New STEAM will Drive the Economy

New STEAM will Drive the Economy

Water and steam powered the first industrial revolution. Think water powered mills and the steam engine. Cyberintelligence is driving the fourth. However, many are questioning the wisdom of so much emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to the exclusion of other disciplines that supposedly promise to get us to the promised land of equitable prosperity.

It's time to recreate STEAM (social sciences, technology, english, arts and media) and here are the reasons why:

  1. The most creative innovations of the digital age came from those who were able to connect the arts and sciences.

  2. Technology industries, like most industries, cannot be fixed from inside. The next phase of the digital revolution will bring a true fusion of technology with the creative industries, such as media, fashion, music, entertainment, education, literature and the arts. 

  3. Artists are better at seeing around corners and separating the signal from the noise.

  4. Two key components of the innovator's DNA are observing and associating.

  5. We need better story tellers, particularly those that know how to do it using cutting edge information and communications technologies.

  6. Customers buy emotionally and justify rationally. We need entrepreneurs who know how to appeal to the heart and soul, not the head, or hire someone who does.

  7. New ideas come from the collision of disparate industries at the edge.

  8. Mindset, creativity and imagination are the foundation of innovation.

  9. Stories matter. What people tell each other can have profound implications on markets — and the overall economy.

  10. It is a myth that new STEAMers make less money or are unhappier than techies, engineers, or scientists. Just ask your molecular biologist daughter -in-law who is doing her 3rd postdoc. The MFA is the new MBA.

  11.  The new healthcare workforce needs more than biomedical knowledge; it needs empathetic team players at all levels who can support patients holistically.

Here is how and what we need to teach students to win the 4th industrial revolution. We need to reinvent the STEAM economic engine.

Arlen Meyers,MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs on Twitter@ArlenMD and Co-editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship.

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  • Chris Froggatt

    STEM graduate will get but-hurt but this is the truth.

  • Andy Quinn

    The previous STEM generation created big tech companies that are still ruling the world. Today's STEM lack soft skills. They are still very smart but not creative enough to launch the next Google or Facebook.

  • Jamie Wallace

    Big fan of your Dr Arlen Meyers MD, MBA, but I disagree with you.

  • Arlen Meyers

    In reply to: Jamie Wallace

    Why do you disagree?

  • Jamie Wallace

    In reply to: Arlen Meyers

    Cause I am a biomedical engineer.

  • Dustin Moore

    The health care sector needs a diverse workforce

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Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA

Former Contributor

Arlen Meyers, MD, MBA is a professor emeritus of otolaryngology, dentistry, and engineering at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado School of Public Health and President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at He has created several medical device and digital health companies. His primary research centers around biomedical and health innovation and entrepreneurship and life science technology commercialization. He consults for and speaks to companies, governments, colleges and universities around the world who need his expertise and contacts in the areas of bio entrepreneurship, bioscience, healthcare, healthcare IT, medical tourism -- nationally and internationally, new product development, product design, and financing new ventures. He is a former Harvard-Macy fellow and In 2010, he completed a Fulbright at Kings Business, the commercialization office of technology transfer at Kings College in London. He recently published "Building the Case for Biotechnology." "Optical Detection of Cancer", and " The Life Science Innovation Roadmap". He is also an associate editor of the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology and Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship and Editor-in-Chief of Medscape. In addition, He is a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver Graduate School where he teaches Biomedical Entrepreneurship and is an iCorps participant, trainer and industry mentor. He is the Chief Medical Officer at and and Chairman of the Board at GlobalMindED at, a non-profit at risk student success network. He is honored to be named by Modern Healthcare as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executives of 2011 and nominated in 2012 and Best Doctors 2013.

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