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In a book recently published by a Stanford Business School professor
entitled "Jamming," a very interesting concept was presented that I
thought worth sharing: Our recent history has been divided into several
eras: 1) the Agricultural Era, 2) the Industrial Era, and 3) the
Information Era which we are in today. The author suggests that the
next era, which is very rapidly approaching, will be the Creative Era.
The author explains that in the Creative Era, business will be
approached as if it were a jazz music jamming session, where several
people who have learned the rules of their common craft get together and
create a new and original work of "art." Sometimes they may break the
rules, but more often than not, they come up with a better, more
original, creative final product. He suggests that as we move into the
Creative Era, more and more people will need to have the ability to be
creative in their work, to be flexible, and to take chances much like
one does when creating a work of art, in order to succeed in business.
Now this may be a music metaphor with a heavy business school twinge,
but it refers to art education as well. The argument that art education
is valuable beyond the studio and in the workplace may have existed for
a while amongst art educators, but the fact a business school prof.
includes it in his writings at Stanford I find very interesting. I also
think it gives a message to art educators that we may be experiencing a
power shift, and that the creativity that you teach will be increasingly
valuable in the future (Bob Fromme speaks of lawyers and doctors having
power - think about the power of Disney these days, of Hollywood in
general, of the Internet and the young individuals running that highly
creative and innovative industry. Think of Bill Gates - the #1 riches
man in the world! Now he has power, and art and design are very
important parts of his products.) The students of today should have the
opportunity to develop their own creative skills - or at least have the
experience of being creative in art class - to be able to respond to
these factors in their adult futures. From problem solving to
experiments in 3-d crafts and web design, they should have a creative
vocabulary from which to work. It will benefit them as they become the
movers and shakers in the Creative Era.
I look forward to hearing other people's thoughts on this matter.