Creativity + Problem Solving [Objectives 101]

They’ve studied this. Evaluation handicaps creativity. And time spent in traditional school correlates with decreased creativity. BUT CAUSATION. I hear you. Full disclosure, I short-term memoried my way through Research Methods, so I was kind of scratching my head here. So I read the Harvard Business Review’s Refresher on Regression Analysis. Bottom line, data alone can indicate but never prove causation; for that, you have to get all up in the experience and humanly observe the data. So. Did you endure traditional schooling? What’s your individual conclusion on the relationship?

With standardized testing pervading more of traditional schooling, the national decline in creativity won’t surprise anyone. But the severity of it might.

But it’s not the evaluation alone killing creativity. It’s something a little more serious. With recent neuroscience demonstrating the connection between ADHD and creativity, traditional schools dismantle creativity on a chemical level inside our most creative students’ brains with every focus supplementing drug prescription they encourage. Instead of altering the creative brains so they do better in a classroom environment, we’d rather alter the environment so it does better in preserving and promoting creativity.

A human’s creative ability determines the scope of potential solutions he or she can conceive. The most difficult problems necessarily have obscure solutions. Scope size matters.

Self-directed learning also fosters problem solving skills directly. Unsolicited instruction has repeatedly been shown to decrease discovery and problem solving. It’s even academically counterproductive. This checks out on a larger scale, too: Students who work through new math concepts independently significantly outperform those taught through formal instruction.

Back in the Industrial day, work was predictable and mechanical. Rewards can be effective motivators in those limited circumstances. But robots do that kind of work now. New economy, new education. We need to educate for innovation. They’ll need to solve problems we’ve yet to conceive. To show us how much better humans are at solving problems when motivated from within, let’s get a little more from Dan Pink.

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