Who is going to disrupt education?
Someone very close to you will.
We, the Learning Gypsies, were recently part of a really cool event called The Creative Summit, in Skelleftea, Sweden. Yes, we didn’t know where it was on a map either, but we will never forget it now.
The event, brilliantly organized by Peter Mandalh (@PeterMandalh ) and his team, was focused on the theme “the Future of Work” and we had the privilege of sharing the stage with some of the leading thinkers about this fundamental topic: @congbo , @mikearauz, @Joeli_Brearley, @LydNicholas , @alisoncoward ,@disruptandlearn @jeremycdalton and @alexanderneuman , who did an incredible job intervening our three kids during a panel that helped redefined what it means to be successful.
It was really strange to have just 3 hours between sundown and sunrise, (something to experience in a lifetime) but the 2 days we spent in lapland was one of the best parts of this trip.
We learned a lot about the future from all the sessions we saw during the day: about Robots and A.I, new Organizational Models, the Skills of the Future, a fairer future with no discrimination against pregnant women, the wonders and possibilities of VR and AR, and about how improving collaboration might give us a chance at a better future at work.
Our approach to the question of the future was framed from our experience during our research about the future of education.
There is no video of the talk, and you might find some bits on twitter, but considering all the people who have requested the transcript, we decided to post it on medium.
(We would like to hear your reactions and get some feedback, so please let us know by writing a comment when you are done)
I’m Iñaki and I’m Hazel. We have a hypothesis about the future of work we are dying to share with you, but before we do that, we would like to tell you a little story.
Almost a year ago we left our life, our friends and the hype of Brooklyn, New York to research the future of Education around the world.
Our 3 kids, my mom and the two of us have been traveling from country to country for over 11 months looking for the answer to one question: how should kids learn in a world where everything will change?
A world where they might not need to learn to drive, where a lot of the current work will be automated… a world where cryptocracy might be the new black, food will be harmless and immortality might be a thing we need to pre-order.
And as we all know, with changes come surprises.
What we thought was going to be easy, was more difficult. And some of the challenges we anticipated, turned out to be easier.
We thought it was going to be harder for the kids to move around, city to city, from one continent to another. After visiting 42 cities in 11 months they keep on surprising us with their incredible flexibility and adaptability.
We thought it was going to be easier to take the kids to world class Museums, but they wouldn’t have it. After two museums in Sao Paulo they told us: if you want me to walk all day looking at old things I can’t touch, at least tell me what we are doing ahead of time.
To tell you the truth it’s been us the adults that have struggled the most.
Taking on the responsibility of homeschooling the kids has been more challenging than expected, keeping our full time jobs with the unexpected and chaotic nomadic life has been a test. Finding good wifi, the impossibility of a having a routine or finding moments of intimacy with Hazel have been some of the hardest things for us.
But in a project focus on understanding the future of education, the hardest aspect by far is how difficult it is to predict the future.
For us humans at least it is. We pretty much suck at it.
Look at the last 10 years alone. Experts predicting election results, the emergence of the sharing economy and the impact of Facebook, the iPhone or Netflix.
And we think that it is because we walk into the future backwards, with our sight on the past. Which forces us to see a future just like today but slightly different.
I think a great example are flying cars! we imagined flying highways with traffic lights.
When we keep our eyes on the past, we can’t imagine a completely new future. And that’s the challenge we face when we talk about the future of education, or the future of work!
HYPOTHESIS BASED ON SETTING IKER
Our son Iker, now 6, will be 9 in 2020, 14 in 2025, and 24 in 2035 , ready to go into the workforce. Which I hope will prove to be wrong too.
Yes, we think that the world of 2035 is unpredictable, and that the skills Iker will need to be successful are impossible to imagine with any reliable degree of certainty.
If we want to talk about a certain future we should then talk about behaviors. Because humans have been really consistent with our behaviors for the last 4,000 years.
We need love and appreciation. We crave respect and power, but we are also capable of showing incredible compassion and empathy. We learn these concepts from the media, our friends, at schools and churches, but mostly from the environment closest to us; our parents.
Remember at the beginning we said we had a hypothesis about the work in the future? Well, it is our believe that the future of work will be impacted, not by new technology or a new type of organization, but rather, by a much stronger force, the behavior kids see in their parents, and the relationship those parents have with their work.
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH WORK
I grew up watching my father work 70 hours per week for 45 years. And he worked for only two companies in his entire life.
By the time I started my first professional job at 24 years of age, my values and expectations had already been defined: Loyalty, and hard work from my father. And care and sacrifice from my mother.
Through our research we have found that much like Iñaki everyone’s biggest influence is their parents. Funny thing is we are the least equipped to deal with such powerful responsibility. Their relationship with work will be determined by the way they see we relate to work. That is the strongest model they have.
To our 11 year old, whom you will meet in the next panel, a great part of her relationship with work was determined by our crazy workaholic lives during the first 6 years of her life. While she saw creativity (we both were creative directors in advertising) she also saw her parents working many nights and weekends, pitching campaigns and complaining constantly about clients.
OUR RENEWED PURPOSE
After having lost our path and even worse our purpose, we both shifted careers to education, where, with its imperfections, at least we have a clear purpose of helping people find their unlimited potential by inspiring them to fall in love with learning again. Hopefully now our kids are developing a new relationship with work. One about purpose, commitment and appreciation.
There is a piece of paper on your chair. Please take 3 minutes to write the answer to this question:
What is the one thing in my relationship with work I need to get rid of?
Keep the piece of paper
NOT SKILLS BUT RELATIONSHIPS
We talked this morning about skills and organizations. But we think that we should also talk about relationships; not only with people but with ideas and institutions, such as work.
We, parents, guardians or anybody who has a young person in their life, construct the building blocks of those relationships for our kids. What is to love. To be happy, to be a citizen, to make a living, and to be a professional.
The idea of work will be disrupted or reinforced by the behaviors our kids, see at home every day and night. And that will define the future.
WE HAVE A DREAM
We have a dream, a big dream, we dream to help improve the future of society by empowering parents and children to develop a good relationship with themselves, their community, and ultimately with their jobs. A relationship that asks questions instead of giving answers, one that continuously learns and is never done, one that questions assumptions. One that can make any company in the world the best place to work!
To achieve that dream, we need your help
We need you to reflect on what model we are building for our kids and take the first step in changing the future by doing a little experiment we have created.
Explore the one damaging thing you have in relationship to work you learned from watching your parents work. It can be working in the home or at a job.
Write only one thing per paper. For example, wait I can’t give you an example, my mother is sitting right here, so Iñaki it is all you to give a few examples ;)
I grew up watching my father putting work before family. So also put work before family for many years.
You will have 5 minutes to write it, just one, and then turn your paper into an airplane. Once you are done, put it up.