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Where will the next Steve Jobs come from?

Where will the next Steve Jobs come from?

We Americans like to congratulate ourselves for producing great thinkers, business leaders, artists and brain-on-fire innovators. Last week, we lost one of our very best in Steve Jobs.

The eulogies have largely focused on the cool techno-social changes he spun out over the course of his life, but I am left with a gnawing question that goes straight to the heart of our education system: Where will the next Steve Jobs come from?

Jobs’ immense intellectual gifts were not nurtured through formal schooling. In fact, his “official” higher-education experience was, to say the least, disappointing to both Reed College and to Jobs. After six months, he withdrew from the college, but he had the insight to spend the next 18 months popping in and out of classes that developed his creativity. In his own off-center way, Jobs invented an education experience that would serve him well as he helped shape 3 1/2 decades of blazingly fast technological change.

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