Is STEM enough to make innovators?

philmckinney | June 30, 2014

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Is STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) the answer to preparing our kids to be the innovators of the future? That’s the question I was recently asked during the Q&A session at the end of a speech. Based on what other attendees said, I got myself wound up about the question and my belief on what is really needed.

In a nutshell, while STEM is a great start, its not sufficient to win in the emerging creative / innovation economy.

Whats missing?

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Comments

Comments(3)

Posted by Guillermo Garza Milling on Jul 2nd, 2014

STEM is an excellent initiative and action plan made from Academy side.
If the Academy needs to do something to improve what they did not do to promote STEMs in the past, then is about time to look from outside.
If you want Inventors and Innovators, then listen to them.
Ask independent Inventors and Innovators.
Look at my initiatives at LinkedIn with my name.
Guillermo Garza Milling

Posted by Adam Collier on Jul 3rd, 2014

I hold the opinion that STEM education in its current state is slightly inadequate for the creative economy for 2 primary reasons. (1) Few courses about STEM creativity taught by creative people who really get it (2) The politicization of several science fields. Politicization damages STEM education when we fail to teach students how to think for themselves. Instead it’s become “yes think for yourselves but… here is what you are supposed to think, take our word for it”, Many prospective students avoid STEM because they want to avoid the worldview or culture wars. This also draws the activist mentaltiy into fields that should be data driven. Professionals in any STEM field who spend a career fighting political battles competing for government monies become less creative than they would be if they had to innvovate better than the competition to earn a living.

Posted by Mark Stapel on Jul 8th, 2014

I completely agree with all of your main points. I do think there are some other areas that still need to be taught and encouraged in STEM:
1. Life Long Learning – This starts with encouraging curiosity in the students and a need to satisfy this curiosity with self-learning. It seems that many people view that active learning ceases after the class room. When in fact this should be where it should start. Often the
process of self-investigation leads to innovation.
2. Not satisfied with Status Quo. – One can’t come up with creative ideas unless they believe that there are better ways then what is currently out there and not just incremental improvements over current products but “Killer Innovations”. That is one of the main reasons why I appreciate your blog and Podcast.

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