In our modern world, it can be hard to understand that what we now view as outdated and primitive technologies were once revolutionary innovations of their time. Everything from forks and lightbulbs to trains, cars and aeroplanes was once a brand-new, innovative idea. Yet, in many cases, societies have turned away from flexibility and innovation to focus their educational models on memorisation, rote learning and rigid answers, which leave little space for creativity. For every innovation and “Eureka” moment, there have been dark moments in our world’s creative and technological development. Scholars, physicists and mathematicians who detailed their discoveries of the Earth revolving around the Sun were ostracised and even jailed for airing their ideas. Even today, new ideas and new technologies can be cast aside due to a fear of change.
This raises the question of how best to foster creativity and innovation in modern society. In most developed states there is ample freedom to develop new ideas, to test them and to implement them. However, many states still educate their young people through memorisation and black-and-white, right or wrong answers, rather than equipping them with analytical or critical-thinking skills. The markers of success have changed from being able to flawlessly recite someone else’s work, to utilising innovation and fresh ideas to place your own mark on society.
Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash
Regarding strategies to best support creativity and innovation in our societies, it is fitting not to provide answers, but to pose questions. How can we ensure our education systems foster creativity, independent thinking and the formulation of new ideas? How can governments support scientists, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs, among others, and facilitate their co-operation to maximise potential? How do we as a society support artists, writers and musicians and recognise their contributions?
By Grace Thurlow