TED strikes again

photo of Mary N. Crawford / Smithsonian Institute

Here’s another intriguing TED lecture, this time from Sir Ken Robinson, filmed back in 2006. And yes, that’s “Sir Ken” to you.

Robinson is a professor, leader, speaker and author who has been decorated with more awards than he can juggle, and in 2003, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his service to the arts. An underachiever, really.

The TED archive is an endless vault of inspiration. Such amazing people and ideas. But back to the talk…

Robinson (funny and perfectly self-deprecating) believes we educate children out of their creative capacities. To paraphrase Picasso, we’re all born artists, but the challenge is to remain one as you grow up.

The highlights:

– “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

– We stigmatize mistakes and our schools reinforce the notion that errors are the worst thing a child can produce.

– Global education systems prioritize math and languages, then humanities. Arts sit at the bottom — if there’s any money left.

– Many brilliant, creative people think they’re deficient. They’re often tagged as unfocused, learning disabled, dreamers, and now, given meds for ADHD.

– Intelligence is diverse, dynamic and distinct. It doesn’t fit a mold.

– We need to educate kids as complete beings — not just floating heads run by left-brain logic.

This summary doesn’t do justice to Robinson’s well-woven argument. But I wanted to pull these points out and chew them over a bit.

My friends and I often discuss the idea that as you get older, it feels tougher to get out of your own way and create something truly new. We’ve debated the possible reasons: cynicism, financial struggles, life and family responsibilities, disappointments, becoming more set in your ways, losing a sense of “freshness” about the world and its possibilities, and on and on.

At the same time, all those opposing forces don’t eliminate the desire to push and stretch and surprise yourself. Robinson makes me feel better about actively protecting creativity. If it’s something you want (both for yourself and a new generation), you’ve got to fight for it.

posted 29 Apr 10 in: art, inspiration, media. This post currently has 4 responses.

4 Responses so far. Add Your Own.

Nice article and link, thanks !

Although not directly related to the core subject, Hugh Macleod (http://gapingvoid.com/) wrote a short book (http://gapingvoid.com/books/) that touches on points related to “roadblocks” and one of my favorite “out of the box thinkers” is Paul Arden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Arden) who’s books develop this exact theme.

Keep up the wonderful posts !


Thanks, Andrew. I will definitely check out both Hugh and Paul’s work.

cheri / 30 Apr 10

if you want to look at an exciting new model, check out the DMSC Governor Challenge at http://www.sandboxnetwork.org


I really like the idea that you’re promoting “knowledge champions,” Bob. Thank you for the link — and thanks for stopping by!

cheri / 30 Apr 10

Leave Your Own Comment.