11/27/2013 01:04 pm ET Updated Jan 27, 2014

Adobe Champions Creativity

"Creativity is no longer an elective. It's the future," says Adobe.

Not long ago Adobe released an international research study revealing the state of creativity in education, and the economic consequences for business and society everywhere in the world.

Called "Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System," the study showed there is a growing concern that the education system itself is a barrier to developing the creativity that drives innovation, and nurtures the new thinking skills needed in the new economy.

Parents and educators from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia felt that today's education system places too much emphasis on testing and not enough investment in the training, tools and time needed to teach creativity.

Among those surveyed were 4,000 adults; 2,000 were educators and 2,000 were parents of students in K-12 and higher education. A strong majority of the participants called for a transformation in the ways schools work.

When asked about the most important step to promote and foster creativity in education, U.S. respondents cited the need to:

• Provide tools and training to teach creativity
• Make creativity integral to the curriculum
• Reduce mandates that hinder creativity

In fall of this year, Adobe hosted artists and educators, philanthropists and policymakers from around the country to see if a consensus existed and to talk about an action agenda. Attendees included executives from the Knight and Hewlett Packard Foundations, TED Youth, EDUTOPIA (the George Lucas educational initiative), The Kennedy Center, Americans for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the United Nations, Digital Promise, Microsoft and Silicon Valley Creates among others. This could mark an auspicious beginning to amass--and hopefully influence--public opinion.

Adobe recently participated in the Net Impact Conference, along with thousands of executives and employees of Silicon Valley firms. The theme "Change Starts Here," enabled Adobe to talk about Adobe Youth Voices, and "Education Trends Paving the Way for Societal Change"; and in particular," the creativity gap in education and the impact creativity can have on young people's sense of self and their aspirations.

For its part, the Adobe Foundation again hosted more than 100 students and educators from 23 countries at third the Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) Summit and immersed the students in a five -day media arts experience where they collaborated in groups with creative professionals and luminaries, learning new digital media skills.

The purpose of Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) is to spark young people's creativity, and give them the tools to hone their creative skills - using advanced digital media tools and tested storytelling techniques. As the Adobe Foundation puts it, "With greater creativity, and a greater belief in their own abilities, young people will be more engaged in their education and better prepared for a fast-changing global economy."

Nearly 100,000 youth have been touch by the Adobe Youth initiative.

Adding to its Adobe Youth Voices program, the Adobe Foundation has also launched a "$1M scholarship fund to empower youth worldwide to pursue creative careers or find innovative ways to improve their communities" and help those so inclined "to pursue an academic program or career in a creative field at an accredited college, university or certification program. "

Given the products and services Adobe sells there is little doubt that this is what is called "strategic philanthropy", a "powerful way to combine ... company marketing goals with (a) desire to increase the well-being of mankind."

"More companies, as they become global enterprises, are looking for ways to "do well by doing good" and in the process, create opportunities for kids all over the world.