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Lecture Abstract

Creativity and innovation are crucial for any progressive organization whether it be concerned with commercial benefit or the public good.  Creativity, which involves coming up with new ideas, is a different cognitive activity from innovation, which involves implementing in useful ways the ideas often obtained from others.  Creativity is facilitated by playfulness.  Bateson will illustrate this point with some animal examples and then turn to humans in whom playfulness is often linked to creativity. 

Worryingly, depriving the current generation of children of the opportunities for free play appears to be having adverse effects on both their intelligence and their creativity.  Providing stress-free environments in which people of all ages can establish links between different areas of knowledge is critical in finding new solutions to new problems.


About Sir Patrick Bateson, FRS

Born March 31st, 1938, Sir Patrick Bateson is an English biologist and science writer. Bateson is emeritus professor of ethology at Cambridge University, and has been president of the Zoological Society of London since 2004.

Bateson received his B.A. degree in zoology and Ph.D. degree in animal behavior from Cambridge University. Previous academic positions include a Harkness Fellowship at Stanford University and ten years as head of the Cambridge sub-department of Animal Behaviour. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1983. He retired as the biological secretary to the Royal Society and Provost of King’s College, Cambridge in 2003, but continues in his other roles. He was made a knight bachelor in 2003.  

Bateson is a research scientist who has written many books and articles on ethology, animal welfare, developmental biology and genetics; he also gives public lectures and broadcasts, as well as advising Parliament on scientific matters.