Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Release The Child In You!

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso

Read On:
As children we explored and created, working in all mediums (e.g., crayons, paints, pencils, paper cutouts, etc.) before we even mastered our native language.  Some of us even created some good art that got exhibited on refrigerator doors.  Then we learned our native languages and asked a lot of questions.  Why this?  Why that?  Are we there yet?  Some of us even performed for our family/friends – we sang songs, danced, performed skits, etc.  Then we messed up and lied; a form of imaginative story-telling!

What happened after our formative creative years?  We went to school, competed for grades so we could get into the best academic institutions at all levels.  Outside of the few that continued to be creative (e.g., writers, artists, musicians, etc.), our grades were predicated on right or wrong answers.  If we answered enough questions right, we landed top jobs in top professions.  To earn more money we had to perform within the guidelines of our chosen professions.  Somewhere we abandoned the creative process of childhood. 

The respective organizations for which we worked needed to always operate in the black.  Consequently performance guidelines where established.  Everyone was expected to perform within the guidelines.  Employees were not rewarded to be creative.  Existing organizations lost their innovative spark!  

Innovation will drive future sustainable business models.  Help your organization innovate so it can evolve into a true market leader.  Release the child in you!   


  1. Yes. One word comment is really all it takes - to agree.

    But the big picture requires we take action. The kind of action that drive change in culture - globally.

    While we are releasing creativity, let's change the centuries-old institutions that shame failure (which crushes creativity in children, forever).

    And, let's also disruptively innovate education, out of the industrial-era, into the social era, so we stop producing automotons that can't creatively think, innovate or lead anything bigger than the next mind-dumbing iPhone app or game.

  2. Hi Jim,

    The only thing I can add is . . . hear, hear!

  3. OK here, I can say I'm ahead of you. I still act like a kid and teaching keeps me young at heart :)

  4. I agree and disagree. I do agree that art needs to be nurtured throughout their public school education. Furthermore, conveying respect for creative pursuits like art, writing, and film needs to return. However, I disagree that creativity is not valued at the corporate level. The difference it isnt in art they put on the refrigerator, but discovering (and trying) creative solutions to corporate challenges. If you work for a company that does NOT value alternate, creative solutions, leave.

  5. Life is a balance... we need structure and creativity, and an appreciation for both. When either side gets out of whack... things start spinning out of control.

  6. Fully agree Jim. Very good insight about how the need for conformity squashes creative behaviors. It's interesting that the same qualities that we treasure in young children - imagination, risk-taking, and individualization - are systematically squashed and replaced with wanting and needing the approval of others and a desire to be popular.

    I believe it was the great philosopher Dr Seuss who said "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."