David Kelley: Creative Confidence

I love this video.

  • MRI machines are scary to kids.
  • How do we make them less scary?
  • Make it a pirate ship.
  • Make it an adventure.
  • Get creative

What I don’t like is that he describes the process of getting over your fears of getting creative in terms of “touching the snake” — helping people get over their phobias.  It’s a great analogy, of course, and it’s totally accurate.  I don’t wish to deny that.  But he doesn’t give us a sense of how HE walks people through the process of begin non-creative, to being sort of creative, to being amazing.

Of course, that’s what he and his team at IDEO are selling. That’s what they are dangling out on offer to all of us, especially those of us who are willing to pay: he’s offering a process for us to learn how to be that creative, and unlock that level of creativity in others.

But he also offers a story of how a teacher, or a fellow student, helped shut down this creative process in one of his classmates. It’s the story that he began with.  I can’t tell you how many creative people I know who HATE school, or HATED school — they felt their work, their ideas, their very right to make art was under attack all the time.

And it shows.  It shows in the basic contempt that people like Bill Gates have for school, and for teachers.  Sure, he wants to reform the system: massively, substantially, radically.  But he wants that kind of reform because he regards the system as fundamentally broken.

David Kelley doesn’t express that same level of contempt here; I’ve heard him speak in more intimate venues, too, and he’s got this same gentle style, this same overall mission. But the urgency with which he and Bill want to change, to reform american schools to allow more creativity — no, not merely to allow, but to manifest creative capability — is palpable.

It’s going to be the biggest shock to the educational system yet. Because ultimately, it will grow the home school movement at exponential rates; it will break smaller public schools and more traditional private schools; and it will shatter overly rigid colleges and universities.

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