Sunday, April 8, 2007

Training for Change

Training for Change

By Anand Shah

The world is changing far faster than the institutions that prepare us to navigate it. As an educator, how do you nurture talent to anticipate the next evolutionary move of our dynamic society? Let’s just think about this notion for a minute: In 1960, no one had a personal computer. In 1970, no one had a cell phone. In 1980, there was no digital music. In 1990, there were no digital cameras. In 1995, the Internet was just a buzzword. In 2000, the Blackberry was hardly invented. In 2005, there was no YouTube. In 2007, the emerging wave of young talent cannot remember a time before any of these things.

It is a new world of a different kind; a new dimension of human existence.

We have given rise to such phenomenal change in single generation of our history. Technological innovation has let to phase shifts in the way we communicate, the aspirations that drive us, and the basic nature of the way we live. I’m not sure there has been another period of 50 years that has led to such dramatically transformational technologies; the more we create, the more you wonder what is left to create. For me, this continues to raise a pressing question: what would you do to prepare the next generation to leverage both the innovations of today and the things we have not yet invented?

That, to me, is what KaosPilots is all about. (I’ll get to that further down the page).

The linear system of education that has driven our world for centuries is facing an existential challenge: there are no longer clear steps to fill the shoes of the previous generation. New dimensions of industry are giving rise to fundamentally new economies that evolve by the day, hardly giving the establishment enough time to analyze and develop the content that would prepare people to master them in time for the next great change.

Leading this new world requires lateral thought and experiments that empower individuals to navigate a more organic, and broadly evolving global society. As a human race, we face unprecedented challenges to establishing permanent harmony; we have mastered the economic engine, but have yet to find the active balance between achievement and social harmony.

It is no coincidence that the most recent era of global conflict, and every preceding world war, has occurred in the century with the greatest industrial growth.

In some ways, we have simply ignored the perspective of education required to achieve social balance – one that has been traditionally managed by social and spiritual institutions who have struggled to keep up with the pace of economic change; the resulting loss of credibility has rendered their influence marginal.

Kaospilots, from my perspective, is an “integrated” learning process: its culture captures an enlightened need to include a social dimension in the design and execution of enterprise. More importantly, it equips students with the know-how to operate in a constantly changing environment; where uncertainty is both a great opportunity to contribute and a driver of mediocrity. Self-reliance in the generation of ideas and the application of concepts across boundaries leads Kaospilots students to be masters of circumstance.

This is only the beginning. From India, it feels that Kaospilots is way ahead of its time, in a place with the luxury to innovate in an approach to training people for the emerging world. Then again, that is the sign of leadership. I am certain that Kaospilots consistent sensitivity to the world, driven by a core philosophy of making the world a classroom, will result in a fundamentally new way of looking at the way we educate people to navigate the world.