Tony Wagner on Educating to Produce Innovators

Einstein says how you frame the problem is often more important than the solution.

Tony Wagner says, “the world no longer cares what you know, but what you can do with what you know — and that is a completely different problem.”

State of the Economy:

  • More than 70% of our economy is based on consumer spending.
  • That spending has been increasingly fueled by people going into debt.

Our economy is built on people spending money they don’t have, to buy things they don’t need and that are not ecologically sustainable.

On Educating to Produce Innovation:

None of [the teachers who produced innovators] had tenure, nor were they ever going to get tenure.

“Problems can no longer be solved, nor understood, within the bright lines of academic disciplines.” ~ Ginny Gilbert, Google

The real source of self-confidence is in learning you can recover from failure.

Intrinsic motivation can be taught: Play > Passion > Purpose. Encourage giving back & making a difference.

  1. We celebrate individual achievement, but innovation is a team effort.
  2. We teach discrete “Carnage Unites”, divided subjects. Innovation requires inter-disciplinary “Problem Based Learning”.
  3. Culture of schools is towards risk aversion, and penalizing failure. Innovation requires risk, failure, iteration.
  4. Culture of school reinforces passive consumption over creation.
  5. Culture of school relies on extrinsic incentives. Innovators learn to be intrinsically motivated.

Skills for 21st Century:

  1. Critical Thinking – Ability to ask the right questions.
  2. Collaboration across networks, and leading by influence
  3. Agility and Adaptability
  4. Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
  5. Effective Oral and Written Communication
  6. Accessing and Analyzing information
  7. Curiosity and Imagination

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Jordan is a freelance engineer with full-stack chops, and an eye for analytics and growth.