Language is a complex and fickle beast. It is also one that is under constant gradual change. Change that is not necessarily instigated by a congregation of learned wise in a planned manner. No, this is change by the tribes, in adhoc and unpredictable ways. Yet is this in the best interest of society? In a previous topic we looked at communication of ideas as an important trait of creativity. Yet is our language conducive to the effective and efficient transfer of ideas?
It is believed that modern education has the unfortunate effect of dulling our creative ability. Yet this is the very ability that is increasingly becoming necessary for us. We constantly hear about a new this, that or the other that is going to revolutionise our education systems and prepare our students for tomorrow's world. More often than not it turns out to not be the case.
What if the necessary approach was simpler than this? What if we replaced the idea of learning, an activity that has nowadays become a mostly passive and reactive activity, with the idea of exploring, a more active and exciting approach that pushed peoples creative thinking?
It is said that to define creativity is to destroy creativity. Creative thinking can be anything and everything and in defining it you inevitably put borders on it and limit it.
So instead of trying to define creativity, let's approach it from a different angle and talk about what creative thinking means to you? Take some time to really think about what creativity means to you and then we encourage you to share your thoughts by leaving a comment here. Think about what creativity means deep down. Is it freedom? or happiness? or achievement through overcoming challenges?
Want to do something great for the environment, and great for society at the same time?
Here are some interesting facts.
There are an estimated 247 billion e-mails sent every day.
Of this, an estimated 97% are spam.
This number is staggering. My immediate thought was, how many person hours are wasted dealing with spam. Then it occurred to me.
How much electricity could we save if we eliminated this clog in the system.
This week we're pleased to announce a special topic in conjunction with CI2010.
Imagine if we could unlock the creative potential of all human beings.
What sort of problems could we solve?
Todays world is changing and advancing rapidly. We are now part of a highly connected society where people have connections all over the world and are nearly always accessible. They also have easy access to information on nearly any topic the require. Progress is made through creative thinking and new ideas and those new ideas often arise through the sharing of existing ideas with others. Given this, are we at a point where communication is of greater value than intellect? Is the phrase "It's not what you know but who you know." more relevant than ever before?
They say that every new idea is essentially just the mixing of existing ideas, objects and experiences. If this is the case then are we increasing our capability to be creative as a society considering we are constantly making new discoveries and inventing new things?
If this is in fact the case then is our ability to be creative going to accelerate the more we create? Especially when this creativity is directed towards communication and our ability to share these ideas and experiences increases?
Let's pretend we are in the not too distant future. Thanks to private enterprise getting into the space game technology has progressed quickly. We are months away from launching the first humans on a voyage to Mars. There is a catch however. This is a one way trip. Technology and infrastructure restrictions mean that while the colony will survive and be self sustaining they will not be able to return to Earth.
You are in a position where you can be one of the 10 people on this trip. Would you embark on the adventure of a lifetime, to be one of the first people to set foot on another planet, if it meant you would have to leave Earth behind for the rest of your life?
It is very easy to follow the crowd. What if the crowd is wrong? You feel there must be a better way to do things but it's hard to convince anyone else. Habits tend to persist and great ideas can take a while before they take off.
How can you tell when you've found an opportunity? How do you know when you have a great idea? How do you convince others that it is great and they should jump on board?
Creativity needs to play a central role in the future of our society. We face many large problems and need brilliant new ideas if we are to tackle them effectively. Many believe it is the task of others to do this though. Scientists and other people of general higher intelligence. The reality is however that we can all play a part and promoting creativity is a powerful way that individuals can make a difference. There are organisations such as www.creativityaustralia.org.au and de Bono Institute that have taken up this challenge.
What are effective ways that we can increase awareness of and promote creativity?
Creativity is an important skill. Yet it is something that is somewhat lacking in our current education systems. Sir Ken Robinson presents some rather strong opinions on the subject. Edward de Bono has also been involved in research suggesting that teaching thinking skills as a separate subject will improve performance in every other subject between 30 and 100%. Given evidence such as this, why are we not putting a greater emphasis on creative thinking in schools?
Throughout the ages we have reveled in the idea of being able to predict the future. To what extent however are we influencing the the future by doing so? For example, if I am an influential economist and I predict that houses in a certain area will be very expensive in a few years then many people will want to buy there to benefit from this. As a result the price of houses there will increase along with demand. As demand is high people will want to live there as it is seen as a desirable and prestigious location. In predicting the future I have inadvertantly created it. Similarly, a sci-fi author will come up with ideas for technology. People will later on try to come up with ways to create that technology and may succeed.
Zeno of Elea proposes a paradox in which it is impossible to finish a race. But how can this be?
Let's say you have to run 1km. What we do is divide this distance in half. It will take you a period of time to run 500m. Now we will half this again. It will take you another period of time to run the next 250m. And so we continue. It will take you another period of time to complete the next 125m. The thing is, we can keep doing this. For whatever distance is left we can divide it in half and add the period of time it takes to cover this to your total time thus far. We can keep dividing however so we keep adding time but you never reach the finish line as we are always dividing the distance left in half.
You will never reach the finish line. How can this be?
In the not too distant future it is conceivable that we will have colonies living in space. This is very exciting but at the same time presents some interesting problems. One in particular is that of control. Who will own the colonies and how will they be managed considering that these may very well be put in space by corporations and not by governments? Will they be free to make their own rules and laws, and enforce them as they see fit? What about protection? Our history if fraught with invasions and wars. Will space colonies face similar threats?
It is said that for the advancement of civilisation we need two types of people, explorers and producers. The explorers are the ones that want to seek what is currently outside our knowledge. The producers are the farmers, the service providers, the manufacturers etc. The explorers are unstable but are balanced by the producers which are stable. The explorers could not do their task if it weren't for the resources that the producers provided and the producers could not provide the resources if it were not for the knowledge that the explorers gained.