Real value creation happens at the edge

From Harold Jarche:

I think the edge will be where almost all high value work gets done in organizations. Core activities will be increasingly automated or outsourced. Most of the people in an organization will be on the edge. The core will be managed by very few internal staff.

This is a sea change, in my opinion. It means that change and complexity will be the norm in our work. We already see this with increasing numbers of freelancers and contractors. Any work where complexity is not the norm will be of diminishing value.

We need to embrace complexity and chaos, it’s where the future of work lies.

Gideon Rosenblatt: The engagement pyramid – connecting people and social change

From Gideon Rosenblatt – via Idealware and Groundwire:

Civic engagement can mean a lot of different things  – from the casual forwarding of a friend’s email to deep involvement on a board of directors. Some engagement is lightweight and some is deep, and that’s OK – we can’t expect everyone to have the same degree of interest in our mission.

In fact, having a mix of people with varying levels of interest and engagement is actually a good thing. Why? Because being effective at social change means being able to choose from a portfolio of strategies and tactics in a way that best maps to the specific conditions we’re facing at any given moment. Sometimes that’s lightweight communications from lots of people; sometimes is a well-timed phone call from a carefully cultivated relationship with a community leader.

The most effective social change organizations understand how to wield their portfolio of engagement tactics in Zen-like fashion; knowing just what kind of touch is called for to influence the outcomes of a particular decision. They also know how to meet people where they are at, and craft their calls to action appropriately so as to match the specific level of interest and commitment from each person they ask. These organizations also tend to have good processes for stewarding people toward ever higher levels of engagement in their mission.

Zoe Weil: The world becomes what we teach

From Zoe Weil:

At the end of this school year approximately three million students will graduate from U.S. high schools. They will not be ready for what awaits them. These are the students who have passed their No Child Left Behind tests year after year. They are verbally, mathematically, and technologically literate. They have been successful at meeting the requirements of our educational system. Yet, for the most part, even our highest performing graduates are unprepared for the important roles they must play in today’s world…

We must embrace a new and bigger purpose for education: to provide students with what they need to be solutionaries for a better world through whatever careers they choose…

Rather than offer unconnected academic disciplines, imagine if each year of high school covered a single overarching issue, such as Sustenance, Energy, Production, or Protection. Teachers with expertise in different subjects could provide students with the skills to conduct research into current systems and articulate new viewpoints, understand and use scientific and mathematical equations and methods to solve systemic problems, and draw upon history, politics, economics, psychology, sociology, and geography to analyze, assess, propose and create new or improved systems. And the arts, relegated to the chopping block because of budget cuts, could find new life as vehicles for expression of visionary ideas…

If solutionary education became commonplace, students everywhere might revamp their school buildings for renewable energy sources. Or transform their food service systems and cafeterias so that they received healthy, sustainably and humanely produced lunches. Think what the students would learn about chemistry, ecology, biology, physics, business, farming, architecture, and construction from just these two projects alone. Imagine how fully the teachers could contribute their knowledge and passion for the subjects they know best. There are already teachers who do such projects with their students within the constraints of the current public school system, but they face perpetual hurdles. When we hear about them, we laud them in the news. But their work shouldn’t be newsworthy; it should be the norm.

Disruptive innovation in higher education

From Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, Louis Caldera, and Louis Soares:

Disruptive innovation is the process by which a sector that has previously served only a limited few, because its products and services were complicated, expensive, and inaccessible, is transformed into one whose products and services are simple, affordable, and convenient and serves many no matter their wealth or expertise…

Changing circumstances mandate that we shift the focus of higher education policy away from how to enable more students to afford higher education to how we can make a quality postsecondary education affordable…

The challenge before the country also mandates a new definition of quality from the perspective of students — so that the education is valuable to them and that through it they improve their lives and thus improve the country’s fortunes, too…

Degrees are a proxy for skill attainment, but they are far from a perfect one, as seen in the amount of retraining that employers do as well as the current unemployment figures. Real outcomes and real mastery—as often shown in work portfolios for example—are more important…

It is critical to promote new, autonomous business models that have the freedom to re-imagine higher education. Policymakers should not frame the disruptive players as threats, and instead see them as opportunities to bring affordable education to more people.

School reform: the issue isn’t the test

If we want to see true school reform, we have to recognize that it will look different in various contexts.  It might be unschooling for some, home schooling for others, community schools for others and progressive public schools for others.  It might mean building a new structure or it might mean transforming the factory into something beautiful.

When we move from “this is what works, you need to try this” to “this worked for me,” what emerges is a true sense of unity in ideas like authenticity and humanity.

Maine Education initiatives profiled by Creative Commons

Maine has been a leader in adopting educational technology in support of its students. In 2002, through the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI), the state began providing laptops to all students in grades 7-8 in a one-to-one laptop program. In 2009, Maine expanded the project to high school students. The one-to-one laptops paved the way for open education initiatives like Vital Signs, empowering students to conduct their own field research in collaboration with local scientists, and make that research available online. Recently, Maine has been engaged in some interesting and innovative projects around as a result of federal grant funds…

Jeff Mao and Bob McIntire from the Maine Department of Education … offer a vision of a classroom where students gather in small groups, talking, exploring and building projects and investigating ideas together. There is no lecturing, and open educational resources integrate with classroom instruction seamlessly. As most kids are naturally inclined to try to find information online, teachers can guide students in using high quality, adaptable OER…

The film ‘Schooling the World’ is profound, disturbing

From Kima via Cooperative Catalyst:

“Today, I watched a profoundly disturbing film. It completely shattered my view of education as a progressive force in the world. Even if the system in place is seriously outdated, I never really questioned the intrinsic value of education as a way out of poverty, as a way to move humanity into their future….

“I believe Schooling the World is a film that is just as, if not more, important as Waiting for Superman — at least Sir Ken Robinson seemed to agree with me when replying back on Twitter, after I brought it to his attention, that it is ‘An important and fascinating movie.’

“The current education system was devised during the start of the industrialization, more than 200 years ago. Its purpose was to create skilled workers that could take specialized jobs and work in the factories. …

“In the developed countries, most of the factories are gone, more people than ever work in services, and a great level of innovation and creativity is required by most modern companies. However, the education system still produces people that can do specialized jobs — or worse, tries to generalize their knowledge to such a level that it is useless at that point.”

“See, I change the world. Make the change.”

Beautifully inspirational viral video for Li Ning/China

Analysis from Rand Han of Little Red Book:

“I’ve been seeing this trend recently, first introduced in Olympics advertising, then obvious in Vancl’s latest campaign, and now in Li Ning: protagonists that focus not on conformity, but on discovery; a beautifully refreshing attitude of going against the grain of societal expectations, to instead slowly reveal the world like a precious gift opened with fear of ripped wrapping….

“I’ll admit I was surprised by Li Ning’s latest viral. There’s no focus on sports, nor on clothing, or any product I could identify on first viewing. It’s fresh, simple, light hearted and contains a youthful spirit not of competition, but of the slow, pleasing process of self’s layers unfolding; enlightenment on slow boil never breaking; warmth building without climax….

“My guess is we’ll see more of this theme of advertising as the “Born after 90′s” generation matures. Gone are the gold gilded lifestyles promoted in the past … perhaps we’re seeing the first signs of a maturation of mindset; past monetary status seeking to transcendental self awareness? Someone call Buddha, he’s gonna love this.”

The increasing value of social currency @briansolis

“Right now, the social web is a vibrant “egosystem.” When we were introduced to blogs, Facebook or Twitter, as human beings, we were simply excited at having an audience for our words and our experiences. With every reaction and friend request, we were rewarded to share more of ourselves.

“Now we realize something new: that what someone says can represent varying levels of value, whether it is an opinion or expertise. Who you are connected to is also important. We are judged by the company we keep. When combined, actions and relationships create a foundation for social capital….

“For example, banks are looking at an individual’s social graph to determine their credit risk. In the blink of an eye, what could be considered trivial information becomes an influential element that will contribute to changing the direction your life will take. I believe we should make users more aware of this unfolding reality. This is about consciousness. How they engage online and who they connect with serves as social currency in every transaction.”

A new study reveals Twitter’s new direction from @briansolis

“At a minimum, Twitter is an extension of each one of us. It feeds our senses and amplifies our voice. We’re connecting to one another through shared experiences creating a hybrid social network and information exchange tied by emotion and interest.

“While Twitter provides the technology foundation, it is we who make Twitter so unique and consequential by simply being human and sharing what we see, feel, and think – in Twitter time. It’s both a gift and a harbinger of enlightenment. As new media philosopher, and good friend, Stowe Boyd once said, “It’s our dancing that makes the house rock, not the planks and pipes. It is us that makes Twitter alive, not the code….

“Twitter continues to change how we discover, communicate, and share. Each time we do, we reveal a bit more about who we are and what moves us. As we embrace the new year, Twitter’s numbers will expand, but I believe the nature of the service and also how we use it will change significantly.”

Excerpts from Brian Solis.