Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Someone quite important in Corporate America that I happened to meet and talk to a few times, once told me: "The difference between Research and Innovation is that in Research, you use money to make new ideas, whereas in Innovation you use new ideas to make money... not many people really know that distinction and they think of research and innovation being synonymous!"

What a brilliant insight! Why do I bother, you might ask. Well, I was recently involved in a proposal applying for EU funding where we had to keep the quote above in our mind at all times. It's because what we need to do in Europe is not just new fresh ideas... we need to turn them into money before we subside to the Far East. One of the European initiatives to counter that threat is known as Manufuture. A close friend is one of the early Godfathers of this initiative. He spoke to me with such passion about their intent that, combined with my techie geekness, made me start thinking about the subject much deeper than I ever wished for.

In Maria Bartiromo's CNBC program about Innovation, there was a guy, Roger Schank, of Socratic Arts, who considers himself an Innovation Guru. Maybe he is... I wouldn't know. The thing is, he said something very clever... "Harvard top graduates make great recruits... for Harvard", or, "if you have to hire a Harvard graduate in your business, then go for the bottom 10%... because these kids were smart enough to get admitted but they wouldn't compromise with the rules that Harvard teachers want to talk them to". Made me think of the Wall:"...We don't need no education, We don't need no thought control, No dark sarcasm in the classroom, Teachers leave the kids alone, Hey teacher leave us kids alone, All in all it's just another brick in the wall, All in all you're just another brick in the wall... " And they were just a rock-group. But how prophetic!

It's the good ol' slogan seen in Apple ads. "Think Different". How much teaching do we need to change the world? Not much is needed to be innovative, turns out... at least if you believe the experts. Education kills creativity? Is it because it puts you in a box? Not so sure... but, who knows? You get nowhere without proper education, unless you are born Steve Jobs, John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Maria Callas, Bob Dylan... So the problem might not be in Education itself but in the methods used to educate and populate our youth's tabula rasa's. Maybe Socratic Arts is trying to do something about it. Pay them a visit... you might find their ideas interesting.

No comments: