Attention! Internet Explorer is no longer supported. This may prevent the website from functioning properly, use an alternative browser to make optimal use of this website. Click here to download an alternative browser.

16 May 2024 • Reading time 2-3 minuten

Do you belong to the 2 percent?

As we age, our brains become less capable of seeing, let alone coming up with, new and innovative solutions. A notable study demonstrating this is research conducted by George Land.

How can you select the right creative engineers and scientists who need to work on groundbreaking innovations? This question preoccupied George Land at NASA in the 1960s.

In 1968, he began his research with sixteen hundred children aged three to five and followed them until they were adults. What did this longitudinal study reveal? 98 percent of five-year-old children are extraordinarily good at coming up with new, different, and innovative solutions to problems. Encouraging news. But then it turns out that only 30 percent of ten-year-olds, 12 percent of fifteen-year-olds, and just 2 percent of adults retain this ability. Quite shocking.

A 96 percent decline not only demonstrates the destructive power of education on creativity but also highlights that as we age, we increasingly rely on experience rather than wonder and exploration.

Experience is valuable but also limited. It creates routines and speed but is based on the past and often prevents us from pausing and looking around. And it is precisely this calmness that is needed for new original insights and, thus, creativity. It is the breeding ground for innovation.

Hopefully, as an adult, you belong to the minority. So beware of your experience. And give yourself time.

Author: Rob Adams

Challenge us.
Ask a question.