Creative Thinking: O Canada!

Canadian flag outside the Maritime Museum of t...

Canada again is at the forefront of innovation and creative thinking in an article by Jennifer Lewington in the Globe and Mail: “More Business Schools Offering Arts, Creativity Courses.” Music to my ears: “At the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, an elective course on creativity will be come a mandatory [my italics] component of a revamped MBA this fall.” Alleluia. Another quote: “A 2008 Conference Board of Canada study found that arts and cultural organizations employ more than one million Canadians and account for 7 per cent of the national economy.” We will all wait an eternity if we wait for our SuperPac elected officials to recognize the contribution that the arts and arts education makes to the well-being and quality of life of the nation – they care only about $. The ones who are mostly likely to make something happen are the corporations themselves (who can then goad the legislators into action) when they finally realize that the key to the future is innovation and the key to innovation is education that includes training in creative thinking. They (i.e. non-Canadians) have been slow to grasp the point because 1) there is a no way to put creativity on a standardized Every Child Left Behind test 2) there is a delay time between when creative activities are undertaken (music, art, drama, dance starting in elementary school and continuing through college) and when creative thinking produces new approaches and new products and 3) there is no direct this-to-that connection between arts education and innovation and legislative minds in this country have a hard time valuing anything that does produce immediately and obviously. If you can’t count it, weigh it, measure it exactly, today, what good is it? goes current thinking.

Not so the Canadians. More from the article: Rozsa Foundation president Mary Rozsa says that her organization worked with the business school to develop the course and forge stronger ties between the business school and cultural organizations in the province. “This is the realization of a dream for us. We feel this is a substantial way to support the arts, which are essential to healthy communities and healthy individuals.”

Amen to that fair prayer.