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Request permission to reuse content from this site. Undetected location. NO YES. Selected type: E-Book. Added to Your Shopping Cart. Evaluation Copy Request an Evaluation Copy. View on Wiley Online Library. Editions Previous Next. This is a dummy description. It could have lowered the tone of the whole occasion. I have been to Venice, and in some ways the Venetian Hotel is better. I mention Las Vegas for a reason.

If you think of it, there is no reason for it to be there. Most other cities have a reason to be where they are. None of these are true of Las Vegas. As far as I know, nobody is trying to invade Nevada. Las Vegas is in the middle of a desert.

Out of Our Minds Learning to be Creative by Ken Robinson

The area around it is an arid wilderness. It has no natural water supply, no local sources of agriculture and it suffers from extremely high temperatures. Share this link with a friend: Copied! The world around them changed faster than they did and they suffered the consequences. The economies of China, South America and India, on the other hand, are adapting fast to the new demand for technological innovation. Few people would dispute that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Europe and especially Great Britain dominated the world culturally, politically and economically.

Britain was the crucible of the Industrial Revolution and its military forces secured the colonies as surely as the English language invaded their cultures. When Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in , she presided over the largest empire in history: the empire on which the sun never set. If you had gone to her court in and suggested that this empire would be over within a generation, you would have been laughed out of the building. And yet it was true. By the end of World War I in , the empire was fatally wounded and, by the time I was born in , it was a memory.

Culturally, politically and economically, the 20th century was dominated by the United States, as surely as Europe had dominated the nineteenth century. Whether it will dominate the 21st century remains to be seen.


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As award-winning US scientist Jared Diamond has shown, empires tend to collapse rather than fade away. All organizations are organic and perishable. They are created by people and they need to be constantly re-created if they are to survive. When organizations fail, the jobs and communities that depend on them falter too. In a world where lifelong employment in the same job is a thing of the past, creativity is not a luxury. It is essential for personal security and fulfillment.

Leading a culture of innovation has radical implications for how institutions are organized — whether they are schools or corporations — and for styles of leadership. Many organizations put on occasional training days to encourage their staff to think creatively; but like the ritual of rain dancing, they often underestimate the problems they are trying to solve. It is about the root causes of the problem rather than the symptoms of it. At the heart of this transformation there has to be a radically different view of human intelligence and of creativity.

I have directed national research projects, taught in universities and trained teachers. I also work now with every type of business, including Fortune companies, with major banks and insurance houses, design companies, media corporations, information technology organizations, and with retail, manufacturing, engineering and service companies.

And I work with major cultural centers in the arts and the sciences; with museums, orchestras, and with dance and theatre companies and community arts organizations. In my experience, education, business and the cultural sector face many common challenges. Some are compounded by the fact that they have so little contact with each other. This book addresses all three of these fields because I believe that the future lies in closer coordination between them.

The problems that business organizations face are immediate. There are some immediate things they can do to tackle them and I say what they are. But the long-term solution lies upstream in the education system. All over the world, governments are pouring vast resources into education reform. In the process, policy makers typically narrow the curriculum to emphasize a small group of subjects, tie schools up in a culture of standardized testing and limit the discretion of educators to make professional judgments about how and what to teach. These reforms are typically stifling the very skills and qualities that are essential to meet the challenges we face: creativity, cultural understanding, communication, collaboration and problem solving.

This is not a party-political issue. Politicians of all persuasions are curiously united in this respect. They argue over the funding and organization of education, over access and selection and about the best ways to improve standards.

More by Ken Robinson

But it is rare to hear politicians of any party raise questions about the absolute importance of academic standards or of standardized systems of education. Ironically, they promote these policies in the interests of the economy. They want education to provide such people, but too often they also cling to an uncritical belief in traditional academic education. Many educators want to provide a more balanced and dynamic form of education that makes proper use of their own creative energies. Too often they feel they cannot do any of this because of political pressures of conformity and the disaffection of students who suffer under the same malaise.

Most parents assume that education will help their children to find work and become economically independent. I know I do. I cannot tell you how much I want my children to be economically independent and as soon as possible. Parents also want education to help young people to identify their unique talents and to lead a life that has meaning and purpose.

This is also what young people want for themselves. As we grow up, education is meant to guide us from childhood to maturity. It should be high among the ways in which we realize our creative abilities.

Robinson, Chapter 6, Being Creative.pdf - Out of our Minds...

More often it is why we lose sight of them. These issues, covered in Out of Our Minds, affect all of us, deeply. The book touches on economic globalization and the revolutionary challenges facing business and work. It looks at some of the extraordinary developments in science and technology that will make the changes we have seen so far seem primitive by comparison. It looks at how we run companies and organizations and the changes that are needed in order to cultivate a spirit of creativity and innovation.

And it looks at ideas about intelligence and creativity upon which our current systems of education are based and considers why and how they too have to change, and soon. Our lives are brief in cosmic terms; we pass through a common cycle of mortality from conception to birth to death; we have many of the same physical needs as other species and we depend on nutrients that the earth supplies.

Over the past few centuries of industrialism, more and more people have moved off the land into cities and seem to believe that we can live apart from the rest of nature. The growing climate crisis is a reminder that we cannot. But in one respect at least, human beings are radically different from the rest of life on earth. We have imaginations. As a result we have unlimited powers of creativity. By imagination I mean the power to see beyond the present moment and our immediate environment.

In imagination we can bring to mind things that are not present to our senses. We can visit the past, and not just a single view of the past. We can review and reinterpret the past. And we can anticipate many possible futures. We may not be able to predict the future but we can help to shape it. So far as we can tell, the cultural lives of dogs and cats are not changing that much. Left to their own devices, they seem to be doing what they have always done and to be pre-occupied with the same sorts of things.

In human life, there is always something new, because creativity is part of what it is to be human. It may be that some of the challenges that we have generated, in the natural environment, in politics and in our conflicting beliefs, will overcome us, and maybe sooner rather than later. If so, it will not be because we have made too much use of our imaginations but too little.

Now, more than ever, we need to exercise the unique creative powers that make us human in the first place. New technologies are transforming how we think, work, play and relate to each other. At the same time, the population of the earth is larger and growing faster than at any time in history. Many of the challenges that we face are being generated by the powerful interaction of these forces. The problem is that many of our established ways of doing things, in business, in government and education, are rooted in old ways of thinking. They are facing backwards, not forwards. As a result, many people and organizations are having a hard time coping with these changes and feel left behind or alienated by them.

To face these challenges we have to understand their nature; to meet them, we have to recognize that cultivating our natural powers of imagination, creativity and innovation is not an option but an urgent necessity. These challenges are global: they affect everyone.

They are also personal: they affect all of us as individuals. In some regions, dialects were so distinct that it was possible to tell which village or part of town someone came from. My father was born in He lived his whole life in Liverpool and rarely traveled more than 30 miles from the city. My mother was born in and it was only later in her life that she traveled out of the country for holidays. I have five brothers and a sister. My brother John has been piecing together our family tree. He has found out that in the mid-to-late 19th century, seven of our eight great grandparents grew up within a couple of miles of each other, in Liverpool; in some cases in adjacent streets.

On the whole, people then did marry locally and expected, in the main, to live the sorts of lives their parents had led. They lived local lives and most people always did. I went recently to Oslo, Norway to speak at a conference. I flew overnight from Los Angeles, via New York.

Lesson 1: As evolution changes faster and faster, creativity will become our competitive edge.

The plane was delayed and I arrived in Oslo five hours late, tired but looking forward to the event. A few hours later, I remembered that I had been in Oslo before. For a week! Admittedly it was about fifteen years earlier, but even so. In a week, you do all kinds of things: eat, shower, meet people and talk and think about Norwegian things. It may be a sign that I am on the move too much. I used to live in England in a village called Snitterfield really , which is three miles from Stratford-upon-Avon; the home of William Shakespeare.

When he was 20 years old he decided to leave Snitterfield to seek his fortune in Stratford — three miles away. For By their early teens my children had visited more countries than I had by the age of My own children now have a similarly quaint view of my childhood: only two television channels, no color or surround sound, no TiVo, no computer games, cell phones, iPods, fast food, Twitter or Facebook.

Their world is inconceivably different and an epoch away from those of my grandparents and great grandparents. The differences are not only in the nature of change but also in the pace of it. According to one estimate: in the average person travelled about 5 miles per day; in the average person travelled about 30 miles per day; and in the average person will travel about 60 miles per day. Imagine the past years as the face of a clock with each of the 60 minutes representing a period of 50 years.

Out of Our Minds – Press release - Sir Ken Robinson

Until three minutes ago, the history of transport was dominated by the horse, the wheel and the sail. In the late 18th century, James Watt refined the steam engine. This changed everything. It was a major tremor in the social earthquake of the Industrial Revolution. The improved steam engine vastly increased the power available for industrial production. It paved the way for faster methods of transport by road and sea and made possible the development of railways, the arterial system of the early industrial world.

The steam engine impelled vast movements of humanity at speeds that were never thought possible. For most of that time these systems hardly changed. People communicated by making marks on surfaces, using pens on paper, chisels on stone or pigment on boards. Written documents existed in single copies are had to be copied by hand. Only a privileged few had access to them and only those few needed to be able to read.

Between and , about eleven minutes ago on our clock, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Since then the process of change has gathered at a furious pace. Think of the major innovations in communication in the past years, and how the gaps on the clock have The average computer then was about the size of your living room. A second reason was the cost. Computers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Only government departments and some companies had computers.

In the transistor was invented. In , the silicon chip was developed. These innovations not only reduced the size of computers, they vastly increased their speed and power.


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The standard memory capacity has increased exponentially since then, from a few hundred kilobytes to several gigabytes. If you have an iPhone, it probably has more computing power than was available on earth in The Institute was well funded and purchased the first computer used in America for psychological experimentation: a PDP4 minicomputer.

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This extraordinary rate of production mirrors the vast range of applications for which computers are now used. The pace of expansion in computer technology over the past 70 years has been breathtaking. World population approaching 7 billion. Asia makes up 40 percent of users. The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive communication system ever devised. It grows daily, like a vast, multiplying organism; millions of connections are being added at an ever-faster rate in patterns that resemble dendritic groupings or ganglia in the brain.

Just like the brain, the synapses that fire most often have the most robust response. Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil points out that the evolution of biological life and of technology have followed the same pattern. Advancement in the first two decades of the 20th century matched that of the entire nineteenth century. Today significant technological transformations take just a few years; … Computing technology is experiencing the same exponential growth. He estimated that the density of transistors on integrated circuit boards was doubling every twelve months and that computers were periodically doubling both in capacity and in speed per unit cost.

In the mids Moore revised his estimate to about 24 months. By then transistors may be just a few atoms in width. The power of computers will continue to grow exponentially, but in different forms. If the technology of motorcars had developed at the same rate, the average family car would be very different by now. It could travel at six times the speed of sound, be capable of about miles per gallon and would cost you about one dollar to buy.

The rate of technological innovation in the past 50 years has been breathtaking. But the indications are that the revolution may only just be getting underway. In the next 50 years we may see changes that are as unimaginable to us now as the iPad would have been to John Shakespeare. One of the portals into this radical future is nanotechnology.

Nanotechnologists are building machines by assembling individual atoms. To measure the vast distances of space, scientists use the light year — the number of miles that light travels in a year, which is equivalent to just under 10 trillion kilometers, or 6 trillion miles. I asked a professor of nanotechnology what they use to measure the unthinkably small distances of nanospace. He said it was the nanometer, which is a billionth of a meter.

A billionth of a meter. Does that help? Beards are languid things and our language reflects this. If you have a nanometer, you can have half of one. There is indeed a picometer, which is a thousandth of a nanometer. Then there is an attometer, which is a millionth of a nanometer.

And there is a femtometer, which is a billionth of a nanometer: a billionth of a billionth of a meter. With others, he discovered the third form of carbon, a nanotube of graphite called the C60 molecule, also known as the Buckminster Fullerene or Bucky Ball after the American architect Buckminster Fuller. Fuller made extensive use of geodesic shapes that are similar to the structures of the C60 molecule. The C60 has remarkable qualities. It is a hundred times stronger than steel, a tenth of the weight and it conducts electricity like a metal.

This discovery triggered a wave of research in engineering, aerospace, medicine and much else. If it can be produced in industrial quantities, the C60 would make possible the construction of airplanes 20 or 50 times their present size but much lighter and more fuel-efficient. Buildings could be erected that go through the atmosphere: bridges could span the Grand Canyon. Motorcars and trains could be a Motorcars and trains could be a fraction of their current weight with greater fuel economies through the use of solar power. Theoretically, nanotechnology makes it possible to create any substance or object from the atomic level upwards.

While scientists speculate about the practical possibilities, others wonder about the political and economic consequences. Once nanotechnology makes it possible to synthesize any physical object cheaply and easily, our current economic systems will become obsolete. It would be difficult to envision a more encompassing realm of future development than nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is also leading to the extreme miniaturization of computer systems and will further revolutionize how we use them. In the near future, computers will be small and flexible enough to be worn on the body and be powered by the surface electricity of your skin. One solution is retinal projectors that use low-level lasers mounted on spectacle frames and project the display directly into the eyes.

A version of this technology is already in use in advanced aircraft systems. Pilots see the navigation displays on the inside of their visors and can change the direction of the aircraft by moving their eyes. For more everyday use, computers could be woven into clothing.

Robinson, Chapter 6, Being Creative.pdf - Out of our Minds...

Shirts could have sensors that monitor heartbeat and other vital signs. Hints of serious ill health could be relayed directly to a doctor. Smart shoes could turn the action of walking into enough energy to power wearable computers. Already, interfaces are available that are controlled purely by the power of thought. Headsets have been designed to monitor brainwaves, which can then be converted directly into instructions. But this is only the beginning.

Soon, information technologies may move inside our bodies and even into our brains. Computers may be about to merge with our own minds and consciousness. This approach had some obvious limitations. Fortunately, in the last 20 years, the technologies of brain scanning have made it possible to study living brains. Neuroscientists now understand much more about the gross functions of the brain: which parts are used in different activities and in which combinations; in speech for example, in recognizing faces, listening to music, or doing mathematics.

Neuroscience is using nanotechnology to explore the processes of thought and perception at the molecular level including the transfer of electrical charges at the neural synapses. These studies are generating wholly new approaches in psychology, in the design of drugs and in the treatment of pain.

Some of the most extraordinary implications of these different fields of research in information systems, material sciences and in neuroscience lie in the crossovers between them. It is now possible to conceive of information technologies modeled on the neural processes of the brain. A new generation of computers may be based not on digital codes and silicon but on organic processes: computers that mimic human thought.

At the moment, he said, the most powerful computers on earth have the processing power of the brain of a cricket. His point is that even the most powerful supercomputers are still just mindless calculators. This is all changing. At that point we will cross a threshold: computers will be capable of learning. I asked what that means. Perhaps most significantly, the interaction of genetics, neuroscience and information systems makes it feasible to think about enhancing our own intelligence by physically merging computers with our brains.

Cochlear implants are available to restore hearing. Retinal implants are being developed to provide at least some visual perception in blind individuals by replacing certain visual processing circuits of the brain. By , neural implants could improve our general sensory experiences, including our powers of memory and reasoning. So, in future, if you have an important examination coming up you might be able to buy another 60 megabytes of RAM and have it implanted in your brain.

Or it may be possible to have language implants. Instead of spending five years learning French you can have it implanted in time for your summer holidays. You could probably pay a few dollars more to have the fashion sense module. And when that happens we might ask: what is the difference between a human brain enhanced a million-fold by neural implants and a non-biological intelligence based on the reverse engineering of the human brain that is subsequently enhanced and expanded?

Now we take it for granted. The impossible yesterday is routine today. Wait until tomorrow. Technological change is one driver of change. Here again we are faced with an exponential curve of change.