Next Generation Education: Creativity gets blessed

Next Generation Education: Creativity gets blessed

“….creativity—the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions—is being recast as a prized and teachable skill.”

“…content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about ‘process skills,’ strategies to reframe challenges and extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.”

These are just two of the many gems to digest from the Feb. 5 NY Times article, Learning to Think Outside the Box: Creativity Becomes an Academic Discipline by Laura Pappano (  One provocative idea that I found particularly interesting is the notion that creativity is not based on magic but rather can be learned, and is in fact critical to surviving in the ever-changing world in which we live.

The sustainability of a family enterprise may depend upon just this type of competency to adequately deal with the management of a complex shared economy with many different stakeholders. While there seem to be abundant financial models for preserving or growing wealth, models that work to address human behavior and building good citizens of a wealthy family enterprise seem to be more elusive.  Ultra high net worth families have complex challenges that will demand creative solutions, and given that no two of them are alike, time and effort spent developing the creative muscle in the next generation will be just as important as developing financial knowledge.

Just as a family might decide to set quantifiable performance goals for financial assets, might they also do the same for building creativity in the family’s human capital?  After all, if an I.B.M. survey of 1500 executives in 33 industries (2010) cite “creativity” as the most critical factor to success, then maybe it is time to rethink what capabilities are really needed by the next generation to be successful and what is needed by the older generation to support the development of this critical skill.