We all have a big interest in education. We should, because education prepares us for the future. A future which we can’t grasp. We have no idea what will happen in the future, we simply do not know where we will be in 5 years, let alone 20 or 30 years.
So education goes deep, incredibly deep. Ask someone about his education and often they will go into the deepest details of what kind and level of education they have. Maybe they’ll brag about an MBA, or they will try to get away from the subject, embarrassed that their education may not live up to the expectations from the people listening to the answer. Education touches everyone, including me and you.
And now have a look at education today, education - no matter how old you are- is meant to do one thing: prepare you for what’s to come in the future. Everywhere in the world, education has a similar hierarchy of subjects and a way of dealing with errors. Languages and mathematics always come first, no matter where you go in this world. These are the most important subjects that we can learn of. The least valued are subjects like dance, drama or art, subjects where creativity is pushed forward.
This leads us to believe there are some major challenges with our global education system, and the hierarchy mentioned above.
Firstly we have achieved enormous progress around the globe in giving people access to education. This means that the volume of people with a degree is growing explosively, and thus the actual value of a traditional education goes down tremendously fast.
Secondly there’s the way we judge success in education. The method is simple, you make no errors, you get an A, or a 10 out of 10 score. You make too many errors you get punished, and points get deducted. There is punishment after punishment for making errors, as of the day that we start education till the day we finish.
To explain this with an example, I will quote a fascinating story, which I heard from Sir Ken Robinson during a conference:
There’s this little girl, not even ten years old.The girl hardly ever paid attention in class, according to her teacher. In the drawing lesson however, she did pay attention. This one day, her teacher walks up to her, and sees the girl drawing. The teacher asks her: what are you drawing? The girl tells her: I am drawing a picture of God. Upon which the teacher says: But nobody knows what God looks like. And the girl said: They will in a minute…
This story is only to imply that kids don’t know. But they will have a go, and are not afraid of failure, of being wrong. Yet education teaches us to be afraid of being wrong. If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.
In other words, by the time we’re adults, we will lose the capacity of being creative. Our whole education system is focused on mistakes. The worst thing you can do is make a mistake, you’ll be judged for it, and your grade will be lowered. In short, we’re being educated out of creativity.
The conclusion we come to is this: our education system is not focused on the future. And it should be. The world is asking us to be creative. Yet, no subject that teaches us to be creative is valued in our education system. Not a single subject is focused on actual creativity. Creativity however is what business is about today, and especially tomorrow.
The proof of how important creativity is is visible everywhere around us:
Working in a factory is not as safe as it has been over the past 80 years. Big car companies have proven to us that factory work no longer provides a safe life-long job. Big soft-drink factories no longer show the growth they have shown for decades. In stead these huge companies are competing with all kinds of start-ups with new energy drinks and fruitier flavors. Hoteliers that do not know how to position or sell their product in a creative way lose hundreds, thousands of consumers. Hotels that don’t communicate actively over brand new social networks and blogs are running behind. Hotel Managers that do not deal actively with consumer reviews are missing the boat, global developments are simply getting ahead of them.
The way we do business has changed forever. The way we look at education and hotel management training should change accordingly.