How does a post office live with robotic drones? How do taxi and bus entrepreneurs react to self-driving cars? How many data-analysts will artificial intelligence put out of their jobs? We don’t know. Nobody does.
We live in extraordinary times. Accelerated pace of technological and cultural development has caught us unprepared. As the result, many of our institutions – schools, governments, corporations – don’t know what to do.
It’s no wonder that this development, which on one hand can give us unprecendented global wellbeing, has also caused an aggressive backlash. Many people would want to do away with all the new high tech and roll us back to the eighties. Technology is, however, here to stay, whether you like it or not. And new things, things we can’t even dream of yet, are right beyond the horizon. What happens when they catch up with us?
To cope with this new kind of world – the same as the old world, but faster – we need new kind of thinking. Our Brand Breaker Peter Vesterbacka has created a model that we could tap into to meet these challenges. It is a model of the three E’s: entertainment, education and entrepreneurship.
The first challenge for the present day world is that we need to adapt to change. This means that we need more and more entrepreneurs, and people with an entrepreneurial mindset. In near future, there simply will be no jobs that would stay stable from one decade to another. Our children will likely have had dozens of careers by the time they retire – given that retirement is still something people of their generation will do. But how do you grow the entrepreneurial spirit? After all, you have to be a little crazy to become an entrepreneur.
To grow a generation of entrepreneurs, we need new kind of education. We need to rethink education not as a conveyor of information and knowledge, but rather as the training of the basic skills you need to thrive in a fast changing world. Creative thinking, human relations, capacity to adjust and reorient when the unexpected happens, and most fundamentally, learning to learn. Learning is one of the most amazing things we can experience as human beings. But it’s not amazing, if it doesn’t happen. Then it’s just frustrating. This is why we should move the focus in our schools from teaching to learning. After all, what good it is how well you teach, if no learning happens? And the other way around, what does it matter how you teach, if learning does happen?
At the core of learning are focus, interest and hard work. And to maintain all three, you need to generate interest. Our schools are, however, suffering of a widening attention gap. Our technology has become a tremendously powerful entertainer. Back in the eighties, if you wanted to watch a movie, you had to either drive to the video shop or wait until next Friday. Now you just switch on Netflix. You have games, websites, ebooks, ecomics, discussion boards, social media – a whole wonderland of entertainment tailor-made just for you. It’s no wonder kids get bored in the classroom. They’d rather be chasing Pokémon outside. To close the attention gap, schools need to acknowledge that they are in constant competition of their pupils’ attention with the ever-focusing world of technological entertainment. Rather than fight this – which is anyway futile – we should embrace these new tools and methods and put them to good use.
We should take what we know to work in entertainment to focus, to maintain interest and use that to build the bridge to what we want our children to learn. The power of story, of games, of music, theatre and playing and fooling around together, are all powerful catalysts of interest. And once the interest is there, a thick book or a long lecture are exactly what the avid learner wants. Then the class becomes a joy to attend. But before we fire up the joy of learning, it is just another forty five minutes you have to suffer before you can get back to your Pokémon hunt.
We live in extraordinary times. By leveraging the power of the three E’s we can live extraordinary lives. By harnessing entertainment to spark interest, by redefining education to be first and foremost the catalyst of the love to learn, and directing this massive firepower to engender the entrepreneurial spirit, we will help the next generations – and even ourselves – to thrive in this ever-changing world.