From Date - Jul 25, 2020

Why 5+5 = ? is not the right question

New technologies are making it increasingly easy to change ideas into products and services. This can be exemplified through industries like the music industry. An industry that thought that downloading would obliterate its profits - instead it just transformed its business model. One could argue that a similar revolution needs to take place within the educational industry.

It is worthy of note that the music and film industries profits combined have been superseded by a brand new industry that of digital gaming. I mention this in passing to reinforce my claim that much of what went before as good practice was neither good then nor is it readily applicable to today's changing world.

What we have effectively unleashed are new routes to self-expression as we move towards a world where the robot will take care of robotic work allowing the human to flourish creatively. This may take some time to instill itself in places where the price of human labour is exceedingly low but it has already happened in regions like Europe.

A prime example of this shift is that according to the OECD in 2018 49% of the income into London comes from the Financial Services through the City and a similar sum comes from the Creative Industries and Service Industries. London manufactures virtually nothing. It is a financial and ideas capital. This is a trend that is going global and it is reflected in other major cities across the planet.

To fully profit from this will require a change of mindset at every level of society. If governments need creative citizens in order that their economies remain competitive then they need to see their citizens as creative potential and not just bundles of need. All agencies including schools must recognise the learner as a huge untapped asset upon which our development depends and that they are not seen as vessels to be filled with declarative learning.


Traditional declarative learning would look like the question 5+5 =?. We would argue that we need to phrase our questions differently. There is far greater potential in the non-declarative question ?+? = 10. The learning here at e5 is built around this premise. The members act as the motor of their own learning whilst faculty act as the GPS. Another way of putting it is that one good question is worth a thousand bad ones!

We finish by exemplifying the point with a story. A couple of years ago a student turned up at our studio here in Geneva. As he walked in I asked him "what was he good at"? he instantly replied "nothing". So I took a deep breath, realising that if you ask a stupid question you are likely to get a stupid answer. I then re-framed the question and asked him to tell me about the motorbike helmet he was carrying. He then spoke for a good 30 minutes about his passion for motorbikes. This led to his passion for sport and especially skiing and most of all water surfing. Not surprisingly that same character (who was failing school at that time) was accepted to study product design at STRAT in Paris. There he can learn to design for the Sports industries. How did he get in? Well, he underpinned his whole portfolio by the concept of movement and the inspiration for that came from his love of sport. So it turns out that the character in question was good at quite a few things. 

If you want to know what we do here at e5 then we are the folk who ask that pertinent, potentially life-changing question.

Creativity is no longer an option, it's a life skill,

The e5-Art Portfolio Team

Stephen Preece, e5-art portfolio Founder 

For any questions please contact us:

+41 44 585 19 67


Photo by Pixabay & writing-endeavour