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Creativity, Fairy Tales and Education Published: Sunday, May 12, 2002 By: Dr. Manuel Ángel Morales

Our research team has been working with profound intellectuality around the topics of creativity and innovation. We have addressed the fundamentals of action, thinking, feelings, and physiological conditions that governed these processes. The challenge has been that making people and organizations to break out of traditional behavioral and decision patterns. The conventional methods of encouraging team creativity come in the form of brainstorming and Synetics, this last effort is an approach to improve brainstorming by creating synergy between brainstorming, critical thinking and analogous thinking. Our research and professional quest has gravitated around the domain of improving creativity. This work has taken us to challenge old paradigms, manage very, very profound investigations on how to program the mind, or reduce mental blocks to stimulate the creative act.

Our debates have taken us to share the expression that knowledge is the stuff from which new ideas are made. If there is no new knowledge set, there is no change and transformation. But knowledge alone will not produce the creative human being. This is how we come to reflect on the work of Albert Szent Gyorgyi, the Nobel laurate, stressing that discovery consist of looking at the same thing as everyone else and thinking something different. Sometimes, a key to innovation is making an old idea a new idea. As we have learned, in looking for a solution to a problem, nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have…

On the other hand, the French psychologist Antwan Ribaut was interested in the relation between creativity and invention (applying ideas), and looked for a common thread in the creative process. In an extraordinary research piece of 1912, he demonstrated the creativity peaked at the age of 18 and then decreased for the rest of the person’s life.

In a second and profound study, years later Genrich Altshuller, creator of the theory inventive problem solving (TRIZ), replicated Ribaut’s study and found that creativity peaked at the age of 14. Later on, Boris Zlotin, the great scientist and researcher argued that such a trend was the result of children’s overloading with information and diminished belief in fairy tales, which are full of inherent paradoxes and contradictions. In the Zlotin’s study creativity dropped quickly to a lifetime low at about age 21. The educational implication is that schools, colleges and universities may reduce creativity. Thus, instead of overloading students, the whole purpose of the educational venture is to encourage the generation of creative ideas on the part of them.

As the scholars John Terninko, Alla Zuzman and Boris Zlotin have instructed, children are very creative in their very own nature, but they don’t have the necessary knowledge to invent. Adults have knowledge, but they have lost the natural creativity. But like Ulises Pabón said in his “Creatividad Organizacional” work, it is possible to design or structure an adequate institutional scenario where you can acquire knowledge without losing the adventure and creative imagination.

Copyright 2002 QBS, Inc. 
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