The tagline for TED, Ideas Worth Spreading, is a brilliant one. Simple and inspiring. So that’s what I’m doing here. I can’t resist spreading the word about creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson whose TED talk is about the learning process, and the need for an educational revolution. His focus? How to create conditions where kids’ natural talents can flourish.

Educated to be good instead of great?

Sir Ken asks, why don’t we get the best out of people? He argues, “It’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. We are educating people out of their creativity.” Robinson says.

It’s a message that resonates, and because I’m talking to a number of people with serious issues around their creativity and developing brands, here are some of the frequent questions coming my way. Take a look:

Q: I’ve never been creative. So what’s the point of trying to be creative now with my brand?

Let’s face it: There are multiple types of creativity and intelligence in the world. I hate to be blunt but it’s your job to tap into your own creative juices because that’s exactly what’s going to define who you are, what you stand for, and what you want to do in the world. You have to re-educate yourself. Re-learn how to immerse yourself in your natural creative pool. (While you’re there, splash around a little!) This is about re-igniting your curiosity and raising your energy levels.

Just start

You just start simply. One step at a time. Recognize you’re born with your own unique creative spark. Ok? Perhaps it’s been drummed out of you at school. The important thing here is that this is about re-wiring your thinking. Shifting your mindset. You are creative, accept it. It’s just a matter of tapping into those inner recesses of your mind. Find out what truly excited and inspired you as a kid. Go back to being seven years old. What made you spring out of bed and laugh out loud? (PS The clues are right there, staring at you!)

Q: I’m just starting to build my brand. But I’m not even sure what I do best or where to start?

Sir Ken Robinson blames the education system for “dislocating people from their natural resources.” (i.e. their true selves.) So let’s start thinking about what you truly desire at your deepest level. Rethink all the times you were rapped on the knuckles at school, and told your idea or method just wasn’t going to work. Perhaps you were reprimanded because you wanted to do it your way, not the way everyone else was doing it? Revisit those times, and now do it your way. Rock the boat. It’s getting used to being that maverick kid again. This is about bringing yourself back into the equation – and your own creative juices. (PS Your curiosity is a helpful creative tool. Please use it freely!)

Q: How do I create my own voice so people will understand who I am and what I offer?

Developing your own voice is a highly personal process. The key is to be true to you. Embrace your own unique personality and your particular way of doing things. No copycats allowed here. Get a kick out of your individuality and leverage it to the max. Your point of difference, no matter how eclectic and idiosyncratic, is exactly what’s going to draw others to you. Developing your voice is going to come directly out of embracing your differences. This is, by the way, one of the most exhilarating creative processes on the planet. Try to surrender to the process. Buckle your belt because you’re going to have a blast!

Can we all please focus on educating ourselves into our creativity, rather than out of our creativity? Thanks, Sir Ken. Listen to his talk here: Bring on the Learning Revolution

FYI: Sir Ken Robinson is a visionary cultural leader. He led the British government’s 1998 advisory committee on creative and cultural education, a massive inquiry into the significance of creativity in the educational system and the economy, and was knighted in 2003 for his achievements. His latest book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, a deep look at human creativity and education, was published in January 2009.


Mary van de Wiel is best known for her global expertise when it comes to coaxing out the real power in brands to dramatically increase sales. Van is founder and Creative Director of She is the author of soon-to-be-published Dead Brand Walking: A Brand Therapist’s Viewpoint. Follow her on Twitter