Saturday, October 26, 2013

Music to the inventors

Research from Michigan State University shows a high positive correlation between involvement in arts and crafts in childhood (<14 years) to innovation (measured by patents) and business creation later in life. Training and early participation in music, creative writing, photography and other such artistic areas appear to positively influence out-of-the-box thinking, a critical attribute of innovation and new business creation.

It has long been argued that the superiority of the US in innovation is related to its flexible education system that focuses more on whole brain development. Although US may not top other countries in test scores in hard sciences, it does produce a high level of creativity per capita, far in excess of any other country. There is a clear trade off between early specialization in sciences and later creativity. Well known technical institutes around the world, understandably proud of their ability to create a large number of engineers and doctors at will, may be missing a trick. The world may need less human robots in the future, highly efficient in applying what they are taught and it may need more creative individuals who can innovate and create new businesses. An education system focused on creating employees is significantly less valuable than one nourishing inventors and entrepreneurs.

Arts and crafts – that propelled the human psyche out of a dreadful life focused on food and sex – may ultimately give a more substantial makeover for humans.