Do you ever wonder what your children will grow up to be like? Whether they will be hardworking, honest, optimistic, confident, resilient or creative?
Well, leading organisations around the world are thinking the same thing - the future of work. In fact, NASA had this foresight decades ago and their most sought after skill is creativity. They wanted to find the engineers and rocket scientists with the most creative potential to work on their toughest problems. So they engaged Dr. George Land and Dr. Beth Jarman to develop a tool to measure creative potential.
They found that a fundamental factor for creativity was the capacity for divergent thinking. In fact, the NASA test to identify creative geniuses was so simple and effective that they performed it on 1600 children between ages 4-5 and turned it into a longitudinal study. The results were as follows:
Age Creative Genius
4-5 years 98%
10 years 30%
13 years 12%
*sample population of 260,000 adults, average age of 31.
When I first read about this, my first thought was that science has proven that children are born with their full potential! But at the same time that non-creative behaviour is learnt…through the education system and workplace – a culture that depends on the right answers, that are repeatable and always predictable.
As a parent, I can’t change this, but I can be mindful to encourage and help my child retain their sense of curiosity, ability to think divergently and radical questioning… hopefully well into adulthood.
The creative genius test poses a simple problem and looks at the number of solutions that the subject can come up with. For example – what can you do with a paper clip. The average adult comes up with 10-20 ideas and the creative genius, 150-200 ideas!
I’ve been observing my kids in their play and this is exactly what they do. Instead of a paper clip, my kids will happily play with a set of wooden play clips and come up with so many uses for it. So far, our play clips have been robots, brachiosaurus, the head of a Parasaurolophus, Pteranodon, dinosaur bones, a pair of handcuffs, a symbol of a weapon, medical equipment, trees, tents, horns, earrings, pliers, bike gears, a sculpture, secateurs, a bracelet/watch, an extra pair of hands, to peg toys and of course clips for our silks.
Here are some that I’ve managed to capture!
Have you noticed your child/children playing with something simple in so many ways? I’d love to hear your thoughts and observations on this!
Check out the George Land's TedX Talk here