Insight / Inspiration

Are we killing creativity?

WITH UK creative industries contributing a staggering £76.9billion to the economy – growing  by almost 10 per cent year-on-year – the need for a regular flow of fresh talent has never been more important. But, with the educational system often putting pressure on youngsters to focus on core subjects, and not to make any mistakes along the way, exactly how do we ensure they develop all their talents, and make the most of their more creative abilities?
Warran Brindle, Founder and Director of design by country, explains why the next influx of creative thinkers and designers need to be encouraged from an early age to identify, nurture and develop their abilities and talents in order to fully shine in the future.
He stresses the need to develop creativity and not stigmatise those whose talents do not lie in purely academic subjects.    
He says: “It’s certainly an exciting time for the country’s creative industry. Now more than ever we are realising the scale of its impact on business as a whole. Because recent statistics highlight that it’s the fastest growing sector – and that it shows no sign of slowing down any time soon – we have a huge opportunity to welcome the next  generation in to take part in this success. However, the issue as a result of this positive trend is that we face the very real chance of a skills shortage across the whole sector, as well as a knock-on effect on others.
“Creative abilities can’t be compared to skills across other traditional sectors such as manufacturing, financial or legal, where individuals gain the relevant qualifications, experience and knowledge so that they can provide a matter-of-fact service or end result. Creativity is something that can’t easily be accurately measured or recorded.
“We need to make sure that there is ample opportunity for those with creative talents to train and be channelled to the jobs where they will shine and make a real difference. Although schools and colleges offer more access to technology than ever before, and from a young age, we have to be careful that this doesn’t stifle original thinking and unusual ideas.
“It’s important that education is not simply learning, retaining information, and duplicating ideas in order to pass exams. Not all people come from the same backgrounds, or can learn in the same way, or at the same pace.
Ken Robinson, a renowned speaker, recorded a very inspiring TED talk focused on ‘How Schools Kill Creativity’, describing how creativity is now as important in education as literacy.
“The way he puts it is, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. But as people grow up and learn to be and act like an adult in an adult-driven world, making mistakes is often not an option – in fact, it’s considered hugely embarrassing – and as a result this mindset that they had as youngsters can be narrowed and diluted – and that’s a terrifying thought.
“On the whole, I think that we still have a long way to go in terms of the education we’re providing to the next generation. Degrees don’t guarantee jobs in the same sector that’s been studied. Dropping out of school doesn’t necessarily mean that opportunities will never be available. There is a blinkered focus on what children could or should achieve from life. But in order to make sure tomorrow’s generation brings a plethora of unique and original ideas and talents to the table, we need to encourage them to be themselves and not grow up too fast  – or even at all in some ways.
“We have a huge opportunity to develop the next generation of creative thinkers and for  these skills to be transferred across diverse industries – from architectural, design, and theatrical, to entertainment, lifestyle and tourism – we just need to collectively work together on inspiring and encouraging creativity today.”
Email warran@designbycountry to find out more about how we use creativity to transform brands and businesses.
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