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View Diary: A Boomer's Life (115 comments)

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  •  Oddly enough, we were the last generation (63+ / 0-)

    taught to 'expand our minds,' and I'm not referring to the use of LSD. We were required to study philosophy, humanities, music, and the arts, the type of classes needed to develop critical thinking skills. Those college programs came under attack after the movie star cowboy became president (and even now, under a Democratic president, they are discouraged) and we are seeing how myopic that decision has been.

    This week the LA Times reported that test scores for California students are down and educators just can't understand what is happening...duh.

    In 1985, I walked away from the entertainment industry...it didn't take a genius to understand that creativity was being damaged by technology, and it seemed like a good time to change directions. I went to work for a major airline company, barely making it into their management program based on previous management experience with artists. I don't think anyone had much faith that I would succeed because I was a musician, not a businessman. To make a long story short, what they soon discovered was that I was a creative person, unlike any of the other managers. The company was filled with one-dimensional thinkers and no matter how many committees they formed, no one could enact meaningful change...and believe me, the company had many problems. I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and was promoted three times in quick succession because of my creativity.

    Boomers have a lot to offer, but no employers are interested. There is a dearth of creativity, so many firms are turning to autistic people and entrepreneurs who suffer from bipolar disorders to fill positions that require critical thinking. But they cannot see the immense pool of creative thinkers that are being shut out.

    Thanks for a very interesting article, Wyckoff

    •  . (24+ / 0-)

      there has been yak from various media outlets over the years about 'lack of innovation' and similar statements that companies want.  Yet time and time again, virtually every time I have suggested certain changes in order to streamline something ... the suggestions get smashed.  Or they implement procedures that don't work and demoralize their own people.  The, as I call it, "locked in a box" thinking I see regularly is astounding and explains most of the issues I see that have solutions.

      "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

      by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:08:51 PM PDT

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      •  Time and Innovation (20+ / 0-)

        Innovation is something I hear about endlessly from the management types here at my work as well. We're all supposed to be "flexible" i.e. drop whatever it is one is doing and go chasing off after something else, several times a day, if possible, but yet get all the other little tasks accomplished while in motion, "innovative" i.e. hand over the "perfect" (costs nothing and is immediately implementable) answer to the crisis of the moment instantaneously, and "responsive to our customer" -- I work at a non-profit research institution; it's not like I run a cash register or sit behind an information desk.

        What bugs me the most about the "innovative" canard is that the management types only count time on a project as mattering from  the second before a great idea occurs until the second after. Yes, smart people can do anything, and good ideas can come from anyone and anywhere, but oftentimes years of reading, thinking, and learning go on before the "aha" moment the managers love to promote.

        Radarlady, who, as the reader might be able to gather, has gotten nowhere attempting to explain this to them

        •  increasingly, (11+ / 0-)

          "Creativity," too, is a buzzword you see in management theory circles. I've heard of jazz musicians or string quartets forming their own leadership training consultancies, teaching blue-chip corporations how to "be more agile, flexible, and responsive" to the demands of the market.

          It doesn't have too much to do with art, aesthetics, or what have you, but it's creativity of a sort, I suppose.

          Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

          by Dale on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 06:41:23 AM PDT

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          •  Yeah, I was thinking about adding "creativity" (6+ / 0-)

            to the list, which management defines as "what we want, when we want it, and for no cost whatsoever" and was already covered under "innovation." What they don't want to realize is that for truly creative people to do their best work, they need to be given freedom, flexibility (real flexibility), and uninterrupted time to think. I can't count the number of times I've offered up a genuinely original (and untried) idea, only to hear, "And when do you think you'll have that ready?" As if I could know!

            Oh, and for the jazz musicians, good for them. They'll be able to fool enough manager-types to get some funds together so they can go back to doing what they enjoy: playing music.

            Radarlady

          •  Actually, I've done a lot of research on (5+ / 0-)

            the creative mind (prep work for a new book), and people who are artistic (especially on the professional level), on average, are much more creative than people who have scientific and mathematical backgrounds (although engineers argue that they use the exact same processes -- HINT: not even close, e.g., musicians can perform three tasks at once, while engineers think laterally).

            Researchers have discovered that creative people use all of their brain when solving problems, as opposed to one-dimensional thinkers who use a much smaller section of the brain...being artistic requires divergent thinking...being scientific requires convergent thinking...artistic people are very good at divergent thinking, and the really successful ones use convergent thinking to edit their thought processes.

            •  Interesting line of inquiry... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              praenomen, Ed in Montana, worldlotus

              Although I am in what's considered by most to be a creative field, I never refer to myself as creative. To me, creative means someone who can dream up something entirely new, never-before-thought of, not derivative. I have never done that. I have spent my life looking at puzzle pieces and putting them together in amusing ways. Also, in my mind (which I look into as little as possible - ask my wife) "creative" implies a level of originality that I don't think I possess. Have I known truly creative people, yes.

              Your research into the level of multi-tasking common among the creative people has added weight to my belief that I am not truly creative. I can't even talk on the phone if someone in the room is talking...

              Thanks, I think.

              Republicans want smaller gov't for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. - James Carville Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue

              by wyckoff on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 01:07:48 PM PDT

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              •  Actually, this statement suggests that you are: (4+ / 0-)
                I have spent my life looking at puzzle pieces and putting them together in amusing ways.
                I have been tested many times by researchers because I score off the charts when it comes to creativity. The first inkling I had that my skills were this high was during a test conducted by the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation. The administrator threw a number of tiled pieces on the table and immediately I told them what they meant. He repeated this test many times and afterwards told me that I scored in the top 2% of analytical thinkers. That is a common trait among creative people. We process raw data differently than one-dimensional thinkers. They process information laterally, while creative people see the whole picture without having to see the steps that create the picture.
    •  Autistic people can't think creatively or (6+ / 0-)

      critically?

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 04:55:31 AM PDT

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      •  Autistic people are very creative... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wyckoff, Ed in Montana, worldlotus

        Silicon Valley is filled with autistic people...they are more apt to find solutions that fall outside the norm than other people...they just have difficulty expressing ideas, but for the most part, many of them are quite brilliant.

        •  Okay, I understand better what you meant. Your (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          praenomen, wyckoff

          point was to advocate for folks being shut out of the hiring process precisely because the firms are looking to autistic folks as "brilliant."

          That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

          by concernedamerican on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 12:53:50 PM PDT

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          •  I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. (4+ / 0-)

            I am a big advocate of autistic research, having written a handbook for parents of autistic children.

            I was hoping to show that autistic people are a primary source of creativity, while children educated under the current educational guidelines are testing out at the opposite end of the scale.

            Creative individuals experience the world differently than most people. They are often ridiculed and mistreated because they are different...unfortunately, the way our culture is constructed, the value of having a creative personality is lost to those who cannot understand the experience.

            Many of our nation's leaders have lost their ability to think critically, or creatively, and consequently, they are leading our children down a very destructive path.

            I did not mean to make it sound as if I was disparaging autistic people in anyway. One of my grandchildren is autistic, and she is beautiful, intelligent, artistic, and the complete love of my life...and I would not change one single thing about her.

    •  teaching the humanities (12+ / 0-)

      does teach a person how to think.   Tackling a lot of problems in a broad range of subjects, is great exercise for the mind.  It strengthens your brain.  A strong mind can adapt to change.  It also strengthens creativity, which is also a necessary ingredient for adapting to change.  
      Why disdain a system that works pretty well when change is a major fact of life in 2013?  It is an important question, IMHO.

      Thank you for a good diary that "tells it like it was."

      I  graduated into the worst recession since 1929
      Amen.  Those were not the good old days.

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