This idea suggests a solution to the evolutionary paradox that is human childhood and adolescence. We humans have an exceptionally long childhood and prolonged adolescence. Why make human children so helpless for so long, and make human adults invest so much time and effort into caring for them?
The answer: Childhood and adolescence may, at least in part, be designed to resolve the tension between exploration and exploitation. Those periods of our life give us time to explore before we have to face the stern and earnest realities of grown-up life. Teenagers may no longer care all that much about how the physical world works. But they care a lot about exploring all the ways that the social world can be organized. And that may help each new generation change the world.
What Happens to Creativity as We Age?
Despite stories of lightning-bolt revelations, creativity often requires time and effort. We are all creative.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that insight is only one step out of many that creatives move through before their idea can come to fruition. Ideas can only emerge after a foundation has been prepared and left to germinate for a while.
In order to get the best out of the process, it can be better to have a number of projects going simultaneously. This may allow all your ideas to have the necessary amount of time to develop while you work on others. Or after capturing your idea, leave it and come back to it at later date.
One common method which I have is to try to capture as many ideas each day as possible, most aren’t that good or that feasible, but later when I flip through my sketchbook, a solution to a problem might be found.
If I am having a good day, I’ll set out on my run with a few problems to solve. By the end of an hour I may have a solution to one, three, or none. Problem solving, or ideation, is a conscious effort. In my case it’s best done away from the office and my desk.
I always said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Every great idea came out of work. Everything. If you sit around and wait for a bolt of lightning to hit you in the skull, you may never get a good idea.
“We should always be willing to sprinkle a little nonsense into the work we do.”
If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.
— Sir Ken Robinson
A recent Pew Research Center survey of 1,408 technology and education professionals suggested that the most valuable skills in the future will be those that machines can’t yet easily replicate, like creativity, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability and collaboration. In short, people need to learn how to learn, because the only hedge against a fast-changing world is the ability to think, adapt and collaborate well.
The most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America teaches every student the exact same stuff
Work related to creativity has centered on individualism–collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, and power distance (Hofstede, 2001; Rank, Pace, & Frese, 2004). Individualism–collectivism characterizes the strength and cohesion of bonds between people, with people looking after themselves in individualist societies and looking after the larger societal unit to which they belong in collectivist societies. Power distance refers to the extent to which power and authority are expected and accepted to be distributed unequally in a society. Uncertainty avoidance concerns the extent to which people feel uncomfortable or threat- ened by unknown, uncertain situations.
In general, collectivism, high levels of uncertainty avoidance and high power dis- tance (hierarchical structure) are negatively related to national levels of inventiveness (Hofstede, 2001). Shane (1992, 1993) exam- ined national rates of innovation in 33 countries, based on per-capita number of patents, and found an advantage for soci- eties with low uncertainty acceptance, low power distance, and high individualism. An acceptance of uncertainty (low uncer- tainty avoidance) may foster tolerance for risk and change. Individualism is associ- ated with autonomy, independence (defin- ing one’s self as unique from the group), and freedom. Ng (2003) provides empiri- cal evidence for a model in which cultural individualism–collectivism influences self- construal as independent or interdependent on others, and this self-concept in turn influ- ences creativity and conformity tendencies. Lack of power, characteristic of nonhier- archical societies, fosters enhanced interac- tions and communication between people at different status levels, such as superiors and subordinates. Finally, hierarchical soci- eties do not tend to embrace change because of the potential redistribution of power that might go against vested interests.
Thus, the classic argument is that cultures showing the creativity-compatible profile on certain dimensions (individualism, etc.) will favor the development and expression of creativity. People from these cultures should show higher performance on laboratory creativity tasks, more creative productions (e.g., more patents for inventions), and greater levels of creativity (e.g., Nobel Prize winners). It is worth noting, however, the simple effects of cultural dimensions. Phases of creative and innovative processes may relate differentially to these cultural dimensions. For example, low power distance, individualism, and low uncertainty avoidance may foster creativity, but hinder idea implementation. Hofstede (2001) sug- gested collecting ideas in certain cultural contexts (e.g., weak uncertainty avoidance, with tolerance for deviant ideas and unpredictable situations) and refining them in oth- ers (strong uncertainty avoidance, senses of detail and precision). In a similar vein, Rank et al. (2004) noted that Schwartz’s value dimension of conservatism versus intellectual autonomy is relevant to creativity. Valuing intellectual autonomy is positive for generating ideas but may hinder implemen- tation and acceptance of creative ideas.
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Creativity – Todd Lubart
New ideas come into play far less frequently than practical ideas — ideas that can be re-used for a thousand variations, supplying the framework for a whole body of work rather than a single piece.
Art and Fear – by David Bayles and Ted Orland
“Rigor is the key to overcoming obstacles and completing tasks—and good mood doesn’t improve problem-solving, which involves judgments that almost by necessity won’t feel good: critique and evaluation, experimentation and failure. The stress that arises from problems may be unpleasant but it also motivates us to complete tasks, Davis says. In other words, negative emotions are actually beneficial to the creative process.”
— Alexi Pappas (@AlexiPappas) June 2, 2016
Extracted from the movie “The Universal Mind of Bill Evans – Creative Process and Self-Teaching”.
You might have to listen to this a couple times to get his point and apply it to the field you are engaged in. Sage advice.
Ze Frank on forging a creative career.
I don’t think I create anything. I’m really serious — I discover the ideas.
If you understand how to think… If you have a background of graphic art, and you are a sports fan, and you’re literate, and you’re interested in politics, and you love opera, and ballet’s not bad either, and if you understand people… and you understand language, and you understand that product, and you understand the competitive products… and you put that all together in about ten minutes — the idea’s there.