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Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative Hardcover – 4 Mar 2011

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Shortlisted for the Chartered Management Institute’s Management Book of the Year 2011-2012 (Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Capstone; 2nd Edition edition (4 Mar. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907312471
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907312472
  • Product Dimensions: 14.5 x 3 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


inspiring, witty and engaging book. (Tes.co.uk, April 2011). straightforward, amusing and useful. (Management Today, May 2011). a book with the potential to be a catalyst for system–wide change. (Times Educational Supplement, May 2011). ′Now more global in perspective the book seems more important than ever His rallying cry still deserves to be heard.   (Business Life, May 2011).

From the Author

Q&A with Sir Ken Robinson

What has changed since the first edition of Out of Our Minds was published in 2001 that has prompted you to write this new edition?
One of the core themes of the book is the rate and nature of change in the modern world. The last ten years have offered dramatic demonstrations of this theme. Just think of the breathtaking innovations in technology and digital culture. Ten years ago, Google was still a novelty; there were no smart phones, no IPods or IPads; no Twitter or Facebook or any of the social media that are transforming life and work today. Then think of the increasing pace of population growth, the growing strains on the environment and the effects of all of these on people’s lives and future prospects and the fact is that the world is becoming more complex and unpredictable than ever. Ten years on, I wanted to refresh and update the information in the book and to show that these revolutionary changes make the arguments of Out of Our Minds even more urgent in 2011 than they were in 2001. I’ve also spent the last ten years travelling the world presenting and debating the ideas in the book. In this new edition, I also wanted to present the arguments in a fresh way and to include new examples of the strategies that are needed to make them a practical reality.

Why do you think this book is important for business and industry leaders as well as educationalists?
In the last ten years, I’ve worked with business of all sorts all around the world. For all of them, cultivating creativity is a bottom line issue. Last fall, IBM published a report on the challenges facing business in 2011 and beyond. The report was based on survey of 3000 CEOs. It showed that the top priority for CEOs everywhere is to promote creativity systematically throughout their organizations. The reasons are clear enough. In a world of rapid change, companies and organizations have to be adaptable as circumstances change and be able to develop new products and services as new opportunities emerge. Most people occasionally have a new idea. For companies that isn’t enough. To remain competitive, they need to develop cultures where creativity is a habit and innovation is routine. The new edition of Out of Our Minds sets out the core principles for doing this and for leading a dynamic and reliable culture of innovation.

As one reviewer has suggested, Creativity is a topic that excites some and enrages others. Why do you think this is?
I think it’s because there are many misconceptions about creativity. Some people believe that creativity can’t really be defined: others that it’s a process that can’t be taught. Some think it’s about special people, or special activities. One of my aims in the book is to tackle these misconceptions and to show that everyone has creative potential and that creativity can be developed in every sort of activity and in a practical way. My argument throughout Out of Our Minds is not only that creativity can be developed systematically but that it must be in education and in business if we’re to fulfil our real talents and meet the many challenges that we face.

Since the publication of The Robinson Report for the UK Government in 1999, you have been invited to contribute to strategy for creative development by other international organisations and governments. How has this work influenced your arguments in the book?
The report for the UK government set out a national strategy to promote creativity systematically in schools. Following its publication I was asked to work on a similar strategy for Northern Ireland, as part of the Peace Process, and to contribute to Singapore’s strategy to become the creative hub of South East Asia. I now live in the US and have worked with States here on creative strategies for business and education. All of these experiences have confirmed the basic arguments of Out of Our Minds and the principles and processes I describe in the book. They apply equally to schools, universities, companies and governments. Of course, there are always limits on what you can say in a government report. In this book, I’ve been able to offer a much more personal and unfettered look at these issues and to speak from the heart as well as the mind. This book is a mind-opening look at why some people don’t achieve their full potential in life.

Do you feel you have achieved your full potential in your career?
I’ve spent my life pursuing ideas and principles that I feel passionate about and that I know are deeply important in the lives of others. I’m delighted that I’ve had some impact around the world on education in particular and on how people and organizations think about themselves and their talents and potential. I still have a lot of life left in me though so I’ll defer judgement for a while on whether and when I’ve achieved all I might do…

What changes do you hope Out of Our Minds will bring about in the long term?
I say in the Foreword to the new edition that “my aims in this book are to help individuals to understand the depth of their creative abilities and why they might have doubted them; to encourage organizations to believe in their powers of innovation and to create the conditions where they will flourish; and to promote a creative revolution in education.” I couldn’t have put it better myself!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By J. Mann VINE VOICE on 17 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you want a good summary of this book, go to YouTube and find Ken Robinson's TED talk on creativity. It lasts about 20 minutes and is entertaining as well as informative.

The main argument in the book is that often we don't fulfil our potential because society hasn't learned to value creativity, and not only is this a bad thing for our personal development, but it is also bad for society and the planet.

Ken Robinson argues that when our modern education system was first developed in the nineteenth century it did two things. First in terms of content it was designed as a replacement to the classical education system because it wanted to meet the needs to industrial society, hence it taught primarily science, mathematics, communication (i.e. English, or whatever the native language was), then social sciences and then humanities and the arts. Secondly it needed to educate the mass of society, hence the school system turned into another instrument of mass production, just like any factory, except this time it was turning out "education" instead of steel or cotton.

Within this system, creativity was irrelevant and not encouraged. Anyone who wanted to be creative was discouraged, typically suggesting that such activities were not for the average person - why paint? you'll never be a painter, why write music? you'll never be a composer, and so on. Education was about filling you with knowledge and skills, not bringing out talent and potential.

Robinson argues that we are now at a stage in society when the educational requirements of our population have changed.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Saxton VINE VOICE on 23 May 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book was more of a dissertation than I expected. It is informative and a little inspirational, looking at the varied uses of creativity as it does.

Robinson outlines how creativity manifests itself through science, social science and maths as well as in the expected areas of the arts. He views its relative position in present day education as developed from the nineteenth century model. In the latter chapters he goes on to propound how creativity should be adopted across the range of subjects taught in schools.

Especially interesting is his examination of the current goals in education and how the preoccupation with testing, standards and league tables stifles the creative urge in teachers and students.

It is refreshing to see in black and white what many are now coming to realise: education cannot be simply about academic subjects and standards; there must not be a "one size fits all" approach when clearly one size does not. Vocational and practical students should be able to develop creative skills where their strengths lie and should be treated with equal esteem as their "academic" colleagues.

Robinson does not argue for a completely free curriculum, as some subjects clearly need to be learnt by all, but for greater flexibility in approach to timetabling and learning methods.

Only in the last three chapters does the author really get to grips with how creativity in education and business might be developed and delivered.
It is a hard read, it must be said, as it can take a while to get the concepts into your head before reading on. Ironically, I would say, it is an academic's book. Quite rewarding if you can stick with it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 10 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Professor Ken Robinson's underlying thesis is that our education system trains people for things which were important during the industrial revolution, but fails to train them in the most important skill for the 21st century -- creativity. The original book came out about ten years ago, which is when I first heard Robinson speak on the subject, and this revised edition is updated with experiences and ideas that came to him in the intervening years, many as a result of testing his ideas in the USA.

This is a hugely entertaining, warm and human book, and gains substantially from the additional perspective. Robinson's voice is infectious, and his self-deprecating and ironic style can catch you by surprise. This contributes greatly to the enjoyment you get from the book, and takes nothing away from the points he is making.

If you have never considered the issues of what education is for, and what it should be for, or of how creativity could be built into the system, this book will be a real eye-opener. If you've been wrestling with these issues for some time, then returning to Robinson in his revised form will be refreshing and bring new perspectives.

Warmly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. W. Hatfield VINE VOICE on 29 May 2011
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A brilliant and inspirational look at creativity and how it is, isn't, and could be, applied in the educational systems we are using today. Not an easy read for many reasons- but powerful and engaging. It really makes you think. As a professional educator, I find myself agreeing with Sir much of the time. Are all his suggestions practical? Of course not- but that's not the point! he's asking the questions we all need to ask. This book is thoroughly entertaining and refreshingly jargon-free: but it is indeed complex and explores ideas in depth. Not simple or an easy read: but a profound piece of work. Very highly recommended- and if you are Michael Gove- compulsory!!
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