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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World Hardcover – April 17, 2012
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“A road map for parents who want to sculpt their children into innovative thinkers.”—USA Today
"In this fascinating book, Tony Wagner addresses one of our most urgent questions: How do we create the next generation of innovators? By telling the stories of young creators, and by taking us inside cutting-edge programs, Wagner shows that the answer isn't to double-down on outmoded, formulaic solutions--but to embrace the principles of play, passion, and purpose. Creating Innovators is important reading for anyone concerned about the future."--Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
“In the equation of world success, superior innovation is the only factor that can keep America #1. Two passionate citizens, innovators in their own right, have produced a compelling prescription for our time. Read it, watch it, and spread the word.”--Mitch Daniels, Governor, State of Indiana
"To combat the competitive threat from economies like Brazil, Russia, India and China, we must develop empowered entrepreneurs and innovators. Creating Innovators is a masterful work that shows us how. Tony Wagner's case studies reveal more about these fine innovators than he may have realized. World leaders, business executives, educators, policy makers and parents, take note!"--Dr. Annmarie Neal Founder, Center for Leadership Innovation and Former Chief Talent Officer, Cisco Systems
“Tony Wagner makes a compelling case for how our education system has to change if we are to create the innovators we need to face tomorrow's challenges. If you are an educator, a parent of a child struggling with conventional education, or an employer looking to have a pipeline of creative talent, then read this book, take note of the ideas and play your part in creating the change we must make happen.”--Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
"In my life I have met and worked with individuals who help create the world they live in—innovators. Their lives are so much more fulfilling than people who live in a world of someone else's creation. This book, in a clear, tangible way, explores how to help young people access skills of innovation and lead richer lives."--Brad Anderson, former CEO, Best Buy Corporation
“In just the click of a mouse, we left the Industrial Age for the Information Age. Now just as quickly, we find ourselves in a new age of our society and economy; the Innovation Age. Tony Wagner and Bob Compton have provided a powerful tool for parents, educators and students seeking success in this new society and economy.”--Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction
“A pioneering and invaluable work about what it really takes to build innovation capability in society--by planting and cultivating innovators, one person at a time.”--John Kao, Chairman of the Institute for Large Scale Innovation and author of Innovation Nation
“Many have written about the paucity of innovation in America. Others have chronicled our schools' struggles to improve on dimensions of skills that matter. In this book, Wagner has positioned himself astride these critical challenges in a way that clarifies what we must do to address these problems, and how we can do it--making this a must read for anyone interested in the education of our nation.”--Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of Disrupting Class
“A seminal analysis promising hope for the future through small wonders in the classroom.”—Kirkus
About the Author
Tony Wagner is currently the first Innovation Education Fellow at the Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard and the founder and former co-director of the Change Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Wagner consults widely to public and independent schools and foundations around the country and has served as Senior Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A former high school teacher, K-8 principal, and university professor in teacher education, Wagner is a highly sought-after speaker and the author of four books, including The Global Achievement Gap.
Top customer reviews
But the book has shortcomings from my perspective. He distills lessons from a body of interviews and draws sound generalizations ... from those interviews. I believe that he ought to let us know, however, that he is not talking about the vast majority of people. Rather he wants to make innovators out of the gifted minority. That's okay. But this is not innovation for everyman.
I believe he also confuses innovation with creativity as concepts. I learned (at my Fortune 100 company) that innovation involves turning knowledge into money - that is, it isn't valuable unless someone values it enough to pay for it. It might be creative, therefore, but not innovative. Further, creativity has two formats (see Michael Kirton) - and one variety does indeed lead to innovation. The other leads to adaptation. Thus you can be creative in more than one way, and Wagner does not seem to acknowledge that.
He also employs misleading dichotomies, such as making a difference versus making money. This is not an either/or phenomenon. I think you can do good while doing well.
Given the small (and biased: US, middle-upper class, etc) sample size, it's hard to draw general results, but nonetheless, there are interesting patterns that emerge. No surprise, parenting style matters: you have to let the kids explore, make mistakes, and not stifle them with own ideas (or ambitions). Similarly, teachers and mentors have an enormous impact: knowledge is one thing, ability to relate that knowledge via practical projects and exploration is another - creating innovators requires (a lot) more than just rote fact acquisition (aka, passing standardized tests).
How do you create environments that support this kind of development at home, at school, and at work? It's not an exact science, but this book highlights some interesting experiments and experiences.