Innovation, Education, Dintersmith, and You

John W Lewis's picture
Chat Date: 
Thu, May 19, 2016

This week, we welcome Ken Gordon to the host seat. Ken (@quickmuse) is Content, Conversation, and Community Strategist at Continuum Innovation in Boston. He is a well known innocat, and recent initiator of  the #innochat facebook group. Ken's chosen topic relates to innovation in education and here is his framing post:

Is life a standardized test… or an impossible problem to be solved?

Those familiar with the work of Ted Dintersmith know that the above is a question designed to trip up those who don’t worship at the altar of innovation. For us—for most of us in #innochat—the answer is obvious: life is an unbroken series of extremely complex problem, and finding effective and interesting and perhaps fun ways to solve them is what makes innovation our obsession and joy.

As Dintersmith and his co-author Tony Wagner write in their book Most Likely to Succeed: “To have good prospects in life—to be more likely to succeed—young adults now need to be creative and innovative problem solvers.”

But one wonders if school, as we experienced it, or perhaps as our children currently know it, is a good preparation for a life of innovation.

“What matters most in our increasingly innovation-driven economy is not what you know but what you can do with what you know,” write Dintersmith and Wagner, and while it’s easy to agree, in a superficial way with this, it also raises some deeper questions—and those will guide us for this session of #innochat.


Let's use the following questions to initiate our discussion during #innochat on Twitter on May 19, 2016 for an hour starting at 12 pm Eastern time (1700 UK time):

  • Q1 Did you first get hooked on innovation while at school? If so, let's hear about it; if not, when did it happen? #innochat
  • Q2 Have your problem-solving skills made you into an innovative professional? Can an innovative bent hamper one's success? #innochat
  • Q3 Does D’s emphasis on problem solving diminish the importance of the humanistic elements of education? Might this be a problem? #innochat
  • Q4 Might a standardized form of education push certain kinds of people to jump into innovative activities after schooling? #innochat
  • Q5 If you could have redesigned your own education, what would you have done differently? #innochat


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