Common Sense: Required for Innovation

I noticed this poster being tweeted by educators recently…
Screen Shot 2014-02-28 at 11.03.54 am

I disagree.

Common sense is (commonly) defined as – ‘Sound practical judgement that is independent of specialised knowledge, training or the like; normal, native intelligence.’ (

My favourite definition comes from the online Urban Dictionary – ‘Common sense is what think others should know.’

Who says you can’t have common sense and be creative?

Some synonyms – acumen, practicality, wit, intelligence, gumption, sound judgement, sharpness, wisdom, intuitiveness, perceptiveness, vision … (

Aren’t these precisely the qualities innovators require for coming up with creative ideas and implementing them?

(Part of a train of thought instigated by teachers’ discussion in one of our voluntary learning groups, currently exploring creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship – one of the themes from the IB PYP review.)

7 thoughts on “Common Sense: Required for Innovation

  1. An interesting idea. I love Sir Ken and agree with much of what he says, specifically about schools and creativity; but my common sense leads me to also agree with you. So much food for thought.


  2. I agree with your sentiment, but looking at the whole quote and section of the book the poster appears to be out of context.

    “One of the enemies of creativity and innovation, especially in relation to our own development, is common sense. The play-wright Bertolt Brecht said that as soon as something seems the most obvious thing in the world, it means that we have abandoned all attempts at understanding it.”

    I believe the authors are discussing “common sense” in regards to things we take for granted and accept as already understood, thus further inquiry is not needed. One of the things I hate about the internet and social media is quotes like this get cut up, given fancy fonts and pretty backgrounds, and then the context is lost.

    I am pretty sure that is neither creative nor innovative. Thanks for calling it out!


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