Ever since the evolution of homo sapiens, the world as we know it has been driven by bouts of inspiration, or creativity. While creativity may appear to be a spontaneous burst of innovative ideas, perhaps it is instead the knack of reassembling information we already possess.
Can creativity be learnt? While the answer may seem blaringly obvious, it is not so. Researchers have longed pondered whether creativity is innate or learnt; whether it’s nature or nurture. Research suggests that we are all creative. In fact, emerging research suggests we are more creative than we previously thought. The question of whether that creativity manifests or not is largely dependent on whether it is honed and encouraged.
Can Creativity Be Taught?
The concept that schools are neglecting to nurture creative skills has grown in recent years. Educator and author Ken Robinson argued in a powerful TED talk in 2006 that education practices crush student’s innate creative talents. Robinson clearly touched a nerve – becoming the most viewed TED talk of all time.
Non-Creativity is Learnt
Back in 1968, scientist George Land circulated creativity test amongst 5-year olds used by NASA to pick innovative engineers and scientists. He re-tested the same children when they were 10 years-old and again at 15 years of age.
The test results for the very same test worsened as participants grew older.
“What we have concluded,” Land wrote, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”
So, why aren’t adults as creative as children? It is believed that creativity may be limited by rules and regulations.
An Obscure, Unquantifiable Phenomenon
According to Anthony McCaffrey, a cognitive psychology researcher at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, “There will always be a wild, unpredictable quality to creativity and invention...” While that is true, researchers do believe that we are all capable of creativity. Whether that creativity in question manifests itself or not is largely determined by whether it’s honed.
To Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, creativity is absolutely crucial in today’s workforce. He believes that’s the only factor that can set you apart. He believes it’s a necessity to stand out and be successful in today’s market. He says:
“The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College. He adds: “That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” he says. “The marketplace is demanding it.”