Innovation needs in-depth knowledge; superficial knowledge won’t do, points out one of the members of National Innovation Strategy (NIS). Mohammed Thalib al Kiyumi, a member of the Human Capital Pillar of NIS, says two factors are important in innovation: education and economy. “If we have skillful and innovative outputs from our educational system — basic or higher education – then we can have an impact on our economy because economy is heavily dependent on innovation.” The Human Capital Pillar of NIS consists of representatives from entities such as academic, entrepreneurs and experts from the government and private sectors. One of the major objectives of the Human Pillar is to create an ideal environment to increase the capacity for innovation.
The four domains of the Human Capital Pillar are education, training and research & development. The fourth is environment, which nurtures innovation.
In each of these domains, strategic and procedural goals as well as recommendations have been set.For example, in education, the goal is how to increase the capacity of the people to innovate and improve their creative thinking abilities. “We achieve strategic goals through procedural goals for which we have come up with recommendations. The recommendations are initiatives that are to be taken by people and some of the entrepreneurs and the entities,” said Al Kiyumi.
He said some initiatives are already existing such as the programme offered by the Ministry of Education called Cognition Development Programme, which sees inter-school competitions.
“Students come up with some amazing projects. The other example is incubators, which are comprehensive programmes because they include the subject, teachers and most importantly, classrooms with advanced technology. The teacher trains students to come up with creative ideas. I hope such ideas are generated in all governorates.”
“There is a moderate relation between creativity output and intelligence,” said Al Kiyumi, who teaches Educational Psychology and Research Methodology at Sohar University.
“People who are highly intelligent need not necessarily be creative. Personality traits are important to be understood such as motivation, curiosity and imagination, risk-taking and they are all influential in creative and innovation outputs. Researchers with many years of work have found there is a strong and positive relationship between these kind of personality traits and creativity/ innovation output. It is these traits that give people the perseverance to persist with their goal. Creativity takes time, sometimes weeks and other times years, to work on problems. Where do they get the energy or motivation? It is from these traits.”
According to him, “This is one of the reasons why it is extremely important to redesign our curriculum, but it is also important to promote, cultivate and develop personality traits of the people. Creativity needs environment with autonomy and freedom.”
“All of the ideas of students should be welcomed. We have two minds in our mindset, the critical mind and the creative mind. We can observe the creative minds of the children. A child tries to discover and asks many questions but when he enters the school the critical mind surpasses the creative mind because of the many restrictions that children have in schools. We look at the curriculum as facts but in innovation the story is different because we have to work on the problem. We have an undefined problem and a well-defined problem. In a well-defined problem, we know 1+1=2, but in innovation we have to create original and novel ideas and get in-depth knowledge and also work on an ambiguous problem.”
Ambiguous problems, according to him, challenge you to provide some alternatives and solutions to the problems. In the first stage, routine solutions will come initially and later on if you give the learners more time the creative ideas will illuminate.