By Leonard Sommer
Our current education system is ill-prepared to educate the next generation of creative leaders. Developing every individual’s creative potential will be one of the crucial value-creating factors for leading economies in the Imagination Age.
We live in a time where things are constantly changing and evolving. The old, established rules used by past generations to educate and secure success are not suitable for the next generation who will thrive in such an innovative time.
The U.S.-author, Daniel H. Pinkhas declared the Information Age to be over. In his view, the so-called Conceptual Age has long since begun. Pink holds that “as a result of the excess in spoiled consumer societies, the relocation of global production to Asia, and automation, the economies of the U.S. and Europe can only generate the value they need in the 21st century through creative commodities and ideas/innovation.”
As such, Pink foresees a power shift between left-hemisphere leaders and right-hemisphere leaders at the executive level. He believes that focusing more strongly on developing right-hemisphere potential, and corresponding values like intuition, creativity and empathy, is essential, and thinks the time has come for talented people with these attributes to take up leadership positions.
Unfortunately, traditional education gives little room for students to develop their creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking beyond predetermined, standardized boundaries. The next generation needs to be prepared to tackle not only the known, but also the unknown problems our world will face. Therefore, we must be forward thinking about how we train and inspire our upcoming generation.
In the coming age, creative thinking and problem solving, as well as teamwork, will be key traits for success. According to author Cathy N. Davison, “65% of today’s preschoolers will grow up to work in jobs or pursue careers that don’t yet exist.”
Assuming the whole education system will need to make a radical transition in many countries around the world, I have asked more than 100 creatives and futurists in 35 countries, to inspire the development of an innovative framework for 21st century education. As such, this research focuses on a new organizational design, learning culture and role of the teacher as well as new teaching methods and a new assessment model.
Additionally, the research found that the current secondary school system is severely lacking in practices necessary to prepare the next generation for the unexpected through creative, strategic thinking. In their survey, 67.2% said they did not consider their country’s education system future ready. Additionally, of those surveyed, a staggering 84.8% believe that creativity plays a minor role or is suppressed in schools. Obviously, the current education system, whose model dates back to the industrial age, is ill-prepared to educate and prepare the next generation of creative leaders.
The research project will come to an end at the workshop, “Classroom Thinktank” at Cannes Lions Festival 2014, the world’s largest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry. A few of the ideas included in the model are: creating an environment where creativity can bloom, inspiring natural curiosity to grow resulting in more engaged learning, incorporation of technology, redesigning the teacher’s role as not only a conveyor of knowledge but also as a facilitator, allowing students to discover what they enjoy and developing their individual academic or artistic skills.
I will reveal the findings of this research, share my vision of a “Learning Resource Management Model”, and welcome participants to share their own opinion, creativity methods and principles to inspire concrete actions and approaches for the vision of a 21st century education framework.
The workshop will take place on Friday, June 20, 2014, first at 11 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes. Those at the Cannes Lions Festival, with a Delegate Pass, can find more information on Facebook.
Leonard Sommer, co-founder of the German creative agency SOMMER+SOMMER and EMBA graduate of The Berlin School of Creative Leadership.
MAY 21, 2014