Last week I had the opportunity to see creativity and innovation expert Sir Ken Robinson speak in Seattle. His new book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, talks about how adults (in his experience) don't know what their talents are - they don't know their "element."
Why is our element important? Three reasons:
- Personal fulfillment
- Health of our communities
- Economic growth & development
Creativity is a process that our education systems can suck out of us as we're forced into a world of conformity and linearity. Education systems are based on "date of manufacture" - education is ruled by how old we are. The goal of these systems is to teach children to go to college and get jobs.
Sir Ken points out that we need to recognize that life is organic, it evolves - and we need to invest in our natural capacities that mimic the nature. Excellence is not standardization - it's about personalization and customization.
Note: If you haven't had the opportunity to see Sir Ken Robinson speak in person, check out this video from a TED presentation in 2006  on whether schools kill creativity. It's a well-spent 20 minutes (as I can safely state having just watched it yet again).