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Diane Ravitch Revised? Long associated with conservative views on education, Diane Ravitch recently has won wide acclaim from educators and others who do not identify with conservatism. The publication of "The Death and Life of the Great American School System" has been central to her newfound popularity because it is an effective critique of the market-based reforms….
Summit's first charter high school, Summit Prep, launched in , was featured in the film…. Picking winners. Interview by Diane Coutu. In the business world, "creativity" has become the latest buzzword.
How to attract, nurture, and direct the extraordinarily talented people who will come up with the next Lipitor, SonyWalkman, or iPod is an enduring topic among business-people. Socolow has considerable experience with the process of rooting out creativity. In this conversation with HBR senior editor Diane Coutu, he describes how recipients of the "genius grant"--half a million dollars with no strings attached--are chosen.
As significant as the money is, the recognition that comes with a fellowship may be more so. MacArthur grants provide powerful validation of the fellows' work, Socolow says, and that validation opens doors for people, whatever the field. Although the program keeps a lookout for entrepreneurs who are on the brink of major new advances, he believes that the market does a good job of rewarding the best ideas in business.
Replicating the MacArthur model in a company would entail giving some employees unlimited time and lots of money to follow their own inclinations--not very feasible in most contexts. Nevertheless, the program has learned a lesson that may be valuable for business: The kind of creativity that leads to important breakthroughs is extremely hard to find. And, says Socolow, exceptionally creative people aren't always the obvious suspects, who may simply be good at promoting themselves: "Listen to others and look in the least likely places Extend your networks and try to get information from as many people as possible, just as we do".