Keynote - Andrew Zoli

Necc07 had fabulous keynote speakers. I was fortunate to hear two of them. I heard both the opening and closing keynotes.

The opening keynote was presented by futurist Andrew Zoli. He is an explorer for National Geographic, Futurist in Residence at Popular Science, American Demographics and Public Radio, founding partner of Z+Partners and curator of Pop!Tech. His presentation was numerous and informative. It is available for ISTE members to view. Here are my notes from his presentation:

Andrew Zoli Opening Keynote for NECC07

Critical driving forces of change to shape our world in next 10 to 20 years.
The Innovation Imperative
  • We’re watching the speed of connectivity of things increasing rapidly, while at the same time, we’re watching the price dramatically decrease.
  • What will the world look like when things that are hard and expensive become easy and cheap in the future?
  • Everything that can be done by machine (eventually) will be, AND, many more things will be able to be done by machine than you ever thought possible.
  • That begs the question – what will there be left for us to do?
  • It creates the need to amplify our own creativity. What is left to humanity is the essence of the creative spirit. New sciences are telling us that we all have a creative center.
  • If you look into the corporate world – the world that all students will graduate into…these organizations use a set of cognitive styles to solve problems.
  • It’s important to think about what innovation is in this context – which is finding new sources of value in anticipation of future demand.
Think, Look, Play and Imagine
  1. Think - where we take a small group of people, lock in a room, and tell them to come up with an idea (15% non incremental, 85% failure.
  2. Look – take them out of their environment to come up with an idea. 70% incremental, 30% failure. Not entirely new ideas.
  3. Play – Essence of basic idea – 40% redefinition, 40% incremental, 20% failure
  4. Imagine – Preferred vision 10 years from now, and work backwards – N/A
  5. Network model – connecting people by collaborating. In the future, people are going to have to think in all of these 5 ways.
Thinking in Networks. We need new training to think about these terms. A new kind of measurement of the value of networks.
We all lived and died by Metcalfe’s law. Value = the # of nodes of a network squared
The participation equation now is Value = the number of nodes on a network raised to the participation (p)
Listening to Weak Signals – things on the fringe today that will be the dominant things of the future:

I. Demographic Transformation
Today about 6 ½ billion people
Africa’s population is doubling in size in a single generation.
Europe and Russia is shrinking.
Last year – more people now live in cities more than not.
World’s Largest Cities in Next 30 Years
¨ Will be in China and haven’t been built yet
¨ Dubai

In 2025 the U.S. will have a large amount of older people and younger people, while less middle-aged people. It’s going to create a paradox of generation xers catapulted up to the top of the ladder, but a problem of the glass ceiling where boomers won’t retire because they can’t afford to.
In 2025, one in four people will be Hispanic.
Millennials are the greatest generation. More well-balanced.

II. Innovative by Nature
Shifting Global Attitudes About the Environment
Social forces will meet technological forces – ecovation – economical innovation is quietly underway.
Hundreds of innovations – example – The ecotile – use electricity as you walk on the tile.
Opportunities in front of our students.

III. Learning Places
Every one of us is social animals. We are strongly group oriented. We are intensely hierarchical – we want leadership. We are also individual, and we trade knowledge and innovation for status.
How do we create an environment for discovery and innovation?
We have preferred habitats. Story about where kids prefer to be and where we put them. Schools, colleges and work cubicles look like they were built by Sadam Hussein’s architecture.

IV. Coping with Choice and Complexity
We are a surplus society. (Example bread aisle) We have so many choices today.
We need interfaces to manage choice. The most important pedagogical thing is to teach how to manage choice. People like choices. However, if you give people too many choices, satisfaction actually goes down.
Example of new Office 2007 tool bars – OVERWHELMING!

V. Redefining Literacy
Intelligence and literacy in the coming decade.
Question – what are we testing when we have the cloud of human knowledge behind them?
It is inevitable that people bring the tools with them. It is inevitable
Our ability to find, build and use complex tools – and use social technology tools.
As we shift, we shift for a synthetic vision of literacy.
To answer, is to author, to read is to author, to test is to author, in this new environment.
We have nowhere near the kinds of criteria, endorsements, to identify what people know.
Example: resume – hire me because of high e-bay seller’s rating. What that person says is that “You can trust me to do what I say I will do.”
Because what you do here and as a professional society and organization is thinking about the future constantly – every society and every organization, individual, has an image of the future and what will come next…
Why Do We Get It So Wrong?
We extrapolate the wrong variable.
¨ The personal trumps the impersonal
¨ The tangible trumps the intangible
¨ The present trumps the past and the future
¨ Desirability trumps responsibility