On the edge of creativity – what’s in it for adult education?

The 21st century presents a different set of challenges than earlier and a new work environment for people entering the job market. The traditional career path of working yourself up the ladder in a large organization belongs to the past. Today, many new jobs are created by small organizations and new businesses that expect their employees to be adaptable, flexible, and to form self-directed relational working teams. The rapid changes have emphasized the ability to learn, to adapt, to interact, and to create new opportunities and education is seen as a driver for facilitating the growth of these competences.
In this key-note, recent insights from research on creativity will be presented and related to challenges within adult education. Two major questions stand out as vital points of focus in the presentation.
The first major question, to be addressed in the key-note, is if the pressing demands on employees in the late-modern workplace to be more creative and innovative will also effect adult education, and how it will or should be organized? The key-note will present an analysis of the kinds of learning that are needed for employees to become more creative and innovation and the nature of creative learning will be illustrated with empirical examples from the presenter’s own recent research on creative learning in innovative projects in high-tech industries. One point of departure in the key-note, based on this research, is that there is no such thing as ‘instant creativity’, and that one of the biggest mistakes in the educational creative industry, as it currently stands, is that we often come to equate creativity with yellow post-it’s and various sorts of ‘quick-fix’ workshops. It is therefore much more fruitful to deeply analyse what kinds of competences organisations striving for creative and innovative competences will actually need to succeed. The blooming research on everyday creativity in the workplace can therefore become a major driver and inspiration for development in the understanding of what and how adults learn and what they would need to learn creatively?
The second major question addressed in the key-note is if the focus on experimentation and exploratory learning in creative learning studies can fuel new ideas on how to improve adult education so that more participants learn more and even better? How might adult education draw on insights from this developing field? What do studies on creativity teach us about motivation and learning and what kinds of key points could be made to make the most of adult learning when needed? Why is it old-school to “think out of the box” and much more cool to “work on the edge of the book”?