“Think of a time you thought creatively. Tell me about one creative idea that you harbour in your mind. It can be about anything”.

I have asked this question to learners in nine provinces over six years, sadly about 5% could respond with a compelling idea, the rest just stared blankly at me. Thinking that perhaps the question might have been misunderstood, I would rephrase it differently, but the blank stares persisted. That was a concern to me, and it made me question how children were taught at schools.

Are our children taught to THINK? Or are they merely absorbing what they are taught like sponges? Is our education preparing our children for the new world of work?

The new world of work demands novel ways of thinking and doing things, therefore innovation is a critical success factor. The looming unemployment rate compels us to think differently and embrace entrepreneurial thinking. If schools are not encouraging creative thinking, will their products be able to adapt to the ever changing business world when they have graduated? Is it a wonder that South Africa’s entrepreneurial activity is scored consistently below average on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor?

If we can’t trust our education to inspire learners to think creatively, then we should explore other ways. How about including a game that will inspire creativity when we buy games for our children? And even reward them when they come up with creative ideas.

According to research, children are born creative and then lose it at an early age because of the external pressures forcing them to conform.

Therefore, who said you are not creative?

Guest post by: Anna Kens Nkoma
Kena has worked in diverse business environments as an HR Business Partner. She is passionate about youth development and for six years she worked as a Selection Specialist for an organisation whose mission was to instil an entrepreneurial mindset in youth. She worked with schools in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland. She now does consulting work and facilitates youth development programmes. Kena is a Trustee of the Arup Education Trust. She holds a BSc degree (Wits) and BComHonours (Industrial Psychology) degree.

Kena is an intercessor and a poet.

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