Joichi Ito is the CEO of Creative Commons. He is a co-founder and board member of Digital Garage and the CEO of Neoteny.
He is on the board of Tucows,Technorati and helps run Technorati Japan. He is a Senior Visiting Researcher of Keio Research Institute at SFC in Japan. He is the Chairman of Six Apart Japan, the weblog software company. He is on board of a number of non-profit organizations including The Mozilla Foundation, WITNESS and Global Voices. He has created numerous Internet companies including PSINet Japan, Digital Garage and Infoseek Japan and was an early stage investor in Six Apart, Technorati, Flickr, SocialText, Dopplr, Last.fm, Rupture, Kongregate, etology Inc and other Internet companies. He has served and continues to serve on various Japanese central as well as local government committees and boards, advising the government on IT, privacy and computer security related issues. He is currently researching "The Sharing Economy" as a Doctor of Business Administration candidate at the Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy at Hitotsubashi University in Japan. He maintains a weblog, where he regularly shares his thoughts with the online community. He is the Guild Custodian of the World of Warcraft guild, We Know. Ito was listed by Time Magazine as a member of the "Cyber-Elite" in 1997. Ito was listed as one of the 50 "Stars of Asia" by BusinessWeek and commended by the Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in 2000. He was selected by the World Economic Forum in 2001 as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow", chosen by Newsweek as a member of the "Leaders of The Pack" in 2005, and listed by Vanity Fair as a member of "The Next Establishment" in 2007. Ito was also named by Businessweek as one of the 25 Most Influential People on the Web in 2008.
Joi Ito: So, you know, for me scuba diving and a lot hobbies that I have, I like to go deep enough to be able to understand the nuance and to connect with the experts and the peers in that field. And I think that the level that I have gone in diving is, you know, is sufficient for me to connect the diving world to the other worlds that I am involved in. And you know, many of the students at the Media Lab have three or four disciplines that they are deep in.
They’re probably deeper than I am at my diving. Unlike me, they tend to have PhD’s in every area of their interests.
But I also think that, for me, the diving, I had a particularly interesting element around the teaching and the reason I became an instructor rather than just a scuba diver is that, teaching
scuba diving, they have more tools for scuba diving instructors than our teachers do in elementary schools. It’s really almost sad. That we have multi-media, written, lecturing, the way they teach you how to teach is incredibly well-done. And scuba diving is also very
experienced-based. It’s a little bit, sort of a life-transforming experience to go scuba diving. And I think every single scuba diving the lesson is, even and I love working with the young kids, you know, like your high school kids.
And so you see, you’ve got to learn Boyle’s Law because in an hour we will be in the water and we’ll be playing with stuff and unless you understand what’s going on, you could hurt yourself or now you have to understand, you know, the biology and you have to understand fish ID, because this fish is poisonous and this one isn’t.
And you’re teaching these kids physiology and chemistry and physics and you know, ecology. And every single lesson you can say, “And because in an hour we’ll be in the water and you’ll be doing this. And it’s really for me, this kind of perfect interest-driven learning thing. And you find that a lot of the kids who are doing terribly in school are extremely engaged when they’re going scuba diving because they’re so interested in learning this stuff because they get to play with it right away.
And so for somebody like me who grew up not – I’m always being frustrated because I wasn’t sure why I was learning this thing. Scuba diving is great because you know exactly why you’re learning everything you’re learning. So, I’m thinking about the way we teach scuba diving and trying to see whether we can apply some of that in some of the more formal education that we do.
Directed / Produced by
Elizabeth Rodd & Jonathan Fowler
I would argue that probably there are more people like me who learn through interest-driven learning or through building things than young people who can kind of plan their future and execute against it.