Knowledge Building International

Society’s need for new knowledge gives urgency to innovation and creative thinking as collective enterprises. Ingenuity gap is a term coined by Thomas Homer-Dixon (2000) to describe the challenge created by complex problems with emergent properties that evolve faster than solutions. Consider, for example, climate change, pandemics, threat of nuclear war, fake news, access to drinking water, poverty, increasing have/have-not gaps in economic, social and educational structures and institutions. “Innovation-driven” is a term OECD has used to characterize organizations and societies that depend increasingly on innovation and knowledge creation to address emerging challenges (OECD, 2010). UNESCO frames the knowledge society challenge in terms reflected in the theme of KBSI2018: “Nobody should be excluded from knowledge societies, where knowledge is a public good, available to each and every individual” (Cowel, 2005, p.18). Standing in the way is the rich-get-richer story of modern times—a story as true for education as for the economy: those with more knowledge get more knowledge. Education’s standard approaches cannot stand up to this onslaught of needs for new knowledge and new solutions.

Knowledge Building enculturates students into a community dedicated to cultural norms that are prevalent in innovative, knowledge-creating organizations of all sorts: collective responsibility for community, not simply personal knowledge; sustained idea improvement; a “surpassing ourselves” mindset; and students taking charge at levels customarily reserved for teachers and curriculum designers. In accord with Peter Drucker’s declaration (1985, p.151), innovation becomes “part and parcel of the ordinary, the norm, if not routine.” We are constantly asked how Knowledge Building compares to inquiry-based learning, project-based learning, New Pedagogies for Deep Learning; integrative thinking, global competencies, design thinking–whatever the educational concept of the day. Our answer: If you can do Knowledge Building you can do all the rest. That’s because Knowledge Building is the very means by which knowledge across all areas is advanced.

We had a wonderful conference! Participants from 21 countries, and our special guests, 35 students from Ontario, Quebec, Mexico and Hong Kong! Thanks to all for coming!