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52 Birds: Week 18

Explore: The Value of Creativity

What is creativity?

Educator and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson defines creativity as "the process of having an original idea that has value." Here's his 2006 TED Talk, one of the most-watched with more than 1.4 million views:


(An aside: In the 2006 talk, I found Robinson's argument that schools kill creativity to be weak. You might find, like I did, that his follow-up talks on reforming education and changing education paradigms effectively flesh out the overall argument.)

Jonah Lehrer, author of the current bestseller Imagine: How Creativity Works, similarly defines creativity in this interview describing: 

[Creativity is] the invention of something new that's useful. The second part of that is crucial. It's not just about random new things; it's not about erratic expression. It's about a second life. It's got to be useful or beautiful or meaningful to somebody else.

Generally, society agrees with these twin definitions of creativity. Disagreement and tension arise at the part of the definition that brings up value and usefulness, beauty and meaning. Sure, businesses need creativity, says society ... but dance? art? They're ancillary, not necessary.

What if creativity held more value in our society? What if we developed and exercised our brain's creative abilities and fully accepted and infused creativity into all disciplines? Might it mean more potential solutions to society's problems? Might we experience a greater acceptance of creative solutions and of change?

What do you think? Join the conversation in a comment below or connect with me on twitter.