Young children fizz with ideas. But the moment they go to school, they begin to lose the freedom to explore, take risks and experiment.
We spend our childhoods being taught the artificial skill of passing exams. We learn to give teachers what they expect. By the time we get into industry, we have been conditioned to conform. We spend our days in meetings and talk about “thinking outside the box”. But rarely do we step outside it.
The sad truth is that schools were never designed to produce creativity. Not many people are aware of it, but the education systems in the US and many other countries are based on the 19th-century Prussian model. Children were taught to obey, not to challenge or think creatively. That’s why you stand to attention when the teacher walks into the class. It’s why from the US to China, children wear uniforms.
The system worked well for blue-collar workers – people who clocked in at factories and stood on production lines making things such as automobile engines. But in a world driven by search engines, the system is a busted flush. We must teach creativity at school as a matter of urgency.