Are students capable of coming out with blockbuster ideas?

2012-05-12

The raging debate in our team has been whether students (our team picked out undergraduate engineering students in particular) are capable of generating blockbuster ideas for a thriving business/startup.
Before giving you both sides of the coin, I’ll tell you an anecdote about a large company trying to figure out what makes creative minds creative. This large company was really curious to find out the real mechanism which made the creative minds work. So, they did surveys and profiling to figure out (Education, cultural background, family details and so on) what was really happening in their minds. Zilch! They came out with no concrete patterns or reasons for the creativity in their organization.
Second round was face to face interviews to see if they were missing out something obvious. After a few interviews, they hit upon the key insight that they were looking for - creative guys thought that they were creative and the not-so-creative guys thought that they were not creative. Period! Nothing else! (As a side note, this is what neuro linguistic programming (NLP) is all about :))
With this background in mind, I go back to the original debate of whether students will come out with ideas. Sure, the students who really believe that they are creative will crack any problem given to them. The ones who think "Oh no, this is not my cup of tea to rub shoulders with the likes of Edison", will remain in the sideranks reading success stories of the creative world! I am going to build on this idea and will confidently say that the ones who believe in students, will find them to be intensively creative. While if you choose to believe that the students are not creative will find them to be unimaginative.
I choose to believe in the former and will continue to work with the young’uns to recharge my batteries :)

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