The nature of innovation

creativity.jpgAuthors of a recently published book, The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the WorldProfessors Anthony Brandt of Rice University of Texas and David Eagleman of Stanford University say that we keep begging as a society for more innovators, but we seem to be moving in the wrong direction in training them.

According to them, we are the only species which does things which are creative, and this is what differentiates the human brain from other species’ in this massive way. The human brain takes an input, mashes it up and puts out new versions. The point is: how can we shape the educational system so that we can make the most of this capacity in young people, largely untapped so far?

Often times, university courses limit the application of an idea presenting only one version, whereas they should embed more practice and explore, the teacher next to the student, alternative ways to get to the same result.

As often as that, we prize the student who complies to the model we ask him to follow, and punish the other who deviates from the model to find a new path of practice. Do we really think that an innovative, unbeaten path is necessarily a wrong one?

If theory implies infinite and new applications, why should practice be so limited?

 

Still, it is true that theory cannot be put aside in any way. A recent survey shows that one out of four Italian students cannot conjugate a verb correctly.

It is important to invest (and remark, more and more) in the humanistic abilities of our young people, but it is equally important to equip them for the upcoming world.

It will be made of innovation they will have created, if we adults will let them. It will be made of smart robots able to do repetitive works to let humans being creative. Which they are naturally equipped for.

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