Building the Skills of an Innovator

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower" -Steve Jobs

The world has lost a great inventor and innovative thinker with the passing of Steve Jobs. In his short life, he managed to change the world through technological advances that no one could have ever imagined. Steve Jobs's ability to connect what people want and what he knew technology could do, and find creative solutions is what made him a great innovator. His problem solving capabilities and creativity are the same skills that drive innovation and are the skills young people need to be prepared for the jobs of the future.

Our schools -- our educators -- must foster these skills in everything that they do. We have to continue to encourage our young people to think outside of the box, and let them know that their education is the path to success.

Ensuring that curriculum is relevant to life beyond the classrooms and bringing lessons outside of their common subject areas through projects that are cross-curricular can help students make connections and think critically. And hands-on experience can help bring these lessons to life and answer the age old question, "Why do I need to know this?"

Innovation is not taught and we cannot predict the future. We don't know what jobs will exist in 10, 20, 30 years. Ironically enough, it is inventions like those Jobs brought us that challenge us to evolve and change the way we educate our students. By allowing students to utilize technology in the classroom and explore industry within their communities, young people will become exposed to a wide world of opportunities that can inspire great ideas.

Educators, parents, and business leaders alike play an important role in ensuring the vitality of our economy. It is with their guidance and encouragement that young people can reach their full potential. We cannot wait until students finish high school to prepare them for the workforce. By providing direction and fostering creativity, we are enabling a generation of innovative thinkers who are prepared and ready to tackle the world.