Innovation, Creativity and Education – Letting go of hidden fears and clearing contradictions up.

Updated: Jul 9


Why can I talk about innovation and people will be respectfully interested, but not about creativity?

Innovation is usually related to technology and therefore highlighted.


Sounds strange to connect innovation with art?

If you think about it, today’s art is very innovative due to new technological media. Yet, to think back, since the beginning of modernism, innovation was a must for valued art. Genius artists had to innovate constantly together with expressing criticism over social issues. Maybe therefore we see innovation as a bit of a threat.


Our world today is so rich with innovation and we are open to diverse art. Why are schools not creative yet?

Science and technology are the pillars of education nowadays. This is based on the belief of the Enlightenment that science would bring humanity to a better place. The problem is that in our postmodern world we are no longer sure about it, which reflects in the feeling that there is no substantial reality. There is something fictional about the overwhelming amount of creativity and innovation we see on Instagram. It seems that in the real- world creativity has not yet taken roots. And it will not until it is backed by social establishments: until it is part of curriculum.


Why else is creativity undermined?

Creativity is connected to feelings, to abstract mindlessness, to intuition. And we seek rationality based on the Enlightenment. Are we afraid of being thoughtful and emotional? Maybe I can help by providing a method to enter the creative mode of operation to enable 21st century learning.


Sounds contradicting to connect education with feelings and a creative mode?

Deliberate creativity has much rationality to it. We also need not fear adding the emotional side to it if we instill values of care and empathy. True, we don’t know how much we can apply an approach of empathy in the real world, in which people are driven to achieve a higher social status. To innovate in order to stand out in relation to peers and compared to previous products is a highly motivating drive. Yet I see empathy all the time around me.


Are we to demand teachers to not only provide knowledge but to also foster creativity?

It is easy to teach knowledge that is universal and hasn’t changed in a long time. To make education creative we’d need to let this knowledge serve as information to construct new knowledge based on. But this is the beauty of the era we live in. Knowledge constructed today is information to construct new knowledge based on tomorrow.

I still have a message for students: In order to innovate you need to study a lot. Dive into learning wholeheartedly, since then you will find the creative aspect and be able to innovate.


To sum up

Creativity may be undervalued because it is connected to Being: to reflection, imagination and the visualization of something new. Innovation tells the story of Doing. It implies the practicality of taking the creative idea and making a product based on it. So, think Innovation, foster creativity. Deliberate creativity such as the 5 E’s strategy slides us into the creative mode and invites innovative implementations.


For 21st century learning, use the 5 E’s method according to your needs:

Explore – introduce learning material creatively or by lecture.

Experience – “Play” with the new information – converse, do an experiment, engage in experiential learning. Meanwhile let students draw on ideas.

Examine – Check the students’ ideas together with them.

Elevate – Recommend how to turn those ideas into original products.

Express – Invite students to present their products, so everyone is enriched.


The message is:

To innovate we need to be nurtured by others’ findings, insights and ideas. We also have the privilege to nurture others’ ideas. Together all the innovators become a collective creative and active entity. And that is already good.


You are most invited to learn more about PBL, SEL and STEAM books offering original lesson plans, teacher tools online to manage change, PBL teacher training, and much more on my website Raising Creative Thinkers.


Best wishes,

Michelle Korenfeld

Raising Creative Thinkers

PBL, SEL and STEAM tools, resources and training.



© 2017 by Michelle Korenfeld, Raising Creative Thinkers.