The Value of Scalable Learning, Or How a Hardcore Geek Became a Softy
The business model of the last 100 years that aimed to achieve scalable efficiency is the very thing that stands in our way now in our unpredictable world.
Math and physics wiz John Seely Brown realized at a young age that being able to compute complex things in his head "didn't really matter."
That may seem surprising, considering that Brown's first job was a bookie, a profession that is all about numbers. And yet, Brown learned that it was more important to read the people approaching him, and to be able to determine, for instance, who might be out to cheat him.
Reading context, not just computing content, was one of the skills that Brown explored in his recent commencement address at Singapore Management University.
In his speech, Brown describes the challenge of learning new skills in a rapidly changing world and he presents a new model - scalable learning - that he says can and needs to be employed to reinvent our world today. We will explore this big idea in a moment. But first, let's read (or watch) the context, in this tribute to Brown in which the innovation guru receives an honorary degree.
What's the Big Idea?
What is the half-life of a skill? It used to be about 30 years, says Brown. In other words, you could go to school and expect to learn a skill that would last throughout most of your career. In today's rapidly changing world, however, the half life of a skill is more like 5 years, Brown says. That means that what you learn in school only gets you so far. The rest of your learning will need to come on the job.
Moreover, the business model of the last 100 years that aimed to achieve scalable efficiency, according to Brown, is the very thing that stands in our way now in our unpredictable world.
So how do we move institutions to a model of scalable learning?
Watch the video here:
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Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.
- Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
- When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
- Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
Some games are just for fun, others are for thought provoking statements on life, the universe, and everything.
- Video games are often dismissed as fun distractions, but some of them dive into deep issues.
- Through their interactive play elements, these games approach big issues intelligently and leave you both entertained and enlightened.
- These five games are certainly not the only games that cover these topics or do so well, but are a great starting point for somebody who wants to play something thought provoking.
How do we combat the roots of these hateful forces?
- American Psychological Association sees a dubious and weak link between mental illness and mass shootings.
- Center for the study of Hate and Extremism has found preliminary evidence that political discourse is tied to hate crimes.
- Access to guns and violent history is still the number one statistically significant figure that predicts gun violence.