UW-Madison: TED creativity guru headlines science fest, year of innovation


Contact: Laura Heisler, 608-316-4392, [email protected]

MADISON – If Sir Ken Robinson has said it once, he’s said it millions of times: “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Robinson was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2003 for contributions to cultural educations, but his talk at a 2006 TED Conference – by now seen by hundreds of millions of people – elevated him to creativity guru to the world.

At noon on Sunday, Sept. 30, Robinson brings his views on intelligence, education and creativity to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, 330 N. Orchard St., for what amounts to the keynote talk at the Wisconsin Science Festival and a rousing call to begin the Year of Innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A professor emeritus of education at England’s University of Warwick, Robinson has penned a New York Times bestseller, “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything,” and advised international agencies, companies and some of the world’s leading cultural institutions on rethinking their assumptions about intelligence and creativity.

He turned the acclaim for his TED appearance into a spotlight on the way schools handle the burgeoning creativity of young students. We’re failing almost all children, he says, by bending their passions to a narrow vision of productivity rather than letting them run with their own natural abilities.

“All kids have tremendous talents,” goes another oft-repeated line from his first TED moment, “and we squander them pretty ruthlessly.”

Robinson’s talk is free and open to the public, and preceded by a performance by the Western Percussion Ensemble beginning at 11:45 a.m.

For more on the Wisconsin Science Festival, visit http://wisconsinsciencefest.org and for additional information about the Year of Innovation, see http://yearofinnovation.wisc.edu/.