Facilitation | Coaching | Research  

Creativity and the Future

Updated: Sep 6, 2019

In a world changing so rapidly that much of our knowledge is almost immediately superseded, developing creative resilience might be the only real solution for the future of humanity. 

The following three TED talks investigate the value of creativity – in schools, the workplace, and as an overall way of being.

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

When Ken Robinson says:

  1. The whole world is engulfed in a revolution;

  2. Creativity is as important as literacy; and

  3. Our only hope for the future is…to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity,

he is talking about the lack of correlation between what we are teaching our children in schools, and the unpredictable nature of the workforce they will enter. After all, a child who enters Year One this year, will retire in 2065! With the current speed of technological development, how can we possibly prepare anyone for that?

Robinson argues that the only way to educate for the unknown is to actually broaden the scope of what we teach; to remove the hierarchy which places Mathematics and Languages above The Arts; and to stop educating the creativity OUT of our children.

And how do we do that?

As a former senior secondary school teacher, I have always valued academic rigour, recognising that some things are better committed to memory and that there are certain skills which undoubtedly need to be practised.

However, I have also always remained a staunch advocate of getting students to think! On any given day, in my classroom, this might look like:

  1. disrupting their thought processes with relevant, creative activities

  2. requiring them to delve beyond the obvious, and certainly beyond the narrow focus of ‘the test’

  3. and perhaps, most importantly, encouraging divergence, rather than dampening the enquiring, creative spirit.

In watching all three TED talks which appear in this blog, it is the expansion of this last concept which seems to form the common theme.

Namely, in order to foster creativity, we must allow people the freedom to explore!

Tales of Creativity and Play:

Enter Ideo’s CEO, Tim Brown, who next leads us on a journey through creativity and play. It is no secret that the environments of some of the world’s leading companies in innovation are designed with play in mind.

Furthermore, research shows that children who feel secure are most at liberty to play. And, to that end, Brown notes the importance of being surrounded by colleagues who we also consider friends.

There’s nothing more exhilarating (for me, at least) than that feeling of buzzing and bouncing off another human being! But this is only made possible when the culture of the workplace simulates friends “playing” together.

If we think about the alternative (being stymied by our peers for our input) then, just like Robinson has demonstrated with the education of our children, we too will move into paralysis. Once there, the channels of genius will shut down and all hope of creativity and innovation will be lost.

Want to Innovate: Become a “now-ist”:

Director of the MIT Media Lab, Joi Ito, takes a similar approach to creativity and innovation, claiming in his Ted Talk, that it is no longer useful to be a futurist. We must become a now-ist.

At its most fundamental level, this means creating in the moment, without waiting for permission or proof. In other words, abandoning fear and limitations and ‘doing it anyway.’

Ito says that since the internet has reduced the cost of innovation to near zero, it is now happening around the edges – in start-ups and dorm rooms.

Like the previous two speakers, Ito also stresses learning over education; the compass over maps and remaining extremely present to what is occurring around us, right now.

This kind of mindset, he claims, is where innovation lives.


In the cutting-edge work that I do with The Optimum Mindset, I see over and over the power of these concepts in action. Offer the freedom to explore without judgement; establish an environment which encourages play; catapult them into the ‘now’ moment and people, no matter what their backgrounds, will invariably uncover their own answers.

All of which matters. For in the end, it is going to be the creative risk-takers, producing those original ideas, who will ultimately save us from ourselves!

For a full list of Kirsten Cottone's creative workshops for organisations & schools, learn more here


To explore Kirsten's one-on-one coaching sessions, where you will learn to access your creative brain zones learn more here.

Attribution: Please find the original TED talks at the links provided:

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© Kirsten Cottone 2020