The adventures of Daniel Pink and the creativity of Sir Ken Robinson

Rami Tabbah - October 4th 2008

I attended a talk by Daniel Pink at Rotman School of Management on September 30, 2008. The topic was titled: "Career Secrets No One Ever Told You". Dan presented his new book: "The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need".

The book is a cleaver adaptation of Japanese magna to the North American taste. The topic is a visual evolution of the ideas Dan presented in his other books: "Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working for Yourself" and "A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future". During his talk, Dan explained how he discovered the power of manga and how ideas can be represented using visual expressions and not only words. In fact, words become complementary to the graphics.

This form of creativity brings me to another presentation I watched after Dan's event: a short talk by Sir Ken Robinson on TED . The title is: "Do schools kill creativity?". Ken made an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. Linking the dots. Dan says that our future depends on an educational system that focuses more on arts and Ken explains how the current educational system not only gives less importance to arts, but sometimes mistakes the artistic inclination of some children with mental illness and treats them with drugs to calm them down.

My experience with the corporate world showed me how the educational system made most people afraid from creativity and out of the box thinking. I was slightly relieved at the Ontario’s Digital Economy Conference when I saw many examples of creativity in the government and discovered that government can be more flexible than big corporations. I met Glen Milne there and, in his talk, he argued that Ontario should be following the steps of Finland to transform our economy and society. It seems that if we cannot be creative enough, we can always copy more functional examples.

Having a 5 years old in Oakville (you should be laughing if you heard Ken's talk), I feel very concerned about the future. Other than watching my kid carefully, my contribution in the future will be more focus on creativity and using innovation games and similar methods to help my clients discover new concepts and ideas. This may help them change the world, or part of it. I encourage parents to watch Ken's talk, I encourage everyone to read The Adventures of Johnny Bunko, and I encourage policy makers to listen to Glen Milne. In a way, we can all make a difference by voting on October 14th for those we feel can better help future generations.