Non-Conformity and Higher Education

by Juliana Trichilo Cina

I’m very interested in the revolution of education. I believe it’s an organic revolution and not one originating from within the industry.


We have been brainwashed to believe formal education is the best road to success. But time and time again we see amazing success stories from college and even high school drop outs – Bill Gates and Richard Branson are two great examples.


In his Ted.com lecture, Ken Robinson says traditional models of education stifle creativity. Education teaches us conformity and serves the industrial needs of our economy. This fast food model of learning only produces a few items on a predetermined menu. Creative minds might recreate the menu altogether if given the freedom to do so.

Even though a Bachelor’s degree is growing more and more common on resumes around the world, the workforce is still impoverished when it comes to the transferrable skills they need. As cited in the New York Times, “In one 2008 survey of more than 2,000 businesses in Washington State, employers said entry-level workers appeared to be most deficient in being able to “solve problems and make decisions,” “resolve conflict and negotiate,” “cooperate with others” and “listen actively.”

I find this absence of soft skills particularly telling. Education is failing to enable creative thinkers. Instead, mass production is spitting out one dimensional graduates that are limited by their inability to think outside the educational box from which they come.

I am not against education. In fact, I am a firm believer in lifelong learning. But I think we need to re-evaluate. As a society we must stop telling the non-conformists among us that they are stupid. Without the variety of skills individuals bring to society, we would not be where we are today. Just imagine if we encouraged the creativity we have been stifling.

I offer a number of soft skill training courses to individuals and companies. The training I offer directly relates to strategic communications. If you think you could use some informal, creative training, give me a call. But if I don’t hear from you, please conduct some self-education. Discover your talents and don’t let any nay sayers get in the way.

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