Up until the late 1990's, the companies had been refraining from employing people who saw things differently. This might be understandable at those times, in a sense that all who divert from mainstream would possess certain risk that the companies could not take. Therefore, people with creative ideas were the so-called "troublemakers".
With the advent of the term "Innovation", some entrepreneurs led their industries by "creating" new ideas and products. Even some big businesses that followed conventional methods went bankrupt after a short while. This forced companies to hire people who saw things differently. In today's world, "Innovation" is a crucial tool for businesses to grow and enter / create new markets. And, this requires people with certain "craziness" or let's say "creative and critical thinking" ability.
Based on my experience in the past 10 years in the business world, I have observed that most of these "troublemakers" are interested in, or take part in, at least one type of ART activity (dance, theater, painting, music, ... ). Interesting, right ? Have you also witnessed the same? Can ART be such a powerful tool in nurturing creativity ? Let's observe our surroundings and try to find an answer to these questions ...
Not only in business, but the positive effect of ART on creative thinking can also be observed in science. As opposed to a common belief that scientists are antisocial-nerdy looking-weirdo's, it is very surprising to see that there is a huge number of examples that prove otherwise. In history, we all see how science and art go hand in hand; most of the scientists were also the artists of their time or at least would be interested in creating some sort of art (e.g Leonardo da Vinci). If we examine our own era, we also witness a similar pattern; great scientific minds feeding their souls with ART. Let's name some:
Albert Einstein, who is widely known for his distinguished work on Relativity Theory and is also the Nobel Prize Winner in Physics (1921) due to his discovery of the law of Photo Electric Effect, showed a great love for music, starting to play the violin at the age of 5. At the age of 13, he discovered the violin sonatas of Mozart, whereupon he fell in love with the beauty of Mozart's music. He taught himself how to play the music even without studying systematically, but rather through his passion and love for it. "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music." says this great mind of physics who developed one of the two pillars of modern physics; the general theory of relativity.
Richard Feynman, who was ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time and the Nobel Prize winner (1965) due to his contributions to the development of Quantum Electrodynamics, was an enthusiastic amateur player of bongo drums and often played them in the pit orchestra in musicals at Caltech.
These are just a few names to show how the great minds in science showed a deep appreciation for ART, and fed their souls with its the beauty.
To me, adding ART to their very lives definitely improved their ability to be creative and critical thinkers which made all the discoveries of these great minds possible.
STEM EDUCATION Perspective
The holistic approach of STEM (Science - Technology - Engineering - Math) Education is an excellent basis from which to create successful and visionary entrepreneurs.
From the STEM (Science - Technology - Engineering - Math) Education standpoint, there is a huge discussion surrounding the inclusion of "ART" into the picture, transforming "STEM" into "STEAM" to boost the creativity of the students, future-entrepreneurs-to-be. Today, almost everywhere in the world, there is a very strong competition among students enrolling in good schools pursuing their careers. This, unfortunately, makes STEM students focus on good scores on certain classes which are only related to their majors. For example, it may seem a waste of time for an engineering student to take part in a play, or to learn how to play a musical instrument, or to paint, when he or she could solve as many physics problems as possible to get ready for an up-coming test. So, they tend to choose not to get involved with any type of ART in their lives. This is, in general, NOT the choice the STEM students make but is the choice that students are forced by the system. Very unfortunate ...
The eradication of ART from the lives of STEM students may cause serious results. I taught physics classes at various universities located in different parts of the world, and as time passed, I observed a serious decline in the creative thinking abilities of the students. This, I think, is mainly due to the education systems imposing a devastating competitive environment for middle school and high school students, putting a great deal of pressure on their shoulders at a very young age. I even met students in their freshmen year who were unable to dream!
How good is a scientist or an engineer who can not ask questions, who does not have imagination, or who lacks the ability to create, ... but who is very smart and can do numerical calculations that the computers also do? This is indeed something to contemplate ...
STEM Education plays a very important role in creating entrepreneurs (to be discussed in a different article). However, as mentioned above, the business world requires the entrepreneurs to introduce innovative solutions in order to be distinguished as the market leaders in their industries. This is almost like a "MUST" for all start-up companies and even a driving force for all big enterprises to sustain their growth. Here, in this article, we pointed out the importance of creative thinking in the pursuit of innovation, and the power of ART as the supporting tool in due course.
In conclusion, one may consider that a well-established STEM Education is helpful in making entrepreneurs, however ART Education may be crucial to invigorate "creative thinking" which may then lead to "Innovation".
This then begs the question ...
Should we transform the so-called STEM EDUCATION into STEAM EDUCATION? What do you think? Please feel free to share your thoughts, comments and experiences ...