What Does Creativity Look Like in America, Jacob?

With all the inventions, technology, and equipment in this amazing modern world we have today, we can only look at creativity as the founder. Creativity may been called a “soft skill” to some but it really is one of the things that makes us human. It is the ability to express oneself in a fresh hands-on way. From children finger-painting all the way to the creation of a NASA spaceship, creativity is endless and fascinating. All over the world are people of all ages imagining and creating brand new things, but out of all these countries on Earth: what does creativity look like in America? To pinpoint what creativity looks like in America today, first we must understand what creativity is. Anna Johansson, writer and founder of Johansson Consulting, defines creativity as “devising unique ideas” and pushes “innovation until [new ideas] gets implemented”. In other words, creativity is the base, the start; the gathering of ideas while innovation is the actual creation of the design. Author and inventor Edward de Bono claims that “without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” In the Twentieth Century, when it came to creativity, America was full of progress and empty of patterns; America stood tall as number one against other countries with brand new technologies and inventions. The iPhone, the automobile, Cellophane, instant coffee, the Polaroid picture, and the floppy disk are just a few out of the thousands upon thousands of creative inventions. From just those 100 measly years in the span of the entire plot of time itself, this was a century of accomplishment on Planet Earth. When we look at America’s historical relationship with creativity, as a whole, creativity has always been deeply rooted and passionately strong. Up until World War II, America had only been known for mainly updating previous inventions, but when the War was in the midst and Soviet hostility came into play, the U.S. stepped up its game. Now there were creative ideas coming from unexplainable inspiration. Creativity was at an all-time high: Penicillin, colored television, helicopters, pressurized airplane cabins, and RADAR for example. The world was changing, the War was over, and the world was new. With all these new creative inventions, things could only look up and get even more creative, right? Well, when it came to America and its use of creativity in modern times (the Twenty-First Century), things had begun to become more and more bleak. According to Professor Richard Florida, countries like “Canada, Australia, and New Zealand [in recent years have drawn away] 2% to 5% of the creative workers from the U.S.” These creative minds have left the United States for creative careers like filmmaking in Iceland, painting in Italy, and designing games in Japan. While a good number of companies and minds have stayed, some are beginning to branch out and possibly move altogether in the future. While this may not seem like much now, if this exponential decrease continues, the creative minds in America could hit a major slump in the future. What was once a country of booming creativity, The United States of America has dramatically shown signs of creative decline and potential failure. To look at this possible decrease, Psychologist E. Paul Torrance, brilliant author of Guiding Creative Talent made “creativity tests.” These tests “have been used for over 50 years to measure the creative thinking skills of children…the average Torrance scores of U.S. children rose steadily until 1990, but have since declined.” One of these many tests included looking at a picture of a strangely drawn man showing only the abstract hat and the kids then had to guess what it was. While most would think that the children guesses brilliant and outrageous objects and images, almost every time the child looked at it, they saw it as a hat and nothing more or less. There simply were less creative or out of the box responses in the group of kids then there were years before. This decline has been found most serious in children from kindergarten all through the sixth grade (when young minds are at their most creative, moldable, and testable). Critical-Author on American culture, Phil Cooke proposes as possible solution to this creativity problem: Don’t just think, but put pen to paper and do! Cooke writes, “Develop a regular, disciplined routine that allows you to take your great ideas, and develop them into reality.” And this is exactly what our team did in this creative American classroom; we discussed our abstract ideas, but then we went out of the classroom, and in our own busy schedules, formatted a construct for a viable resolution to a serious issue in our area: heroin overdose death. By continuing to think and go out of the box with ideas in American classrooms, we could possibly break this pattern of exponential decay in creative thinking in America and begin to increase it instead.

Jacob’s Citations in APA Format:

1)            Johansson, Anna. “The Critical Difference Between Creativity And Innovation | Articles | Innovation.” Innovation Enterprise. N.p., 17 Oct. 2016. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

2)            “America’s Looming Creativity Crisis.” Harvard Business Review. N.p., 31 July 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

3)            “Why Creativity Isn’t Just About Ideas.” Phil Cooke. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

4)            “Is America Suffering from a Creativity Crisis?” Creativity at Work. N.p., 10 Sept. 2015. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.