Creativity: In The News
Creativity in the News
Last week we looked at why we should be creative. This week, I thought we could look at the importance of creativity globally, by checking how frequently the word come up in the Global news?
Out of curiosity, I set up a google alert, for the word ‘creativity’. Every time it is mentioned online as a news segment, my email pings. In one day I received over 35 emails, with each containing links to several articles. They were of different topics and standards; in one there was a discussion about creativity in Tim Ferris’s words, while another considered creativity from the Textile Arts Centre in New York. But…
Ben Fogle: Lego has Ruined the World
The very first email to come through was the Ben Fogle complaint that Lego is making children less creative. According to poor Fogle, ‘Lego has ruined the world’ and is ‘harming children’s development. Within hours, social media and online news sites were in an uproar at Ben Fogle’s views lambasting him. And his comments are interesting given that he was also the first face used in the marketing of Lego.
When Did you Last Play Lego?
But, take away all that, does he not have a point? When was the last time you opened a pack of Lego?
In my work as part-time child carer to four boys and two girls, I am often in this position. And what I have come to notice is that Lego is not what it used to be when I was growing up. I remember boxes of Lego pieces. ENDLESSLY searching for the ‘right bit’ which would work fantastically in the rocket I was conjuring up. I have no recollection of ever being handed an instruction manual, especially something thicker and more complicated than those that come with an IKEA flat pack.
Play by the Rules, and Follow the Instructions!
And I suspect this is the point that Fogle is really referring to. How can you possibly expect children to want to create original pieces with Lego when they’re so used to having to construct it into what it was originally designed as?
In their school lives, children are expected to play by the rules and follow instructions. There’s little room for trying something new, when it’s so important to fulfil targets. And targets are achieved by constraining the output right? By being rigid and non-flexible, by having children all perform the same tests with the same answers expected from each of them.
No space for experimenting. No time for researching and developing new ideas. That can all come later, when you choose to pay the (much higher) price of further and higher education.
Star Wars Lego
Going back to the Lego thread, the Star Wars Death Star in particular. Now ‘retired’ from the Lego store (it was available from 2005), this Lego piece is epic. As is the cost – £249 / $299 was the original price 11 years ago, it now sells on eBay for £699.99. If you’ve followed the instructions step by step, to arrive at this awesome and inspiring piece constructed in Lego, there isn’t a chance you’re going to then break it up to make something else. Instead, it gets placed CAREFULLY on a shelf up high, out of the way of any visiting cousins or playful dogs and maybe when you have free time in the school holidays down it comes for an hour’s play – except it’s ‘age’ suggestion to complete is 16 years plus. So of course, it never gets taken apart to be put to further creative use which really is so sad. Playing with Lego is fantastic for problem solving, for developing spacial skills, lateral thinking and enhancing overall creative thinking. So, I say, lets ditch the Lego instructions. File them away in a cupboard somewhere and get cracking on creating something unique, an exploration of the ideas in your mind. Until next time..