Feature: Soapbox Musings

Innovation Isn't Just for Art Students

Author: Megan Rosker
Published: June 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm

kidsHow do we inspire our children towards innovation? Recently I had the pleasure of watching this graduation speech by author Neil Gaiman at the University of the Arts this spring. I wish a similar speech was given to those graduating with an MBA or a law degree. We tend to think that innovation is only for those who are creatively minded. In other words, if one isn’t comfortable with a paint brush in hand or isn’t a connoisseur of black and white photography, they simply aren’t creative. Could we be more wrong?

Innovation and creativity aren’t reduced to being only for those who attend art school or music programs or have been dancers since they were four years . Innovation must happen in every sector of our society. In whatever our children choose we must push them to be as innovative as possible. That is how we propel our society forward.

In his speech Mr. Gaiman states that he never thought of himself as having a career because having a career implies that one understands what should be done next in order to further that career. Instead he looked to simply to do the next thing that would move him closer to be a fully independent writer, a man supporting himself with his words. This is the best career advice we could give our teens and recent college graduates as they face a tumultuous and unpredictable job market. It’s a job market in which only the most creative innovators will rise to the top. We have little tolerance for mediocrity currently, so we must push our teens to consider what their unique contribution will be. Sometimes that contribution will be small, sometimes large. It doesn’t matter. The point is that the person is rising to the top with their inspiration. It is this kind of resilience that is required of those who want to be successful in the 21st century.

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