Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative
PRAISE FOR OUT OF OUR MINDS
"Ken Robinson writes brilliantly about the different ways in which creativity is undervalued and ignored . . . especially in our educational systems."
"Out of Our Minds explains why being creative in today'sworld is a vital necessity. This book is not to be missed."
—Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One-minute Manager and The Secret
"If ever there was a time when creativity was necessary for the survival andgrowth of any organization, it is now. This book, more than any other I know, providesimportant insights on how leaders can evoke and sustain those creative juices."
—Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California; Thomas S. Murphy Distinguished Rresearch Fellow, Harvard Business School; Best-selling Author, Geeks and Geezers
"All corporate leaders should read this book."
—Richard Scase, Author and Business Forecaster
"This really is a remarkable book. It does for human resources what Rachel Carson's Silent Spring did for the environment."
—Wally Olins, Founder, Wolff-olins
"Books about creativity are not always creative. Ken Robinson's is a welcome exception"
—Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, c.s. and d.j. Davidson Professor of Psychology, Claremont Graduate University; Director, Quality of Life Research Center; Best-selling Author, Flow
"The best analysis I've seen of the disjunction between the kinds of intelligence that we have traditionally honored in schools and the kinds ofcreativity that we need today in our organizations and our society."
—Howard Gardner, a. hobbs professor in cognition and education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Best-selling Author, Frames of Mind
Q&A with Sir Ken Robinson
One of the core themes of the book is the rate and nature of change in the modern world. The last ten years have offered dramatic demonstrations of this theme. Just think of the breathtaking innovations in technology and digital culture. Ten years ago, Google was still a novelty; there were no smart phones, no IPods or IPads; no Twitter or Facebook or any of the social media that are transforming life and work today. Then think of the increasing pace of population growth, the growing strains on the environment and the effects of all of these on people’s lives and future prospects and the fact is that the world is becoming more complex and unpredictable than ever. Ten years on, I wanted to refresh and update the information in the book and to show that these revolutionary changes make the arguments of Out of Our Minds even more urgent in 2011 than they were in 2001. I’ve also spent the last ten years travelling the world presenting and debating the ideas in the book. In this new edition, I also wanted to present the arguments in a fresh way and to include new examples of the strategies that are needed to make them a practical reality.
Why do you think this book is important for business and industry leaders as well as educationalists?
In the last ten years, I’ve worked with business of all sorts all around the world. For all of them, cultivating creativity is a bottom line issue. Last fall, IBM published a report on the challenges facing business in 2011 and beyond. The report was based on survey of 3000 CEOs. It showed that the top priority for CEOs everywhere is to promote creativity systematically throughout their organizations. The reasons are clear enough. In a world of rapid change, companies and organizations have to be adaptable as circumstances change and be able to develop new products and services as new opportunities emerge. Most people occasionally have a new idea. For companies that isn’t enough. To remain competitive, they need to develop cultures where creativity is a habit and innovation is routine. The new edition of Out of Our Minds sets out the core principles for doing this and for leading a dynamic and reliable culture of innovation.
As one reviewer has suggested, creativity is a topic that excites some and enrages others. Why do you think this is?
I think it’s because there are many misconceptions about creativity. Some people believe that creativity can’t really be defined: others that it’s a process that can’t be taught. Some think it’s about special people, or special activities. One of my aims in the book is to tackle these misconceptions and to show that everyone has creative potential and that creativity can be developed in every sort of activity and in a practical way. My argument throughout Out of Our Minds is not only that creativity can be developed systematically but that it must be in education and in business if we’re to fulfil our real talents and meet the many challenges that we face.
Since the publication of The Robinson Report for the UK Government in 1999, you have been invited to contribute to strategy for creative development by other international organisations and governments. How has this work influenced your arguments in the book?
The report for the UK government set out a national strategy to promote creativity systematically in schools. Following its publication I was asked to work on a similar strategy for Northern Ireland, as part of the Peace Process, and to contribute to Singapore’s strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia. I now live in the US and have worked with States here on creative strategies for business and education. All of these experiences have confirmed the basic arguments of Out of Our Minds and the principles and processes I describe in the book. They apply equally to schools, universities, companies and governments. Of course, there are always limits on what you can say in a government report. In this book, I’ve been able to offer a much more personal and unfettered look at these issues and to speak from the heart as well as the mind.
This book is a mind-opening look at why some people don’t achieve their full potential in life. Do you feel you have achieved your full potential in your career?
I’ve spent my life pursuing ideas and principles that I feel passionate about and that I know are deeply important in the lives of others. I’m delighted that I’ve had some impact around the world on education in particular and on how people and organizations think about themselves and their talents and potential. I still have a lot of life left in me though, so I’ll defer judgement for a while on whether and when I’ve achieved all I might do …
What changes do you hope Out of Our Minds will bring about in the long term?
I say in the Foreword to the new edition that “my aims in this book are to help individuals to understand the depth of their creative abilities and why they might have doubted them; to encourage organizations to believe in their powers of innovation and to create the conditions where they will flourish; and to promote a creative revolution in education.” I couldn’t have put it better myself!