Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World

Tony Wagner

Scribner,  April 2012

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In this groundbreaking book, education expert Tony Wagner provides a powerful rationale for developing an innovation-driven economy. He explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. In profiling compelling young American innovators such as Kirk Phelps, product manager for Apple's first iPhone, and Jodie Wu, who founded a company that builds bicycle-powered maize shellers in Tanzania, Wagner reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and persevere. Wagner identifies a pattern -- a childhood of creative play leads to deep-seated interests, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion, and purpose: These are the forces that drive young innovators.

Wagner shows how we can apply this knowledge as educators and what parents can do to compensate for poor schooling. He takes readers into the most forward-thinking schools, colleges, and workplaces in the country, where teachers and employers are developing cultures of innovation based on collaboration, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and intrinsic motivation. The result is a timely, provocative, and inspiring manifesto that will change how we look at our schools and workplaces, and provide us with a road map for creating the change makers of tomorrow.

Creating Innovators will feature its own innovative elements: more than sixty original videos that expand on key ideas in the book through interviews with young innovators, teachers, writers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, including Thomas Friedman, Dean Kamen, and Annmarie Neal. Produced by filmmaker Robert A. Compton, the videos are embedded into the ebook edition in video-enabled eReaders and accessible in this print edition via QR codes placed throughout the chapters or via www.creatinginnovators.com.

Hardcover | ISBN: 9781451611496 | Publication Date: April 2012

Reviews:
"Many have written about the paucity of innovation in America. Others have chronicled our schools' struggles to improve on dimensions of skills that matter. In this book, Wagner has positioned himself astride these critical challenges in a way that clarifies what we must do to address these problems, and how we can do it -- making this a must read for anyone interested in the education of our nation."
-- Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of Disrupting Class

"Tony Wagner addresses one of our most urgent questions: How do we create the next generation of innovators? By telling the stories of young creators, and by taking us inside cutting-edge programs, Wagner shows that the answer isn't to double-down on outmoded, formulaic solutions -- but to embrace the principles of play, passion, and purpose. Creating Innovators is important reading for anyone concerned about the future."
-- Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"If you are an educator, a parent of a child struggling with conventional education, or an employer looking to have a pipeline of creative talent, then read this book, take note of the ideas and play your part in creating the change we must make happen."
-- Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

"In the equation of world success, superior innovation is the only factor that can keep America #1. Two passionate citizens, innovators in their own right, have produced a compelling prescription for our time. Read it, watch it, and spread the word."
-- Mitch Daniels, Governor, State of Indiana