Welcome back, everyone! My name is Spiffy, I’m an Interplanetary Journalist. I’ve been speaking with innovators from around the world who are working to radically improve the way we do education. My guest today is Chris Gatbonton, CEO of Creation Crate. He’s on the fast track to provide opportunities for kids to “learn by doing”. Let’s see how he’s doing it!
Spiffy: Welcome Chris! There are many challenges with the way education is done. What challenges are you addressing?
Chris: Well, Spiffy, the education system is old and outdated. We live in a fast-paced, technology-driven world, and that has moved society into the ‘age of personalization’. Unfortunately, education is still far from personalized. We still use the assembly line model of education that was developed in the 1800s. What we aim to address at Creation Crate are what we see as the three major gaps in education today: lack of exposure, high switching costs, and unengaging content.
Spiffy: I’m all ears! Can you tell me what motivated you to address these educational gaps?
Chris: I’ve personally always been frustrated with the education system. Anytime I learned something at a deep level, it always started with something that I was interested in—outside of the classroom. From there, I would dive in and get hands-on: learning by doing. I’d make mistakes and learn from those too. In fact, mistakes were my greatest teacher. Unfortunately, the schools we grow up in punish us for making mistakes. I used to vow as a teenager that one day I would change the education system.
Spiffy: How would you say you’re working to help create a more equitable world?
Chris: Creation Crate is enabling quality education for all by solving the three major gaps in education. The first, lack of exposure with platform-based education: there’s no limit to the number of topics we can offer for students to explore. The second is high switching costs: we believe students should be able to switch focus if they lose interest in a subject. And finally, engaging content: we strive to gamify the learning experience as much as possible. People learn best when they’re having fun, and we do that with hands-on projects.
Spiffy: I couldn’t agree more! Have you reached any milestones that you’re particularly proud about? What kind of impact do you envision?
Chris: We’ve recently surpassed 100,000 projects of our flagship electronics course delivered to over 70 countries around the world. We’ve impacted students, adults, and parents all over, and we’ve gotten tremendously positive feedback on our products. Through the support of these customers, we’re able to continue to grow and develop new courses that will change the way we think about education.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, I’m curious if you’ve ever faced failure. What did you learn?
Chris: Personally, I have been a founder for the past 14 years. I’ve failed many times in business. Creation Crate itself has come to the brink of failure several times. I wouldn’t wish the pain I’ve endured on this journey to anyone. But what I’ve learned most from failure is the importance of learning from failures. I appreciate failures because they’re opportunities to learn important lessons. If you can learn to take advantage of that, you expedite your growth as a human being.
Spiffy: Or an interplanetary journalist! I am thrilled that you’ve followed your dream to change education, Chris! Thanks for telling us about your journey so far, it’s been an honor.
Chris Gatbonton is a 14-year long founder who’s passionate about solving global problems. He is the founder and CEO of Creation Crate, a company that’s rethinking education through hands-on learning. (Nominated by Inside Out with Jane Z. First published on the Ladderworks website on October 6, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.