Even after 10 years, this is one of our favorite TED Talks of all time. Sir Ken Robinson is an English author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government, non-profits, education and arts bodies. In this TED Talk from 2006, Sir Robinson delivers an outstanding monologue on how schools are killing creativity. This is one of the easiest 20-minute videos you will watch because of his awesome humor and excellent stories that support his theory on how education is squandering the talent and creativity of our youth.


  • "No one knows what the world will look like in five years, but yet we're meant to prepare them for it."
  • "Children have an extraordinary capacity for creativity... You don't grow into creativity, you get educated out of it."
  • "Creativity is the process of creating original thoughts of value. But if you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original... We have an education system where mistakes are the worst thing you can make... and our companies stigmatize mistakes."
  • "Our public education system came into being to meet the needs of industrialism... and is a protracted process for university entrance..."
  • "Intelligence is (1) Diverse, (2) Dynamic, and (3) Distinct..."

We love this Talk so much because, #1, we believe wholeheartedly that his message is true. And #2, this theme validates for us what we are doing with our programs- encouraging students to develop their Second-to-None leadership potential through their passions. This is where they will be willing to go the extra mile, be creative, and exhibit a willingness to fail.

Failure is also one of the most important themes in our programs. Students have such a distorted view of failure, which is one of Sir Robinson's primary arguments for why we are discouraging creativity in our education system. Many students think of failure as being wrong one time, so many students are afraid to even raise their hand in class at the risk of being wrong. Students need to understand failure as essential for growth, and that failure always presents an incredible learning opportunity and a chance to improve. The most successful people in the world attribute the willingness to fail and persevere as one of the greatest keys to success and achievement. And as Sir Robinson points out, the willingness to fail is essential for creativity.

No matter which career your student ultimately pursues, creativity will provide incredible value and an invaluable advantage among their peers.


At 37.8 million views on TED.com, there is a good chance you've seen this video. But whether you have or you haven't, re-watch it today. It is worth your time.

STUDENTS: How much are you being creative on a daily basis? Try to find a way to think creatively at least once per day. This should be a fun activity, and can be related to sports, music, dance, film, comedy, other performing arts, entrepreneurship, coding, technology, play, or anything that facilitates you coming up with original thoughts.

PARENTS: Think about how you can help encourage your student's creativity. Come up with a list of conversation topics and activities you can do to help promote their creative mind. This is also the perfect time to think about your own creativity, and make sure that you are constantly using and refining yours.