Amy M. Azzam
A Conversation with Sir
Creativity: It’s been maligned, neglected, and misunderstood.
But it’s finally coming into its own. Here, creativity expert
Sir Ken Robinson makes the case for creativity as the crucial
21st century skill we’ll need to solve today’s pressing problems.
Sir Ken led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee
on creative and cultural education and was knighted in 2003
for his achievements. His most recent book, The Element
(Viking Adult, 2009), looks at human creativity and education.
He is also the author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be
Creative (Capstone Publishing Limited, 2001).
Both creativity and critical thinking have been flagged as
essential 21st century skills, yet some people think of them
as being as separate as oil and water. What’s your take?
It’s interesting that people see creativity and critical thinking
as being opposed. It’s partly because people associate
creativity with being totally free and unstructured. But what
we really have to get hold of is the idea that you can’t be
creative if you don’t do something.
You can be creative in math, science, music, dance, cuisine,
teaching, running a family, or engineering. Because creativity
is a process of having original ideas that have value. A big
part of being creative is looking for new ways of doing things
within whatever activity you’re involved in. If you’re a
creative chef, for example, then your originality is going to be
judged in terms of cuisine. There’s no point applying the
criteria of modern jazz to somebody who’s trying to create a