This incredibly bold statement is the title of Andrés Oppenheimer’s new book about the hope of Latin America and the 5 keys of innovation. It’s actually Crear o Morir because it’s written in Spanish.

51-rDjtbycL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Oppenheimer asks why the United States produced Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and countless other grand innovators, instead of any country in Latin America. This book is his answer to that question and the recommendations for what governments can do to foster innovation.

Spoiler alert: He thinks the key lies in education! 

But you already know that, right, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog?

Oppenheimer goes to Silicon Valley to interview leaders to try to find the recipe for the “secret sauce” that makes so many successful innovators. I just started reading it but already there are excellent recommendations for educators.

1) Diversity is key for creativity. He describes a scene in a small town in Silicon Valley where hardly any group of young people in coffee shops and on the street is of the same ethnicity. This struck me as ironic. Meanwhile, many people are lamenting the increase in diversity in their communities — and practically every school in the nation (world!?) is experiencing an increase in diversity — it turns out this is essential to creativity! How can we harness diversity in schools in order to create an environment of innovation?

2) Failure is essential for innovation. He says many nations in Latin America have a very low tolerance for failure. But Steve Jobs was fired from his own company before he came back to make Apple the brand it is today. How can we build a tolerance, no an acceptance, no an expectation(!) of failure as part of the learning process? That would be a huge shift from it’s current role in schools.

I’ll post another one about this book once I finish reading it. Do you have any answers to the questions above? Post below!