Jenkins: Creative spirit alive, well in younger generation

Jenkins: Creative spirit alive, well in younger generation

July 23rd, 2010 by Donnie Jenkins in Blogstechcast

I have written several articles on principles of creativity and problem-solving. This is obviously relevant to technology at all times, as this industry depends upon innovation and invention.

Someone once said that if NASA moved at the same pace as the evolution of the computer and other modern technology, we would now be exploring distant solar systems with manned missions. Whether or not that is true, the last 30 years have witnessed an astounding progression in tech. None of this could have occurred without the push for creativity and innovation so prominent in the technical world.

In spite of this, many online writers bemoan the lack of creative skills in younger people and in the country in general right now. I read no fewer than four articles in under a week that stated the creative urge is waning or nonexistent, especially in younger people. Well, not to be blunt, but that is ridiculous.

There has never been a more creative and innovative spirit evident, and it is especially obvious in our younger folks. For anyone who doubts this, take one hour of your day and spend it on YouTube and similar sites. There you'll find what are known as video mashups, which are basically combinations of various videos into one. You also will find creative playlists in which the creators combine seemingly different videos into a common theme.

One of the more interesting trends now is to take a song or soundtrack from one movie and play it over the footage of another, giving the footage an entirely new meaning to the viewer. Also, many younger creators will do lip-syncing impressions to videos and songs, perhaps adding animations as well.

Probably the most interesting development to me is the way that younger people have discovered older music and the way they perform it online. I first discovered this while on what I would call a musical jag.

I love to pick a song I like and use its title to search on YouTube. For example, I'm fascinated by how some folk songs have changed and evolved over time. Last year I searched on the Peter, Paul and Mary classic "500 Miles From Home." I came up with several expected results and similar songs, but I was amazed to find that many younger singers love this music and perform it on YouTube, sometimes in very creative ways.

Oddly enough, I even enjoy this when the singer may not be all that great or can't play all that well. The reason is that music is a primitive and primal need within all of us, and it is appealing sometimes in a very rough form. When you watch someone who loves what they're singing, it's hard to resist.

Another great site for discovering creative videos is, which I've covered here before. I thought I was long ago over getting hooked on any site, but this one proved me wrong. It plays a random sampling of what others on YouTube are currently watching. You'll find yourself using the fast-forward button a lot on this, but I have found dozens of artists I would have never seen without it. Many of them are young, and almost all are creative.

So, yes, please respect your elders, but respect your "youngers" too. They can teach us something about creativity and passionate interest in all things new.