In today's society, we are constantly improving the way we do things. The continual need to be creative and improve everyday processes is becoming a necessity. Companies are becoming more innovative, and the advancements in technology continue to go beyond our imagination. Because of the shift in thinking, it is more important than ever to teach our children to become innovators. Tony Wagner in his book “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” seeks to identify the key components in fostering innovation and molding young minds.
Throughout the book, Tony Wagner interviews various young innovators along with, their parents, teachers, and mentors to identify key aspects in their life that contributed to their creative thinking. The main questions that Wagner seeks to answer are “…how you educate young people to become innovators. What are the capacities that matter most for the innovation, and how are they best taught?” Through these interviews he finds similarities amongst the innovators, that bring him closer to answering his questions.
So what is innovation? Wagner narrows down the definition of innovation into two meanings “the process of having original ideas and insights that have value, and then implementing them so that they are accepted and used by significant numbers of people” and “creative problem solving” (Wagner, 2012, p.7-8). Innovation is not solely creating new devices or technology, but can also be the way a process is handled. As Wagner continues to dissect the meaning of innovation, he separates innovation into incremental innovation and disruptive innovation. Incremental innovation is when existing products, processes or services are improved; while, disruptive innovation is creating a new product or service that disrupts former technologies (Wagner, 2012). Innovation may come in many different forms.
After defining innovation, Wagner then continues to pursue the core aspects of innovative thinkers. As he starts to interview several technology and social innovators, he looks at their lives in three main perspectives, parenting, mentoring, and teaching. Wagner believes that innovators can be made, aside from just being born with the ability to be innovative. By analyzing these three aspects of an innovators life, he believes he can construct a framework that can be followed to continue to develop more innovators.
According to Wagner, to be innovative individuals have to have a certain amount of intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is defined as containing three elements, which is play, passion, and purpose (Wagner, 2012, p.26). Finding a way to enhance these three elements will help us better understand what it takes to create young innovators. Wagner will go into depth how parents, teachers, and mentors help aid these qualities.
Through his interviews, Wagner found several similarities between the three elements he was researching. Looking at parenting styles...