Society and education: from Reproductive to Generative


Elsewhere you can real all about the practical examples of triggering and developing the creative powers of your team to better face complex and/or creative challenges.

Here, it’s time to zoom out again: What would be the characteristics of a society and next, an education system, where curiosity is considered as a core skill for progress. This as opposed to using the argument that it is difficult to measure and standardise and therefore not a key priority. Which one do you recognise most? And which one do you prefer?

Curiosity as Key Curiosity as Nice to Have, at best
Encourage the Art of asking Questions Focus on giving quick answers
Create new insights Reproduce known knowledge
Embrace complexity Go for simplicity as early as possible
Be adaptive to changing circumstances Avoid uncertainty
Connect existing and new dots Become one important dot
See the value of connections and patterns Focus on separate (known) elements
Why, How What, when
Need-based adaptive planning Fixed schedules
Autonomy and thinking critically Rely on safety nets
Intent & rough direction Targets & Methods
Working together = strength Seeking help = showing weakness
Curves Boxes
Considering innovation as a DNA string: no given start or end, unlimited configurations, allow emergence to take place Managing innovation via stage gates: clear universal decision moments mapped out in time


Applied to Education

In the overview below you see some characteristics of an education system where the 3 C’s (critical thinking, intertwined with curiosity and creativity) are considered as key, indispensable skills vs nice to have. Yes, the statements are a bit binary, because they need to point at the dominant pattern. These are discussion-openers, not end-points…

Curiosity as Key skill in Education Curiosity as Nice to Have, at best
Teachers facilitate learning process Teachers transfer knowledge
Creation, Effectiveness Production, Efficiency
Multi-way One or Two-way
Encouraging to ask questions Emphasise giving (correct) answers
Evaluate progress by joint discussion Test progress by simplified tools
Intersubjective insight in development Grades/ marks as main indicator for progress
Group learns together Teacher grades
Inquisitiveness is encouraged Concrete result (answer) Is demanded
Generative Reproductive

By and large I think this WEF-view on education, at least as it is formulated, makes sense and carries many similar messages as mine.