at the world.  Robinson makes a statement in his talk that really rang true for me:

If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.

How true this statement is.

I don’t know quite yet where my thoughts land on where the right balance between the sciences and arts should be.  It is a complex topic.  Education is important.  Learning from the past is important.  Math and Science are important.  I’ve always slanted and been more interested in the sciences side of things.  But I appreciate Robinson’s perspective, there is certainly something to be said for the development of creative thought rather than learning disciplined sciences, thinking creatively rather than analytically.  Obviously both are needed, that leads to true innovation.

If you haven’t seen his talk, it is about 20 minutes and well worth it.

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  • Mark Dykeman

    Thanks for writing about this; I've been meaning to watch that video. I'm curious to see what Sir Ken has to say about maintaining balance between different kinds of knowledge and skills.

    Tweeting the link to your blog post on Twitter, by the way.

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  • David Turner

    Excellent video, Dennis. Watched it with my two daughters, who were also transfixed. Though now they want a purple cow! (You have to watch it to get that, too…)

    This comment was originally posted on AccMan

  • domurat

    If you like TED on the web, it’s even better on the iphone, as an app!

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  • Lou Paglia

    Thanks Matt. Will have to check it out!

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  • loupaglia

    Thanks Mark. Always appreciate a re-tweet.

  • 家教

    Anyone else think the same? Got me thinking after reading this, thx man.