Why break down silos?
Those with status as experts run the risk of complacency in their field -- forgetting that innovation depends on continuous learning on their part as well as on the part of people who learn from them.
For me, this is particularly vexing in the field of education. It seems reasonable that the guardians of children's development should hold themselves accountable for continually asking questions, wondering, being curious, seeing things new. Smugness is a death knell to critical thinking and creativity -- and a very bad habit to introduce to a classroom.
I recently sent a letter to a well-known writer who also heads a foundation on innovation to ask how I could contribute my experience to their mission of improving thinking skills. I suggested we could have useful conversations due both to the overlaps and differences in our work.
The expert replied:
"We do not have a program for incorporating facilitators into [the work of our foundation], primarily because it takes many years of thinking about and applying the theory of critical thinking in many different domains to appreciate the power of it and to become adept at teaching it. And, though many people show initial interest, few manage to make critical thinking a lifetime commitment."
In place of a conversation, I was offered the opportunity to pay for workshops or conferences in which, I can only imagine, the foundation would assert it's position as authority and relegate its experienced participants as sadly incapable of focus.
I wonder whether or not the expert includes the army of underpaid, hard-working teachers from primary middle, secondary, and post-secondary schools, dedicated parents, or diligent managers in businesses in the group who "fail to make critical thinking a lifelong committment."
I also wonder whether these professionals would have something to say about such a statement -- if only they had heard it.