Turning around America’s crisis of creativity

by Robert Siegel on August 3, 2010

Is America really suffering from a Creativity Crisis?  “Yes,” according to a recent report in Newsweek that looked at scores on tests of creativity.  The scores recorded on Torrance tests of creativity have been dropping since 1990, particularly among children.  In comparison, IQ scores continue to rise with each new generation.

Forget challenging the reliability of the Torrance scores.  As Newsweek reports, the test appears to be a reasonably reliable method for predicting creative output.  Further, no matter the accuracy of the test results, working to improve the quality of our creative thinking, our ingenuity, will generate numerous benefits to individuals and society as a whole. “The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed,” according to Newsweek.  I agree.

And so do business leaders.  A recent survey by IBM found that CEOs site creativity as the most important quality for leadership.  The U.S. and the world need more great creative thinkers to solve many problems from economic and environmental to war and hunger.  On an individual level, the only real defense against having your job shipped overseas is to be the person that creates ideas that lead to new profits.

So what can be done about this crisis of creativity? There are two factors vital to creativity that anyone willing to challenge themselves and have fun can improve on immediately.

The first factor is to recognize that creativity belongs to ALL fields, not just the arts.  Whenever you develop an original and useful solution to a new problem you are being creative, whether that problem is the need for a disruptive new product, a better method for your company to ship product, or an improvement that reduces a client’s tax obligation, — You are being just as creative as any painter, poet, or composer.

The second part of growing your creativity is to completely revise your understanding of how to think creatively.  Brainstorming and similar techniques are rarely effective, and more frequently a waste of time.  However, real creativity that lasts a lifetime can be taught and learned. The Ideative Process is simple and highly effective tool for developing creative thinking skills.  That best part is that you are already an Ideative thinker! You already have a basic set of Ideative building blocks for use in creating new ideas; these are your life’s Experiences and Knowledge.  To grow more creative – Ideative, your challenge is to refresh and grow these building blocks by Inundating yourself into your desired subject.  In addition, you Deviate From Your Routines by Routinely Breaking your Routines and Enhance your Experience and Knowledge with Vivid information.  This refreshed and expanded supply of Ideative building blocks prepares you to Assemble ideas in your mind or, using one of the simple tools for Idea Assembly.

These steps are simple to remember; remember the acronym, IDEA: Inundate, Deviate, Enhance, and Assemble.

Newsweek identified core problems in our nation’s culture and educational system as the causes of our Creativity Crisis.  These problems include an educational system that stifles the development of creative thinking skills, and too much time watching television and playing electronic games; problems deeply embedded into our societal norms.  We are not going to overcome those problems easily or quickly.  The good news is that you can help yourself, your company, your children, and perhaps your schools, by leveraging the simple acronym; IDEA.

For more information on creating innovative, realistic, and valuable ideas using The Ideative Process please explore this website. To arrange for Robert Siegel to speak to your company or organization about The Ideative Process, The Anybody’s Approach to Creative Thinking, send an email to: robertssiegel@gmail.com.

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