The Problem with Prize-giving ….it lacks Creativity!


Written By: Lana Leas-Roy

Founder and Chief Unicorn – Goats2Unicorns

Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way the car is driven.” – Edward de Bono

Last night I attended the end of year graduation and prize-giving for my son who has completed GR7 and who is moving onto High School.  The speakers at the ceremony talked about Generation Z, moving forward and some of the skills that they will need to learn for jobs in the future, but unfortunately the talks were just words and no action as when it came to down to rewarding kids for their achievements the only two things that were really rewarded was IQ and Sporting Abilities. Let me not take away from the students who received prizes for their exceptional commitment and hard work but where were the prizes for Emotional Intelligence, Creative Intelligence, Effective Intelligence, and Passion? As a person who has been studying creative intelligence or the lack thereof for the past 2 years – jobs of the future do not only require IQ but today more than ever they require many different forms of Intelligence. But the problem lies in how to assess these forms of Intelligence so instead of looking at creative ways to assess and reward children in the school environment, schools resort to the old Cliché narrative where prize giving is reserved only  for those who have successfully learned to engage with the school system.

Hopefully, by now you have all read or listened to Sir Ken Robinson where he talks about how schools are killing our Creativity and this statement has been proven to be true by Professor George Land who conducted a longitudinal study whereby he gave a creativity test to 5-year olds which resulted in them scoring a 98% creativity genius level. He tested the same children again with the same test at 10-years; scores dropped to 30%, again at 15-years; scores dropped to 12% and then again at 22- years old; the same kids that were now adults scored a 2% creativity genius level

  1. This was the same test the Professor gave to astronauts entering the NASA programme.

What he concluded was that non-creative behaviour is learned.

Creativity is the number 3 skill required by the workforce today according to the World Economic Forum – Future of Jobs report, but most schools are still following the archaic school system and are far from preparing our children for the future. They are still pushing IQ as the main form of intelligence needed in the workforce and speaking from many years of experience this is so far from the truth.

I myself was Head girl and received a number of distinctions and awards for academics but having garnered a lot of experience through the years, I can promise you this much that this has not helped me in the workforce at all. It was purely a means to an end. What has helped me to be successful in my career was the many hours my friend and I spent inventing games to play when we were young. By the time I was twelve, we had created our own restaurant, our own retail shop and our own movie production house – all with paper.


Today, I would classify myself as a forward-thinking creative in business but I am certainly not attributing this to IQ but rather a mixture of all type of Intelligence with the added ingredient of passion.

Today we need a workforce with multiple intelligence in order for organisations to have  a competitive edge. Artificial Intelligence has landed and will grow exponentially. AI will replace IQ but at the moment it won’t be able to replace both creativity and emotion.

Just imagine that at the next prize giving, the school decides to reward children for passion, for emotional intelligence and creative intelligence alongside IQ.  Can you imagine the difference this will make in a child’s life giving him confidence for life as well as preparing children for the future workforce?

So I challenge schools to re-examine their prize giving and award system and be creative in the ways that they hand out prizes. Look to include a wider variety of children and have a greater impact on children. Let’s build children not destroy them. Let them still believe that fairytales can come true because to quote William Arthur Ward – “IF you can believe it, you can achieve it; IF you can dream it, you can become it”.




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