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Education - Creativity

It is not known whether one's ability to imagine, to conceive of and then clearly articulate abstract ideas, is genetically determined or something learned while growing up. Conventional wisdom says that creativity is rare and that it cannot be taught. We know from practical experience, however, that creativity can be discouraged. It happens every day in the media, social relations, religion, business, government and academia where pressures to conform are ever present. We also know from recent sociological studies and our own experiences that communities that encourage creativity attract creative people.

The Institute intends to promote and encourage creativity across the full spectrum of its activities, but most importantly in the utilization of mathematics and computational sciences. The creative application of these disciplines underwrites breakthrough discoveries in the same manner that the creative use of words produces great literature.

The promoters of the Institute believe that recent new discoveries and the technologies they engender have created a large and expanding gap between what we know and what we are able to do in developing our regional economy. This is particularly true in the fields of computational and systems science where computer chip technology, high speed networking, advances in sensors, continuous event monitoring and automatic control are ushering in a new age of intelligent distributed systems that will change the way business is done, the design and operation of manufactured devices, and the manner in which services are conceived of and delivered in many, if not all, of the industries in this region. Moreover, it will change in fundamental ways the nature of public and private education.

To address these anticipated changes and the benefits they portend, the Institute plans to place significant emphasis on educational outreach programs for three targeted audiences:

  • Executives in our targeted industry segments who must manage increasingly complex enterprises powered by products and services whose development, delivery, operation and support are progressively more dependent on distributed, real-time computational and systems technologies.
  • Government and industry executives engaged in economic, legislative and environmental policy development and program management.
  • K-12 science and mathematics educators attempting to introduce students to the computational and systems sciences and technologies and their role in modern life, from products they buy to services they receive.

The goal of the outreach will be to stimulate a community-wide discussion of fundamental questions about creativity, innovation and the pace of adoption of technology in the regional economy. Such questions include:

  • Why do some enterprises adopt a given innovation before others?
  • Why do some innovations diffuse more quickly than others?
  • Do certain innovations promote more rapid adoption of other innovations?
  • What is the dynamic between incenting creativity and being risk averse in our regional ethos?
  • Who are the creative leaders in research, education, business and government in the region and on what core sciences and technologies does their creativity depend?