Results tagged “STEAM”

Davos 2014: A View from the World Economic Forum

Note: This post is cross-posted from our Public Policy blog.

WEF 2014

I recently returned to California from a fantastic visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. It was my first time at Davos, and everything you have heard is true—it is an opportunity to cram a year’s worth of conversations into a few days, and talk directly to amazing thinkers. I am still digesting the discussions, with European and Asian government officials, representatives from the nonprofit and educational sectors, and other business people like me. The news media did a nice job of reporting the major themes that came out of the discussions at Davos. However, there were several interesting themes I picked up on that weren’t widely reported. Let me share a few.

First, Tom Friedman may have taught us all that The World Is Flat eight years ago—an eon ago in Internet time—but the insights in his book are as fresh as ever. Even the bankers were talking about the opportunities presented as the population of the developing world gets online and educated at an unprecedented rate. What this means for Adobe: we need to make sure that we are offering products and services that perform well in all countries where we are able to operate, and not just in our traditional developed-world markets. We believe Adobe provides the world’s best tools for creative people to express their ideas, and we have a responsibility to enable as many people as possible to have access to our tools, via whatever devices and Internet connections are available. As my colleagueDavid Wadhwani has described in the past, Adobe’s role is to help people tell their stories. And, of course, the Cloud and the lower price points of the subscription business model gives Adobe a mechanism to reach customers in the developing world that we couldn’t before with a traditional sales model and the drain of software piracy.

Second, as I took in lectures and presentations, I was struck by the importance of communications skills. One can have the most jaw-dropping research findings, but, unless the ideas are conveyed with impact and creativity, they fall on deaf ears. Really, the whole Davos experience, in which government officials are mixed with artists, explorers, academics, and musicians, is a recognition of the power of creativity. I had a number of conversations with government officials about STEAM – how the addition of the Arts to STEM (a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math curriculum) can pay huge dividends. Research shows that adding that “A” can help cultivate better problem solving skills, more academic engagement, and, of course, better communication.

Finally, governments around the world are increasingly aware of the need to engage citizens online. Many government officials realize the unprecedented opportunity at their disposal in assisting their constituents electronically. Whether it is the astounding technological advances in being able to serve up real-time, relevant content, or engaging content that can now be rendered to large majorities of citizens on mobile devices, government officials are now seeing the tremendous value of electronic engagement with citizens. Citizens are also consumers, and they carry into their interactions with governments expectations fueled by their interactions with best-of-breed commercial apps and Websites. As these citizen expectations increase, the new demands on governments to effectively engage their audiences is extraordinary.  To citizens accustomed to apps and online services that iterate continuously, a government Web portal with the capabilities of even two years ago misses the mark.  Thankfully, there is no lack of leadership and ideas when it comes to reaching more citizens with more information in ways that have never been available before.

We all know the positive impact that can happen when diverse groups work to solve problems. This year’s Davos had no shortage of problems to solve, but I was encouraged by the number of creative ideas being discussed and the appetite to work in earnest to solve them.

Congratulations to the 2013 Winners of the Congressional Art Competition!

Tacy Trowbridge Winners CAC 2013Each spring, high school students from around the United States are honored by Congress through a visual art competition. Since its beginning in 1982, more than 650,000 students have participated. Each year, winners from more than 400 Congressional Districts are invited to an awards ceremony in the U.S. Capitol and their works are displayed in the busy hallways beneath the capitol building. Adobe was honored to attend the event and help celebrate students’ creativity and their achievements.

It is particularly important to celebrate creative student work in light of recent study results about the barriers to creativity in education, which revealed that:

-          Almost 90% of parents and educators believe that fostering creativity in education will fuel the economies of tomorrow

-          More than 70% of parents and educators believe that creativity is not valued by the current education system

As we look to the future, creativity is essential to drive innovation and ultimately to make the world a better place. Innovation is not the sole domain of entrepreneurs, of engineers, or of programmers. Artists create meaning, communicate ideas and help us all see new problems and solutions. To succeed, we must not only invest in STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – but also in the arts to grow our economy for the future. We need to expand our focus from STEM to STEAM. Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (pictured above), one of this year’s co-sponsors of the event, is also a co-founder of the Congressional STEAM Caucus and has been active in advocating the value of creativity.

These students are already sharing and expressing creative ideas. Their creativity inspires hope and these students will lead the kind of innovation that improves our lives and solves the real problems we will face in the decades to come.

To further inspire self-expression and innovation, Adobe invites students to join the broader creative community by giving each winner a free year-long subscription to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I want to extend my warmest congratulations to all of the students who participated and shared their ideas with us. We can’t wait to see what you create next!

Adobe Education Speaks Out: STEM to STEAM

sxswedu-portfolio-picture1Our economic growth and health as a nation rely on our collective ability to innovate. The most successful innovations – across healthcare, education, and the environment – result from the combination of creative thinking, world-class technology, and cutting-edge design. But today’s education system needs to do a better job of setting our students up for success in today’s global workplace. One area we think is critical is around fostering creative thinking. Creativity can no longer be treated as an elective in education; it must be core to the way we teach and learn. STEAM – adding Art and creativity to the national imperative around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) – is an important step forward here.

In collaboration with the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and a broad range of education and industry partners, Adobe is working to drive awareness and impact in this area. Part of this work will take place at the SXSW Education event next week in Austin, Texas, in the panel session called, “STEM to STEAM: Full Circle from Education to Economy.” I am thrilled to join other panelists such as Ainissa Ramirez (Yale University), Rosemarie Truglio (Sesame Workshop), Matt Goldman (Blue School & Blue Man Group) and John Maeda (Rhode Island School of Design) to discuss how art and design methods can be introduced into STEM-centric learning. We’d like to invite you to join us in one of the following ways:

  1. Join us at SXSWedu. If you are attending this year’s SXSWedu conference, please join us on March 6 at 1:30 p.m. at the Austin Convention Center Room 16AB. We’re also hosting a STEAM social that night. For more information and to RSVP, go here.
  2. Join the conversation. Share your thoughts and comments using the hashtag #SXSWSTEAM. If you are attending the SXSWedu panel please share your takeaways using the above hashtag.
  3. Tweet to Give. For every mention of #AdobeSXSW on Twitter and Instagram, we will donate $1 up to $10,000 to STEM to STEAM. Learn more about our conversation for a cause here.

Thanks,

Jon Perera: @jon_perera

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