Innovative Thinkers

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"This is bullshit!" – Jeff Jarvis on the death of lectures

In a TEDxNYED talk that is destined to become a classic, Jeff Jarvis takes on the industrialization of education and the irrelevance of lectures in an innovation-powered world (Knowmad Society!):

From his notes:

One more from him: “It’s easy to educate for the routine, and hard to educate for the novel.” Google sprung from seeing the novel. Is our educational system preparing students to work for or create Googles? Googles don’t come from lectures.

So if not the lecture hall, what’s the model? I mentioned one: the distributed Oxford: lectures here, teaching there.

Once you’re distributed, then one has to ask, why have a university? Why have a school? Why have a newspaper? Why have a place or a thing? Perhaps, like a new news organization, the tasks shift from creating and controlling content and managing scarcity to curating people and content and enabling an abundance of students and teachers and of knowledge: a world whether anyone can teach and everyone will learn. We must stop selling scarce chairs in lecture halls and thinking that is our value.


We must stop looking at education as a product – in which we turn out every student giving the same answer – to a process, in which every student looks for new answers. Life is a beta.

Why shouldn’t every university – every school – copy Google’s 20% rule, encouraging and enabling creation and experimentation, every student expected to make a book or an opera or an algorithm or a company. Rather than showing our diplomas, shouldn’t we show our portfolios of work as a far better expression of our thinking and capability? The school becomes not a factory but an incubator.

(My apologies for deviating from convention and cutting-and-pasting so much from Mr. Jarvis, but his message is THAT good.)

Thanks to Marcel Kampman for spotting the video!

The value of invisible learning

In the past two months since the announcement of the Invisible Learning project, we have received a tremendous response in Twitter and the blogosphere. (Interestingly, most of the discussion originates from Latin America and Spain — and less from the United States and Canada.)

Much of the recent conversation has been on defining what is invisible learning, and whether we need invisible learning in an already crowded ecosystem of ideas. For example, in a comment posted at Blog Nodes Ele, Juan M. Fernández wrote:

Están bien todas estas propuestas pero por momentos tengo la sensación de que están cayendo en una retórica autocomplaciente y poco práctica. ¿Dialogan entre ellas o prefieren ignorarse? ¿No ha llegado el momento de tomar alguna de estas propuestas y desarrollarla?

He is right. Nobody should get self-congratulatory about adding new ideas or terminologies to an already crowded ecology of conceptualizations. What I feel is important, however, is how we approach the interconnectedness and blending of many of the key ideas and concepts that, to a great extent, were isolated. This is why invisible learning is valuable:

Invisible learning includes not only non-formal and informal education, but also addresses the need to recognize, understand and leverage the essential meta space between non-formal/informal education and formal education. Moreover, as Cristóbal Cobo points out, invisible learning is also inclusive of new social and cultural interfaces within this new paradigm of learning (i.e., edupunk). This means that we do not need to rely on new technologies to teach old ideas, but rather we can fuel new learning by tapping into our inherent imagination, creativity and innovation capacities that thrive in invisible learning’s spectrum of possibilities.

The Bank of Common Knowledge: A mutual education network

The Bank of Common Knowledge (Banco Común de Conocimientos) is a pilot experience dedicated to the research of social mechanisms for the collective production of contents, mutual education, and citizen participation. It is a laboratory platform where we explore new ways of enhancing the distribution channels for practical and informal knowledge, as well as how to share it. BCK is a project initiated by

This video was contributed to the Invisible Learning project. Do you have a video to share? If so, simply upload it to YouTube and assign it the tag invisiblelearning.

Settlers of the Shift

New World Order 2.0

I like conceptual maps –tools for illustrating the relationships among ideas– and, Tero Heiskanen created an interesting one. It’s huge. Without any further commentary:

Settlers of the shift is an open map of experts, organizations and ideas that are scattered around the globe. It’s for people whose work is shifting us towards a better tomorrow – a New World Order 2.0. This map aims to encourage people to connect across sectors and enable you to tie partnerships with like-minded individuals.


Six values are suggested as a common backbone for the partnerships:

  • Justice: fair and honest treatment of everyone involved
  • Co-creation: synergistic dialogue and collaboration
  • Meaningfulness: solutions to problems worth solving
  • Generosity: giving time and resources for the sake of giving
  • Dignity: acting in a respectful and ethical manner
  • Abundance: denying artificial scarcity and limitations

(Thanks to Pekka Ihanainen for sharing this find!)

Jean Piaget on creativity and innovation in education

Piaget: “We can classify education into two main categories: passive education relying primarily on memory, and active education relying on intelligent understanding and discovery. Our real problem is what is the goal of education? Are we forming children who are only capable of learning what is already known? Or should we try to develop creative and innovative minds capable of discovery from the preschool age on through life?”

Education Futures NL coming November 2

Education Futures - Helikon

Education Futures NL

Practical. Inspirational. Interactive.

November 2, 2009
10:00 – 18:00

Creative Learning Lab
Pakhuis De Zwijger, Amsterdam

Mark your calendars! On November 2, Education Futures NL, a workshop on designing education in the era of change, will kick off. Co-organized with Fons van den Berg ( and in cooperation with the Creative Learning Lab, we will bring Netherlands-area education innovators together to explore how to create educational contexts that are relevant in Society 3.0.

Here’s the teaser for our Dutch readers:

Hoe kan onderwijs voor zogeheten knowmads (a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere) eruit zien? Dat is de vraag waar John Moravec graag aan wil werken met Nederlandse onderwijsinnovatoren. Daarom organiseert Education Futures in samenwerking met Helikon een praktisch, inspirerend en interactief seminar over het ontwerpen van onderwijs in een continu veranderende samenleving. Naast prikkelende presentaties bestaat het programma verder uit sessies waarin deelnemers ter plekke ideeën met elkaar uitwerken. Na het seminar krijgen de deelnemers toegang tot een online tool om de discussies verder een vervolg te geven.

For our non-Dutch speakers, the good news is that our working language will be English. Also, we will also be joined by Cristóbal Cobo (by Skype) and a local speaker to be confirmed (stay tuned as we reveal the identity of this Mystery Speaker!). Following the program, we will adjourn to a networking happy hour — and a few seats are available for interested innovators to continue our discussion over dinner. For more information and to register, visit the event Web site at

Two weeks of creativity

This past week, I have been in Knoxville, TN, for Destination ImagiNation’s Global Finals. Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in education, “DI is an innovative organization that teaches creativity, teamwork and problem solving to students across the U.S. and in more than 30 countries. Its main program is an unconventional team learning experience where student teams all over the world solve mind-bending Challenges. Teams are tested to think on their feet, work as a team, and devise original solutions that satisfy the requirements of the Challenges. Participants gain more than just basic knowledge and skills—they learn to unleash their imaginations and take unique approaches to problem solving.”

Following DI, I will travel to Amsterdam for the Creative Company Conference and ITSMF Academy. The CCC, in particular, should be interesting as I will join Sir Ken Robinson, Frank Heemskerk (Dutch foreign trade minister) and human capital expert Mirjam van Praag in a discussion on creativity and entrepreneurship in education. This will be fun. Stay tuned!

Creative Company Conference

three_csMark your calendar!

This week, I confirmed that I will give a talk at the Creative Company Conference in Amsterdam on May 26. The CCC has a great list of speakers (including Sir Ken Robinson, Google’s Ji Lee, and TCHO‘s Louis Rossetto and Timothy Childs), and it’s a great honor to join them! More about the CCC:

The Creative Company Conference is the first international conference that brings business and creativity together in one arena, deconstructs the DNA of creative companies to understand their business models, presents the entrepreneurs that play the game of value creation, innovation and creativity in business.

The creative economy has just begun and the transition of your company into a truly creative company is the great task ahead.

The CCC is the place to connect, get inspired and learn lessons from business and creative thought leaders from every corner of the world.

My talk will focus on one of the CCC’s key questions: In education we prepare pupils and students for a future we do not know. What knowledge and skills give the next generation the best change of coping with the unknown? A session in which CCC poses the question: Isn’t it time to introduce two new elements in all levels of education: creative thinking and entrepreneurship.

Watch a video with last year’s speakers.

More at the CCC website…