This video is of the President’s Distinguished Lecture I gave at Stevens University on October 5th 2016.
It is often said that the key to innovative success is to fail fast. That is wrong. It is also misleading and dispiriting. The key to innovative success is to learn, search, discover, and create fast. Value creation is a branch of the learning sciences.
Graduates are entering a turbulent and demanding world. Job growth and prosperity have dramatically slowed and automation may eliminate half of today’s jobs. We are not currently creating the jobs and prosperity America needs.
We are in the global innovation economy. It moves fast, it is hyper competitive, and it has an abundance of major opportunities. But to develop them you must know how to innovate. Today relatively few professionals have those skills. Big companies are going away at record rates and almost all measures of innovative output are poor.
To thrive we must transform the way we innovate and give our workforce an essential skill — the ability to continuously create new innovations. America will never have the most R&D professionals. To create America’s share of meaningful jobs and prosperity, it must leverage core strengths and work smarter.
Around the world universities and schools are addressing these challenges by creating exciting new programs, like project-based curricula that teach the fundamentals of value creation. Stevens, WPI, Stanford, Olin, Finland’s Aalto, and many more are innovating the very nature of education. Today’s MOOCs will seem primitive in ten years.
Government R&D agencies are rethinking their policies because too often their impact on society is unsatisfactory. Companies are also working to figure out how to be better at innovation.
What today’s successful company, government R&D, venture capital, and university programs all have in common is the strict adherence to proven innovation best practices. Successful organizations like Apple, IDEO, SRI International, Stanford’s d.school, and DARPA have shown the power of these practices. These organizations all adhere to fundamental learning science principles. By bringing these two fields together—learning and innovation—we can transform both disciplines and help America and the world become increasingly prosperous while creating more meaningful jobs.