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Archive for the ‘Talent’ Category

Talent is not Creativity

In Creative Culture, Creativity, Education, Talent on 2010/05/31 at 6:33 pm

It is of concern that many — especially those in education — do not make a distinction between talent and creativity.

Talent is that special ability to perform a task, be it physical, artistic, or intellectual, at a very accomplished level, the extreme of which we call prodigious or genius. This can be in the arts (dance, music, painting), crafts, sports, games (chess, world of warcraft), mathematics, science, economics, business, etc. It is clear that not all children are born equal when it comes to talent. Some are simply better endowed (genetically, perhaps) to learn and scale the heights of specific fields many quantum leaps ahead of their peers. Anyone who teach pre-schoolers will see this in any context. Some kids simply shine.

Talent is a necessary but not sufficient condition for creativity.  This is because, whilst talent is person-centric, creativity however is community-centric.  You can be a very talented pianist, but unless you perform and are reviewed favorably as going beyond the given, you are not deemed “creative”. Creativity is not determined by the individual.

The implication of creativity defined by the community is crucially significant.  It means inter alia that strategies, institutions and policies need to foster the appropriate milieu and creative culture for talents to thrive beyond performance to recognition and domain-changing propositions.  Grooming talent and fostering creativity are therefore two very different pursuits.

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