The Spark


Image by Manoj Vasanth*

One of the major points in three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman’s March 21 New York Times op-ed column echoes an argument that Eric Liu and I make in Imagination First. Writing enthusiastically about the recent Washington, D.C., awards dinner honoring finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search—a competition that asks high school students to solve scientific problems—the journalist trains the spotlight on imagination. Continue reading

For a Limited Time Only: “Fleeting Youth, Fading Creativity”

During the 19th century, mathematician Adolphe Quetelet documented the waxing and waning of productivity among playwrights. Contemporary research confirms and extends Quetelet’s “inverted U curve” theory. For example, UC-Davis psychologist Dean Simonton argues that, after young professionals—who start out willing and eager for novelty—spend a few years immersed in the conventions of their fields, their work begins to tend toward “the same-old, same-old.” And research also tells us that it is becoming less and less likely for people in professions dependent on creativity—for example scientists and artists—to receive significant institutional and economic support early in their careers. What happens when the policies of “mature” institutions discourage innovative thinking? Author Jonah Lehrer discusses these trends and highlights a number of exciting programs that would seem to counter them in a Wall Street Journal article called “Fleeting Youth, Fading Creativity.” But hurry! Time for viewing Lehrer’s article is truly fleeting—this link will only function through Saturday, February 27th.