Entrevista a Ewan McIntosh

Bilbao, 9 de diciembre de 2018

Ewan McIntosh  (Foto de su propia página)

Ewan McIntosh se ha convertido, desde su Escocia natal, en un líder de la innovación educativa. Inspirado en la creatividad que se utiliza en otras organizaciones y medios de comunicación, comprendió que había grandes posibilidades de trasladar esas ventajas al mundo de la educación. Desde entonces, viaja por todo el mundo asesorando a colegios y empresas sobre proyectos que nacen de la creatividad, bien mediada, de sus propios miembros.

La foto que ha seleccionado Ewan pertenece a una acción formativa llevada a cabo en la International School of Luxembourg (enlace), donde su objetivo es que los propios alumnos y alumnas diseñen la dirección de su escuela comenzando con un bolígrafo y una nota adhesiva.

El resto de la entrevista, como en el anterior caso, la respetamos en su idioma original para disfrutar del conocimiento en su propia lengua, practicar y no perder detalle.

Ewan McIntosh and his team at NoTosh are award-winning educators who work with schools and universities to create inspiring learning experiences that get results. The team, based in Scotland, Melbourne, New York and Toronto, has a global reputation for researching and delivering new learning opportunities for schools, but also some of the world’s top creative, tech and engineering companies.
His book in Spanish:  Pensamiento de diseño en la escuela (enlace)
His book in English:  How to come up with great ideas (link)

J.B.- Should we learn in schools something that companies work more effectively? 

E.McI.- One third of our work is in companies outside the education sector, and what they are all at pains to do is include their customers’ and employees’ voices in the big decisions they are taking. In schools, I see the same. And in both cases, we’ve not yet cracked it. Involving the voices of students in their learning has to be more than setting up a student council to debate the colour of the lockers. It has to be more than a teacher allotting a few minutes to formative assessment routines in-between their lectures. 
Where we see the most innovation and impact on student outcomes, is where schools are public, loud and proud of the fact that students are at the centre of everything they do: hiring, planning and co-designing lessons, curriculum design. And we see this in places where curriculum is traditionally viewed as a tight constraint, within IB schools, from lower primary all the way through to the top end of high school. 
It is possible, across the Board, to really involve student voices, but it requires a mindset change from the adults in this game. It starts with politicians, perhaps, but it doesn’t end there. We can begin to make a bigger impact in the decisions we take in schools today. 
In our partner schools, students are key members of strategy design teams, laying out the direction of the organisation for years to come. They write the brief for architects ahead of multi-million dollar redesigns of buildings. They co-design learning projects with their teachers. These are also some of the best performing schools in the world. It works. 

J.B.- What are the 3 worst enemies of creativity at school?

E.McI.- 1) People who think they know what the answer is before digging deep to understand the problem. The problem is almost never the actual issue needing resolved, and so we waste a lot of time on creative ideas solving the wrong problem – or solving no real problem at all!
2) The idea that things can’t be changed – because somehow the way we do it today must be the best (and only) way of doing things. Nothing is that sacred, everything can be challenged and made better thanks to the challenge. 
3) A lack of creative toolkit slows down the potential in everyone – there are lots of tools one can use to be more creative, but often kids don’t know them and adults can feel a bit silly using them. But there is a lot more creativity once you get beyond brainstorms or just going it alone. 

J.B.- Then, can you name 3 aspects to improve creativity at school?

E.McI.- 1) Lightness. Folk tend to hold onto their ideas and expertise too tightly, meaning it’s harder to see new things on the horizon. Being light with one’s beliefs and understanding helps see what’s coming next. 
2) Smiles. You can’t do hard work if you’re not having fun. Developing a playful attitude and the skills to retain it helps develop creative mindset in any team. 
3) Skills. You need to know how to be creative – it’s not (just) a natural skill that some have and some do not. We can all be creative, but there is a case to knowing how. There are books, workshops and ideas all around us that help us work out ways to be creative, even when we’re not feeling particularly creative on any one day. 

J.B.- What is the latest idea you are spreading in your training sessions?

E.McI.- We don’t spread any specific idea – we try to provide the right tools and develop the skills for people to find ideas, or create them for themselves. Finding your own ideas to resolve challenges or take advantage of an opportunity is the hard part of creative thinking. It’s easy to cherrypick, or steal, others’ ideas. But knowing you’ve developed an idea that solves the right problem ahead, is a different universe of thinking. 

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