Do you have mind needed for 21st century?

Howard Gardner is well known for his theory of multiple intelligence.

Earlier definition of intelligence was very narrow, your IQ score defined how intelligent you are. Howard challenged this view, and put forth his theory of multiple intelligence. A person can be intelligent in different areas not just analytical reasoning. Examples of multiple intelligence are given below, concept of emotional intelligence outcome (intra personal and interpersonal intelligence) of this.


Howard later used this theory to come with concept of minds of future i.e. what kind of mind/s will be more successful in 21st century-century of rapid change, diversity, innovation, and globalisation.

Howard has identified five such minds…

The Disciplined Mind refers to the ability to think in ways associated with major scholarly disciplines such as history, math and science or  major professions like law, medicine and management as well as the ability to apply oneself diligently, improving steadily and continuing beyond formal education. It calls for lifelong learning.

Example of this can be noble prize winners, who spend years in mastering their subject and make substantial contribution to it.


The Synthesising Mind refers to ability to select crucial information from the vast amount of information available in various disciplines, and then synthesising that information in ways that make sense to self and others. The ability to knit together information from different sources into a coherent whole is what synthesising mind is all about.

“The mind most at a premium in the twenty-first century will be the mind that can synthesise well.”

-Murray Gell-Mann, Noble prize winner (for Physics in 1969)


The Creating Mind is able to go beyond existing knowledge and synthesis to pose new questions, offer new solutions, fashion works that stretch existing genres or configure new ones.

Creating mind is not same as expert. There is a difference between creators and experts. An expert is an individual who, after a decade or more of training, has reached the pinnacle of current practice in their chosen domain. While creators are perennially dissatisfied with current work, standards, questions and answers. They strike out in unfamiliar directions and enjoy being different from the pack. They do not shrink away from the unexpected, but seek to understand it. Good example of creating mind is Steve Jobs.


The Respectful Mind responds sympathetically and constructively to differences among individuals and among groups, seeking to understand and work with those who are different, extending beyond mere tolerance and political correctness.

Such mind is needed in organisations which employ individuals from diverse background to understand one another, to help one another, and to work together for common goals. The domain of diversity and inclusion is continuously increasing due to globalisation.


The Ethical Mind is able to merge roles at work and as a citizen and strive towards good work and good citizenship.

We need committed individuals who embody an ethical orientation in our work. This ethical manner should also include civic roles where each of us should have the commitment to personally work towards the realisation of a virtuous community. In this era of scams, there is no need to stress importance of this mind.









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