If you were going to try to grow your own vegetables, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that there was more to producing a crop that simply tossing seeds into the ground. Even the most novice green-thumb knows that things like soil quality and regular watering are vital to yield any crop.
The same principle applies to growing innovators. If we hope raise generations of students capable of making advancements in science, technology, engineering, the arts, or mathematics, then we must carefully consider the environment we’re growing them in.
Bill Donius, in his recent blog, asked Haozhi Chen, CEO of CocoaChina, whether entrepreneurs were born or made. Chen’s replied, “They are made by the environment.” Teresa Amabile would agree. Her article for the Harvard Business School, “Creativity and Innovation in Organizations,” concluded that social environment influences both the level and frequency of creative behavior.
Chen credits his success to the fact that he was not restricted by traditional education (he dropped out) and had to rely personal experiences and a willingness to take risks.
This is precisely the type of environment we are working to create at Kona School. By tying the curriculum and technology to the student’s passion for skating or surfing, in an environment where collaboration is the norm, deeper, more authentic learning takes place. In this environment, innovation grows.