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Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World Paperback – February 10, 2015
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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
“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 currently serves as an Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab. Previously he has worked as a high school teacher, K-8 principal, university professor, and founding executive director of Educators for Social Responsibility. Tony is a frequent speaker at national and international conferences and the author of Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap.
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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.
The educational design scenarios that are described that fostered these young innovators are communicated in a realistic manner, not pie in the sky perfect. The descriptions of the reality of the difficulties for the teachers as well as the students and parents are inspirational. Recommended for all teachers and principals!