In a recent Adobe for Education article, author Tacy Towbridge outlines recent findings from the compensation data provider PayScale published in its 2016 Workforce-Skills Preparedness Report. “The report details the responses of almost 64,000 hiring managers across a wide range of industries who were asked about the ‘skills gap’—the disconnect between the skills students have when they graduate from college and the skills companies need.” Towbridge highlighted three specific points:
- 60% of managers said new graduates do not have the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for the job.
- 46% said new graduates lack the necessary communication skills.
- 36% reported new graduates have inadequate interpersonal and teamwork skills
Other recent findings were also outlined in the same Adobe article:
- The World Economic Forum reports that students with social and emotional learning (SEL) skills like critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration are better equipped to succeed in the evolving digital economy.
- Bloomberg analyzed the skills gap among MBAs and found that the skills managers want most but have the most trouble finding include strategic thinking, leadership skills, communication skills, creative problem-solving, and working collaboratively.
- Fast Company describes 2016 as the year of the hybrid job, in which employers want multifaceted employees who have both hard skills like database technology and soft skills like communication and collaboration.
Towbridge asks educational institutions how they intend to help students close the skills gap? She states, “it’s clear to us that they need to go beyond teaching traditional skills and make fostering creativity and developing digital skills a priority in the classroom. Many of the skills current grads lack are associated with creativity, from critical thinking to communication to collaboration.”
In a recent AACU journal article on Creativity and Innovation by Fernando Lozano and Amanda Sabicer stated, “... efforts to enhance creativity and innovation are changing the educational landscape of the United States. These efforts can take many names and forms—clinics, design thinking, entrepreneurial accelerators. But [Lozano and Sabicer] argue here that campus interventions alone are not sufficient...Enhanced creativity should be fostered and guided toward answering “real-life” problems; it should affect the very communities where our schools exist, even as its development prepares students for life after graduation… The main idea is that creativity is not fostered in isolation; rather, creativity is best enhanced when it is part of a collective and diverse ecosystem.”
University ecosystems and their values will need to focus on holistic learning, sign of the times education, service and vocation. Campuses eager to pivot can only benefit from a focused look at the creative impact of new learning so that innovative, entrepreneurial, social, service and sustainable disciplines can be benchmarks in continuing to answer those evolving real-life problems.
In understanding the application of creativity as a value in today's job market, Universities must look to educate not only on concepts related to creativity, but most importantly, to give students the chance to practice exercising creativity while receiving valuable feedback.
Our model of Applied Creativity stems from transdisciplinary learning where we can create a unity of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives. Meaning, the focus on Applied Creativity and the process in which it is employed spans all disciplines. It spans all students and educators. Transdisciplinary teaching and learning engages multiple voices, expertises and actions with the focus on humanity-centered design thinking. It’s a ‘change the world’ mindset that empowers all disciplines of study to think about, with a greater mission, a larger collaborative purpose with mankind squarely in the center of that purpose.
Applied Creativity is not simply a mindset, but a mindset with focus on Humanity-Centered Design. Unlike other national models for creative confidence where Human-Centered Design exists to propel design thinking forward for the individual person, Humanity-Centered is built to provide creative design for mankind; that is, humans as a group.
Applied Creativity is about being able to harness imagination and vision to effectively implement unexpected, innovative ideas that can change the world.
Over the years we will learn how to apply that insatiable curiosity and creative energy by wedding it to the disciplines, the passions and vocations of students, faculty, and staff across the ALL University campuses. We won’t just think outside the box – We will establish that there IS NO BOX and inspire the creative confidence to build something people haven’t seen or thought of before.
To empower a forward-thinking 21st century student with the ability to confidently develop the imaginative and creative skills necessary to excel and impact today’s innovative and global workforce regardless of degree focus.
The undergraduate certificate in Applied Creativity for Transformation will introduce students to the creative competencies that today’s job market demands, while applying those same skills to the students’ diverse disciplines of study with special focus on developing a personal mission, or purpose-based learning design, that is additive to their academic pursuits. Through the introduction of creative theory, critical perspective and innovative immersions within collaborative problem-solving, the student’s perception of what is and what can be in their field of study and the world they live in will broaden in creative, critical and innovative ways.