A truly great read this week: ‘The Element’ by Sir Ken Robinson

Wednesday this week, I was responding to a comment from a reader regarding the topic of ‘creativity’. And you know how it is sometimes during conversation you use a word which spontaneously reminds you of something significant to the topic of conversation – like a book or an event?? Well, the word ‘element’ was used whilst exchanging views and it immediately reminded me of this book, strangely enough, called ‘The Element’ , written by Sir Ken Robinson. I recommended it to the reader and I thought I’d do the same to you…

A simply fantastic piece of work, Sir Ken Robinson sets out to explain by way of real personal life stories how different people found themselves and their creative capacities in the right conditions. He also explores how the wrong conditions can thwart the entire ‘finding’ process, leading to the unfortunate situation where talented individuals are not enabled to discover and achieve their true potential.

Does Sir Ken has something to say to our workplace environment?

I have attached a video link to hear him speak (http://sirkenrobinson.com/skr/) as well as a link for more information on the book itself: … (http://www.penguin.co.uk/nf/Book/BookDisplay/0,,9780141045252,00.html?strSrchSql=the+element/The_Element_Ken_Robinson)

Enjoy the read and let’s know your thoughts…


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4 responses to “A truly great read this week: ‘The Element’ by Sir Ken Robinson

  1. Thanks Jude for this review.

    The Element is a stunning piece of work and a reminder of how powerful creativity can be in the workplace.

    I’ve been working on a project that looks at the Renaissance as a model for this kind of thinking in modern business and education, which I think you might find intriguing (www.lostinlearning.com)

    Best wishes,


    • Hi Eva,

      And many thanks for you comments.

      I took the liberty to view your site, which I must say, I found very interesting. What a project! And I completely agree with the thoughts expressed in your blog regarding the childlikeness that we adults appear to have lost, and which we feel, as a consequence of the socio-psychological dictates of society, we need to move on from. In fact, a childlike approach to creativity is the treasure we need to re-discover in the workplace and is probably the solution to a whole range of issues we constantly struggle with.

      I am very interested in the theme of creativity as core to my work – and I think with your experience and passion, my readers would appreciate, as would I, a short paragraph summarising your thoughts on Sir Ken’s ‘The Element’. Indeed, linking your thoughts to your project would be of great value.

      Is this something you be happy to do? I’d be very grateful.

      With many thanks.


  2. Jude,

    Thank you for the opportunity to expound here on The Element and my own work as an artist in this arena.

    I think at its core, The Element is really about what you are speaking to on your blog…that is a celebration of Human Diversity. Not just in terms of race, ethnicity, gender and the standard physical categorizations, but in terms of the absolute uniqueness of every individual on this planet: tastes, experiences, dreams and aspirations.

    When we embrace that sort of diversity, where people can think there own thoughts and follow their own dreams, we come to a much greater realization of potential individually and as a society generally.

    This has always been a topic of special interest to me given my experience growing up in Bulgaria during Communism where conformity was the mantra and my own inclinations were anything but.

    In my photography, I’ve gone back to the Renaissance to examine that spirit of creative diversity when it first took hold on civilization.

    Looking at the lives of great individuals from that epoch, they were people who, for the most part, bucked trends and pursued their passions.

    Medieval Europe was a caste society where you basically knew your place and role and stuck with it throughout your life. But then all of a sudden you have people that want to sail beyond the known world (Columbus), or paint something untraditional (Da Vinci), or follow a penchant for mathematics and physics in opposition to a parents demands for a medical career (Galileo).

    This spark of inspiration, to be who you are and to follow your heart, transformed the world. Commerce, art, science, education, technology everything caught fire and moved ahead in incredible bounds in a way the world had never seen before.

    In our digital age, we have tools our Renaissance counterparts could only have dreamed of. We can learn, find, create and produce things as individuals and organizations that would have been impossible back then.

    Somehow though with all of this we are again threatened with conformity and comfort.

    All the information is there for the exploring, but we have to kindle the desire to seek it.

    The tools are in front of us to make a difference in our workplace, but making a difference can disrupt the comfort of being just another cog.

    My hope is that this work will reawaken that creative spark, that part of us that isn’t satisfied with mediocrity and a riskless life, but that wants to know, to explore and to discover.

    • Hi Eva,

      Thank you very much for your email and summary of your thoughts – very inspirational!

      I will be looking to publish this as a follow-on to my initial review of ‘The Element’ this week and will place a link to your site. I actually visited it a few moments ago to create a short synopsis of your profile or CV, for placing within the document as it would be useful. As I want to ensure I get the right information. would it be ok to forward a one-two liner of your experience/project?

      I appreciate the effort you have taken on this – and do let me know if there is anyway I can repay the kindness.

      With many thanks


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