Last week, I traveled to Orlando for the annual NAIS Annual Conference. The conference is a series of workshops, discussions, and presentations on best practice in education, leadership, and innovation in independent schools. Because the conference was held at Disney, one of the themes was creativity, and many of the speakers spoke to factors that contribute to the creative process.
One of the speakers who resonated with me was Eric Whitacre. Mr. Whitacre is a renowned composer who is famous for creating the world’s first virtual choir in 2010. Since then, he has gone on to create three other virtual choirs, inspiring millions of musicians and others from across the world. His comments on the creative process were fascinating and consistent with what I have read and heard from other speakers and innovators in recent months. His remarks also reflect Dawson’s educational priorities and speak directly to our strategic plan and the importance of creating an environment conducive to innovation.
Mr. Whitacre spoke to three aspects of creativity that were critical to his development: hard work, failure, and freedom from critique, His opinion was that hard work was essential to the creative process. Yes, there are a handful of prodigy’s (Mozart was his example), but the creative process one that requires a significant investment of time and energy. He also discussed the importance of failure. In fact, he encourages all of us to “fail big and fail often.” That sentiment is consistent with everything we hear today about not only creativity, but about learning in general. Indeed, he asserts that creators, and I would include... » read more