Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Skills for innovation and growth

News that the federal government's next budget will focus on innovation and skills is welcome. A few years ago I wrote an article about how innovation skills - what I called innovation literacy - can be taught, practiced and learned. And while I was focused at the time on applied research conducted in colleges, the outcomes associated with innovation skills are equally applicable across the entire educational spectrum, including primary and secondary. Innovation skills are needed for us to enable a full spectrum innovation capacity in Canada. I recently came across this post on skills that includes a very useful set of outcomes and "encyclopedia of real skills" - what the author calls soft skills (and which is a much better term). Focusing on what I have previously called the transactional and transformative potential of education means we can focus on outcomes specific to careers in addition to learning how to learn, and learning how to be an effective and able participant in society.  This is what Academica refers to as Education & Career Development: An Academic Mission for the 21st Century. Being able to hold these two seemingly opposing elements in mind at once is essential for future-proofing our society and economy. The reality is that these are not opposing elements at all, but rather the foundation for resilience.

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