Seth Godin wrote in his book Linchpin about a village in China named Dafen. Apparently a third, maybe more, of all the oil paintings produced in the world are painted in this village. They follow step-by-step procedures; pushing out massive quantities of reproductions and derivatives of original art. They are most certainly skilled, proficient painters. But no one would claim that they are artists. In the words of Seth, they follow a map.

People who follow maps are going to get paid less and less and work harder and harder, because the world is full people who can follow a map. And as our increasing globalized world gets smaller and smaller, access by employers and customers to people who can follow a maps get easier and easier, cheaper and cheaper.

At the same time we are at beginning of the next great revolution driven by digital technology effecting massive change every area of human endevour. The manner and ease of how people conduct their daily affairs locally, regionally and globally is changing rapidly and permanently. This recession aside, the world has reached a level and distribution of wealth never seen before. It is those that can navigate the world without a map, those that are creative, innovative, and entrepreneurial, that will flourish in the decades to come.

2 thoughts on “Flourishing

  1. I enjoy finding ways to support the development of more creativity in children. In school I think their creativity is downplayed rather than explored. What kinds of programs have you seen that help children develop this kind of creativity – are there some innovative programs in our school system or is it something that we need to ‘create’ at home?


    • I have not seen firsthand programs that specifically develop creativity with children outside of the traditionally offered avenues of art, music, drama, etc. Interestingly I have seen a movement to “performance” orientation in these classes to appease the helicopter parents rather than allowing the children to improvise and explore. I have recently come across the very interesting program called Creative Gym which is taught to graduate students at the d.school at Stanford University. It is series of simple but experience expanding exercises that builds the creative confidence of the students. I think Creative Gym approach could be adapted for school age children and it would worth exploring.


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