Background/Context: Creativity is an indispensable force in intellectual, social, cultural, and economic development. Yet societal forces conspire to erode it. Educators have despaired for many years over how schools often fail to encourage creativity, but society as a whole is just as guilty. But how do schools and society fail to encourage, or actually even erode, creativity? This essay addresses this question.
Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The goal of our research was to specify the specific societal forces that erode creativity. We have labeled these forces ERODE: Education, Resources, Opportunities, Diffusion, and Exaggeration. The bottom line is that, although our society claims to want creativity, it most wants it when no one is negatively affected. Because creativity almost always negatively affects some people and groups, society tends to be much more supportive of creativity in theory than in practice. We show why.
Research Design: Our research design is an analysis of the forces in society that erode creativity. We used historical analysis, media analysis, and analysis of educational practice to draw our conclusions.