Creativity is now the world’s most valuable commodity: it can’t be outsourced or automated, and it generates the innovations that lead to new businesses and industries.
North Carolina needs more of it.
Since May 2009, IEI has been actively involved in its Creativity program of work. Through focus groups, larger community conversations, and the 25th Annual Emerging Issues Forum, IEI has seen first hand North Carolina’s collective potential to be a creativity economy leader and a model for other states.
At the end of 2010, IEI convened its Business Committee on Creativity. Over two meetings, business leaders from across the state gathered together to discuss ways in which North Carolina can equip students with the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century workforce.
Business Committee on Creativity Recommendations
The Institute for Emerging Issues convened a Business Committee on Creativity (BCC) to offer recommendations to ensure K-12 education is aligned with the creative skills businesses need from their employees. The BCC makes the following three recommendations to ensure that students, and ultimately the state’s workforce, have the necessary creative skills:
1. Business Must Communicate to the Policy Community the Urgency of Developing Creative Skills in the K-12 Curriculum
Business must communicate to decision makers that success in a world of constant innovation requires that North Carolina swiftly and intentionally promote creativity in all aspects of K-12 education. North Carolina’s future workers need the requisite skills to compete in this new creativity economy and it is the joint responsibility of the business and education communities to ensure that students graduate from high school prepared for college and, ultimately, the workforce. This simple but important message must be shared by business with the following policy audiences: N.C. State Board of Education, N.C. Department of Public Instruction, N.C. Education Oversight Committee and the N.C. House and N.C. Senate Education Committees, N.C. School Boards Association, N.C. Parent-Teacher Association, N.C. Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, and Joining Our Businesses & Schools (JOBS) Commission.
Business must communicate to decision makers that success in a world of constant innovation requires that North Carolina swiftly and intentionally promote creativity in all aspects of K-12 education. North Carolina’s future workers need the requisite skills to compete in this new creativity economy and it is the joint responsibility of the business and education communities to ensure that students graduate from high school prepared for college and, ultimately, the workforce. This simple but important message must be shared by business with the following policy audiences:
Communication of this message should come from business and not exclusively from the educational community. The message should emphasize that STEM education and education in creative skills are both needed to compete in today’s economy.
2. Business and K-12 Education Must Form an Enduring Partnership through the Creation of a Social Network Designed to Make Direct Connections between Educators and Local Business Leaders
Business must expand and strengthen its relationship with K-12 educators to ensure that essential creative skills required for today’s workforce are learned in the classroom. Communication must occur directly between teachers and local business leaders, therefore allowing businesses to provide available resources that will facilitate creativity in the classroom. The BCC recommends the creation of a social network through which educators, students and businesses can communicate and make connections that will enhance classroom instruction. Educators can post their specific needs – such as finding business people to teach entrepreneurship classes or offer student internships – and local business leaders can connect directly with teachers based on the resources they are able to provide. Students will gain the opportunity to have business leaders as role models while being exposed to various career choices available and skills needed for success in those occupations. Additionally, businesses will invest in the creative education of students who may someday be members of their workforce. North Carolina’s $3.7 billion budget deficit presents an opportunity to solidify this education?business partnership as a model that works when resources are scarce.
It is recommended that the online social network be piloted in one of North Carolina’s seven economic development regional partnerships. When it is ready to be launched across North Carolina, the business community should host the site.
3. Business and K-12 Education Must Engage in a Broad based Marketing Campaign Targeting the Public
Business and the education community should develop and execute a marketing campaign geared toward promoting the connections between a creative education and economic growth. The campaign should focus on two principles: (1) in order for businesses and the workforce to thrive in the new creativity economy, students must build and expand their right?brained skills such as problem?solving, communication, collaboration and entrepreneurship and (2) this education culture shift requires an enduring partnership between education, business and government.
This campaign should be created by students and reinforce the idea that creativity is a vital asset to North Carolina’s future workforce because more jobs depend on a complex set of creative skills to power economic growth.
The campaign can include writing op?eds, broadcasting public support announcements and developing a logo identified with this message. The marketing campaign can also announce the establishment of the online network that connects businesses to educators (see #2 above) and offers a friendly competition among North Carolina’s seven economic development regions to determine which community can be the first to test-pilot the network.
Click here to view the complete list of BCC members.
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