We are happy to share the great news, that Leonard Sommer had the great opportunity to be part of the german remake of the amazing education documentary 21:21, that Learning Activist, TEDxTokio and Tokyo International School founder Patrick Newellalready produced in 2009. Even if you don´t understand German – the movie is mostly in English language. It had been produced by the German education association EDUCATION Y in cooperation with Patrick.
Filmed in nine different countries, 21:21 followed Patrick Newell already in 2009 as he guided classes of children from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds though a series of projects. Along the course of his journey he had been introduced to parents, teachers, and leading thinkers on education, who shared their views on the state of education today, and specifically on the ways in which it is failing today’s children.
Importantly however, the film doesn’t dwell on the problems, but instead focuses on providing solutions. Having laid out the needs of today’s learners – for example the need to have an understanding of global issues at a local level, the need to be able to work collaboratively with people from a variety of backgrounds, and the ability to think for themselves – the movie provides concrete examples of this style of learning in action.
One of 21:21’s core themes is that of ‘Parents as the Primary Educators’. With children typically spending less than 20% of their time in schools, it only makes sense that parents actually play a far bigger role in their child’s learning – whether or not they are aware of that. The film shows how by being conscious of a child’s educational needs, parents can bring enormous value to their learning process through everyday activities.
Leading thinkers on education also contribute to the narrative. David Perkins, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, is damning in his commentary on traditional education systems, saying “90% of what we typically teach is a waste of time.” He goes on to explain that we need to be teaching children to deal with the unexpected, not with what is already known
Whilst there is much talk of the need to change education to meet the needs of today’s learners, there remains a great deal of fear and uncertainty amongst parents, teachers and administrators. The adoption of these practices and integration into existing learning and assessment systems, along with increased collaboration with parents, can at first glance seem somewhat daunting – but it needn’t be. Whilst some might argue that we’d need a revolution (and additional budgets) to see any significant change in global teaching methodologies, 21:21 demonstrates how it is possible to introduce relevant, engaging and compelling learning techniques without these.
21:21 is now available for screening around the world. If you would like to hold a showing for your local community, your school or your colleagues, please contact the 21st Foundation under E-Mail: contact (at) 21foundation.com
Thanks to the Gerard W. Fry from the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota for this “Chalk Talk” article, rounding up current creativity & education initiatives, published in THE NATION one of America’s oldest political journals. Quotes findings from our reserach and our model for 21st century education are mentioned.
THE NATION, March 3oth 2015
Chalk Talk : “Education to Foster not Stifle Creativity”
TO ESCAPE the middle-income trap, it is imperative for Thailand to become an innovation-driven economy and society. In 2014, Thailand’s research and development (R&D) expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product was only 0.5 per cent.
In 2016, the government is aiming to encourage the private sector to have R& D expenditure for innovation equivalent to 1 per cent of GDP. On this important statistical indicator, Thailand lags considerably behind its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific. In a recent global survey of about 1,600 chief executives, the leadership characteristic that was considered the most critical for success was creativity.
The mantra at Nike is continuous innovation, which has contributed to that corporation’s phenomenal success.
In another important global survey it was found that 85 per cent of individuals believe that schools play only a minor role in fostering creativity, or are actually suppressing it. The noted British educator, Sir Ken Robinson, gave a popular TED talk on how schools kill creativity.
There are unfortunately numerous misunderstandings about creativity and innovation. First, many individuals equate the terms creativity and innovation and use them interchangeably.
Actually they are two different constructs. In a recent conversion with Daniel Goleman, a major leadership |scholar and the father of emotional intelligence, Professor Teresa Amabile of the Harvard Business School, a noted expert on workplace innovation, noted that creativity |precedes innovation. It is coming up with new ideas and ways of doing things, while innovation is the process of implementing these creative ideas and turning them into realities, she said.
Sir Ken defines creativity as the “process of having |original ideas that have value”.
Another misunderstanding is that creativity and intelligence is the same thing. Empirical evidence over the years suggests that the relationship is actually low.
It is also important to note that it is not appropriate to innovate for the sake of innovating. Students need to become mindful of this important proposition and that there is no need to change systems that are working well.
There is also the important concept of dark innovation. Innovations can be used for negative purposes such as to scam older people. The 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City was highly innovative terrorism. Building the Berlin Wall to keep East Germans from fleeing communism was also innovative.
Turning to the positive aspects of creativity, Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, former head of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago, has done important work on creativity and human happiness. He introduced the important concept of flow, which means complete engagement in activities which he sees as |optimal human experience. Watching television is passive and not flow. In contrast, writing a poem, developing new software, or playing jazz is flow.
Thus, in our schools individuals should be given many opportunities to engage in flow and to understand how this contributes to human happiness and optimal living.
In terms of education it is critical to give students the opportunity to use their curiosity and creativity to solve challenging problems for which there are no clearly defined answers.
Let me share two examples of schools emphasising |creativity and innovation. One is Rungaroon School in Thon Buri, a private school run by a lady whose training is in architecture, not education. The school has a really |attractive learning environment conducive to student-|centred learning and problem-solving.
The second example is Jefferson Middle School in Eugene, Oregon. With support from the Asia Society and the University of Oregon, Grade 8 students devoted a year to studying the Mekong River from intercultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. They even produced a research newsletter in which they shared their major findings and discoveries.
The teachers were facilitators in the process not “sages on the stage”. The students became deeply engaged in this project and had many opportunities to use their creativity in studying the Mekong and the countries through which it flows.
There are also the examples of Silicon Valley (Stanford), Route 128 (Harvard-MIT), and the Research Triangle Centre (Duke University, the University of North Carolina University, and North Carolina State), where universities have stimulated the development of creative new |companies.
Silicon Valley gave birth to Apple (the world’s second most innovative company), Google, Yahoo, HP, and many other innovative companies. Facebook’s first headquarters was part of Stanford Industrial Park.
Related to the role of higher education in fostering |innovation. Clayton Christensen and Henry Eyring recently wrote an important and insightful book, “The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of Higher Education from the Inside Out”.
Back in 2005, Daniel Pink wrote a book, “A Whole New Mind”, which argues that we are moving into a conceptual age, in which those with high level right brain skills |(creativity, imagination) will rule the world and be the most successful.
Building on Pink’s ideas, the German, Leonard Sommer, a graduate of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, has developed the “Classroom Think Tank”, an innovative model for 21st century education in an imagination age. |It is based on conversations with more than 100 creative thinkers and futurists in 35 countries. His model |emphasises four elements:
• Creating a school environment where creativity can bloom;
• Inspiring curiosity to grow resulting in more engaged learning;
• The use of technologies to foster creative thinking;
• The role of teachers as facilitators.
This model was presented at the Cannes Lions Festival 2014, the world’s largest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry.
Locally, Professor Chaiwat Sukthirat at Naresuan Univeristy has written a valuable book in Thai outlining 80 innovations for encouraging student-centred learning.
Also, the Thai educational psychologist Aree Phanmanee has delivered an important book on how to foster the ability to think (khit-pen) with creativity.
Students across the globe have much untapped |potential for creativity. A major challenge for educators of the 21st century is to enable our students to fully realise their creative potential.
Leonard Sommer, CEO of German ad agency Sommer+Sommer and founder of the initiative CLASSROOM THINKTANK, has spent two years searching for ways the creative industry can inspire schools. His goal: to pinpoint factors that help foster creativity in the classroom.
Interview: Kaja Godart
Magazine: didacta, Germany (April 1st 2015)
“How can creativity be fostered in the schools of the 21st century – how can the creative industry inspire our schools?” This is the question that creative agency director Leonard Sommer set out to find answers to, together with the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. To do so, he gathered inspiration for new educational approaches in tomorrow’s schools from creatives in over 35 countries. Over 100 leading creatives contributed their ideas to the project, sharing their visions for a school able to help unlock every child’s creative potential. didacta talked to Leonard Sommer about this ambitious project, a book of which is also coming out this year.
didacta: How do you define creativity in your work?
Leonard Sommer: The idea of fostering creativity in schools is too quickly associated only with subjects like music and art. In our view, what schools need to be doing is equipping children with the skills to find creative solutions to unknown problems. Hardly any schools today are preparing children for the world of tomorrow and helping them learn the skills that the 21st century demands. When they grow up, our children will have to solve problems that we haven’t found the answers to yet. So alongside their traditional role of conveying knowledge, schools really need to prepare children to solve unexpected problems. To do this, they need to conserve and nurture the most important human resource we have: our children’s creative potential.
How can schools promote creativity?
To develop new educational approaches and bring in methods and principles from the creative industry, I tried to pinpoint what schools could learn from the creative industry based on a series of open survey questions. I don’t want to sound too negative, but embarking on an in-depth investigation of schooling today – with its destructive learning culture, outmoded structures, understimulated teachers, apathy-inducing testing methods, and a grading system that fails to achieve even its own goals – made even clearer to me how urgently our education system needs radical change.
What might this change look like?
After conducting extensive online research and evaluating the results from quantitative and qualitative surveys on the reasons for the suppression of creativity and the potential to foster it, I developed a strategic model for possible change. In the process, I interviewed pupils, teachers, parents, entrepreneurs, creative, professors, and people from all kinds of professional backgrounds. Based on five building blocks – learning culture, organizational design, the teacher’s role, teaching methods, and assessment – the model proposes ways forward and lays the foundations for an innovative school concept. It aims to motivate education experts, schools and associated institutions and their decision-makers to look to other industries for inspiration when preparing for change and implementing it long-term.
Where did you get the idea for your strategic model, and how can schools implement it?
The basic structure of my model was inspired by Google, where until recently, staff were allowed to spend 20 percent of their working hours developing their own projects. A similar approach seems pertinent for schools. 50 percent of time could be devoted to conveying knowledge, as schools have always done – the “Know-what” module. 30 percent of time could be dedicated to project work – the “Know-how” module. And the remaining 20 percent – what I call the “Passion-to-know” module – could be invested in promoting individual talents, whatever they may be, from playing the cello to building things. Then when they finished school at 18, young people would really understand what they’re good at and what they like, maybe even what their true passions and motivations are. In my view, this approach could play a major role in high schools by helping children freely discover their own passions.
What does this mean for the role of the teacher?
The teacher’s role will be wonderfully inspirational. As well as conveying knowledge, they’ll also act as talent coaches by focusing on what each child is good at, helping them discover their talents, and encouraging and supporting them. This can be in the 20 percent “free” time, where the focus is not on achievement but on letting pupils pursue their passions.
How can creativity be fostered in regular classroom tuition?
Of the 550 people we put this question to in a survey, over 55 percent agreed that creativity could be fostered by dealing constructively with mistakes. This was the most popular answer, followed by encouraging individual passions and talents, rewarding children’s own ideas, and allowing inspiration to blossom by teachers asking pupils open questions that can lead to novel approaches and solutions.
Why is this issue so close to your heart?
Because I noticed that both of my own children were enjoying school less and less, and I wondered why. I’m a passionate believer in the power of childhood creativity, and I think it’s a shame when this is quasi-systematically suppressed by the enforced conformity in our education culture. Schools need to prepare children to solve unexpected challenges, and creativity in schools can be fostered by dealing constructively with mistakes.
In summer 2014, Leonard Sommer held a “Classroom Thinktank” workshop at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Creatives visiting the festival were invited to contribute their ideas for making the education system more creative. One participant was Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus at DDB Worldwide Inc. – one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies, with over 200 offices in almost 100 countries. You can read up on the results for yourself on the Classroom Thinktank blog: http://thinktank.sommer-sommer.com
How can classrooms become more creative?
Keith Reinhard, DDB Worldwide Inc., recommends four key freedoms:
● The Freedom from Fear
Talent freezes in the grip of fear – the creative mind shuts down. Pupils shouldn’t have to fear being labeled, compared or categorized, being laughed at or embarrassing themselves. To remove this fear, pupils should be encouraged to say what they think and express their true feelings. Importantly, they also shouldn’t have to fear the teacher.
● The Freedom to Fail
It is the nature of creative talent to venture beyond the known. Also because there are no assurances that these idea-searching patrols will succeed, the seekers must be granted the latitude to fail in order to sustain their willingness to try again. In conventional classrooms, the goal is probably one of never failing. But every great inventor in human history failed on the road to their big breakthrough.
● The Freedom from Chaos
Chaos is often the result of unclear or inconsistent communication, uncertainty, or arrogance on the part of the teacher, leaving pupils unsure what exactly is expected of them. Class size is another factor: classes that are too large or classrooms that are too small amplify chaos.
● The Freedom to Be
Each individual has the right to be supported in their personal ambitions for higher achievement. The lesson for educators from this insight is that every effort should be made to celebrate individuality and oppose conformity, and that, as much as possible, education experiences and environments should be adapted to the development path of the individual instead of insisting that the individual adapt to a standard curriculum.
What could teachers learn from creative industry leaders to foster creativity?
● Provide creative stimulus
At DDB New York, there are regular “Curiosity Sessions” where prominent figures in creative pursuits like architecture, music and fashion are brought into the agency to address the entire agency staff. In the education system, showcasing the lives and work of great creative thinkers should be a key part of the curriculum.
● Focus on problem solving
Instead of cramming facts and theories into the minds of scholars, challenge them to break down real problems and come up with creative solutions.
● Celebrate creative thinking
Find ways to celebrate and reward creative ideas without evaluating or grading them!
As in a creative company, the person in charge – the teacher – plays the key role in fostering creative output. Ultimately, the key to individual learning success is the learning culture established by the teacher, which must have the right balance of structure, orientation, and the freedom to develop individual talents. Teachers can only successfully adopt this responsibility and these somewhat unaccustomed roles through appropriate training and through the right leadership by school administrators. This is confirmed by the results of my quantitative study: 60.4% of all respondents answered that teachers in today’s schools are not inspiring and score this factor as one of the main barriers to creativity in schools. Underlining this, 79.3% named the training of teachers “to recognize and promote alternative solutions” as the number-one enabling factor for fostering creativity in schools.”
In the classroom to the 21st century the teacher needs to play a central role in fostering creativity in education, by…
A) acting as a conveyor of knowledge, communicating the subject matter in an exciting and enjoyable way and keeping pupils curious and engaged.
B) directing projects in cooperation with external speakers and supporting students by acting as a facilitator.
C) acting as a talent coach, helping individual pupils discover their talents and passions and, in cooperation with external speakers, motivating pupils to keep working on their talents in order to achieve excellence.
A) The teacher’s role as a creative conveyor of knowledge
The key change in the teacher’s role as a conveyor of knowledge is that teachers must learn to impart knowledge in such a way that it is not perceived as mere content with no further value after the exam (as is in fact largely the reality today). Knowledge must be conveyed as a value – the value of being able to solve unpredictable situations. In addition, to optimize their creative teaching, teachers will also have to take pupils’ individual learning habits into consideration in future. Only when teachers are able to take the time to do this and the necessary structural measures to support this are in place in the school can teachers “truly act as individual talent development coaches”, claims German neuroscientist Gerald Hüther. This is another reason why schools need a new organizational structure granting teachers the freedoms they need. In my view, only then can pupils learn successfully in the way that is best for them and their own future. Teachers need to know how to use a range of assessment and reporting strategies to evaluate students’ individual development and performance, thereby making a distinction between tuition and mentoring.
In the future, teachers will use a variety of technologies to prepare learning materials, opening up previously unimagined opportunities to inspire pupils individually and keep them engaged. To perfectly implement the model of the individual teaching of knowledge in the 21st century, technologies will be needed that make it much easier for teachers to collect data, map pupils’ individual development and assess them qualitatively. There is already a successful example of this futuristic scenario in the U.S. – the software system Kickboard developed by young entrepreneur Jennifer Medbery allows teachers to systematically track and analyze their teaching performance. The program lets teachers make notes on individual pupils’ behavior, observations, learning successes, reaction to specific teaching methods, etc. It then analyzes the data and looks for patterns to help teachers teach individual pupils more effectively and thereby support them better in the learning process.
B) The teacher’s role as a facilitator
When acting as a facilitator, the teacher’s role is to guide pupils toward independent learning in a joint effort in order to help them reach their personal goals. The overall goal of this type of instructional design is to create independent learners. To help pupils acquire these skills, when mentoring them, rather than providing them with the actual solutions to problems, the teacher should instead provide students with strategies for arriving at solutions on their own, which they can use again when faced with similar problems in their later lives.
The role of teachers will be to teach pupils solution strategies instead of merely helping them find a solution. This is best done by asking questions that lead pupils to the solution. If a pupil is stuck and asks what to do next, providing the solution doesn’t help – instead, teachers should ask inspiring questions that help students reach the solution themselves (“What have you already tried?”, “And what happened?”, “Where could a possible solution lie?” etc.).
Teachers should only intervene when they see that a pupil has tried everything and is unable to solve the problem alone.
When it comes to solving problems, if teachers only ever push pupils in one direction – towards the correct answer – their pupils will be unable to independently solve unexpected problems using appropriate strategies in their later professional lives.
Teachers could look to successful creative leaders, who put interaction between people at the center of the creative process. Ben Coulson, Chief Creative Director at George Patterson/Young & Rubicam Melbourne, says: “I don’t believe in all this claiming written on the walls of board rooms. The best way to lead creatives is to have a general interest in what people are doing and what they really love to do. I sit next to them, just listen to what they are saying, and together we find the best and most interesting way they can bring it to life. I put myself back and try to help them.“
Keith Reinhard, Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide, had a wonderful personal experience of being an educational leader for one day in a school in Manhattan. “Instead of cramming facts and theories into the minds of pupils, teachers need to challenge them to break down real problems and come up with creative solutions. For instance, a few years ago, I agreed to be ‘Principal for a Day’ at Chelsea High School in Lower Manhattan. Students there are mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds – many from broken homes, some with no homes at all, they’re living in shelters. But the class I monitored was blessed to have a teacher that understood how to unleash creativity by asking her pupils to solve problems. On the day I observed the class, these tenth graders were given a problem that had been featured in that morning’s New York Times: A foie gras producer in upstate New York had a dilemma. He cared for his employees and wanted them to have good family lives but to produce the finest foie gras, the geese had to become attached to their caretaker – an employee of the farmer’s – and so the caretaker had to stay close to the goose, away from his own family, for a period of two weeks or more. The foie gras farmer’s dilemma was how to give employees family time without diminishing the quality of his foie gras. The problem was given to the class to solve. The pupils worked in pairs. After the teams huddled for ten minutes or so, a young Hispanic boy raised his hand and said that he and his partner Maria had come up with an idea. ‘This wouldn’t work right now, but in the future, if the farmer hired identical twins who would dress exactly alike and use the same cologne, they could switch with each other so they could each spend time with their family and the goose wouldn’t know the difference.’ Brilliant. A great example of how problem-solving exercises can unleash creative thinking.”
Keith Reinhard shares another example from DDB which celebrates creative thinking: “In the DDB network, each office finds ways to celebrate and reward creative thinking. At the network level, we award the Bill Bernbach Award to the best example of applying our founder’s creative philosophies in solving modern-day problems. Likewise, teachers should find ways to recognize and celebrate creativity in the classroom.”
C) The teacher’s role as a motivator to drive pupils toward excellence
Once children have discovered their passion in a certain area, the teacher’s role changes again. In this capacity, they are neither a conveyor of knowledge nor a facilitator but a motivator. Through praise, and without creating pressure to perform, the teacher should encourage every pupil to keep practicing in the individual area they have sought out for themselves and thereby improve. Here, external speakers who are leaders in their field within the school’s local area can serve as mentors and role models for pupils to encourage them to perform.
Keith Reinhard from DDB Worldwide has another wonderful parallel that could inspire teachers. He says: “In their role as inspiring leaders, teachers need to provide creative stimulus with excellent creatives. In the agency, that means exposing staff to out-of-the-box thinking and out-of-the-box thinkers – their stories and their work. In the classroom, it should be the same. At DDB New York, for example, Matt Eastwood, the agency’s Executive Creative Director, stages regular “Curiosity Sessions”where prominent figures in creative pursuits like architecture, music and fashion are brought into the agency to address the entire agency staff. In addition to providing real insights and inspiration, these sessions remind staffers in all the agency disciplines – account executives, planners and administrators – that creativity at DDB is not limited to the creative department. In the education system, showcasing the lives and work of great creative thinkers, both historical and contemporary, through videos, museum visits, live appearances or other media should be a key part of the curriculum.”
 Sommer, Leonard – Study conducted using Kwiksurveys online survey, n=407 (March-July 2013)
The psychologists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky first fixed research in cognitive development and how it can be incorporated into education in tangible findings in the 18th Century. We are indebted to their fantastic findings, which guide us even today in understanding cognitive development.
In the framework Classroom Think Tank has organized for the 21st classroom, each individual part of the education system was looked over and evaluated on how it can better foster creativity and provide the highest level of education. From the research of Leonard Sommer’s master thesis, the framework was organized.
We know we are on the right track when the research done by these psychologists line up with our findings and framework.
Piaget was the founder of the study of children’s cognitive development. He is responsible for discovering and studying many concepts of child development. He also is responsible for the view that children are active constructive thinkers.
Piaget realized that children learn best when they are allowed to actively seek solutions and answers for themselves. He, therefore, criticized the passive methods of teaching that are found in so many of our schools worldwide. In the same manner, our research has shown that the passive “Chalk and Talk” type of teaching is nowhere as effective as engaged, active learning. Children naturally have a thirst for knowledge and when they are required to sit and listen in order to learn; it sucks all the fun out of learning and teaches the child to associate “learning” with “boring.” This is detrimental to a child’s desire to learn. To keep the love of learning alive that children have, students should make discoveries for themselves, be allowed to reflect on these discoveries and discuss them with others rather than solely imitating something a teacher has shown them. We will dive more into this block of The 21st Century Framework (Teaching Methods) in a later blog post.
Piaget also had insight into the teacher’s role, another block of The 21st Century Framework. From his research, he saw direct learning as the best method of learning. Which means that, in the classroom, children should be given time in the classroom to directly learn, to discover, to think about questions and come to their own conclusions. In this way, teachers should be facilitators rather than lecturers. This is very important for creative, divergent thinking because when teachers teach a concept, it is usually only conveyed one way, which builds a box that the students then unintentionally think inside of. This is not done on purpose, but is an unfortunate side effect; which further destroys the child’s creative thinking. Teachers can help their students develop their divergent, creative thinking by listening, watching and question their students in order to help them gain better understanding of whatever subject they are learning.
Another thing to consider is how a child develops and matures. Piaget was asked many times how to get their child to a higher cognitive stage sooner, his response was that things take time and children should learn at a natural speed. He believes that children shouldn’t be pushed or pressured to early into achieving extremely high goals. This type of goal, to speed up learning, encourages passive learning by throwing facts at the student and again, gets in the way of the natural, divergent thinking that is developed when minds are allowed to discover and reflect on new information. (pg. 205)
Vygotsky developed a theory called the Zone of proximal development (ZPD) which sets up the range of tasks which children can not yet do alone, but are able to be learned with guidance and assistance from either other more-skilled children or adults. This can be useful for a teacher when evaluating a student. It would be beneficial to let the child do as much as possible within his/her range of development before the teacher steps in to help. It also encourages more creative thinking, self-reliance and confidence as the child is challenged to his/her upper understanding level before the child is advised on what a good next step would be in the problem solving. (pg. 208)
Another good Vygotsky idea is to use more-skilled peers or children as teachers. This not only helps the child receiving the help but the student that is able to explain something and teach another reinforces his or her own knowledge. (pg. 209)
With this knowledge being around since the 18th Century how can we continue to be so passive about our education? The research these two have done is very influential and lays out a great plan to educate that coincides with the way a child’s brain develops. Why not make the most of the information we have in order to develop methods, which will have the most optimal outcome for our children and generations to come? We have the research, information and tools to foster and create environments where divergent and creative thinking is developed instead of hindered. Now it’s time to implement them and increase our creative thinkers.
This blog post had been written by Ashley Morgan
Santrock, John W. “Ch. 6 Cognitive Developmental Approaches.” A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development 7e. McGraw-Hill, pg. 205-209. Print.
Many experts and futurists believe that our schools in particular need to place greater emphasis on right-brain functions such as big-picture thinking and the ability to conceptualize.
Tania De Jong writes in her article “Creativity: The Strategic Tool Of The Twenty-first Century”: “Creativity offers the answers to many of the big issues that we face in these unprecedented times, because it can help unlock our full human potential and connect us to others.” (1) De Jong continues: “If you enter a kindergarten, you will encounter some of the best creative thinking that you will find: finger paintings of pink and green people
and blue dogs set against polka-dot skies, and imaginative stories about fairies in magical and faraway places. Young children are naturally creative and they are continually creating new ways to learn and constructing a world view from a collection of initially disconnected events, colours, movements and sounds.”
So what happens between the open and effortless experimentation of childhood and the struggle to think creatively that is experienced by so many in adulthood?(2)
Entrepreneur Béa Beste, co-founder of Germany’s bilingual Phorms schools and a member of the 2011/2012 “Future Dialog” (Zukunftsdialog) expert panel set up by the German Chancellor, comments as follows: “Every day, our schools answer thousands of questions that young people don’t have with thousands of answers that don’t interest them – and then they test them to see if they have the answers in their head. That’s no way to educate our children so that they have an innovative spirit. We need more creativity in learning!” (3)
Let´s take a look to a study of Adobe, they conducted in the U.S. in November 2012. The results were reflective of a demand for school and university curricula to place more importance on creativity. College-educated professionals were asked how important creativity had been to their professional success. What do you think, what had been the result?
• 78% of respondents agreed that creativity was important to their career.
• 90% agreed that creativity is important for economic growth.
• 96% believed that creativity is important for society.
And there´s more! Kyung Hee Kim, a professor of education at the College of William and Mary in the U.S. state of Virginia, has documented a continuous decline in creativity among American schoolchildren over the past two to three decades.(4)
Peter Gray, Ph.D., research professor at Boston College, writes about her study in his article in “Psychology Today”. “Kim analyzed scores on a battery of measures of creativity – called the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT) – collected from normative samples of schoolchildren in kindergarten through twelfth grade over several decades. According to Kim’s analyses, the scores on these tests at all grade levels began to decline somewhere between 1984 and 1990 and have continued to decline ever since.”(5)
Futurists Ryan Matthews and Watts Wacker recently stated: “Creativity has become the most universally endangered species of the twenty-first century. Never has the need for creativity been so compelling and never has genuine creativity been in such short supply.”(6)
Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., the “TED-talk-hero” and internationally recognized leader in the development of education, creativity and innovation, has said: ”The truth is that everyone has great creative capacities but not everyone develops them. One of the problems is that too often our education systems don’t enable students to develop their natural creative powers. Instead they promote uniformity and standardization. The result is that we are draining people of their creative possibilities and producing a workforce that’s conditioned to prioritize conformity over creativity. Kids don’t grow into creativity, they grow out of it. Or rather get educated out of it. We are educating people out of their creative capacities.”(7)
Adobe conducted its “State of Create Global Benchmark Study” in April 2012.
The results are no less shocking than Robinson’s conclusions. Adobe determined that the world’s five largest economic powers have a creativity deficit. 59% of respondents blamed this on the education system!(8)
From my point of view, one of the most dramatic rserach results are coming from the “hippie times”. George Land and Beth Jaman got to the heart of the matter long before Robinson reached an audience of millions via YouTube in his famous TED talk. The NASA study conducted by the two – criticizing the system, teachers and tuition methods. The scientists indicated as early as 1968 that education and schooling posed a threat to the development of creativity.
How did they do that? 1600 five-year-olds took a creativity test used by NASA to find talented engineers and scientists. The results of the study showed that every human with normal cognitive development has a similarly high creative potential in childhood, but this decreases with age. George Land concluded that “uncreative behavior is learned.”(9)
Edward Sztukowski summarizes the study’s result in his article on Allpsychologycareers.com as follows: “Some researchers believe that developmentally something occurs physiologically to instigate such a huge decline in creativity around age 10. Others attribute the drop in creativity to a time period where kids become aware of conformity and adhering to social conventions and norms, diminishing their creativity.”(10)
The study implies that school education takes away young people’s creativity, as they lose their curiosity and interest in the world over the course of their schooling and are “rationalized”. The root of this is the pressure to always give the right answer. Schools teach every pupil to meet certain standards and conform. The longer children remain in school, the less they feel the urge to seek out alternative solutions, and the more they fear that pursuing alternative routes will lead to them making mistakes.
The results also confirm that uninspiring “chalk and talk” teaching and long periods spent sitting at desks reduce children’s creativity. The shocking result? Pupils spend most of their school time being expected to sit quietly and listen to monotonous lectures by teachers.(11)
Many studies today also imply that extremely structured, conventionally arranged classrooms and traditional teaching methods all but sabotage creativity. Today’s researchers agree on one thing: the myth that only a few people are natural creative talents is no longer sustainable. We now know that everyone is born with the same creative potential. Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., says: “The truth is that everyone has great capacities but not everyone develops them.”(12)
1 De Jong, Tania – Creativity: The Strategic Tool Of The Twenty-first Century – Australian Business Solutions (December 18, 2012) http://bit.ly/I4zmAx
2 De Jong, Tania – Creativity: The Strategic Tool Of The Twenty-first Century – Australian Business Solutions (December 18, 2012) Australian Business Solutions, http://bit.ly/I4zmAx
3 Beste, Bea – www.playducation.de (April 2012)
4 Kim, Kyung Hee – The creativity crisis: The decrease in creative thinking scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 23, 285-295 (2011)
5 Gray, Peter – Psychology Today in “Freedom to Learn”. Published on September 17, 2012
6 Matthews, Ryan and Wacker, Watts (2010)
7 Robinson, Ken – TED Talk 2007, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY
8 Adobe – Adobe State of Create Global Benchmark Study and Adobe State of Create Infographic, global benchmark study about attitudes to and beliefs about creativity at work, school and home (2010)
9 Land, George and Jarman, Beth – Breakpoint and Beyond (1968)
10 Sztukowski, Edward on http://www.allpsychologycareers.com/topics/creativity-in-education.html
11 Sahlberg, Pasi – The role of education in promoting creativity: potential barriers and enabling factors (European Training Foundation), http://bit.ly/18wuPT7
12 Robinson, Ken – “Creativity in Education, Explore how educators are trying to foster creativity in students” – www.allpsychologycareers.com
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein(1)
Taking a look at history we can see that creativity has progressively come to play more and more important role in economic success. In 1997, economist and then Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan addressed the University of Connecticut about the growing demand for creative workers. He said,
“The growth of the conceptual component of output has brought with it accelerating demands for workers who are equipped not simply with technical know-how, but with the ability to create, analyze, and transform information and to interact effectively with others.”(2)
Each century has required a different set of skills and as Greenspan pointed out, technical know-how is one of the basic skills required in past centuries. Looking at the main type of work done in each century can give you an idea of how the skill sets have changed over time.
Author Daniel H. Pink dives into this topic even deeper with his statement, “As a result of the excess in spoiled consumer societies (oversupply), the relocation of global production to Asia (outsourcing), and automation, the economies of the US and Europe can only generate the value they need in the 21st century through creative commodities and ideas/innovation.”(3)
The leading economies now require a new skill set in the Conceptual Age/Imagination Age. Skills such as manual labor or following strong left-brain processes no longer carry the same strong value. Moving forward, the most valued skill will be creativity.
Obviously, different leadership skills were required manage factory workers producing the Ford Model T than were required in the Information Era to grow Microsoft. Pink foresees a power shift moving from left-hemisphere leadership skills to right-hemisphere leadership skills.
To support this shift, in a Forbes study, which asked, “How important has creativity-inspired leadership become to each of the following organizational roles?” 98% agreed that they saw creativity as a critical factor for their company’s success.(4) Additionally, in an IBM global CEO study covering 1,541 CEO’s and executives in 60 countries, 60% saw creativity as the most important leadership quality over the next five years.(5)
Have you seen a shift in value from left to right hemisphere traits? What are your thoughts on this transition?
I’ll finish with an interesting graphic which shows the migration of valued skills from the left-hemisphere to the right-hemisphere.
(Sources: http://pxlbuzzard.com, http://bio.informatics.iupui.edu, LA Times)
1 Einstein, Albert- Saturday Evening Post Oct 26, 1929
2 Greenspan, Alan – University of Connecticut (Oct. 14, 1997)
3 Pink, Daniel – “A whole new mind – why right brainers will rule the future” (2005)
4 Alison, David – Can Creativity Save The World? Marketers Think So – 1st annual C-Factors Index, Forbes (April 2011)
5 IBM Institute for Business Value, Global CEO survey (2010)
As we’ve previously discussed, the current education system has its roots in the industrial age and little has been renovated to mirror the innovative time we live in today.
Education systems all over the world need to change just as fast as today’s digital natives change their everyday habits, social behavior and working styles.
How education was industrialized.
In the 1900’s, educators argued that schooling would improve citizenship, cultivate higher-order traits, and create the managerial skills needed for rapid economic modernization in the then “new industrial age”.
Seeing as the newly industrialized societies needed educated workers of this type (proficient in left-hemisphere traits such as writing and arithmetic) the education system was established in order to offer this basic education for all. The result was a group of individuals who were all similarly skilled in the same basic concepts; who could easily be transferred or replaced.
The standard “Chalk and Talk” teaching method was set up, involving standard repetitive exercises so that one teacher could teach hundreds of children at the same time in a single room…Just like that the teaching process was industrialised.
Thankfully, there are many education experts fighting for the change of the education system away from such an outdated form and they are being met with ever-popular reception. Below are some quotes found during our research or from people we personally interviewed, all who are paint the picture of our current dilemma.
“…But the generation of today faces more and more uncertainty, no lifetime employment, an unstable social climate, and a multicultural society. The schooling system was not invented to deal with these problems. We should teach children how to cope with the modern way of living. Besides learning facts, the cognitive part of learning, we should stimulate cooperation, intercultural behavior, relativity, and teach them how to deal with uncertainty and differences between cultures.”
-Simon Bremer, Director of the BussanArte Foundation, Bussana Vecchia, Italy
“For me, about 90% of what we teach probably constitutes particular nuggets of knowledge that those kids would never encounter again in a significant way in their lives.” – David Perkins, Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
“We need to help kids to learn how to think flexibly, to know how to change and how to look at other points of view. Being rigid will not work in the future.”
-Dr. Arthur L. Costa, Emeritus Professor at California State University
“Kids are individuals, so the most important thing is to get us as teachers to help them learn the way they want to learn – the easiest way for them to learn. Not: you are forced to learn ‘that’.” -David Kelley, Co-Founder of IDEO, Stanford Design Professor
“One of the most important things we emphasize to children is that we tend to put things into compartments. Here’s math, here’s English, here’s Spanish, here’s geography… When you really think about the world, and dealing with problems and issues in the world, as a grown-up or as a child, you are using more than one discipline. So my suggestion for education today is to meet the challenge of interdisciplinary teaching. So that children bring all the relevant disciplines together and see that they are connected in order to resolve the problem. I would love to see every kid understand they have to learn math in order to understand geography, to get science, and to understand a really good story.”
-Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, Member of the Faculty at the Evergreen State College
Indeed, these great minds and initiatives all over the world are making changes although the institutional and political gears turn more slowly than developments demand. Numerous private initiatives testify to the fact that the world of learning is in a state of upheaval.
DDB Worldwide Inc.
While I do not consider myself an expert, or even knowledgeable, about the field of education, I’m intrigued by the CLASSROOM THINK TANK project aimed at bringing more creativity into the classroom. Many of us have been frustrated by “old school” education systems that seem to value test scores and conformity over individuality and innovation. And we find ourselves agreeing with Ken Robinson who famously stated in his TED talk that our present system of educating is based on preparing students for industrial age citizenship, not for life in the 21st century.
What could schools learn from DDB to foster creativity?
Creativity has to be a management priority from top to bottom of the organization. When all members of the company know and understand that creativity is the top priority of the CEO, they know that creativity must be their own focus as well. And they know that their success in the organization will be dependent on creative achievement. If all teachers knew that creativity was a priority of the school administration, and that their own success would be measured against the creative achievement of their scholars, they would align their curriculum and their classroom activities to that priority.
I believe schools could also learn about fostering creativity from The Four Freedoms we have put in place throughout our global network. At DDB, we ask that these freedoms be in place in every DDB office because we believe the presence of freedom is essential to creative achievement.
The first of the Four Freedoms is the Freedom from Fear. It asserts that talent freezes in the grip of fear. The creative mind shuts down, constricting the natural flow of words and ideas. Schools that wish to encourage creativity should feature classrooms that are free from fear: free from the fear of being labeled, compared or categorised; free from intimidation by teachers who see themselves as “tough and demanding taskmasters.”
The second of our Four Freedoms at DDB is The Freedom to Fail in which we acknowledge that it is the nature of creative talent to venture beyond the known—to pick its way through scary places untrodden by conventional minds. Also because there are no assurances that these idea-searching patrols will succeed, the seekers must be granted the latitude to fail in order to sustain their willingness to try again. In conventional classrooms, the goal is probably one of never failing, which promotes attempts to conform and inhibits creativity. In this respect, the education system could learn from the schools in Finland, where students are free from the fear of tests and exams until they reach the age of 16, when they are given one mandatory test. Until then, they rarely take exams or even do homework. It’s reported that they are not measured at all for their first 6 years of education.
The third of our Four Freedoms at DDB is The Freedom from Chaos. In our culture, this refers to the kind of chaos that results from management indecision, vacillation, arrogance and uncertainty. In the classroom, chaos might be created by class size, for instance: too many students per teacher or by labs that are too small for all students to conduct experiments. Or chaos can be created by lack of clarity as to what exactly is expected of the student or by inconsistency in communicating that understanding.
The last of our Four Freedoms at DDB is The Freedom to Be, in which we proclaim that each individual has the right to be treated with dignity, to be supported in his or her ambitions for higher achievement, and to be provided with a place where a career can grow in the direction of one’s own choosing. The lesson for educators from this insight is that every effort should be made to celebrate individuality and oppose conformity, and that, as much as possible, education experiences and environments should be adapted to the development path of the individual instead of insisting that the individual adapt to a standard curriculum.
What could a teacher learn from my leadership principles to foster creativity and inspire?
When we formed the company that is now DDB Worldwide, I gave each board member a small plant, then asked board members to make their plants grow. It was a simple, perhaps simplistic reminder that you cannot command a plant to grow, you cannot instruct a plant to grow, you must provide it with an environment that inspires and stimulates growth. Likewise, you cannot command creativity in the workplace nor in the classroom, nor can you instruct it, you must inspire it and nurture it. So I would give every teacher a plant as a reminder that children need to be nurtured and provided with the right learning environment. I would also inspire them with the quote from Lewis Thomas, a biologist who was head of Memorial Sloan Cancer Center in New York and who wrote wonderful little essays on biology. In one of those essays, he provided what I believe is the best advice I have ever encountered for building a creative environment, “If you want a bee to make honey, you do not issue protocols on carbohydrate chemistry nor memoranda on solar navigation. You do what you can to arrange the air around the hive, and when the air is right, the science will come.” When the “air” in the classroom is right, the creativity will come. So I would ask each teacher to embrace the idea Thomas expressed about bees making honey and apply it to children becoming creative.
To make the “air” right for creativity, teachers should do at least the following:
*Provide creative stimulus. In the agency, that means exposing staff to out-of-the-box thinking and out-of-the-box thinkers–their stories and their work. In the classroom, it should be the same. At DDB New York, for example, Matt Eastwood, the agency’s Executive Creative Director, stages regular “Curiosity Sessions” where prominent figures in creative pursuits like architecture, music and fashion are brought into the agency to address the entire agency staff.
In addition to providing real insights and inspiration, these sessions remind staffers in all the agency disciplines—account executives, planners and administrators– that creativity at DDB is not limited to the creative department. In the education system, showcasing the lives and work of great creative thinkers, both historical and contemporary, through videos, museum visits, live appearances or other media should be a key part of the curriculum.
*Focus on problem solving. Instead of cramming facts and theories into the minds of scholars, challenge them to break down real problems and come up with creative solutions. Example: A few years ago, I agreed to be “Principal for a Day” at Chelsea High School in Lower Manhattan. Students there are mostly from disadvantaged backgrounds—many from broken homes, some with no homes at all, living in shelters. But the class I monitored was blessed to have a teacher that understood how to unleash creativity by asking her scholars to solve problems.
On the day I observed, these tenth graders were given a problem that had been featured in that morning’s New York Times: A foie gras producer in upstate New York had a dilemma. He cared for his employees and wanted them to have good family lives but also wanted to produce the finest foie gras. The geese had to become attached to their caretaker–an employee of the farmer’s–and so the caretaker had to stay close to the geese, away from their own families, for a period of two weeks or more. The foie gras farmer’s dilemma was how to give employees family time without diminishing the quality of his foie gras. This problem was given to the class to solve and the scholars worked in pairs. After the teams huddled for ten minutes or so, a young Hispanic boy raised his hand and said that he and his partner, Maria, had come up with an idea. “This wouldn’t work right now but in the future, if the farmer hired identical twins who would dress exactly alike and use the same cologne, they could switch off with each other so each could spend time with his family and the goose wouldn’t know the difference.” Brilliant. A great example of how problem-solving exercises can unleash creative thinking.
*Grant freedom. The first rule of creativity is “be prepared to look foolish” so children should be encouraged to say what they think and express their true feelings absent of the fear that they will be laughed at or derided by their peers. And they should understand that it’s OK to fail if one is exploring uncharted territory. Scholars should learn and be inspired by the great innovators throughout history (i.e.:Edison), whose success came only after failing. See my references above to The Four Freedoms at DDB.
*Celebrate creative thinking. In the DDB network, each office finds ways to celebrate and reward creative thinking. At the network level, we award the Bill Bernbach Award to the best example of applying our founder’s creative philosophies in the solution of modern day problems. Likewise, teachers should find ways to recognize and celebrate creativity in the classroom.
Finally, I’m reminded of the story told of Henry Ford who was called an ignoramus by a Chicago newspaper. Ford sued the paper and, in court, failed to answer the most basic facts about U.S. history, much to the delight of those who accused him of being ignorant. In a burst of exasperation, Ford exclaimed, “I use my brain to think, not to memorize facts that are readily available if ever I need them.” We need to teach children to use their brains to think.
Keith Reinhard is Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide. DDB ranks among the largest global advertising agency networks in the world with 206 offices in 96 countries. Acknowledged as the industry’s most creative multinational network, DDB has won more Grand Prix awards in the 50-year history of the International Advertising Festival in Cannes than any other agency, and over the last 16 years DDB has won more awards in Cannes than any other agency network.
We want to thank all the participant of our two workshops at this year´s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. For everybody who had not the chance to be part of these two sessions, with almost 100 inspiring individuals from all over the world, we would like to share the transcript of Leonard Sommer´s key note. You´ll find the presentation on Slideshare, soon.
„Welcome to our Cannes Lions Classroom Think Tank´ Workshop. Thank you very much for being here. My name is Leonard Sommer – I am the Right Hemisphere and Co-founder of the creative agency SOMMER+SOMMER.
Like most right brainers, I had a hard time in the classroom – being always pushed to conformity. For my brother Gordon Sommer – he is a left brained thinker – it had been a little easier.
Two years ago SOMMER+SOMMER started this initiative within the work for my EMBA master´s thesis at The Berlin School of Creative Leadership.
Assuming the whole education system will need to make a radical transition in many countries around the world, we asked more than 100 creative leaders to inspire an innovative model for 21st century education.
Let me tell you shortly what we want to do during the next hour.
First you´ll get some background information about why this mission is so important, especially for our industry. After that we will have a look on our research. Finally your group will develop ideas to inspire this initiative.
The following questions may help your team to be focused:
1. What would you change in schools with the aim of fostering creativity?
2. How would you like to foster creativity in your team, agency or organization.
3. How could creativity be promoted in children´s education?
„No one knows what the future really is gonna be like? The rise of information and communication technologies is dramatically altering how society works and how global cultures interact. Today´s children will become adults who engage in a world vastly different from what we know today. Who need to solve problems beyond her current understanding, using skill sets, that are yet to be defined, with tools, that are yet to be created. How do you prepare a child … for that?“ (1)
Let´s start with an assignment:
Could anybody in class tell me, who these three little classmates are? (…) Indeed. Henry Ford, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. (…)
… three outstandingly talented entrepreneurs that had a groundbreaking effect on their respective economic age. Isn`t it clear that different skills were required in the industrial, information and conceptual age? But … all these leaders shared the same education model?
Bizarre. The principles and the culture of today´s education model are still a relict of the era of industrialization! That means: we still educate with a school system from the 19th century, create to set-up the managerial skills needed for rapid economic modernization in the industrial age.
How can an education system, invented for the era of the steam engine, still be of use for the Conceptual Age?”
“One of the dilemmas with 20th century education is, children are taugh what to learn – and not how to learn. And they are slowly educated out of their curiosity and creativity.” (2)
David Perkins (Senior Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education):
“I think, that we need to think in terms of education for the unknown.
For what might come up – for large understandings, that help us code the unexpected as well as the expected. For me, about 90% of what we teach probably constitutes particular nuggets of knowledge that those kids would never encounter again in a significant way in their lives. It just doesn’t matter! That is completely bizarre. We simply need to do better than that.”
Dr. Kirpal Sign (Associate Professor, Singapore Management University)
We are all education people either for yesterday – 80 percent of us – another 18 percent are people either educating for today, but very few of us are looking at tomorrow. Because looking at tomorrow means you need to be creative, you need to use your imagination, you need to be able to take … riks. And say: I think, tomorrow it is gonna be like this…“
„Do schools really „kill“ creativity? What do you think?
Let´s look at some research.
SOMMER+SOMMER invited more than 35 million people from 205 countries to put their brains to an online braintest. The purpose? To gain insight into whether our planet is dominated by left-brained or right-brained thinkers. The study confirmed what we had already suspected. Our brain test project showed: only 27% are right-brained and 41% are left-brained (results please refer to: http://bit.ly/1pULKHM) (3) (…)
Let´s now take a look at children´s creativity.
Already in 1968 – George Land and Beth Jarman tested 1,600 children with the famous NASA genius test. They were given eight tests of divergent thinking abilities.
• Ages 3-5 years, 98% scored in the creative genius category
• Five years later, after starting in school, 32% scored in this category.
• Ten years later, … only 10%.
For a better understanding: what needs to be changed – we asked more than 550 people from all over the world: How is creativity suppressed in today´s schools?
Let´s look at the 5 criteria that scored the most.
Think positive now. What did the probands say:
How can creativity be fostered?
“How can an education system designed for the Industrial Age still be relevant in the 21st century? Let’s take a look at some numbers…
• 65% of today’s preschoolers will grow up to work in jobs that don’t yet exist “
• 60% of managers see creativity as tomorrow’s most important skill(7)
• But 85% believe that creativity is suppressed in schools?(8)“
Come to inspire a vision of schools that foster creativity…
…with room for children’s minds to develop outside-of-the-box thinking.”
…with teachers, who guide creativity instead of conformity.”
…with lessons, that prepare them for the unexpected, as well as the expected. We want to know: What could the education system learn from the creative industry?”
„Overall SOMMER+SOMMER asked more than 100 creative leaders in 35 countries to help develop a vision for schools that foster creativity. After our reserach, we had 89 relevant inspirations.
Analyzing all the ideas and inputs of our reserach, we realized, that all ideas had been build on 5 building blocks
• ORGANIZATONAL DESIGN
• LEARNING CULTURE
• TEACHER´S ROLE
• LEARNING METHODS
Unfortunately I can´t introduce to you all those ideas. But I would like to present one out of all ideas, and at the same time introduce the organizational design of a school model, that – from our point of view – might be a pretty relevant solution.
Our inspiration comes from Google. Their 70/20/10 Model is a business resource management model pioneered by the former CEO Eric Schmidt and articulated about Google in 2005.
The original 70/20/10 Business Resource Management Model makes time for creativity a fixed part of the schedule and serves to cultivate innovation.
It dictates to divide employee resources as follows:
• 70% of work time is dedicated to complete tasks related to the company’s core business
• 20% of work time can be spent on expanding the core business in an alternative way.
• 10% of work time can be spent developing innovative ideas and projects unrelated to core business. – and therefore thinking outside the box (10).
Our plan: SOMMER+SOMMER recommends to transfer this model to children´s education. (…) Et voilà: our concept for a “Learning Resource Management Model” that makes time for creative thinking in secondary schools. • KNOW-WHAT: 50% of the students time will be spent on teaching knowledge.
• KNOW-HOW: 30% of the time will be used for the practical application of knowledge.
• TALENT-TO-KNOW: 20% of school-time will be used to foster individual talents.
I want to talk a bit more about the 3 elements of this model …
Creativity needs to rest on a strong basis of knowledge, one that is able to inspire every individual and on which a team can build its unique ideas.
In our model in 50% of all lessons, basic knowledge is conveyed, analyzed and discussed in the group using specific and contemporary case studies.
30% of all lessons allow pupils to creatively apply their knowledge in a group, working together towards a goal.
This school time also has a special function: it offers children a menu of possibilities early on – maybe one loves computer science, the other biology, art, whatever –
a spectrum of potential passions could be discovered.
20% of school time is available to find your “thing”, your passion that doesn’t feel like work – the activity that just feels like fun. This encourages children and motivates them to practice and to get on with their passion – so they can achieve excellence, because they found their unique talent.
Now let´s get active!
I want you to work in groups. Every group chooses ONE question to work on. You have 20 minutes for your inspirations and after that each group has a few minutes to present the idea. Let´s start. I can´t wait to hear your ideas.
One thing: If we are running out of time, please make sure, that the group fills in the idea in our online survey
>>> GROUPWORK (20 min)
“Which group wants to start with its idea? Please let us know which question you worked on and how your team wants to inspire 21st century education.”
>>> PRESENTATION OF IDEAS (ideas will be presented seperately)
“Thank you very much to each one of you. We are really appreciating your time and your brainpower at this experiment. Please leave your e-mail adress on the form, so that we can share the results with you.
Here´s the adress for any more ideas, questions or whatever is on your mind. Please follow the Classroom Think Tank on Facebook or the blog, if you want to be updated.
We would be extremely happy, if all journalists who are here will share the results or publish a link to our opinion-survey (http://thinktank.sommer-sommer.com/simple/
If you have any questions – please do not hesitate to write me an e-mail, if you are interested to have exclusive material for your media. A press kit with the most relevant ideas will be available after the festival-week.
More about the speaker:
LEONARD SOMMER | RIGHT HEMISPHERE (CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER), SOMMER+SOMMER
Leonard Sommer studied Communication Design in Florence, Italy. He holds an Executive MBA in Creative Leadership from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. Leonard is Managing Partner of the communication agency SOMMER+SOMMER based in Stuttgart (Germany). The boutique ad agency SOMMER+SOMMER became popular with their global brain study that recently, went viral globally to more than 55 million people and yields some insight on global creativity as well as viral marketing (en.sommer-sommer.com/braintest).
(1) 21st Foundation, Patrick Newell
(2) 21st Foundation, Patrick Newell
(3) 2014 Sommer+Sommer, Braintest en.sommer-sommer.com/braintest)
(4) 1968 Breakpoint and Beyond by George Land and Beth Jarman
(5) 2013, SOMMER+SOMMER using Kwiksurveys, n=551
(6) 2013, SOMMER+SOMMER using Kwiksurveys, n=551
(7) IBM Institute for Business Value, Global CEO survey (2010)
(8) Davidson, Cathy N. – “Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century”
(9) 2013, SOMMER+SOMMER using Kwiksurveys, n=551
(10) Välikangas, Liisa / Jett, Quintus – “The golden spur: innovation independence”, Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 34 Iss: 5, pp.41 – 45 (2006)
(11) 2013, Leonard Sommer „Classroom Think Tank. Fostering creativity in our children’s classrooms. New approaches for educating the creative workforce of the 21st century. How the creative industry could inspire the education system.“