Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Need some help? Think Humanities!

Thanks to my new hero, Worst Professor Ever (oh yeah? Try my classes), I'm led to this article in the - of all places - Harvard Business Review. It makes we want to storm our management suite, prop open the VC's eyes á là Clockwork Orange and force her and her minions to read it over and over and over and over and over and over again. Then I'd slip down to London and read it out loud to David Willetts (universities minister, recently blamed feminism for ending social mobility) and Michael Gove (moronic education minister) while emphasising every syllable with swift kicks to their tender parts.

Some extracts:

Want Innovative Thinking? Hire from the Humanities
This is because our educational systems focus on teaching science and business students to control, predict, verify, guarantee, and test data. It doesn't teach how to navigate "what if" questions or unknown futures. As Amos Shapira, the CEO of Cellcom, the leading cell phone provider in Israel, put it: "The knowledge I use as CEO can be acquired in two weeks...The main thing a student needs to be taught is how to study and analyze things (including) history and philosophy."
People trained in the humanities who study Shakespeare's poetry, or Cezanne's paintings, say, have learned to play with big concepts, and to apply new ways of thinking to difficult problems that can't be analyzed in conventional ways. 
If you want out-of-the-box thinking, you need to free up people's inherent creativity. Humanists are trained to be creative and are uniquely adapted to leading creative teams. (A case in point: Steve Jobs, who openly acknowledges how studying the beautiful art of calligraphy led him to design the Macintosh interface.) 

No comments: