We’re very excited to begin our blog tour with this inspirational post from Prof. Peter Csermely in Hungary, where there is now widespread support for talent development.
Creativity requires both original thinking (the surprise factor) and an optimization phase of the original solution taking into account the needs of the community and the society (quality factor). Our recent studies show that this Yin-Yang nature of creativity operates in cycles, where expansion and optimization phases follow each other. Moreover, these expansion/optimization cycles are typical not only to the cognitive process, but also to the adaptive responses of the cells and evolution.
Organizations also often develop in such cyclic manner. In 2006 the Hungarian talent support traditions reached the expansion phase establishing a National Council of Talent Support, and starting a nationwide talent support program treating everybody in the country as a potential source of talent. The expansion phase resulted in a network of more than 800 Talent Points, where young (and not so young) people may get support discovering the area where they, or their child, relative, student, friend may have talent. After a few years of miraculously hard work now we reach a community of more than 200,000 people, which is 2% of the population. And we go ahead.
The optimization phase developed a supportive environment of the Talent Point community. In the first wave we trained more than 14,000 teachers to recognize and help talents, established more than a 100 local Talent Support Councils to mobilize grass-root support. The Hungarian Parliament adopted a 20-year Nationwide Talent Support Program, and gave funds to accomplish this. Last year more than 270 thousand Hungarian citizens offered 1% of their income tax to support talents. And the numbers are increasing. Network-formation is not only important in this phase to make the system robust, but also builds trust. Trust is a key factor in countries after major changes, such as in Central-Eastern European countries changing their life 20 years ago. Talented people need trust, and the society needs the trust of talented people. This is a major point how talent may become productive, or remains odd, something, which ‘normal’ people do not catch, and do not understand. Thus, in the optimization phase our most important goal is to build a network of trusted contacts around talents.
In 2011, where Hungary was the president of the EU, a new expansion phase opened. It turned out that the close alliance of state and NGO-efforts and the formation of trusted networks may be a good model in many other places. We organized an EU Conference on talent support (which will be followed this year by another in Poland), where we also learned a lot from many other European countries. Time came, when a European Talent Support Network is ready to be established. To help this we established the Budapest European Talent Support Centre in February 2012 to be one of the hubs of the forming network. As the incoming president of the European Council of High Ability (ECHA), building on the great traditions and people of this organization, I would like to develop trusted European talent support networks to reach an optimization phase. And I strongly hope that an expansion phase will soon follow, where more and more contacts between Europe, Africa, The Americas, Asia, Australia and the Pacific will develop to a world-wide network of talent support.