Out of Our Minds | Ken Robinson

Summary of: Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative
By: Ken Robinson


In ‘Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative,’ Ken Robinson explores the importance of creativity in the modern world, shedding light on how our current educational systems do not meet the demands of the ever-evolving job market. This book emphasizes the vital role that creativity plays in both personal and professional success, and raises concerns about the lack of attention given to artistic subjects in our education systems. This summary will delve into the origins of public education and its connection to the industrial revolution, the imbalance in subject emphasis, the significance of imagination in human nature, and strategies for fostering innovation and flexibility.

The Speed of Technological Evolution

Over the past century, humanity has witnessed an unparalleled degree of technological advancement that shows no signs of slowing down. The author uses a fascinating analogy to illustrate how the past 3,000 years are like the previous 12 hours, with each minute representing 50 years. The pace of development has been so rapid that since the invention of the first PC 41 seconds ago, the internet came just 25 seconds afterward, and text messaging followed three seconds after that. Today, a digital watch is more powerful than NASA’s Apollo Moonlander in 1969. As such, creativity has become an indispensable skill for future business leaders, given that technological progress is so quick to advance. Similarly, as the job market evolves rapidly, people with flexible and adaptable talents will thrive.

The History and Conformity of Education

Education, as we know it, has only recently become a compulsory system in society. The public school system was created in the mid-nineteenth century to produce workers for the industrial revolution. These factories needed workers who were highly organized and efficient, and therefore the education system mirrored these principles of industrial production. Large classrooms, linear progression through grades, and standardized tests were all a part of this system. Although time has passed, the education system still functions in a similar manner to the assembly lines of factories. Students are expected to conform to standardized courses, material, and schedules. This system has been successful in the past, but as society evolves, so should our education system to prepare students for the future.

The Importance of Creativity in Education and Careers

Over the past 30 years, the number of college graduates in the workforce has doubled, but this doesn’t mean they’re well equipped for modern jobs. High school curriculums prioritize standardized test subjects, leaving little emphasis on the arts. The No Child Left Behind Act led to more funding for college prep and teacher accountability, but also put pressure on schools to prioritize math and English. As a result, funding for the arts was cut, despite their importance for developing creativity and self-expression. In a 2010 study, top business leaders named creativity as the most important leadership quality for success in an unpredictable future. It’s crucial to prioritize the arts and creativity in education to foster crucial skills for future success.

The Power of Imagination and Creativity

Imagination is what distinguishes humans from other animals, and our unlimited imagination is what propels us towards creativity. Creativity is about taking imagination to the next level by coming up with original and valuable ideas and doing something with them. The creative process involves generating new ideas and evaluating them to refine or reject them. While not all creative ideas are initially accepted or celebrated, they have the potential to revolutionize entire fields and be celebrated for generations to come.

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