5 Minds for the Future

Dr Howard Gardner published a very interesting book called 5 Minds for the Future – this is but one of his many ground-breaking books and ideas he published, most notably Multiple Intelligences and one of my personal faves, The Unschooled Mind. 

In this book, he outlined the specific cognitive abilities that would be ‘game-changing’ and ‘compulsory’ to thrive in the leadership of businesses, governments and communities in the near future. They are :

  1. The Disciplinary Mind – mastery of major schools of thought
  2. The Synthesizing Mind – ability to integrate ideas from different disciplines into coherent whole
  3. The Creating Mind – capacity to uncover and clarify new problems, questions and phenomena
  4. The Respectful Mind – awareness of and appreciation for differences among human beings and groups
  5. The Ethical Mind – fulfillment of one’s responsibilities as a worker and citizen

I found the book and ideas presented very convincing. Recent research and conclusions in neuroscience and social behavior are also leading many futurists and educators to believe that there needs to be equal measure of future and past looking and learning to nurture future leaders who are responsible, ethical and accountable. That’s the trick, isn’t it? In a world of disposable income, relationships and ambitions, the one thing that remains at the end is the legacy we leave behind, who gets to deal with it?

If you look at the 5 minds, it is almost a progressive learning (life long, at least) journey. For example, schools teach you to have a Disciplinary Mind. University education is best positioned to provide the Synthesizing Mind, a PHD or Masters would give you the Creating Mind, and work and on-the-job experience would give you the Respectful Mind. Lastly, if we get that far, as you grow older and wiser (hopefully), and kids and grandkids come along, you’ll be tempered to form the Ethical Mind. Pretty much sums it up, eh?

Where does spirituality come in? Where can we introduce spirituality into the equation and not only accelerate the process, but balance it? If you look at the journey, as you progress, spirituality would play a bigger and bigger role, regardless of your spiritual or religious inclination.

Looking at the state of the world today, we would do well to nurture future leaders with the right values to make the world a better place. What can you do to kickstart the revolution?



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