“Only one set of skills can ensure this generation’s economic future – the capacity for innovation.”

That quote comes from the website of the new book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People That Will Change The World” by Tony Wagner, which declares that nurturing creative thinking is crucial and that “only one set of skills can ensure this generation’s economic future: the capacity for innovation.”

The book asks, “What do the best schools and colleges do to teach the skills of innovation? What are some of the most forward-looking employers doing to create a culture of innovation?”

In his review article, Jonathan Wai, Ph.D. notes he shares author Wagner’s interest “in what constitutes a meaningful science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.”

Wai writes that the book profiles five STEM innovators and three social innovators, and that “These stories are worth learning from and developing hypotheses from,” but warns “it is important to remember that the plural of anecdote is not data.”

He continues, “In addition, the STEM innovators he profiles are very much entrepreneurs.

“Therefore they are certainly not representative of the STEM professions because many scientists, mathematicians, and engineers do not have the desire to start a business but rather want to contribute to fundamental scientific knowledge and understanding.”

The photo above is of one of the people in the video about the book who might be an exception: Dean Kamen – an inventor, entrepreneur, and advocate for science and technology, who holds more than 440 patents, many for innovative medical devices. His more public inventions are the Segway Human Transporter, and the Ibot, a stair-climbing wheelchair.

[From my post Realizing multiple passions.]

Wai concludes his thoughtful article with these comments:

“Wagner also emphasizes how critical it is for future innovators to experience failure. In my article Sorry, Talented: Striving Matters I talked about the importance of experiencing failure in particular for the most gifted and talented students who often do not meet academic situations that provide sufficient challenge and opportunities to experience genuine humility. And I share Wagner’s emphasis on play, passion, and purpose and the value of culture.

“Overall, Creating Innovators is an important book because it emphasizes developing the talent of students who are essential to the future of America and profiles some extremely bright minds and their parents, teachers, and mentors to provide some insights into ways to develop intellectual and creative talent.”

He quotes book author Tony Wagner: “Parents, teachers, mentors, and employers—we all have urgent work to do.”

Here is a video about the book:


Quotes from article Could We Create Another Einstein? by Jonathan Wai, Ph.D.

Video from book site creatinginnovators.com

Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People That Will Change The World, by Tony Wagner and Robert A. Compton.

“Acclaimed filmmaker Robert A. Compton, has produced more than 60 original videos, embedded in the book through QR codes, that expand on key ideas through interviews with young innovators, their parents, teachers, mentors, and senior executives from some of the world’s most innovative companies.” [From the book site.]