In February 2006, Sir Ken Robinson stepped onto the TED stage and delivered the most viewed talk in the history of TED, entitled Do Schools Kill Creativity. Viewed by than 66 million people, Sir Ken called on us to re-examine how we learn, and to encourage every kid, every person to seek out the myriad unique ways intelligence shows up in every one of our lives, then honor and build around it. To reimagine and even revolutionize the way we see each person’s gift, their brilliance, and create opportunities that nurture it, even if that means blowing up the rigid systems that serve some, but also utterly demoralize and sometimes even demonize others. He reminds us to ask not “how intelligent are you?” but rather, “how are you intelligent?”
He devoted his adult life to creating and stoking the fires of a global creativity and education revolution. I had the amazing gift of sitting down with him in the studio a number of years back to not only explore his ideas, but also his personal story. Growing up in post World War II Liverpool, a fiercely-active kid who loved soccer and hope to one day play professionally (though, of course, he called it football), his dreams were cut short when he got polio at the age of four, forever changing the course of his life, leaving him with physical disabilities, and exposing him to the profound injustice that awaits so many kids labeled as “different.” His experience as a kid, in no small part, became the source fuel for his unrelenting devotion to recognizing, celebrating and supporting how each child, each person needs to come into themselves in their own unique way. I was profoundly moved not only by his work, but by his lens on life, family, creativity and service, and the story he told in the way he lived his life.
You may notice I’ve been speaking about him in the past tense. Sir Ken Robinson passed away on Friday, August 21st at the age of 70 after a short battle with cancer. So, we wanted to share this “Best Of” conversation from our 2015 archives in honor of his life and his extraordinary will to make a difference, both a tribute and a provocation to explore how we all show up in the world, and commit to making meaning.
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