Creativity Can’t Be Memorized

Update: 08/24/2020: 

Sir Ken Robinson, the most-viewed speaker of all time on for his presentation asking the critical key question “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” (66 million views), passed away far too early on August 21. We send his family our most sincere condolences. 

For us, Sir Ken was more than a great speaker. He was also a good friend. We met him when he was invited to be the senior advisor to the trust for the Getty Center Foundation in Los Angeles, California. He located us through our work on Work Force Development at the Boeing Company and invited us to spend considerable time with him. He wanted to know “all” that we had learned about education and teaching practices in our work.  

Like so many, we were blessed to know and spend time with Sir Ken at a time when his message about the importance of making mistakes as a key element of learning, creativity, and success in life clearly resonated with so many. His critical key question, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” by teaching that making mistakes is a sin, is one that we share and discussed often. 

We interviewed Sir Ken as part of the Birth2Work radio show about five years after his TED Talk. While it certainly did not garner the same number of listeners as his TED Talk did, our 45-minute discussion with Sir Ken helped us appreciate the important role we all play when it comes to developing a culture of innovation and creativity. We thank him and his family for the time he shared with us.

About This Episode

On this Birth2Work Radio program, our guest is Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., an internationally recognized speaker and leader in the development of tools for teaching and sharpening creativity. He discusses the necessity for creativity in the workplace, the use of unprecedented technological tools that can support innovation, and the unintended consequence of the loss of opportunities to practice being creative in our youth.

What is creativity? As Robinson defines it: creativity is the process of having original ideas that add value. In business, leaders are now cultivating organizational dynamics where creative ideas are routinely sought and encouraged. Old skills may have been worth $25 an hour to businesses that needed a pair of reliable hands on the assembly line, but those types of jobs have largely gone away and a new breed of worker has emerged in the void. New workers are expected to think differently, and in today’s competitive work environment are required to do more than the same task over and over. Success in the workplace requires an ability to see new and better ways to improve current output or create something new altogether. There is an intense global interest in how to promote real creativity and how to identify the conditions under which it flourishes.

Life experiences at home and lessons at school that encourage young people to make things up and figure things out are what ready them to become successful adults.

Creativity Can’t Be Memorized

by Elane V. Scott & Rick Stephens | Sir Ken Robinson