Updated: Apr 29
Learning to shape the future
The manifesto for education delivery is to drive a "Learning without Frontiers "mindset and approach. Instilling creativity and innovation within the core academic curriculum, the way it is delivered and taught. Understanding and adapting to different learning styles, especially in the earlier years of learning, can significantly impact an individual's ability to learn and be empowered to live a happy and fulfilled life by gaining meaningful and positive experiences along the way.
1. Instill IMAGINEERING AS A CORE DISCIPLINE
Pablo Picasso believed all children are artists but lose their creativity when they grow up. Instill a grow into, not out of, approach to creativity that encourages people to follow their dreams by evoking magic and childlike wonder and how to turn their ideas into art. Envision the art of the possible; "Imagine if...", "What if..?" Applying divergent thinking to dream up what doesn't exist and perceive patterns that are not obvious to create and express art through a concept, method, solution, design, work of art, or physical object. Apply convergent thinking to critique and prioritize best ideas, rapidly prototype, and construct a plan to bring them to life. Learning and applying techniques to drive evolution, synthesis, re-application, reinvention, reimagination, disruption, revolution, and changing direction. Building confidence and belief in ideas and build endurance to never give up and navigate through adversity to bring them to fruition! Purpose, autonomy,
and mastery are what people need to optimize their creativity. Think with your own mind, feel with your own heart, and create with your own hands. Invent, make mistakes, improve, seek excellence, and reject conformity and mediocrity.
2. Embrace Authentic Creative Expression
Manifest what is inside yourself and around you in everyday life by influencing your innate perspective and talents to transcend the obvious, ordinary, and routine. Appreciate and understand what great art is by helping see the unseen. Blend art and science in craftsmanship by anticipating future trends inspired by culture and aesthetics connected to emotions and imagination to elegantly compose creative solutions. Crafting poetry in a world where there is only prose and gracing the world with art. Impacting people's feelings and lives, and the design and functioning of everyday life.
As well as teaching the skills to create art, teach the skills to appreciate and understand art. Move beyond simply taking photos and painting pictures to teaching students to' see.'
Why is it that when different photographers take pictures of the same person, they end up with radically different images? It is because the photographer is expressing their individuality by capturing 'their' perspective of the subject. Whether static or moving images, photography remains a potent tool and retains its ability to change the world. Tom Stoddard, Kevin Carter, and Robert Capa, in capturing images of war, famine, and suffering, influenced a generation's mindset. Teach these skills. Embrace visual storytelling and empower students with the confidence to challenge inequality and suffering.
3. Leading Without Frontiers
Creativity is the most differentiated quality for every leader in every domain. Creative leaders display distinctly different behaviors, values, and characteristics from traditional management. They get exponential results, inspire creativity in others, build productive teams, and drive successful businesses by encompassing disruptive thinking and practice to drive radical improvements in a domain, discipline, and industry. Reaching the other side by leading toward new frontiers of unknown opportunities, unfulfilled hopes, and dreams by doing things in their own way and style. They have a holistic view and see the world as it should be. Fearless in their expression, transcend the status quo and stand against the convention and naysayers without fear of retaliation. Entrepreneurial, purpose-led, and mission-driven, they hold themselves accountable for their actions and having a social conscience and empathy for the environment by continuously managing innovation that powers the products and services they design, make, sell, and the businesses they run.
Instill a fearless approach to leadership on how people manage themselves and others in the spirit of leading toward invisible horizons by applying a do-it-yourself sensibility to finding the future by being adaptive, persistent, and resilient. To be independent-minded and self-sufficient from start to finish, always finding the alternative by rejecting the banal and status quo. People who achieve greatness do not fit a formula or follow a structure. They break
the mold by following their own path.
Be bold, brave, respectful, and unapologetic. Teach entrepreneurship - not as the craft of creating and running businesses - but the persistence, confidence, and courage to follow what you are passionate about. This means nurturing belief and self-confidence from an early age, not because you believe you are necessarily correct, but because you have the right to express your point of view and opinion.
4. Treat messiness and failure as critical to learning
The modern world is saturated with a consumer-led celebrity culture whereby everyone looks the same, and everything is for sale. Descending from all four corners is the vermin-tongued conformist or the separatist armchair analyst and tiger parent who strikes out to crush your imagination, inner voice, and hope. This reality is counter-intuitive to how creativity works. Imitation is not creation. It is a process that infuses imagination, taste, style, even a little mess, and in which desperation, sacrifice, adversity, struggle, experimentation, failure, persistence, and the acquisition of skill and practical know-how are more valuable than receiving instant fame. Continuously swimming against the tide in search of the authentic and new, staving off false promises of easy gratification and immediate success. Journeys have ups and downs. Achievements are the result of journeys with beginnings, middles, and ends. Always show the tension between the challenge and the outcome.
America does well at embracing failure as a positive learning experience. We know the Thomas Edison quote about finding hundreds of ways that things don't work, but we need to embrace failure because failure is progress. It is evolution, a path forward, and we need to balance with environmental responsibility. Creating disposable crap that won't bring joy, doesn't fulfill a useful purpose, and ultimately ends up in landfills can never be defined as success, regardless of whether it makes money. As we seek to inspire the next generation to embrace learning and growth, this needs to be underpinned with an appreciation to seek beauty in what they create. Creating beautiful things is a superpower. Artists who inspire joy and create happiness through their work are the ones we should look to as role models.
5. Deliver an interactive and personalized experience to the right person at the right time at various touch points along the learner journey
Tailor experiences mirror the ways that people think, live, and act. Make them accessible, engaging, and easy to understand. Details matter; seek the highest levels of quality and craft in delivering unforgettable experiences.
Provide relevant and consumable content, divisible into smaller bites delivered to the right person at the right time. Align messaging and content with every step throughout the learner's journey. Purposeful storytelling means being clear about your audience.
What do they care about? What stories will resonate best with them? Why should they care? What is your goal? Is it to entertain? Is it to inspire? Is it to excite? Is it to influence? What's the call to action that you want your audience to take away? Most importantly, how do you want to make them feel?
A well-told story engages the mind, heart, and soul. A powerful narrative is built from simple principles. Truth is how we connect emotionally with a story and relate it to ourselves. By bringing genuine moments to life and celebrating relationships between people rather than just facts about things, we can tell inspiring stories. We look for meaning in stories because we tell stories; they don't tell themselves. Our chosen voice and style have the potential to reveal meaning with ease or bury it in confusion. Bringing clarity to stories, both complex and straightforward, and what we say will be remembered.
We exist in time. Our lives have beginnings, middles, and endings, filled with ups and downs, sudden reversals, and unexpected successes. Conflict is the engine of narrative; it's what keeps us listening. Details of the hope, frustration, and joy inherent in any journey deepen our narrative's impact. We tell stories to share and understand human experiences - building connections and passing on wisdom. From the Mesopotamia to the Incan civilizations, the clans of the Hebrides to the Galápagos Islands, around campfires, in poetry, song, and throughout venues, stories celebrate our shared humanity.
Why is it that we see only minor changes when we look today at many UK schools designed 100 years ago? The classroom may have computers around the outside and use electronic whiteboards, but fundamental principles are unchanged.
We have seen a massive evolution in workplaces. Creative agencies, design companies, and technology leaders such as Google have challenged workplace norms to create inspiring spaces that encourage creativity. We need to invest the same energy and passion that we in apply to design theme parks into designing effective education systems and inspiring school spaces.
We need to rethink the model of school. Think of schools as theme parks and engaging environments designed to stimulate our senses. Themed schools, dance schools, creative spaces schools, and rotate children through these environments. Create experiential education that generates memories and fuels passion that lasts a lifetime. We spend years at school, but a day at a theme park can make a more profound impression on our memories.
Why does Disney have armies of Imagineers, but our education departments struggle for resources? The model is broken! It isn't simply about money. It is about a willingness to embrace creativity, harness the energy, and bring this to education. We won't always get it right. Business knows this; it knows it needs to continue to evolve and learn - and it is this very lesson we need to embrace in education. We might not be correct, but that is never a reason to not try.
When we get this right, we will unleash the power of creativity. Not in the economy, although that will be successful. Not in products that seek beauty, sustainability and are designed with environmental responsibility at their core. Not in our environment designed to inspire joy, but in something more important than all of this; happiness! A generation that is happy with itself and who it is.
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Learn more about how to create without frontiers by unleashing your full creative potential that exists within all of us.
Buy now: "Creativity Without Frontiers"
Founder and CEO of Unknown Origins, a creative studio on a mission to save the world from unoriginality by unleashing the power of creativity. Author of "Creativity Without Frontiers: How to make the invisible visible by lighting the way into the future."
Photo credit: Brian Smale
An eclectic and visionary thought leader who has guided the success of multiple breakthrough products and services at technology companies: Microsoft, O2, Siemens, Atos, and Blue Prism. He has set the strategy, roadmap, and feature definition to maximize business value and drive positive societal through quality execution across the entire product lifecycle with a focus on the people-centered design-based approach, aesthetic and technical excellence.
Attitude. Imagination. Execution.
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