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    Update: Can Creativity Be Taught?

    We are thrilled that this question has elicited so much response.

    First, to date, of those who answered the poll, almost 1/2 (47%) believe creativity can be taught, 29% think this is “somewhat” the case (that people can improve their creative ability), 24% feel you’ve either got it or you don’t.

    Perhaps more interesting, however, is the number and variety of responses we received when we posted the question on LinkedIn. In just one day the question received 23 answers from business professionals of all kinds, from different industries. Many were extremely thoughtful and provocative. We hope to use highlights from several in our article.

    In the meantime, I’ll share an original poem offered up by Michael Lyubomirskiy, project manager, consultant and inventor at Lyubomirskiy Consulting.

    Can creativity be taught?
    Debate is endless. All for nought.
    “Self improvement” so much fun
    Run around, but nothing done.
    Geniuses meanwhile left to rot…

    More soon on this topic!


    5 Responses to “Update: Can Creativity Be Taught?”

    1. Sidney Blank says:

      Certainly there are aptitudes, proclivities, strengths. However, I completely believe creativity can be taught. Learning how to do anything consists primarily of two things: the courage to try and the critical assessment required to improve. Desire is the spark that lights the fire but the fuel is iterative improvement. You’ll come to the same conclusion whether you read Giacometti’s biography by James Lord or Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of the 10,000 hours in his latest book Outliers.

    2. smartstorming says:

      One of the big “debates” among those who responded to the question was whether creativity is something everyone possesses, but in some has been repressed. So rather than “teaching” creativity, it is more a matter of unleashing or releasing it. I think this is largely a matter of interpretation in that, in either case, learning and applying new skills will result in increased ability to think creatively. In fairness, I must add that there were some who believe creativity is either there or not, and in varying degrees, and cannot be taught or enhanced in those who are limited in their ability to think creatively.

    3. Ed says:

      Pretty lame poem…not only in terms of meter, structure or rhyme. Genius and creativity are not necessarily linked. Suggesting impotent efforts results in genius inertia is a weak proposition.

    4. Ed says:

      Creativity can NOT be taught. It is innate.

      Sidney’s points of courage to try is not teachable. You can not teach motivation. You can teach someone to force upon themselves a course of action. Critical assessment is not a required component of creativity.

      You can inspire, guide, and exemplify methods to these goals. One can only provide paths to help make it foster and grow. The horse knows how to drink the water, you can only lead them to it.

    5. Roy Jacobsen says:

      “Can creativity be taught” is the wrong question.

      “Can ‘I’m not creative’ be unlearned?” That is the right question.

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