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Solving the Creativity Crisis: The "No Right Brain Left Behind" Challenge

The brightest creative minds from American industry are gathering to make sure schools teach conceptual, big-picture thinking.

Can the best and brightest from America's creative industries help solve the creativity crisis currently facing our schools? That's the hope of No Right Brain Left Behind, a "speed innovation challenge" designed to help schools make the leap from an outmoded 19th century education model that's focused solely on teaching students to know and apply information, to a "conceptual-era" 21st century approach grounded in creative, big-picture thinking.

Why does our education system need to make the shift? According to an IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs, creativity was identified "as the number one competitive edge" of the future, meaning the "soft skills" of the right brain need to be nurtured more than ever.

To help the process along, teams of out-of-the-box thinkers—folks at ad agencies, innovation consultancies, branding firms, design companies, communications schools, and other creative collectives—have stepped up to the plate this week during Social Media Week 2011 and are busy coming up with ideas. The idea can be a tool, an application, a product, or something completely fresh and unanticipated.

Once teams submit their idea, a panel of judges, including creativity rock star Sir Ken Robinson, representatives from TED, Behance, and yours truly, will choose three winning concepts. Winners will be announced in March, and, in an effort to move beyond brainstorming and smart thinking, they'll be piloted this year and in 2012.

If this fresh approach to engaging creative people in solving the world's problems is successful, the hope is to make it a yearly challenge. In the meantime, follow the process during Social Media Week on Twitter and Facebook.

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