Higher Education for the New Decade: Innovation, Technology and Creativity

In partnership with LSE Ideas and Gulf Futures Center

Higher Education for the New Decade examines how higher education can adapt in the new decade to prepare the workforce for the challenges of the century. It brings together education and industry leaders to discuss the value of innovation, technology and creativity in a higher education degree.

Predictions that technology would disrupt higher education have been popular throughout the last decade. The spread and ease of access to online platforms have indeed created new opportunities for learners and teachers, but these have not provoked a revolution in the system. Companies, not technology have proven to be the big disruptors in the 2010s. Traditional higher education is facing a challenge in the coming decade from new education providers spearheaded by major corporations that can provide tailored learning experiences that meet both their employment needs and the expectations of the students.

The foundations of STEM – Science; Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – have been to apply and integrate knowledge to solve the challenges facing humanity in the twenty-first century. The great advances of our history however share both a root in STEM and in the Arts; consider the great polymaths Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla and Benjamin Franklin who built a new world out of the intersections of disciplines. Or the major founders and chief executives Susan Wojcicki (YouTube), Bracken Darrell (Logitech), Stewart Butterfield (Slack), Jack Ma (Alibaba) who all hold degrees in the Arts. Universities have recently been promoting new Liberal Arts and STEAM programmes in an effort to recruit students, with a promise to make them all problem-solving employees and innovators. But is innovation really found in the intersections between disciplines, and is this even relevant to the employers searching for an efficient labour force?

Through two panel discussions, the dialogue takes a solution-oriented approach to better understand how we can deliver a relevant and quality educational program to students of the 21st century. The output will include a written report available to the public through our websites.