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Let's Be Brutally Honest - Most College Graduates Cannot Innovate Out of a Pickle Jar

April 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 134

Yes, I know there is a big difference between innovation and creativity, after all, perhaps like you, I have a whole bookshelf full of the latest trendy books on the topic, along with all of those that were produced in the 80s, 90s, and the roaring 2000s. Not long ago, I was listening to a tenured faculty professor at one of the top universities on YouTube explaining how innovation works as he was teaching his students, and anyone who is willing to buy his latest book - on how to use learned skills and thinking to innovate faster and become more creative.

Indeed, when I heard this I just laughed, because in reality being more creative would mean that you have to use a different way of thinking, perhaps even the opposite of systematic thinking. Maybe this is why it is so hard to teach artificial intelligent computers or program that software to think creatively like a human, it's not the way they are designed, it is not the way they work. It's almost as if we have to start from scratch. Teaching people to think a certain way, and telling them that by thinking this very special and systematic way they will be able to create more and become more innovative is patently false.

The other day, I was talking to an innovation consultant about this, someone who had written a book on creativity, although he also admitted that he has sold less than 1000 copies on Amazon, that we needed to be more brutally honest about how college education is preventing innovative and creative thinking. The longer people go to college, and the more they memorize, and as they have that reinforced by taking tests to answer the questions exactly all of the same, the less creative they can be. This is because they are reformatting their brain to think a different way.

I said to him that most college graduates cannot innovate out of that pickle jar. He laughed profusely, and said that was a good quote, and he asked if he could use it. I said surely, and yet, I asked him how come he didn't come up with quotes like that himself during our conversation, because obviously he had written a book on creativity. He told me we just think differently, and I said "exactly" and explained to him that that was my point.

I told him that I felt we were sending mixed messages to our college graduates, and I even told him that in many cases, they get degrees, and claim to be on the innovation bandwagon, but they still can't;

GuessCreateAnalyzeSurmizeInnovateStrategize

Why do you think this is? It's because the professors are so busy trying to figure out how creativity works, and categorize it into such a systematic format, that they don't realize that the human brain crisscrosses information, and melds different types of thoughts and data points to gather new insight. And yes, we probably can teach an artificial intelligent computer to do this, for instance, we could take a supercomputer like IBM's Watson, and ask it to combine every word in the English language, into groups of three, and then ask the supercomputer what each of those phrases means.

It would come up with endless approximations with percentages of what it believed to be accurate, and thus it would be creating in a similar way that the human mind creates, and innovates when it tries to solve a problem, or just allow itself to think on autopilot. This isn't really rocket science, and it would be wise to study theories of complexity and chaos when studying creativity and innovation. The trick is to combine the two, and then you can have both. In any case, if you'd like more information on this topic or would like to kick it around, please shoot me an e-mail.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Creativity Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank; http://www.worldthinktank.net

Source: EzineArticles
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