Creativity: Learned or Unlearned?

LinkedIn recently published a study of hard and soft skills needed by employers in 2019. The top five soft skills include: creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management. Is there an abundant supply of creativity among applicants?

George Land was hired by NASA in the 1960s to assess the creativity level of astronaut applicants. He developed an assessment that NASA used for years and then he conducted a longitudinal study of children at age 5, age 10, and age 15. This table shares the results of his work:

Creativity Scores

After looking at this data, we have to ask whether creativity is learned or unlearned. This study is over fifty years old, but I imagine the emphasis on standardized testing has probably not improved the creativity of young people in the United States.

George Land recorded an excellent TEDx presentation that I encourage you to view and reflect on.

We provide training that enhances the creative output of participants. This training helps people and organizations “unlearn” blocks to creativity and also introduces important skills that enhance creativity. Workshops can be customized in length of time and content. Please let us know if you are interested in learning more.

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