Melanie Veness: PCB CEO
The world education system was originally designed to supply the skills needed for the industrial revolution, so education by virtue of its origins, has tended to focus on academic achievement in the commercial subjects, with the humanities and the arts having taken a back seat.
I am passionate about both the humanities and the arts and I remember being quite devastated when I wasn’t permitted to study drama, because “it wasn’t sensible” and “you’d never get a job with a qualification like that”.
My parents were probably more right at the time than I care to admit, but I am pleased to say that things have definitely changed.
According to English author, Sir Kenneth Robinson, our education system has mined our minds in the way that we have strip-mined the earth – for a particular commodity. For the future, he says, it won’t service. We need to adopt a new conception of human ecology and to reconstitute our conception of the richness of human capacity. One has to educate their whole being. In other words, do commerce, but also do people and art.
Robinson believes that creativity is as important as literacy in education. He defines creativity as the process of developing original ideas that have value, and he goes on to say that this comes about through the application of multidisciplinary perspectives. In other words, creativity is possible if you’re able to see things from different perspectives.
Renowned author, Dr. Wayne Dyer said: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
Robinson, in his Ted Talk presentation, questions whether education doesn’t actively discourage creativity, because he believes that children are naturally creative.
He tells the story of a wriggly six year old girl to support this contention. This young lady, he explained, could not sit through an ordinary lesson, but when she was allowed to draw, she was completely focused. When the teacher noticed how hard she was working on a picture, she went over and asked what the girl what she was drawing. She replied that she was drawing a picture of God. The teacher asked how she could possibly draw God, when nobody knows what He looks like. The girl replied that they would know in a couple of minutes.
The point that he was making was that children take chances, even when they aren’t sure and they are not afraid to make mistakes.
They’re not frightened of being wrong. And, as Robinson points out, if you’re not prepared to be wrong, then you won’t come up with anything new.
We’re made to believe, as we grow up, that mistakes are really bad things, and so, in fact, we’re educating people out of their creative capacities. We need to stop doing that. And we need to start seeing the humanities and the arts as being of equal value to commerce.
The most desired leadership traits are the ability to lead a successful team, flexibility, decisiveness and creative problem solving, an essential element of which, is the consideration of different perspectives. The world is expecting more from leaders than ever before. The old principles will simply not do.
Finally, it’s important to note what Starbucks Chairman, Howard Schultz, said. He said: “companies should not have a singular view of profitability. There needs to be a balance between commerce and social responsibility. The companies that are authentic about it will wind up as the companies that make more money”.