Creativity: a bright idea
At The Conversation, Gareth Loudon argues for education for greater creativity as a bridge between silos of knowledge. This includes that famous ‘two cultures’ gap identified by CP Snow decades ago: the separation of sciences and humanities. Specialisation, of course, involves people becoming more expert in smaller areas (that unkind old joke: you learn more and more about less and less until you end up knowing everything about nothing). The separation is then reinforced in how we’re taught, how we expect the world to work and be managed.
As Loudon says, “Creativity includes critical (or convergent) thinking as well as divergent thinking – that is, the exploration of a range of possible ideas or solutions.” And those possible ideas, crucially, come from many different specialisms. Not just specialisms working in isolation, with experts then selecting insights that will work together; they need to work together throughout. Individuals, teams and organisations can foster “a range of possible ideas to address problems or challenges, rather than trying to … find the single right answer. The fear of failure is one of the biggest barriers to creativity.” Diversity, playfulness, embracing what your specialism doesn’t know, and not expecting consensus can all bring down that barrier.