It is no secret, anywhere on our fast-shrinking planet, that innovation and creativity are the tools most important for success.   But knowing this, and doing something about it, are two different things?   How many schools have recognized and adopted this new wisdom, and how do we transform education such that it can provide these tools for our students?   Europe, now, (the E.U.) has stepped up with a new “manifesto” for creativity and innovation, and though it is short and mostly a piece of public relations, it is still an important expression.

The world is moving to a new rhythm. To be at the forefront of this new world, Europe needs to become more creative and innovative. To be creative means to imagine something that didn’t exist before and to look for new solutions and forms. To be innovative means to introduce change in society and in the economy. Design activities transform ideas into value and link creativity to innovation.

The manifesto, after its opening paragraphs, offers a seven point summary, the first two of which especially speak to me:   “1. Nurture creativity in a lifelong learning process where theory and practice go hand in hand.  2. Make schools and universities places where students and teachers engage in creative thinking and learning by doing.”

The report goes on to offer lines of action that the commission is recommending for implementation across Europe.   Action 2 parallels exactly what many of us in the US are insisting upon:  Reinvent Education.    This blog calls, daily, for a reinvention that will provide our students stronger skills, and better habits of minds, to become creative and innovative leaders, and to do so via active learning, critical thinking, and real-world problem-solving.   The manifesto expresses it this way; note that it flies in the face of much conetemporary US educational reform:

Schools and universities need to be reinvented in partnership with teachers and students so that education prepares people for the learning society. Retrain teachers and engage parents so that they can contribute to an education system that develops the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes for intercultural dialogue, critical thinking, problem-solving and creative projects. Give a strong emphasis to design in education at different levels. Establish a major European-wide research and development effort on education to improve quality and creativity at all levels.