Sunday, February 23, 2014

Juan Enriquez: Futurist

The following is a summary of what I took away from futurist and best selling author Juan Enriquez.  Mr. Enriquez recently spoke at the ACSA Superintendent's Symposium in Monterey.

The message for educators is to realize the new changes in industry, and what drives the economic engines today require a different sort of worker.

Network Environment
The new changes are now driven by knowledge and require a new type of employee where there is a necessity to train people to solve problems in contrast to the type of worker who fits into an assembly line.  There is striking and seldom shared awareness the amount of all knowledge since human history will double the next five years!

This provides an opportunity for kids today like there has never been.  The point for educators is how we prepare them has to change.  The type of environment they will need to fit into is not a corporate environment but a network environment.

The diagram may represent a student network.  The question is, would you rather be person "B" or "A"?  It would be good to be "A" if you are a newspaper editor.  However, it would be good to be "B" if there was a flue epidemic

All human society is organized this way, and most innovations come from the  perimeter of the network; not inside.

The key question is how do you get these people in the perimeter involved?  The thought change is from a network mentality vs the current hierarchy system that worked during a different time period. 

The responsibility for the educator is to train people for innovation and change.  This includes understanding what roles people play in a network environment.
We train kids to be prepared in a network environment with the awareness 5% of the people in an organization are connected to 21%.

The onset and rapid growth of 3 D printing provides an example of needing students who are creative.  Creative kids need to be part of the organizational network.  Baxter the industrial robot ( is an example of where production can return to the US, but we need the type of student who can operate these types of mechanisms and who are educated accordingly vs the old paradigm of uneducated people who worked on an assembly line.

A young entrepreneur invented and created a prototype of a flying car.  Formerly in the old paradigm, the manufacturing of such cars would have required a 100,000 person company.  Today, due to knowing and leveraging the power of today's networks which included outsourcing with the appropriate connections, the car was built by a 20 person company.

Kids need to learn to learn in a network and how to use these networks!

Computer code has driven our current industry, and the amount of information and communication and knowledge we can derive and use should change the way we teach.  Based on the growth in this area, we can now bring the world's largest library into the classroom.  Question: "Might students and teachers need a different skill set?"  We find today some people are literate and illiterate in global language.

Today we are moving from the digital code (1,0) to the life code (DNA: ACTG).  We can program life code since now we read life as four letters, (DNA has four codes: ACTG) and we can now program life code!  We have 3.2 billion codes in each of our cells, and if we change one letter in the code, we can make a dramatic change to the organism.  There is an entire code for a life form in each one of its cells.

Juan Enriquez makes the prediction this new work with the life code is going to make the industrial revolution look small.  For example, there are farms with cloned and genomic edited animals that produce chemicals in milk that cure cancer.  This replaced a whole factory.

My Thoughts
Could this be part of the next economic boom, and are our students prepared to adapt to it?  The answer is we cannot afford to wait, and there are skill sets such as the four C's where can build those skills where students can adapt to a changing and fast paced information based world.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Getting to Back to Why

I had the distinct pleasure of listening to entrepreneur Flip Flippen speak to approximately 500 California State Superintendents regarding the "why" we do what we do.  He is the founder of the Flippen Group and has been an advisor and consultant for Fortune 500 companies as well as professional athletes and professional athletic teams.  His experience and successes are built around helping people break through their limitations.

The question he asked is: "Why do we do what we do?  He asserted, "If you can't answer that, people will not follow you!"  He challenged us that we should have an immediate and passionate filled answer to that question.

People follow people who know why they do things and people want to know who you are based on your why.

He mentioned that we are being "prostituted" in education to be like the corporate world, but we are different because of our "why."

He said there are three questions to ask ourselves:

First question: What is your why?  

Our why is personal.  It is about what we believe deeply about kids and about our relationships with people.  Some say, "I don't want to get personal."  But why would I want to follow you if it is not personal?

If you're  in education it better be personal!  His experience in visiting organizations and schools especially is that in 30 seconds after arriving on that location, you can know the culture.  Much of it has to do with how people treat each other "personally."

What's your why, are you on fire about it, and if you're not, you're burned out!

Second question: Who's your who?

Who wrote on you?  Flip shared how his second grade teacher held him back in first grade.  What impacted him was the way she communicated why he was being held back.  She stated first graders needed help, and he would be the one to help them.  Little did she know that defined his life as someone who is dedicated to helping others!

He ended up never forgetting this teacher for her kindness, and faith in him.  He asked the rhetorical question, "Do you think I loved her?"

He spoke of the teachers that made such an impact on him: "Their history became my future."  

These influences and principles led him to create an organization that sponsors teen leadership classes that have shown success in schools throughout the nation.  The program is about helping teachers capture kids' hearts.  "If you capture kids hearts you have their minds" 

He helps organizations and school see people belong before they believe.  Our students want to belong to our school community, and we need to leverage that.

Third question: Whose who are you?

Are you writing a story on the lives of people you influence?  Do teachers and colleagues want to work where you work?   Do people around you have a fire and passion you have nurtured?  Do kids want to be at your schools and in your classrooms everyday?  Is our fire lighting other fires?

I think these are three questions I must ask myself everyday, and my challenge to all of us is to be somebody's who based on our why because of our who!