An Interview with Sir Ken Robinson [Video]

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of hosting the Chick-fil-A Leadercast Backstage program. I interviewed several notable authors as they came off the stage, including John Maxwell, Seth Godin, Dan Cathy, Suzy Welch, Frans Johansson, and several others. I thought I would share these with you over the next several weeks.

Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D. is an internationally-recognized leader in the development of creativity and innovation. I first encountered him when I heard his presentation at the 2006 TED Conference. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

As I interviewed him, we talked about several topics, including:

  • The nature of creativity
  • The difference between imagination and creativity
  • Whether or not it is possible to become more creative
  • The three big myths about creativity
  • The relationship between creativity and leadership
  • How leaders can generate more creativity with their teams
  • The future of creativity—and the necessity for it.
  • Whether we have cause to be optimistic about the future
  • Why our model of educational model is broken and what we must do to fix it

If you are interested in learning more about Sir Ken, visit his website or follow him on Twitter.

Question: Of all the comments Sir Ken made, what intrigued you the most? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    The thing that really struck me was his idea of the “element,” a place where your passion and talents collide. His basic premise is that if you can’t find your true calling  – your element – then chances are you are not living a truly fulfilling life. In fact, you’ll probably just endure it. 

    This is the whole premise of my first book, and sort of a missing piece for me. It ties together my idea of seven different gifts or talents that we are all born with. Personality, Passion, and Purpose together with the People we surround ourselves with, the Path we choose to take, the Problems we must overcome, to end up at the Place that truly fulfills us. When you tie all seven of those together, you get Sir Ken’s idea of “element.”

    What a timely message. I am currently working on a manifesto about the seven talents and I realized that I actually ordered “The Element,” sometime back but never got around to reading it. Hearing him speak made me realize that I need to pull my copy off the shelves, and devour his work. This will certainly help me pull all the pieces together.

    Thank you, Michael for these impactful interviews. These are truly great voices we all need to hear.

    • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

      That’s awesome John! Good luck!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. Interviewing people like this is such a privilege for me. I learn so much and get a lot of joy sharing the interviews with my readers.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “Personality, Passion, and Purpose together with the People we surround ourselves with, the Path we choose to take, the Problems we must overcome, to end up at the Place that truly fulfills us.” – That goes to quotation bank John! Thanks for sharing.

      • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

        John’s summary really helped.

    • Joe Lalonde

      John, you did a great job on expanding Ken’s point. It’s also something that didn’t really register on my listen through of the interview. But reading your post helped remind me of it.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

      John, Thank you for providing a framework to think about this topic of creativity.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        I hope to have a document out about this soon. The element book is a great
        reference.

        John Richardson
        http://successbeginstoday.org

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree john, I bought a copy also, but have not read it. I need to as soon as possible

      Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      John,

      I like your comments about passion. We sometimes forget the role passion plays in our leadership

      Jim

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Creativity is a big one for me lately. I am learning the connection I have between my leadership and my creativity. Good stuff this morning!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It really is interesting to see the connection. Given the world’s problems we need more creativity and more leadership!

    • Jmhardy97

      Creativity is all of the leadership news today. We all need to be creative with out leadership in order to drive engagement.

      Jim

      • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

        You’re right. But I think what I am learning lately that creativity breeds
        leadership. I never thought of myself as a creative before but because I am
        people naturally look for me to lead.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Very true.

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    Thank you for this wonderful interview with the brilliant Sir Ken. I admire his passion and how he delivers it with just enough understatement to force you to listen. I particularly admire his idea that creativity is about putting our imagination to work, that it’s not something special, that we all have the capacity to use it – even the least curious people. 
    My passion is to take this kind of thinking into the world of civic discourse. Imagine the citizens of our communities, cities and countries, instead of the win-lose debate of politics, using our creativity and imagination to not only solve our problems, but also to make our lives much more purposeful.   
       

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree. We need more creative collaboration and less partisan bickering. Sir Ken is an elegant example of the former.

      • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

        I recently had such an opportunity – to work with a small town that had lost sight of its strengths. http://www.youtube.com/glasgrp#p/u/7/lfuwBXIg4J8
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        • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

          Alan, It was great to see a town come together for the betterment of all.  I think a lot of cities would do well to take a page from Port hope’s book and give it a try.

        • Jmhardy97

          Thank you for sharing.

          Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “creativity is about putting our imagination to work.” – That is where many dreams die without getting applied in life.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Uma, it’s sad. Dreams and creativity dying because people did not want to do the work. Imagine what we’ve missed out on because people failed to do the work…

      • Jmhardy97

        Good thought Uma. I think it was shared last week the most disappointing place on earth is the grave, due to all of the unrealized dreams that died their.

        Jim

    • Joe Lalonde

      So true Alan. We need to realize that things don’t have to be win-lose, they can be win-win. That idea would change so many things if we applied it to politics.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      I, too,  found Sir Ken’s comment memorable: creativity is about putting our imagination to work.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    The most intriguing comment that he made in the interview for me was “Most of our school systems actively (though not deliberately) surpress creativity.”  I think that’s true.  Our schools in the U.S. are designed to crank out cogs for an old business model, and need to be revamped to create people for the future.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I was intrigued by that, too. The fact that he has a Ph.D. makes it even more credible.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Yes. It would be interesting to hear what he thinks should be changed about
        the U.S. educational system.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Much more for Indian educatiional system too.

      • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

        Ken talked about this exact subject in his TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

        • Jmhardy97

          Josh,

          Thank you for sharing this video.

          Jim

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

      I agree with Sir Ken that the US model of schooling needs work to encourage thinking and creativity, not cramming and memorization.  Luckily, there are teachers like John Hunter (http://www.ted.com/talks/john_hunter_on_the_world_peace_game.html) out there, trying to model a change. 

      • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

        Apparently the link is broken.  try this one  http://goo.gl/31HUq

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I got through to the first link.

          • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

            Intersting I tried it after I posted and got a 404 page.   BTW thanks for visiting my blog. I would love to hear your feedback

        • Jmhardy97

          Thanks

          jim

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Thanks for the resource, Bschebs.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        I should listening to his speeches

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yes, thankfully there are some wonderful exceptions, not only with teachers but with schools.

      • Joe Lalonde

        I agree B. I heard that European, I believe, schools and colleges encourage more thought and creativity over just the memorization of the material. It’s an intriguing concept and I think it’s a style that would have helped me stay interested in college.

        • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

          same here.  I got Bored in college, so I dropped out so I could actually “do Something.”  I realize now that I should have stayed and “did something” on the side, though.  That piece of paper, unfortunately, still means a lot to people.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Yeah, that piece of paper… I didn’t get mine either. I might go back for it later, still not sure.

            I think the value of it is decreasing faster than we think though. There’s a lot of fluff degrees out there and I think that hurts everyone in the long run. I know of quite a few friends who have gone to college and cannot find jobs that fit their degree. They’re flipping burgers, making coffee, etc… and making minimum wage.

          • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

            I think it is interesting that we see examples of what you are talking about, yet you hear a lot of people refering to the College Degree as the new high school diploma? 

          • Joe Lalonde

            I know, I hear that quite often too. The ones I hear it from seem to be educators, those who already have a college degree, or those that have a stake in higher education.

            One of the problems my friends run into is the fact that they are not prepared for the job hunt. They’re unsure of how to apply, lack the “experience”, and don’t know what their skills are(other than they have a degree).

          • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

            As I have been researching going back to school, it seems every university talks about the hire rate of grads.  But if these rates were true, I think our unemployment rate would be less than 5 %.  It is certainly a reminder to look at the source before trusting the information.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Very true B. The rates that the universities give are typically for any job that the graduate gets, not just in their field. So, while they say they have a 95% employment rate for graduates they may not be in professional jobs.

          • Jmhardy97

            Good point joe,

            Jim

        • Jmhardy97

          I agree, he is such an interesting speaker. He has great thoughts.

          Jim

    • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

      Replying as an educator, unfortunately, I have to agree with you on this. There are teachers out there who are doing their best not to suppress creativity, but our entire model is based on the industrial model of education designed to provide workers for factories who could read, write and follow directions. Thus the need for standardized testing, #2 pencils, desks in rows etc. of the standard classroom. Those who would like to see change…get involved in your local educational institution on any level!

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        “industrial model of education designed to provide workers for factories” – In India too, we are very good at producing clerks.

      • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

        What do you see is the best thing that an Average citizen can do to influence change in their local schools?

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          It should all begin with the change in the mindset and attitude.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Yup! We are ‘effective’ killers of creativity.

      • Jmhardy97

        Uma,

        to a point we are, we want everything to run like an assembly line. A group think way of life.

        Jim

    • Joe Lalonde

      It’s great to see people like Ken stating this fact. Schools have just pumped out “learned” but unthinking graduates.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Yes! Universities are good in ‘manufacturing’.

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      As someone who has worked with No Child Left Behind data for the past few years I can attest to the problems it causes. When test scores and racial makeup become the most important items on a list, something is wrong. I love Malcolm Gladwell’s expose of the Kipp Charter schools in his book, Outliers. The closer we get to the Kipp model, where teachers have the time and the freedom to explore new ideas and help children learn, the better we will be. 

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        But, the competition and market forces always turns our attention to job race and monetary security.

      • Jmhardy97

        Good point John,

        There is a reason why so many of those schools are successful.

        Jim

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      I agree.

    • Jmhardy97

      I have read that many times Robert and I agree with you. I believe that their are many who are trying to change the way we educate our children.

      Jim

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        Yes, there are many that are trying to change the way we educate our
        children (see KahnAcademy.org), but there are also those who are rabidly
        opposed to any change whatsoever.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    These are some fantastic interviews. What struck me most was his connection between creativity and leadership – to be a great leader you don’t need to have all the great ideas, you just need to cultivate them in your team and harvest them. That’s freeing as a leader, but it also requires a new set of skills – the ability to look beyond what YOU can do and show your team what THEY can do. Providing the context for your team to reach their highest potential.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      I agree. It’s easy to be overwhelmed in thinking that you must come up with all the ideas to be a leader. It’s freeing to know that and even less threatening.

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        So true, Dylan.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Yes David! It all depends on how the leader is able to leverage from the brains surrounding him.

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        Easier said than done, right?

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          Yup! That the crux of the problem.

      • Jmhardy97

        yes I agree,

        Jim

    • Joe Lalonde

      David, that point struck me too. It also fits well with another point he made. Creative ideas normally happen in groups, not with individuals. I think these two points intersect each other.

      • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

        I need to get better at the group creativity thing. I tend to be a long ranger :)

        • Joe Lalonde

          It’s great that you realize that you’re a lone ranger. You’ve identified the issue and now you can correct it.

          A lot of us tend to be lone rangers. I wonder if it comes from our culture. So often we see the heroes in movies, books, tv shows, sports act as if they were a lone ranger. It gets into our heads that that’s the way we should be to succeed. In truth, we need our communities to fully thrive.

          • Jmhardy97

            You bring up a good point, it maybe a culture issue. It would be interesting to see how we measure against others.

            Jim

          • Joe Lalonde

            That would be an interesting study to see the results of. I wonder if anyone out there has done a report on this?

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Joe! I feel that creative ideas can happen irrespective of whether you are alone or in group. I think creativity is possible irrespective of those circumstances since it all begins and ends in the mind.

        • Joe Lalonde

          Uma, I agree with that too.

          But I think Ken made a great point when he talked about how we often forget how creative we can be in groups.

        • Jmhardy97

          Uma,

          I agree with you. But we all have creativity in side us.

          Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree, you cannot as Seth Godin says “poke the box” once in awhile and be creative, an outside the box thinker.

      Jim

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Fascinating discussion – thanks for sharing.  I will read “The Element” as soon as I can get my hands on a copy (my wife gave me a great book several years ago, “The Creative Habit” by Twyla Tharp – provides instruction for honing creativity).  The most stunning statement for me in this video was the Attenbourough reference comparing Rwanda and North American consumption.  Gulp.   The challenge for me as an aspiring writer is to build a platform through a crowded cyberspace while balancing my spiritual, creative needs for quiet, for solitude. The marketer in me fuels that American consumption, while the writer wants a hut somewhere on the plains of Africa.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I was stunned by that, too. This made his comment about optimism even more significant.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I wondered about that analogy, too. I thought that the implicit accusation
      was, “North Americans shouldn’t consume as much as they do.” I’m not sure
      that I buy that. I would be interested to know WHY they said that if
      everyone lived like North Americans, the world would only be able to support
      1.2B people. What’s the limiting factor? For example, if the limiting
      factor is fresh water, then there’s are technological advances (creative
      advances) that can be made in order to increase the amount of fresh water.
      If the limiting factor is food, then there’s creative/technolgical advances
      that can be made to increase the amount of food produced. Etc…

      • Joe Lalonde

        Robert, I think there are a few WHYs. Here are a few whys that I see –

        1. Food: There’s limited space to produce the amount of food we eat. Americans tend to over-indulge in this area. If the rest of the world ate like we did, there would not be enough land to produce the needed food.

        2. Waste: We’re a very wasteful people. If it breaks, throw it out and get a new one. Or “Oh, that’s new. I need it. I may have something that would work just the same but this is NEW”.

        3. Land: We like our space. In other countries, people live closer together and in smaller buildings.

        There are more reasons why, but these I think would be the top three.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          I can learn a lot about your country sitting here in India. Thanks to this commenting system!

          • Joe Lalonde

            That’s great Uma. It’s amazing what technology can do for others!

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            Yup! Doing unimaginable things.

            Subject: [mhyatt] Re: An Interview with Sir Ken Robinson [Video]

          • Jmhardy97

            Thanks, I hope you learn so good along with the bad.

            Jim

        • Jmhardy97

          Yes,

          I would think so, we are depleting our universe of natural resources and polluting the water.

          Jim

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        Robert, I have the same question as you. For instance, if we all read the same story provided in ebook form, that wouldn’t diminish the possibility of the next generation reading that same story. So we can consume good stories with impunity.

        Another thought deals with what a nation offers to the world. For example, food. North America is exceptional at farming practices and providing not only for the farmer and his/her family but for many others as well.

        Those kind of statements, 15 billion vs. 1.2 billion, catch my attention but they also raise questions.–Tom

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      I am adding that book “The Element” to my To-Read List. 

    • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

      David, I can totally relate to what you mean!

      “The challenge for me as an aspiring writer is to build a platform through a crowded cyberspace while balancing my spiritual, creative needs for quiet, for solitude. The marketer in me fuels that American consumption, while the writer wants a hut somewhere on the plains of Africa.”

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        “The marketer in me fuels that American consumption, while the writer wants a hut somewhere on the plains of Africa.” – That’s great. Love this quote.

      • Jmhardy97

        Yes that is the challenge and if it was easy, everyone would do it.

        Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      I agree, a very profound statement.

      Jim

    • Jmhardy97

      Yes, 

      that struck me also. It really makes you think! What are we doing??

      Jim

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    THE MYTHS

    I loved  Sir Ken Robinson’s myths about creativity: #1, that there were special people, and #2 the myth that there are special activities (viz. painting and music) where creativity is best applied.

    But the third myth, that a person cannot grow in creativity, really struck me. People can develop, can grow, and through diligence can achieve tomorrow what they were unable to accomplish yesterday. This principle we readily apply to the unseen parts of ourselves (to wit the hundreds of thousands of adults who earn college degrees and then advanced degrees each year), yet Robinson is right: we relegate creativity to a separate, ephemeral spot, black and white, you either are creative or you’re not.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I loved the myths, too. Suddenly, that opens it up to people who have never thought of themselves as particularly creative.

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        I agree Michael. I’d love to see engineers and economists, surgeons and statisticians embrace their God-given mandate of creativity.

        • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

          please add accountants and auditors too.

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            Well, maybe not auditors. ;-)

          • Jmhardy97

            That is the truth, and I started out as an accountant. I changed though and I hope it is for the better.

            Jim

    • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

      I agree and feel I am an example of this myth.  For the longest time I was the “non-creative” in the family.  Everyone painted or played music,  I tried but was never “good” at it.  I am currently learning to be more creative in areas like writing. I always had the imagination, just had to find the right medium for me. 

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        I love it. God is Creative. We are made in His image. Ergo, we are creative. Grace to you in your new found talent.

        • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

          Thanks Bret.  I don’t know how good I am at writing yet, but I know it is getting better,  and most of all I am Really enjoying it.  If you got a minute check it out at : http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com   I would appreciate any feedback you have.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Just remember B, the more you write the more you will improve. It’s like anything else… Practice, practice, practice!

          • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

            Amen.  I believe it was gladwell who says that it takes over 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something.  I got a long way to go, but I will get there.

          • Joe Lalonde

            Yes, I’ve heard the 10,000 hour rule too. Mary Dumuth was talking about it on a podcast I was just listening to.

          • Jmhardy97

            yes it was Malcom Gladwell in Outliers who stated that.

            Jim

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            I agree. Gladwell made a great point while elaborating on the 10,000 hour rule

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            Remember the saying ” Practice makes perfection”

          • Jmhardy97

            Yes, but it also takes persistence. 

            JIm

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            B_schebs

            I checked out your site. Cool stuff! Loved the TJ quotation, and I tried to post on your reading list post (did it go through?).

            My suggestion would be first to add the Disqus commenting system. I discovered it through MH’s blog and love it. For people not connected to social media outlets, Disqus puts no added barrier to them commenting. But for those who might want to share on FB or Twitter, there’s nothing easier.

            Also, I’d ditch the ad sense widget, at least for now. It says more about you than you think. First, since your blog is obviously new, the ad sense post screams “I’m blogging for money.” Plus, the advertisement was for a conceal training course, which makes me think you’re blog is political though it may not be.

            I’ll keep checking in! Great to make your acquaintance here!

          • http://courseadjustments.wordpress.com B_schebs

            Thanks for the pointers.  I am on Free WordPress.com hosted blog, so I actually have no control over ads or comment system at this time.  I am really thinking about making the switch,  and this feedback is pushing me closer to that point.  Thanks so much.

            As for your comment, it hasn’t appeared yet. Sorry for that.  The quote is one that has been really meaningful in my life recently.  Thanks again for taking a look.

          • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

            I was for sure inspired to action. Thanks again.

          • Jmhardy97

            Thank you for the link. I get so much content from all of these comments.

            Jim

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      I have seen many people believing ” creativity is possible only for special people.”

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        Well, like any myth it will take deliberate and persistent truth to dispel. Looks like we’re deputized.

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Absolutely. Somewhere deep inside us I think creativity and optimism are inextricably linked.  If you want to create something, you must perceive a future for it … 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Well said.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      But, somehow we are at killing it in our practical life for various reasons.

  • Cindy Hirch

    Actually a couple of things stood out as I listened to the interview with Sir Ken. One is that creativity is having original ideas that have value, and that ideas flourish in certain climates and his analogy of the farmer.

    Never having considered myself creative, it was an interesting exercise to think of the intentional things I do that adds value to the lives of others. It brought the concept to light in a totally different way.

    Thank you for posting this interview Michael!
     

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      “things I do that adds value to the lives of others” — It would be great if we are able to do this.

  • Sherri

    As I was watching this interview I was thinking that leadership is not always about being “in charge”. It is very much about the influence we have on others, and we can have that influence from many different places. I liked what he said about everyone having the ability to be creative. It is so important to encourage others (and ourselves) to look for ways we can be creative – use our imagination, and to remember to look within ourselves and our team for those ideas that really make a difference. I also believe that we need to be acutely aware of those things that we all do, often without even realizing it, that shut down creativity and create an atmosphere of fear or rejection that stifles creativity. I really enjoyed this interview and am anxious to read this book. Thank you for sharing this one.

    • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

      Many times we fail to look within ouselves and our team.

  • http://twitter.com/RookieWriter David Barry DeLozier

    Thanks.  The more time I spend in creative pursuits, the more optimistic I feel; the more optimistic I feel, the more I want to spend time in creative pursuits. I guess that means I’m in my element!  In terms of leadership, I think there’s a fundamental connection with a leader that provides encouragment and a team that has the courage to be creative (I’ve always loved the relationship between those two words). Who doesn’t feel optimistic when someone encourages them? Then when I feel optimistic, I get creative and …

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    I like that he talks about the myths of creativity. It’s so easy to say “I’m not creative” compared to someone else. But we are all creative in different ways.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep. Exactly.

  • http://www.storywrought.wordpress.com Lizzie

    Great concept about the farmer.  As creatives, sometimes all we have to do is set the right conditions for a plentiful harvest.  Cannot wait to check out his book.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    Boy, there are a lot of good nuggets in this interview. I’ve often said, “Creativity is an image-of-God trait,” and Sir Ken definitely hit this.

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  • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

    As an educator, I always find Sir Ken Robinson to be inspiring! One very practical way that he has inspired my classroom is that my students keep a blog (in Spanish) during the course of the semester. Each class as we go over the blog posts of a few of the students, we all learn new things! Both about Spanish vocabulary and grammar, but more importantly, we learn new things about each other, about life and it has been the best conversation starter activity I have ever done in 15 years of teaching. (Before all teachers reading this run out and do that with your classes, it does take a lot of time! and it isn’t teaching to the test.) Thanks Michael for posting this interview! It was great as always!

    • Joe Lalonde

      Burl, that’s awesome! I can see it helping connect the students to each other too. The more you know about someone, the closer you feel. Have you seen this encourage better student relationships?

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Great video, Michael. The really compelling piece of this video was his comparison of a farmer and a leader. Leaders really do create the atmosphere for creativity to flourish. One of my favorite all-time books is Good to Great by Jim Collins. His definition of a Level 5 leader is right in line with what Sir Ken talks about in creating the right environment for creativity to flourish.

    In creating the right environment, great leaders need to focus on not demotivating their employees as much as worrying about motivating them. If leaders have put the right people on their bus (hiring), then they don’t have to motivate their employees. They just need to keep working on the environment and make sure to not demotivate them. This is such a strong idea.

    I briefly summarized this idea of a Level 5 leader in a previous post on my blog (http://bit.ly/mMLNQu). Can’t wait to see your future interviews, Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I will post an interview with John Maxwell in the weeks to come where he talks in more depth about his five levels of leadership and the level 5 leader in particular. Fascinating stuff.

      • Anonymous

        I am especially looking forward to this one.  I’m very much enjoying his book that you generously sent me.  Thanks again for all the materials you provide.

  • http://www.eastafricametaproject.org/ Steve Barkley

    I liked that he did not limit “creatives” to authors, artists, musicians, etc. like we sometimes do.  We all have creative ability.  I totally disagree with his implication that for the world to survive we all need to assume the lifestyle of the average Rwandan.  This reminded me of the zero population growth proponents of the 1960’s.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I liked that as well.

      I actually don’t think he was advocating that we have to accept the lifestyle of the average Rwandan. I think he was saying that we will need to do that unless we apply our creativity to solving the problem.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I loved those thoughts on creativity as well…

  • Bonnie Clark

    Quite frankly, I see a direct link from Sir Ken’s talk on creativity to Seth Godin’s insights about stress.  Seth suggested that stress is wanting to be in two places at once — you want to be there and you want to flee.  I think that sometimes people may have the imagination, but they don’t have the courage to implement.  This might be a conditioned response due to the format of our education system.  The problem is that the people who might make change in the system are also products of it.  It requires leaders with great imagination AND courage to implement creative solutions.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Very good insight, Bonnie. Thanks.

  • Joe Lalonde

    I decided I’d take some notes while I listened to this interview. Here’s some things that struck me:

    Creativity can be developed – Like Ken said, often we think of creativity is something we either were born with or not. However, it can be developed by doing creative things. There are musicians that had to take lessons, artists that had to take lessons, business people that had to take lessons. I think you have to want to be creative in what you’re doing to be creative.

    Creativity is not just in the arts – We tend to get so caught up in the arts being the space where creative people go. I see this as a fallacy also. I currently work for a manufacturing plant and there is a lot of creativity that goes on here. Whether it is figuring out how to make a piece of tube stronger, how to properly weld pieces together, or how to cut costs. These things all require some sort of creativity.

    Original ideas that have value – This is Ken’s definition of creativity. I really liked it.

    Recognize ideas come from people -> Innovation more often than not comes from groups and not individuals -> Learn what gets in the way of creativity – I liked this process of thinking.

    A good leader creates the right climate, not necessarily the ideas – This is another great point. If a leader is producing the proper climate, those under him should be flourishing.

    You can’t respond to a challenge that you’re not aware of – A great point. This could be expanded to include “If you sweep the challenge under the rug, it won’t be responded to”.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent, Joe. That is a good summary.

  • Botamom

    His remarks about the education system were right on target. I work in education and daily observe the suppressing of creativity–both in children and in teachers. I have long argued that we teach by rote just as children were taught for centuries. We must release our children from the Dark Ages and allow their creativity to blossom at a young age.

    I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Sir Robinson at a remote location for Leadercast and thank you Michael for sharing the backstage interview.

  • Al Pittampalli

    What is creativity? “I have no idea.” 

    Hahaha…what an amazingly authentic and brilliant guy. This interview was amazing. 
    I love his philosophy…in order to be creative, you have to DO something. Putting imagination to work. Amen.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Off-camera, he was just like he was on-camera: brilliant, witty, and humble.

  • http://somewiseguy.com ThatGuyKC

    I’ve been a huge fan of Sir Ken Robinson since his first TED talk. Thank you so much for sharing this interview.

    Being married to a teacher I have a unique window into the educational system and I agree with what Sir Ken Robinson identifies as a 19th century model. My frustration stems from the repeated recreation of an arcane wheel.

    I say scrap the whole thing and start over or copy another 1st world country that is doing it right.

  • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

    This was a great interview.

    The one person that kept popping into my mind during the interview was Thomas Edison.

    Thomas Edison had imagination and he acted on that by creating things.

    He was also a great leader in that he developed a team of scientists and inventors to form basically an invention company.  We are still enjoying the benefits of his inventions.  It would be interesting to do a study to see if we have a modern day Thomas Edison among us.

    I think it would also be a great book if someone wrote a book about the leadership skills of Thomas Edison, both his successes and his failures.

  • Tracy Hoots Hoexter

    I like your interviews so well, that I’d like to buy you 4 more sticks to put in the vase in the background! ;-D  

    I’d love to hear much more about his ideas on education. Another interesting interview with great questions. Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sharon-Denney/130800228 Sharon Denney

    Great interview, Michael. I loved the farmer analogy with the application for leadership. The farmer cannot make his plants grow, he can only provide the right conditions. Very insightful. 

  • http://joshuamhood.com Josh Hood

    Seems like everywhere I turn these days, I hear people talking about passion, the “element”, doing something you really enjoy, finding the intersection of your talent and other’s needs, etc.  

    Most people seem to fit John Acuff’s “am/but” classification. I AM a project manager, BUT I dream of being a teacher. I AM a salesman BUT I dream of being a writer…

    Do you think this is a growing phenomenon?

    and

    Have you read John Acuff’s book on the subject called “Quitter”? I’ve heard great things about it.

    • http://www.gospellab.com Gospel lab

      It would also be interesting to hear the stories of the was/am crowd and how the change has impacted their lives.

      I WAS a project manager, now I AM a teacher.

      I started reading his book “Quitter”, but then I quit reading it. 

      Just kidding.

      • Anonymous

        Ok, lol…literally.  

    • Anonymous

      Quitter is a must read.  Honestly, Acuff could write about the history of beans and I’d buy the book.  He’s hilarious.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree.  And I really don’t like beans…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marnie-Gray-Cordes/1036726422 Marnie Gray Cordes

    It certainly looks like the secret of a fulfilled life, reflecting backwards over 66 years…  Great way of expressing it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marnie-Gray-Cordes/1036726422 Marnie Gray Cordes

    I read a comment by Michael Hyatt about an interview with Sir Ken Robinson.  They were referring to the squashing of creativity in the US educational system.  I thing the idea of “the element” is right on, but refers to life in general.  We must learn to take back control of our lives instead of allowing the winds of whatever to mold ourselves into whatever chance makes us.  Check this out

  • Mgardener

    “Why our model of educational model is broken and what we must do to fix it”. This intreged me the most and I want to know more.
    Moira Gardener

  • Nora

    My husband and I were fortunate to attend the leadercast in Wichita Falls, Texas.   I appreciate this post and listening to Sir Ken Richardson again was refreshing.  I have always been a leader in my family and in small ways outside the family.  Recently, I have undertaken greater leadership roles in business and in volunteer activities.  I am attempting to strengthen my skills.  Your posts always help Michael.

  • Anonymous

    Has he actually been knighted?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, indeed.

  • Anonymous

    Loved his statement:  “Innovation comes from teams, not individuals.”  The importance of putting together the right teams.   His analogy about the farmer creating the right conditions for growth to take place helped me immensely.

  • http://www.noahlomax.com Noah Lomax

    Very thought provoking! I really got hung up on the thought that it is the responsibilities of farmers, not to make plants grow, but to create the optimum environment for growth. In a similar way, it is the responsibility of leaders to create a culture of creativity.

    This really gets me thinking, especially as I work with emerging leaders, “How can I create an environment that cultivates creative thinking?” and “How can build confidence in attempting creativity when these leaders do not have long track records of success to reflect upon?”

  • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

    What he talked about runs along the same tracks as the claims of the writer of a guest post a few days a go, Todd Henry. The idea of that creativity can be cultivated and the myth that creativity is only possessed by special people is almost accepted as common knowledge. Robinson had a lot of interesting things to say. I’d like to check out his book, Element.

  • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

    His statement about creativity happening more easily in groups is insightful.

  • http://seekthecity.wordpress.com Chad M. Smith

    That is a pretty bold and jolting statement about our education system suppressing creativity. I’m thankful that the school my kids are in, I feel, stimulates creativity, based upon the Charlotte Mason model (which, interestingly, based upon Robinson’s comments, is a 19th century system).  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Charlotte Mason was way ahead of her time!

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    When both our parenting (as a parent, I’ve been guilty too) and schooling have taught us to conform and perform, it takes a paradigm shift in these two areas to rekindle creativity.

    I appreciate Sir Ken’s mention of the need and benefit of diversit: synergy. Even though America has had a wide variety of people living in this country, employers, churches, and other social groups, persist in aiming for homogeneity (as an Asian woman, I experienced this firsthand.)

    If I am really honest, I would admit that creativity scares me! :) It means stepping out to the unknown territory and sailing uncharted courses in unfamiliar waters. Ultimately it challenges each one of us to BECOME, and this requires a lot of self-leadership!

    Having said all of the above, I must add that creativity is part of the Imago Dei (the image of God) in us. As Christ-followers who are being restored in the Imago Dei, we have a duty to God to maximize and utilize our creativity for the good of the world and for the sake of the Kingdom.

  • Diana Gourley

    I was most intrigued by the simple but
    profound idea that “We don’t make plants grow; we create the conditions
    where they grow themselves.” I’ve since asked, “How can I apply this
    principle in my life, especially since I know that the “correct
    conditions” have inspired me to live an abundant life?” The answer was obvious: write
    your life story. I’ve tried many times to write my story, but I’ve been afraid. The
    subject of abuse is often still taboo. Further, I don’t want to write so others
    will say, “Wow! You went through some pretty tough stuff.” Instead, I
    desire to write a creative story of hope and healing where others say,
    “Wow! If she can live an abundant life after what happened to her, I can
    too.” I want the “culture” of my book to inspire other abuse
    victims to discard the dross of their victimhood. Horrific things happen, but
    under the right condition, I know that golden nuggets of abundance can be
    mined from the ashes of affliction.

    Thanks for your creative leadership in sharing the interview. I
    truly appreciate it.

    • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

      Diana, Moving from affliction to abundance, and from victimhood to victory, is quite a story of God’s redemption. I would love to read your book. Those who have been through similar horrific circumstances need your book.

      • Diana Gourley

        Thanks for the encouragement, Theresa. It’s time to move forward with faith.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This seems to have resonated with a number of people.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I noticed that as well…

  • Oodihi

    I really liked the Titanic metaphor he used about the entire ship sinking, not just coach class. I think America needs to understand this principle well in order to thrive with the rest of the world as opposed to regressing educationally and increasing our debt while others are making leaps and bounds in these same areas. We will sink arguably faster than the lighter (less materially congested) parts of the “earthship” if we don’t become a more conscious society all around and buid the avenues of creativity in our education system.

  • http://www.natejones.me Nate Jones

    “Ideas flourish in certain climates.  A big role of leaders is climate control.”  Awesome stuff.  Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I’m intrigued by his statement about 19th century teaching model being used in the 21st century. First of all, I’m not a fan of sitting in a class, listening to a lecture, and being tested on material. That said, what does a 21st century educational model look like? The answer to that question intrigues me.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      My thoughts exactly.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    In reading others’ thoughts, I’m drawn to the idea of creativity being developed. I know that many books targeting authors have some creative exercises to help a writer think outside his or her own experiences. I also remember a book about exercises for the mind. The one to help strengthen memory was simply to take a mental walk through your childhood home. So there are ways to numb creativity and ways to stimulate it. It only makes sense that creativity isn’t limited to your current skills and abilities. Those things can be developed.

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  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    This was excellent.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Agreed.

  • Andrea

    If he really believes what he is saying, why doesn’t he start living like a Rwandan? That means no more nice suits, no more funky glasses, and no more video interviews. It’s time to start raising sweet potatoes, Sir Ken.

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I don’t think his point was that we need to start consuming less, but that
      we need to start innovating more.

  • http://www.mosaicmiamichurch.org Shari Sutherland

    The three big myths about creativity. Fantastic post, really thought provoking! 

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Interesting Interview, MH!

    Some points I agree with:
    1. We are educating people here in America with a 19th Century model and oppressing creativity with that model. I would challenge that our education does deliberately suppress creativity & just thinking for ourselves.  2. Leadership models may be outdated as well as Sir Ken suggests.

    BUT not sure I agree with the capitalist comments made here. I think most capitalist ventures are approached with a thoughts of profit AND how to serve mankind. Yes it’s for profit. But not JUST for profit. Not sure I agree (or appreciate) the implication that profit is bad. (Implication may be imagined by me. But seems like I’m hearing it a LOT more these days. I believe capitalism is the most benevolent model we have.)

    With that said, I think you did an awesome job interviewing him.
    Appreciate you sharing these with us.

    Blessings!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I don’t think that most companies are created on the premise of “just
      profit, nothing else.” Most companies are started to provide a service (and
      to make a profit while doing so).

      • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

        Right on, Robert!  :) 

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Loved this.  I agree with a lot of this.  Other bits were thought provoking.  Thanks for making me think!

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  • D’Juan

    :)
    Thank you, Michael for these impactful interviews.

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  • http://www.stephenpbrown.com/ Stephen P Brown

    Three years later, I’m wondering if anything has changed. There seems to be am underground/ unconscious movement towards creativity and global sustainable consumerism, but it’s not really noticeable in daily life, is it?