The potential consequences are sweeping. The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.
It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.
We have a lot of parents contact us asking about which kits they should consider for their kids to “supplement” the education they’re getting via public/private & home schools – usually we hear back weeks or months later with photos and stories of kits building and new projects (and sometimes a new hobby). Events like Maker Faire, local hacker spaces and activities like FIRST are also helpful it seems. We’re not sure blaming TV and video games is the best strategy – many kids make their own TV shows and create their own video games… this just doesn’t get encouraged or celebrated enough.