Why Creativity is So Important
"What are we doing to prepare our kids with the skills they need to be successful contributors to the workforce, in five, ten, fifteen years?"
Do we lose our imagination as we get older?
Does it matter if we do?
Is it weird to be imaginative?
Does it make us employable?
Maybe, but only if we want to be actors, right?
Well according to the speakers at Commbanks 2016 conference our imaginations are what future employers will value most! The big message was, hold onto our imaginations and develop our creative skills.
So what was a drama teacher doing at a banking conference?
I was hooked by the theme.
This was a banking conference with a difference, co-hosted by CBA and the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, Sydney. Wired for Wonder took us out of our comfort zone, we heard speakers like Youtube sensation JP Sears and scientists Dr. Jordan Nguyen!
They all agreed that life's awesome. Computers are getting smarter and more jobs are being automated, which means less daily grind and we're all loving it.
But the thing is if the computers do everything what'll we do?
Well, I'll still be a drama teacher, that's for sure.
But what if you work in an industry where machines can do your job?
Let's face it, as computers become faster and smarter Artificial Intelligence is replacing people.
A.I. is taking over the world! We'll all be unemployed...
No, you can't all be drama teachers...it's a calling.
Too dramatic? Well consider this, machines already do more and more tasks that were traditionally done by people.
Now your fridge can tell you when the milk's run out.
In fact, your fridge can "talk" to your online supermarket account to have the milk delivered to you, for less than the cost of paying a housekeeper to do the same thing, so you can sit and enjoy life.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with that, it's great right?
Think of a future where drones pick the kids up and drop them off. The shop assistants, caregivers, accountants, town planners, medics, bakers, dentist and police are all androids. Not to mention the kids all use "Google Teach" at school, no need for teachers anymore.
Put your feet up, relax, go on holiday...Oh how will you pay for that... And...
actually, I hate speaking to a machine when all I really want is a person to talk with!
But here I am at the conference taking a selfie with an A.I. android (I've forgotten his name). Yes, he's really smart and can hold a conversation, he even tilted his head for the photo. Creepy, you bet. But he's the new customer service rep. at CBA nowadays.
It was really no surprise to find out that CBA CEO Ian Narev - "a tall poppy", is an ex-pat kiwi and former child star. Are you old enough to remember the TV show "Children of Fire Mountain".
Ian said that there's debate about how many jobs will be replaced by technology and to what extent our children will be effected. But the focus should be on preparing them, he asked:
"what are we doing to prepare our kids with the skills they need to be successful contributors to the workforce, in five, ten, fifteen years"
He said we need to look to our education system to help prepare more kids with those skills, so they can thrive and help our businesses and communities to thrive. He said S.T.E.M skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) alone are not the only answer. While these are valuable we humans are broader than these alone.
He believes the skill that is scarcest is
He told a story about his eight-year-old daughter who had been to coding camp and came home with an app and had also been to holiday a program at NIDA and came home wanting to be Cate Blanchet.
He said both experiences developed skills that our children need, which encourage curiosity, passion and a way to imagine how to do things differently. He is an advocate of expanding S.T.E.M to S.T.E.A.M.
A is for ARTS
So if creativity is scarcest, but also a valuable skill, we need to make sure our kids have every opportunity to be more creative. We want them to be the creative minds behind the technology that makes life better.
I'm really keen
to get a conversation going about this
so have started a Facebook Group for my student's parents.
Here's the link.
Even if you're not involved you can be, just follow the link. We can chat and share ideas and opportunities to help our kids be more creative. And if your child comes to Making a Scene drama classes or just loves imagination play at home keep them going, even when the going gets tough (a.k.a pre-teen and adolescence).
They'll thank you in 2030 when they've got a job.
I've lots to tell about my trip, including tips and secrets from a personal stylist, a scientist who invented a wheelchair you steer with your eyes and how I met NZ legend Ant Williams, World Free Diving Champ. We'd like to hear what inspires your creative journey too.
So please join the conversation.
Computers can't create, imagine or dream, they don't have real empathy or emotion, they're only as good as the imaginations that thought them up....
Oh and if you're a teacher,
don't worry about "Google Teach"
I made that up.