September 21, 2020


In an earlier posting I mentioned last year’s report, Tough Choices or Tough Times, which said successful countries will be those that can produce the most important NEW products. Those countries would depend on a deep vain of creativity that is constantly renewing itself, and on a myriad of people who can imagine how people can use things that have never been available before… create ingenious marketing and sales campaigns, write books, build furniture, make movies and imagine things that the rest of the world will find indispensible.

Recently, a unique collaboration between the Conference Board, Americans for the Arts and the American Association of School Administrators released a study titled, “Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the US Workforce.“While creativity is recognized as a critical ingredient to success in the workplace, schools and businesses need to re-examine their curriculums and training programs to determine the most effective way to increase the emphasis on developing this skill. That’s the only true way to effect change and turn out better qualified workers with more creative talents.”1

Along with the release of this report, Daniel Pink, the author of A Whole New Mind, presented a lecture at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. Pink’s work stresses that while left- brain logical, linear skills are necessary, they represent the kind of skills more likely to be moved off shore or automated (tax preparation or legal services for incorporating). Pink sees an increasing need for right-brain artistry, empathy, creativity and big picture thinking. View a short video presentation of Pink’s thinking here.

Could our students be spending too much classroom time solving problem we give them and not enough time practicing how to find problems?

Additionally, testimony was given to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment & Related Agencies on the Role of the Arts in Creativity and Innovation. Click here to read or view some of the testimony, including that given by Robert Redford.

These events were part of Arts Advocacy Day, a national convening presented by Americans for the Arts.

Here is a summary from the Ready to Innovate report.

”This new research shows that both businesses and schools recognize the critical role of creativity as a workforce skill, and both groups accept the role they have in fostering it. Both also recognize that arts-training is a key way to foster creativity. Yet despite this recognition, most schools do not include arts training as a mandatory part of the curriculum, and most businesses provide creativity-fostering training only to very few employees. With this growing recognition of the role a creative workforce has on the global competitiveness of American business, both business and education leaders need to examine what changes can be made to more widely foster these skills in our current-and especially our future-workers.” 1

What questions does this raise for you as you work with teachers and students?

1 Ready to Innovate: Are Educators and Executives Aligned on the Creative Readiness of the U.S. Workforce?, Authors: James Lichtenberg, Christopher Woock, Mary Wright Publication Date: March 2008Report Number: R-1424-08-KF


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