‘Creating Innovators’: Post #1

April 14, 2013 § 1 Comment

As I mentioned yesterday, I began reading a book recently profiled in the New York Times op-ed page, Tony Wagner’s Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World. Where I work (Xavier College Preparatory), we talk about being innovative and not inevitable, and we search for ways to embrace the tension between the old and the new. We attempt to meet our students — little innovators — where they are at.  I have a longer post on the way about a few items from the first part of the book, but here a few noteworthy excerpts from the first 70 pages. All the quotations come from Wagner, unless otherwise indicated.

  • “In the 2010 Bloomberg Businessweek annual rankings of Most Innovative Companies, ’15 of the Top 50 are Asian—up from just five in 2006. In fact, for the first time since the rankings began in 2005, the majority of corporations in the Top 25 are based outside the U.S.’ China now requires that every college in the country teach the skills of entrepreneurship, and their current K-12 education reforms are aimed at deemphasizing standardized tests and doing more to teach creativity.”
  • “Incremental innovation is about significantly improving existing products, processes, or services. Disruptive or transformative innovation, on the other hand, is about creating a new or fundamentally different product or service that disrupts existing markets and displaces formerly dominant technologies.”
  • “Apple’s consistent ability to ‘disrupt’ the marketplace explains why it enjoys a reputation as the most innovative company in the world.”
  • “‘People who are successful at Google also have a bias towards action—you see something broken and you fix it. You are smart enough to spot problems, but you don’t whine about them or wait for somebody else to fix them. You ask, “How can I make things better?” And collaboration is so essential to everything that we do—we prize the ability to recognize and learn from people around you, who have very different kinds of expertise.'” — Judy Gilbert, director of talent at Google
  • “‘Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker. Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools, even though most professionals have had some kind of design training. My experience is that many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for design thinking, which the right development and experiences can unlock.” –Tim Brown, President of IDEO
  • “On average, young people between the ages of eight and eighteen now spend more time on their electronic devices than they do in classrooms. And most young people today frequently find the Internet to be a far more compelling teacher than the ones who stand in front of them during the day.”
  • “[P]arents of some of the most innovative young people whom I interviewed for this book carefully monitor and limit ‘screen time.'”
  • “My research, work as an educator, and experience as a parent suggest that there are three interrelated elements to intrinsic motivation: play, passion, and purpose.”
  • “What do you suppose the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin; Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos; Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales; Julia Child; and rapper Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs all have in common? . . . they all went to Montessori schools, where they learned through play.”
  • “What you study is not that important. Knowing how to find those things you are interested in is way, way more important.” -Kirk Phelps, one of the first designer-engineers of the iPhone
  • “Apple is not successful just because it has the ability to conceptualize new products better than anybody else. It’s because they have an engineering and design process that’s all about creating conflict.”

To be continued…

Posted by Matt Emerson.


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§ One Response to ‘Creating Innovators’: Post #1

  • Kim McNulty says:

    Love it — thanks so much for this post and the promise of the next segment…how cool if this book was an option for XCP summer reading? Would love to see the Grad at Grad essays that would come from this reflection!

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