Sir Ken Robinson – Age, creativity, and being prepared to be wrong…
Posted by: Will Jones
Published: Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
There’s a great story that I first heard told by Sir Ken Robinson during his TED talk in 2006, it goes like this:
“…a little girl was in a drawing lesson, she was 6 and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this little girl hardly paid attention, and in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and she said, “What are you drawing?” and the girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.” And the teacher said, “But nobody knows what God looks like.” And the girl said, “They will in a minute.”
What I love about this story is that it not only illustrates the wonderful imagination of children, but also demonstrates the confidence and self-assurance that children have in their own creative abilities.
On the whole, this is a trait that we seem to lose over time, which is a massive shame. How many great ideas and creative thoughts are blocked by our internal fears, insecurities, and lack of confidence? I reckon the numbers must be astronomical.
Sir Ken Robinson is also fond of quoting a 1968 study by George Land and Beth Jarman in which they gave 1,600 3-5 year olds a creativity test used by NASA to measure divergent thinking in engineers and scientists. They then re-tested the same children at 10 years of age and again at 15 years old.
While 98% of children 3-5 years of age scored at the genius level on the creativity test, only 32% of the same children did so at ages 8-10, and then only 10% at 13-15 years of age. The researchers also gave the same test to a large group of adults over the age of 25 and only 2% of scored at the genius level.
Working with the young members of The Bigger Idea, we’ve certainly found that they are completely fearless in their creativity, willing to take risks, and make mistakes. And we love that about them.
As Sir Ken Robinson neatly puts it “if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”