In 2006, YouTube was only a year old. Facebook was really only hitting its stride. And an obscure US conference event called TED tried moving their inspirational talks online – with just six videos. One of those was by a man called Ken Robinson, a British academic and educationalist.

Unlike some of the other first six lectures, he didn’t have the fame of Al Gore or the famously fascinating visualisations of Has Rosling. He just stood and talked.

And what he talked about was children and creativity. His talk ‘Do schools kill creativity?’ suggested that our approach to education was all wrong. The whole way we teach children is too rigid, too uniform and lacking in the limitless power of creativity to unlock potential. It was funny, it was warm and it was brilliant. And nearly 14 years later it is still the most-watched TED talk of all time with 66 million views. No other even talk comes close.

This weekend just passed, I was saddened to hear Sir Ken Robinson had passed away after a short battle with cancer.

A lesson from Sir Ken

After rewatching this talk last night, there was one reflection and application I took from it:

Creativity is not the province of the trendy folk in the creative department of the most creative agencies. It isn’t locked up in rarified cliques who appreciate fine art or have the skill to create it themselves. Creativity should not be exclusive.

Yes, businesses like ours sell it, and we’re very good at it. But the best work happens when you pair creative people with creative clients. It happens when you partner creative designers with account management and strategists who also understand, build, and love creativity too.

At MadeBrave our vision is to “inspire creativity in everyone”. And for businesses like ours, we have a broader part to play if society wants to follow Robinson’s lead and use creativity to inspire the next generation.

What we can do

At a time like this when the rigid structures of education are being questioned more than ever, there must be a role for leaders in creativity to step up and offer an alternative. For us to say to children, ‘you don’t always need straight As or a 1st class degree to be successful – or even just to be happy’ (in fact, most of us here at MadeBrave have anything but a traditional career path).

This is because it’s the children who do keep that spark that Ken spoke of that will turn into the best creatives of tomorrow. Take one look at TikTok today and you’ll see the wealth of potential.

I don’t have children, but if I did, I would be taking a moment to remember Ken’s lessons today.

I don’t run a creative agency, or a marketing department or a global business, but if I did, I would be asking what more we can do to embed creativity into absolutely everything, and what we can do to offer a little more inspiration for the next generation right now.

Because creativity can save the day – if only more of us embraced it.

Now before you continue on with your day, consider taking the 19 minutes and 13 seconds to watch or rewatch Ken Robinson’s famous talk. Enjoy.

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