Providing opportunities for students to work together on group projects can help them appreciate that different people bring different skills and approaches to solving a problem. Alistair Mowat of ZESPRI discusses how these experiences can help students recognise and value their particular skills and those of others and better prepare them to contribute effectively in an innovative workplace.
A challenge for students
Have students identify opportunities available in their own school or local environment where they could learn to work together with a group of people with diverse skills. Discuss ways these experiences could be of benefit in their working lives.
It’s important for the education system, particularly when we’re trying to develop an innovative culture within our companies and commerce, to create environments where groups of children can come together and be able to work on projects where they can see the strengths and opportunities of these diverse thinking styles. That’s an effective way of making different children recognise they have particular expertise or skills, and then they realise that those skills are being valued in a situation which brings together this diversity.
When we look at the development of these innovative skills in children, they become critical to the opportunities that they can realise, particularly when they leave school. The jobs, the markets that they’ll be operating in are becoming more and more diverse than possibly those that their parents and grandparents had to deal with.
Increasingly, innovation is a key point of difference for many different companies, and innovation happens in many different ways. I mean it may be innovation in the way that you employ or manage people. It may be innovation in how you carry out functions within a business. It may run through to the formulation of new products and services.
Dr Martin Markotsis, SCION
Alistair Mowat, ZESPRI
Mathew Bouma Armand Combrink