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Thinking across Boundaries

Hombre al borde de un precipicio

Imagining a World of Possibilities / Making the Impossible – Possible

Rethinking the curriculum is essential as we transition from an industrial to a creative economy where the arts and sciences are more important than ever before and business acumen commands a premium. Today it is the art associated with design rather than the industry associated with manufacturing that is often the source for enduring prosperity. In an era where content is king, efficient business practices are still needed for success, but increasingly it is creativity that is most highly valued.

Is creativity something that can be taught, something that emerges organically given the right circumstances or an untapped state of mind that is bound by tradition and social convention? Instead of thinking about creativity as an either/or proposition, it is perhaps best to think in terms of all of the above. Yet if in the future success depends more on creativity than efficiency, how should we prepare our students for the next chapter of their lives?

Creativity is generally associated with the practice of “thinking outside of the box.” The box is often nothing more than a set of boundaries that limit our ability to explore, learn and become inspired. Within higher education, it is a box where traditional modes of thought dominate and unconventional ideas are often excluded.

Of course boxes generally exist for a purpose. They provide a structure that reduces a complex set of ideas or realities into something that is tractable and capable of simplification. They enable us to maintain a sense of balance in a world that might otherwise appear to be so chaotic that it becomes impossible to take a positive step forward.

If we truly want to develop students who are creative, eliminating existing boundaries is only half the battle. Creativity does not emerge from a void, but rather from a carefully curated curriculum and set of experiences that provide a scaffold designed to support the development of new ideas and insights.

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