I came across this fascinating blog from Linda Naiman:
And I quote:
In 1968, George Land distributed among 1,600 5-year-olds a creativity test used by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age.
Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98%
Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30%
Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12%
Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%
“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.”
(Sources: Escape from the Maze: Increasing Individual and Group Creativity by James Higgins; also George Land and Beth Jarman, Breaking Point and Beyond. San Francisco: HarperBusiness, 1993.
I found these results fascinating.
It challenges the idea that we need to learn to be creative.
Perhaps a better explanation is that we all have an amazing potential for creativity.
It is our birthright.
But over time we seemingly lose this ability and we need to relearn it.
This begs the questions — What causes most of us to lose our creativity?
Here are some possible reasons:
– A simple lack of practice.
– A lack of encouragement in using this way of thinking both in our educational system and in the workplace.
– This can lead to a lack of confidence and a belief system that i am not creative.
– An over-emphasis on having the correct answer rather than just a focus on exploring a question.
– Lack of role models.
– An over-reliance of brainstorming as a the only tool of creativity e.g. what happens if i want to generate ideas by myself or don’t have a group?
– A lack of time.
But there is good news.
If a skill can be unlearned — in my experience creativity can be relearned with the right tools, training and encouragement.