Liberal Skills in the 21st Century: Moving to Routine â€śLeapfrogâ€? Knowledge Production and Innovation
By Arthur M. Harkins, Ph.D. & John Moravec, Ph.D.
Leapfrog means to jump over obstacles to achieve goals. It means to get ahead of the competition or the present state of the art through innovative, time-saving means.
One example of leapfrog is Finlandâ€™s jump to wireless phones, saving that country the cost of deploying an expensive copper wire system. Another example is present in the Kent, Washington, public school system, which now permits students to use wireless Web devices to help them access information to better pass tests. Leapfrog has also become a major strategy of developing countries wishing to avoid catch-up efforts that otherwise portend a high likelihood of continued followership. A similar approach to gaining the lead rather than assuming a persistent runner-up role has been adopted by many industries, colleges, and individuals.
As do many others, such as Friedman (2000; 2005), Pink (2005), and Florida (2004; 2005), we see a trend toward the expansion of applied knowledge production and innovation within burgeoning global trends, cultures and markets. Knowledge based work is now regularly conducted by design and innovation workers, some exemplars of which are creative teachers, designers, artists, storytellers, game developers, webmasters, and media content creators. These capabilities are expressions of the liberal skills, or applied derivations of the liberal arts and related disciplines and subject matter fields.