PART II: Towards A Visionary Prescriptive Transformation of Education
Transformation of education in a world out of balance: where to begin
As our world, processes, and interconnections move faster in ever-more complex ways, people around the globe—whether they live in city towers or jungle huts—have a serious problem with our ability to understand the world we live in. Change is both surrounding us and beckoning us, whether we see it or not. Our language, concepts, and way of thinking are all becoming more and more inadequate in describing the New Reality. Knowledge, once ample for decision-making, is becoming obsolete. We believe we need to envision a new education paradigm that will ensure continual learning and minimum obsolescence of a growing wealth of knowledge. This system must support the development of both today’s and tomorrow’s generations as well as mitigate any inequality and inequity of access for people of all backgrounds, cultures, and income levels, whether they fill roles as knowledge workers or technical, skills-based workers. This latter need has only been heightened with the impact of COVID-19.
Education has always held the key to the advancement of humanity as it has always shaped the development of our own children and future generations. Education prepares people to lead healthy, functioning, and productive lives and work. Beyond serving as the foundation for peoples’ life designs, it also enables individuals and communities to develop, weave, and maintain the fabric of human society.
Our educational paradigms have changed as our societies have changed, their importance growing over time with the recognition that education is needed in order for people of all backgrounds to prepare themselves to work, live, go to college or technical programmes, support their families, and contribute to society. Since the 1900s, education has evolved to support advancements in transportation, communication, culture, and school settings. Programmes expanded to emphasise primary and secondary education with tertiary education (including post-high-school education resulting in diplomas, undergraduate and graduate certificates, and associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees) for knowledge workers and skilled-trade programmes for non-knowledge workers. Schools became larger, with more people attending. The school year expanded from 99 to about 180 days, with breaks in the summer, spring, autumn, and winter along with days off for important holidays. Most public and private schools outlawed corporal punishment. Public education was expanded with access to new forms of private schools. Delivery changed as well with the advancement of technology and with computers and online systems available to more students around the world. Teachers shifted their role from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side” styles. Some teachers have become much more aware of the need to educate the whole student, adding in courses in mindfulness and heart-based resilience-building in addition to awareness of values, environmental concerns, and caring for people and communities.
There are still problems, however, with our educational system. Many complain about the greater emphasis on “teaching to standards” and “teaching for the test,” using examinations rather than teacher-centered feedback to assess student capabilities. The curriculum has shrunk in many parts of the world, with budget cuts eradicating valuable topics such as arts, music, and physical education. The STEM curriculum is neither equally nor equitably provided to less-advantaged students or non-white students. Many teachers’ depth of knowledge has been decreasing over time, with classrooms growing too large to provide personalised learning in close relationships. Given our times coloured by nationalism and autocratic leadership, some parents use education as a political weapon. COVID-19 has only exacerbated the inequality and inequity in educational quality and access. On the whole, access to quality education is weak in the developing world. In the developed world, the content is becoming less relevant to the requirements of our changing world. The digital divide in classrooms, schools, communities, and societies is only further increasing the chasm between the haves and have-nots around the globe.
Against this backdrop, the world of work is changing more rapidly than ever before. Communications, AI-based systems, and machines are rapidly taking over an increasing number of working activities and are considered a big threat for employability. As the authors of Solomon’s Code write, “For better or worse, AI innovation has changed the way most of us live and work.”1
As a result, our educational systems no longer meet our current and future needs. Deep, broad, and rapid change must be immediately undertaken so that people are prepared for the tomorrow that is already disrupting today’s systems. Changes in the educational system, however, have always been slow and reactive rather than proactive and visionary. This is because the education system is one of our biggest (and perhaps the toughest) bureaucracy to confront for several reasons. Its features raise daunting obstacles to change. It is huge in terms of numbers. Reined in by a fixed curriculum, the education system is simultaneously extremely complex, as the curriculum has been defined and/or implemented differently in nearly every school system. In most cases, its finances are dependent on governmental budget allocation. Management at both governmental and community levels is hierarchically oriented in the highest roles.
And where, we ask, is the funding of change? Because the development of AI and its applications offers huge economic opportunities for corporations and their shareholders, innovators, and partners, the funding for these strategies is astronomical in comparison to the funding for the development and deployment of future-oriented education. Private and state investments are eyeing the technological singularity while neglecting, ignoring, or not even identifying that human singularity is equally necessary and valuable—perhaps even more valuable than the technological one, as human beings, not technology, are the core of society, work, and life, our very reasons for being, seeking innovation, and driving productivity. Technology is here to serve human beings and not the other way around. As previously noted, collaborative intelligence (i.e., the collaboration of smart machines and humans) suggests a promising future where technology and humans will work and create together. To keep parity and anything close to a “balance” of power, control, and potential, we need to invest far more in the development of what is considered “unique” for humans. In summary, the future is now. It is urgent to develop the “human uniqueness” aspects of education as a critical element of the education transformation process. A solid compass is urgently needed to inform, guide, and lead this change process.
New Education Paradigm
“An education system unable to adapt to the speed of innovation in
society is obsolete. An education system that is not preparing citizens to be happy and healthy in the world they live in is worthless.” (Michael Soskil, Educator)2
Daniel Susskind has rightly pointed out that we tend to treat our educational institutions as sacred. This makes them incredibly resistant to any major changes and transformation.3 We have, instead, tinkered at features and functions rather than the underlying paradigm that needs adaptation to fit a transformed world.
As we stand on the precipice of a New Reality, what kind of educational system and curriculum will be required?
Let’s start by changing our views of the scope (time, space, and place) of education. This requires us to extend our focus from educating youth and young adults to educating people throughout their lifetime. Education and work are deeply interlinked, and thus need to be treated as one core life process. Classroom education is already being extended to online and hybrid environments. The role of “teacher” can be extended to “educator,” or roles delineated as coach, mentor, team leader, team member, and “the self as coach.”
Furthermore, we propose a multi-generational, multiple-stakeholder, multi-level, and systemic education model to support the education requirements for the future. Our solution requires intervention and inclusion by governments, business, educational institutions, educators, parents, and members of both older and younger generations. The paradigm needs to be extended from being provided in traditional classroom pedagogies and within limited periods of time to being delivered on an any-to-any basis across the lifetime journey, customized by the learner. The model must be grounded in the reality that education and work are deeply interlinked concepts and practices, which should be treated as one core, life process.
Our proposed system will educate people at seven levels of lifelong learning and education: the three traditional levels of primary, secondary, and tertiary (graduate) education; plus, four newly proposed advanced levels of postgraduate, post-formal, corporate, and senior education. Taking a lifetime-education approach will enable people to continually grow and change, to respond to environmental change rather than to react to it, so that they are prepared to maintain employability while continuing to contribute in meaningful ways through their work and lives. This is also needed in order to equip people to adapt to new circumstances that arise outside their control in a rapidly disrupting world.
Features of the new paradigm in education include:
- Is based on a lifetime education framework that encompasses all stages of human life and includes both knowledge and technical workers. (This moves education away from the traditional over-emphasis on content and obsolete concepts.)
- Integrates the four main processes involved in lifetime education throughout the education system:
- learning, relearning, and unlearning;
- research, search, exploration, and discovery;
- design and development; and,
- deployment. (Of all of these, learning to unlearn is a most critical competency; it is necessary for rapid learning, letting go of system patterns that no longer fit the new reality, and rapid deployment of the new system.)
- Incorporates adult mentors and coaches as a longitudinal resource that is readily available in most work organisations and communities that can promote deep learning, renewal, and reflection and can extend the talents of older generations into the next generation.
- Leverages both the smart abilities of AI-based machines and human-unique skills, abilities, and competencies.
- Facilitates micro-education, which provides access to experts and expertise—for anyone, at any time, and located anywhere—through micro-modules delivered across virtual platforms, which allows individuals to customise their own “education system of one.”
- Promotes collaboration between people and smart machines, which is needed as both an input to, and output of, deep disruptive change.
- Guides participants to anticipate, define, and live by emerging values of future generations that will become the shapers of the new emerging culture and society at large, accessing the best and most appropriate values transmitted via legacies and tradition.
- Redefines “encompassing education,” which stokes curiosity, the joy of creation, and passion for knowledge as power engines of education at two levels: the development of our unique human abilities and the advancement of our general human intelligence (GHI).
- Meets the unique needs of every individual human being and group by accommodating agility, flexibility, modularity, and customisability.
- Reimagines the future of workforces and environmental needs—proactively, organically, and reciprocally.
These foundations will lead to the development of a new core curriculum that will be offered through all seven phases of the lifelong learning methodology. As a core aspect of these, we propose to create an online-based education model that teaches the unique human competencies to people of multiple generations, accessible across the globe. Over time, this module would be delivered within the standard curriculum offered in primary and secondary school. The curriculum would naturally be developed differently for the different levels of learners. For example, primary, secondary, and senior education requires direct links with the outside world. Higher education, postgraduate, post-formal, and corporate education requires direct links to, and integration with, the work environment and work practice.
Let’s use as an example the building blocks for developing the lifelong learning-oriented curriculum, exploring the building blocks needed at the levels of higher and post-formal education.
Building blocks of higher (tertiary) education
One of the significant dilemmas of today’s higher education system in the developed world is knowing how to prepare the students for the cyber-world without losing either valuable legacies of a centuries-long academic tradition or their own individual capabilities. The developing countries have a double challenge: to deliver education for the uneducated and to make it fit for the cyber-world at the same time. This challenge must be addressed, because it is the students in these institutions who would be entering the workforce within a few years.
As people moving into higher education, students will need to develop generic, cyber-age specific competencies, offered through a “curriculum generale,” in order to thrive as well as to contribute their best in the new reality. Each discipline would customise and apply this curriculum to its specific needs. (Think of this like the relationship between basic and applied science subjects and processes.) The curriculum must also be transdisciplinary in nature, allowing students to achieve several learning outcomes: to develop their own unique cross-disciplinary identity; to deepen their innovatory capacity by working within a collaborative process with people (and machines) across disciplines; to develop disciplinary self-reflection that is both culturally and professionally appropriate; and, to learn and practise reflective judgement and negotiation during the collaborative process. It must also guide students to work across knowledge, technical, cultural, and stakeholder boundaries to facilitate a systemic way of solving complex, wicked, real-world problems.
Higher education also needs a general curriculum that supports all students in developing generic, cyber-age-specific competencies. Each discipline will need to customise this curriculum to its specific needs. In addition, curricula will need to be integrative and transdisciplinary, designed to cross the limits and boundaries of traditional disciplines. The curricula must also focus on developing unique human competencies so that the greatest strengths of being human can integrate with the greatest strengths of AI-based machines. Additionally, continuous talent development will need to become a core energiser lifelong education, simultaneously integrating talent development and with the deployment models that allow it to be accessible to all. Finally, with more and more people working outside traditional organisations, students will need to be prepared with the concepts, strategies, and skills of entrepreneurship, marketing, career development (especially the development of a personal brand identity), and the “soft skills” of cultural intelligence, communication, negotiations, and resilience-building to be successful in the future reality.
These proposed modules can also be extended into postgraduate education so that the existing workforce, too, is prepared to adapt to changes arising in the cyber age and to be productive. Additionally, these modules can be shaped for appropriate introduction in the primary and secondary education system so that students are learning knowledge, practising skills, and identifying values in their formative years.
Building blocks of post-formal education
Post-formal education is the initial and most important aspect of lifetime learning. This is because people will already be working in jobs that, for the most part, were required, defined, and skilled from past systems, requirements, and mindsets. With the growing requirement for human beings to collaborate with both machines and other human beings, this skill will need to be introduced as rapidly as possible. This capability will soon become a requirement within current and newly-created jobs, needed as a starting point for new jobs and for ongoing employability. Furthermore, organisations tend to invest in technology at much greater levels than human-unique capabilities. This will rapidly expand the need for coaches and consultants to support the learning and practicing of these competencies as well as companies to extend investments to organizational change programs and implementation strategies in order to prepare workers for future success. We therefore propose that the core curriculum be developed and introduced through a joint effort of academia and the corporate world as quickly as possible.
The proposed post-formal education includes several developmental foundations:
Superminds. As described in Thomas Malone’s book Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together,4 a Supermind is a group of individual minds who are effective at working together to achieve goals. These “minds” may be provided by human beings and through artificial intelligence. Together, they provide collective intelligence that allows us to imagine and deliver new vistas of human capability and creativity. We are already working with collective intelligence groups through hierarchical companies, global markets, governmental democracies, scientific communities, local neighbourhoods, and other combinations. What’s different with Superminds is that we additionally incorporate artificial intelligence as a collaborative partner in the ever-more, hyperconnected world. Superminds thus represent talented people with large personal and professional networks and connections. Given their simultaneous skills in relationship management, collaboration, and intelligent collaboration (i.e., with machines equipped with AI), Superminds will become informal leaders in their talent domain and in the organisations in which they are employed or with whom they contract. Superminds may become the most precious and valuable assets of these organisations. Therefore, attracting, developing, deploying, and retaining Superminds will become of the highest importance to organisations.
The value of Superminds consists not only in their extraordinary expertise in their domain of work but also in their connections and personal networks. Superminds will be capable of leveraging their personal expertise, network capability, and work practices within trans-, intra- and intradisciplinary teams and projects. No doubt, they will also play a major role in research and development as well in post-formal education.
Supermind Academy. A variety of Supermind Academies will be developed, each consisting of a selected community of Superminds from different disciplines who will work together on transdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary projects. Most of these projects will address “dream” topics—our greatest challenges, those wicked problems that are too big to be addressed by any one individual person, team, organisation, or nation—and those of greatest global relevance and impact. Operationally, Supermind Academies may by temporary or long-term; they may be utilised by hot groups, within open networks, or by large organisations or institutions that all are seeking to solve problems or create solutions that are cross-border or cross-boundary in nature.
Meta-Mind Academy and Global Meta-Mind Academy. A Meta-Mind Academy is a selected community of Superminds who are in the leading position and at the ultimate forefront of educational development and who are the backbone of the emerging meta-mind society. Exceptional members may become professors at this level. Global Meta-Mind Academies, serving as the hub of the network of Meta-Mind Academies, will serve as the penultimate level of membership level.
Additionally, Meta-Mind Academy certification teams may be used to oversee the learning and development of online education models, securing quality, integrity, and consistency of delivery. Special Academy teams may be used to coach students through the contractual process of developing individualized learning plans.
Meta-mind society. A new social pyramid is emerging, one that is being created from the combination of Superminds, Meta-Mind Academies, and Global Meta-Mind Academies. This society will provide both hierarchical and inter-relational pathways for individuals and communities to be educated, to collaborate, and, ultimately, to contribute to a globally connected society and world.
This educational pathway provides new professional and societal development pathways for workers. People may start as apprentices and move along their own customised development path towards Superminds as fellows, experts, masters, and professors. If people change their professions, they can easily step on to a new path as an apprentice.
Beyond post-formal education: towards an all-encompassing approach to lifelong learning
There are four levels of education beyond post-formal education that would provide essential avenues for development in our New Reality: postgraduate education, post-formal education, corporate education, and senior education.
All four levels are required because of two transformative and interconnected mega-trends: the complex, disruptive forces related to future of work (including digitalisation, AI-related technological advancement, and contract employment, among others) and the set of challenges leading us into the “danger zone,” such as degradation of the environment (climate change), racial and social unrest (migration and diversity), the COVID-19 pandemic and future pandemics, violent political conflicts, and the multi-level, deepening chasm of human and social inequalities and inequities. The proposed transformation of the education paradigm will, in turn, also lead to all-encompassing transformation in science, society, economy, and business and, finally, in work itself.
If education moves from the realm of sacred to mutable, and if we can build one core life process between encompassing education, work, and personal life, then we can envision a new education paradigm. Education will then become the main enabler for the creation and deployment of life values and, ultimately, societal, community, and personal contribution. Rather than being seen as a great divider of people and communities, education will now become a greater equaliser, a systemic tool for building equity across the globe.
The proposed model (Exhibit 1) describes the symbiotic relationship between education and work. The learner will be educated along a lifelong basis with a curriculum encompassing both technology-based and human-uniqueness-based knowledge, skills, and practices (that are all deployed through work). Work, in turn, presents the ever-changing demands for new learning and for new opportunities for its application. The learner’s life values will serve as the source of purpose for the individual and its parameters for measuring the results and impact of purposeful work and contribution.
As we face the danger zone and the potential crush of its underlying forces and wicked problems that threaten our civilisation and even our existence, we cannot afford to waste the development of any talent. Instead, we need to support the ongoing, lifelong development of whole classes of people who are underserved, and guide them to develop core values and be respected and integrated into the greater collective intelligence network. This model must therefore be applied to the educational needs of every living human being on the planet, without regard to their status, income level, location (i.e., developed or developing world), race, citizenship, culture, social status, or sexual orientation.
The shared waste of talent
Simple statistics reflecting underlying biases, discrimination, and prejudice show us how much talent we are wasting today. Additionally, they indicate the opportunity we may gain by releasing the untapped potential of underserved or underrepresented categories of human beings.
- Gender bias: Research shows us that 50 percent of women (female talent) around the world want to leave their job in the next year; 21 percent want to exit within the next two years. Because of the global pandemic, mothers around the globe are in crisis due to the disruption of their work, their home lives, and the mental, emotional, educational, and technological challenges borne by their children. In many parts of the world and in numerous industries, women have been belittled, underpaid, and underappreciated for years if not for their entire lives.
What are we losing? The feminine mindset. A relational, caring worldview. Balance. The unique contributions of individuals who have not been given the opportunity to contribute from their whole selves and experiences. This loss is often generational as children—both boys and girls—are affected by long-term societal and gender-based inequities.
- Ageism with older workers: 64 per cent of older workers say they have experienced ageism; 58% of workers say that ageism begins when people reach 50 years old. Ageism is now the most widely experienced form of discrimination in Europe. Thirty-five percent of Europeans say that they have experienced unfair treatment directed towards them solely because of their age. This is higher than gender (25 percent) and ethnicity (17 percent). Fewer than 1 in 2 people in the 55-64 age demographic are employed. Only 1 in 10 people in the 65-69 age demographic are gainfully employed.5
What are we losing? Talent. Knowledge. Experience. History. A greater understanding of the context of today’s problems over time, place, and space. Entrepreneurial ventures. Older workers can become needed coaches and mentors and pass on institutional and historical knowledge.
Additionally, stereotypes of some people born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s are causing some companies to be reluctant to hire anyone under 40. Those holding these attitudes and stereotypes see young workers as lazy, spoiled, unpredictable, unreliable, and unprofessional. Some employers believe that young workers lack loyalty and will leave their employer once a better opportunity presents itself.6
What are we losing? Creativity. New perspectives. Youth are incredible, creative problem solvers and view the world from a more current mindset and world view.
Emerging categories of talent
The deployment of lifetime learning may be assessed by measuring the actual deployment of workers at different levels of development. We may see emerging categories, each with new assessment criteria and standards- or rubric-based grades, all of which will inspire people to learn and achieve in their work, as well as deliver a standard of comparison across roles. Here are a few examples:
- Practice masters: people employed in technical/creative fields, such as handicrafts, the arts, technology, engineering, etc.
- Collaboration masters: people with highly developed general human intelligence, also able to collaborate with AI-based machines
- Masters in coaching/mentorship: people able to guide others in development and achievement of capabilities, designated as “senior mastership”
- Superminds: people with a high level of expertise and talent in designated fields, as well as highly connected and networked
- Meta-Mind Academy members (regional, international, global): people able to work collaboratively with Superminds in different disciplines as well as AI intelligence, in order to solve wicked problems and address global challenge
The new core curriculum: unlearning and detaching from the past
The new core curriculum will enable people to develop their unique human abilities, their ability to work with AI-based technology, and their general human intelligence capabilities, within and over a lifetime framework—and all applicable to, and appropriate for, people of all backgrounds and cultures living and working around the globe. This will allow people to see both threat and opportunity in our changing conditions, to overcome the challenges with integrated and appropriate problem solving, and to constantly learn and grow at a pace that keeps up with overall societal and environmental changes. This new global curriculum must meet our shared criteria of human uniqueness, complexity, and diversity, in order to have a positive impact on the entire human population through a process of epigenetics.7
To create a new core curriculum, first of all it is necessary that we stare squarely in the face of the “magic mirror” (see Exhibit 2). The “magic mirror” serves as an image of our “reality” that has been created from our own perceptions—all of which are influenced by our prejudices, biases, beliefs, wishful thinking, and expectations.8 For the most part, these are all based on prior experiences and our reactions to them; they are stored as patterns in our neurological system. This means that a person may never actually see or interpret people, experiences, objects, or trends for what they really are. One is always influenced by one’s prior conditioning and reactions, all of which are embedded within one’s neural system, which operate in a never-ending, circular pattern to help a person see, control, and operate within the world in such a way that he or she is comfortable. This system makes a person feel safe and have “control.” It provide the instantaneous ability to handle what occurs in the moments of one’s life. These perceptions, however, are all usually based on past experiences and reactions to those experiences.
Our “reality” is our biggest roadblock to finding creative solutions. We tend to see the reality in the way we either want or expect it to be—or, even worse, the way that others want us to see it. The best way for a person to go beyond “my reality” is “deep” exploration of the existing information, knowledge, know-how, experiences, and solutions around the issues that concern them the most. This requires a deep, soulful reflective process that spans exploration of the mind, spirit, emotions, and heart in order to connect with the deepest, most authentic self, which yearns to create. Learning to activate one’s heart intelligence provides a doorway into changing the patterns that are embedded in our brains and neurological systems. This reality transformation process resembles the one that may be used develop actually creative, integrative, and “new” solutions to problems. For both perceptions and creativity, our own experiences often serve as our most critical block to accessing change and true creativity. In order to truly create, one must step away from the rules, systems, and identifications that have served well up until this point and then: step into the creative void; apply new “ingredients” for change”; await new insights; and, then, co-create the new possibilities that are yearning to be born. Exploration on both inner and outer levels allows us to see the reality beyond our own view. It can lead to the reframing of the issue we are looking at. It can transform the way we are seeking, overcoming limiting emotions and thoughts. It can prepare the mind supported by heart-based intuitive and intelligence to ready itself to see, find, uncover, discover, or recover creative solutions.
The new core curriculum: a generic blueprint
The new core curriculum must include education in the areas of both human uniqueness and high tech/virtual cyber knowledge and skills. In Exhibit 3, we present a generic blueprint for this curriculum that will need ongoing adaptation, development, and review by a team of educators and leaders, and then deployment and application in diverse settings and systems.
Within the core curriculum will be a series of integrated yet stand-alone “virtual labs.” Virtual labs are platform-based digital and virtual hubs that provide regional and/or global connection, communication, and collaboration between experts, researchers, R&D organisations, faculty, practitioners, and students associated with a specific field or discipline (for example, social intelligence, artificial intelligence, robotics, neurotech, etc.). The labs additionally incorporate access to relevant publications and relevant industries. They serve as the platform for open innovation and the crowdsourcing of ideas, funds, and solutions that are needed to address the scale of wicked problems that we will continue to face as we move into our new world.
We foresee that the virtual labs will integrate the development of cyber and human uniqueness capabilities. They will also intermix talent acquisition and deployment, life/work design, and design thinking with globally based action research and collaboration skills, social, emotional, and heart intelligence skills, and digital, augmented, virtual, and collaborative intelligence skills. Ultimately, virtual labs will aid in the development of Superminds who learn and grow as whole human beings in their respective fields and communities.
These labs, however, are not substitutes for physical labs. There will always be challenges, connections, and problem-solving initiatives that require people to touch, sense, feel, hear, and see others in reality. The labs will be instruments for building true connection with other people by supporting them to develop productive and thriving interpersonal and social relationships.
A proactive action toward transformation
In order to transform our education system to support the cyber-reality, we suggest that leaders utilize the following core planning principles so that we may proactively co-create the needed paradigm shift:
- Take a systemic view toward education, life, and work. We need to use systemic thinking, for example, by aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals so we are modelling the need to partner with existing institutions.
- Take a holistic, multiple-intelligence, and multi-identity view of human beings. This view shall incorporate mental, emotional/social, spiritual, and physical aspects of people as well as the intersectionality of their personal identities.
- Hold a collective view of human beings and technology. Recognising that human beings create, program, and build technology as well as algorithms, this view recognizes technologies as tools for serving humanity and society and not the other way around.
- Actively design the future. Do this by utilising a future design framework (supported by action research and design thinking techniques) to help us cope with the current world in transformation and the future that is both being designed and revealing itself to us. This will help us create a desired future, limiting the pull towards the future that is either in operation or we would otherwise expect to occur.
- Clearly recognise that challenge of defining the direction for the future while simultaneously taking action to create tomorrow, today. The desired direction will run in parallel with the actions being taken for design. (This is a bit like flying the plane while building the plane.) Follow a managing by traction (MbT) process to guide this process.10
- Be mindful of cultural transformation. The transformation process and outcomes will encompass the multi-layered worldview of every individual contributor that has developed over time, including: individual biases, experiences, and deeply held beliefs; shared collective and cultural worldviews and lifestyles; our human relationships with, and within, multiple communities and societies—both with shared and different views and mindsets; our relationship with animals, the planet, nature, and the environment; our learned and transformed ways of behaving, reflection, and changing; and, finally, our individual and shared relationship with the arts, language, history, and projected understandings of sociocultural systems, paradigms, values, beliefs, and attributed meanings.
- Expand responsibility for defining, developing, progressing, learning, and controlling the education system and its curriculum frameworks from the schools (alone) to a collective composed of individuals, schools, specialised organisations, corporations, and collective institutions. New methods for assessing learning performance and outcomes (including progress of skills, abilities, competencies, and talents) need to be created, shifting from sole dependence on examinations to new, measurable devices.
We recommend numerous actions to begin the education transformation process:
1. Develop the new education paradigm and curriculum that views life and work as collaborative and meaningful activities that secure the quality of life. Four elements are necessary:
- Action 1: Develop the unique human competencies. Launch within primary and secondary school education frameworks.
- Action 2: Develop the new core curriculum for university-level education that will incorporate generic cyber-age-specific competencies. Each discipline should customise this curriculum to its specific needs.
- Action 3: Incorporate “talent development” as a core element of lifetime learning. This will require innovative talent development and deployment models being developed and then applied.
- Action 4: Extend the human uniqueness competencies at the university level in order to prepare students for an uncertain, yet surely fascinating world.
2. Build a global regulatory agency, grounded in shared life values and based on a shared leadership context that revolves in membership on a periodic basis.
3. Develop Superminds, agencies, virtual labs, etc. that are grounded in shared life values, serving both the needs and aspirations of individuals and the collective.
4. Implement a phased solution for launching the curriculum. Phases I and II will overlap (see Exhibit 4).
5. Develop a resilience-building, stress management programme for students of all lifelong learning levels so that all human beings and teams learn how to manage change, their own inner world, and their interactions with others as well as how to develop as authentic individuals and community members throughout their lives.
Activating essential values in the transformation journey
“When educating the minds of our youth, we must not forget to educate their hearts.” His Holiness the Dalai Lama
No matter how quickly or even completely we evolve towards a metaverse—including all its many components, such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cyber-intelligence, and digital intelligence—at the core of societies, communities, and human beings is life itself. All at the same time, life is musical, magical, growth-oriented, fragrant, sensual, tragic, beautiful, profane, emotional, spiritual, physical, mental, and creative. Life is both tangible and intangible; it incorporates the known and the unknown. Life gives birth to people and hope. Generative and transitory. What makes life worth living is more than experiencing the artificial, although technology in all its imaginative glory may serve to elevate and make more productive the human experience.
Just as we stand on the pivotal point of utopia and catastrophe, technology, too, stands on the precipice of service and destruction. Technology has the potential to serve the greater good, to aid us in crossing the danger zone and addressing the challenges that threaten our civilisation. If unleashed to its own inherent power and unguided, valueless explosion in applications, technology also has the power to take over our minds and reality, potentially destroying human civilisation in its own quest for birth and survival.
It has never been more important for human beings at every level of society, in every role, and in every community to define their individual and community core values, reaching across borders and boundaries, in relationships and as families, classes, communities, societies, and institutions, and to answer the questions: “What do I stand for?” and “How can I use all my capabilities to serve the higher good, to make the world a better place?”
Values act as guiding stars for people making decisions throughout their lives. They act as energising forces as we define our long-term purposes and life/work. They also serve as bumper guards, forming a set of decision-making criteria as we face challenges and trade-offs in the moments of life.11
The metamorphosis of education will require people to examine two kinds of values going forward: the mega-value of trust and overarching life values.
Trust. Trust (and the confidence to act in trust) is the essence of the life contract we make with ourselves and with each other. It is the belief we have in ourselves, in other people, or in institutions. Self-trust lies at the core of self-confidence, empowers our own certainty of abilities, and supports us to choose and learn from experiences. All healthy relationships are based on mutual trust that develops over time. Trust is also the fundamental condition for co-creating positive, thriving, and generative cooperation, collaboration, and partnership with leaders, companies, and even brands, products, technology, and tools. It is the core, ennobling value that knits together the fabric of society, weaving people together in life and work, helping them to feel safe and that they belong to a group. Trust in a leader allows organisations and communities to flourish, while the absence of trust can cause fragmentation, conflict, and even war.
Building trust, at any of these levels, we all know, takes attention and intention, time and resources. Trust must be earned. If broken or lost, it becomes very difficult to restore. While trust is fragile in nature, an extremely hopeful part of the generative nature of human beings and human relationships is that trust can be renewed, regained, and reclaimed.
Trust is also a dangerous concept. Some people are not trustworthy. Some are guided to serve values that are based on greed or selfishness, used to manipulate, deceive, control, and/or betray others to serve a depraved idea or outcome. People, therefore, learn to trust leaders more by their actions than their words.
Life values. The second kind of values that act as a guiding light for people and every successful organisation, community, and society are “core life values.” These serve as guiding parameters in life and work and help us to define and even measure short- and long-term success. When shared and lived, life values bond people together and define a culture. Over the long term, they can also be used as the foundation for establishing healthy, productive, and meaningful relationships amongst stakeholders, creating trust and bringing tangible benefits to all. Such values underlie sustainability strategies, as leaders of companies and institutions strive to transparently meet goals and deliver outcomes that serve all its stakeholders around the globe.
It is not only the identification of shared life values but also the actual open dialogue that groups use to identify their priorities that empower values as generative and guiding lights. As people talk about what is most important to them, what is essential for their group identity and success, they are co-creating their shared values at the heart level. This process is the essence of collaborative living and loving.
Here is a list of possible core life values that we recommend individuals and groups meaningfully contemplate as they determine their shared purpose and strategies for contributing to a shared planetary outcome:
- Happiness: How can we make ourselves, others, and future generations happy?
- Preservation: How can we preserve a habitable world for future generations?
- Purpose: How can we take care of something valued, valuable, and essential?
- Duty: How can we fulfil meaningful duties?
- Contribution: How can we leave a meaningful legacy and make the world a better place –in the short and long term?
- Creativity: How can we create new knowledge, artefacts, works of art, solutions, and ideas?
- Education: How can we help to educate the next generation?
- Relationships: How can we cultivate the art (and science) of forming meaningful and sustainable relationships and partnerships?
- Talent: How can we develop the talent resident in individuals, communications, organisations, and/or institutions?
- Peace: How can we facilitate peace, kindness, and a commitment to facilitating life (rather than hatred and war) in our world?
- Service: How can we serve others, assist in the healing process, and/or coach others to learn and grow?
- Care: How do we act with care towards others while building care as a resource into our teams, organisations, and institutions?
Creating dialogue and making shared choices surrounding core life values will help to build trust. We propose that teams follow these guiding principles to maximise their shared result for this work:
- Understand that building relationships is more important than achieving short-term transactions. Without the establishment of good relationships, a transaction will not be sustainable.
- Seek to place purpose before profits in both life and work. Profitability is necessary for the longevity of nations, organisations, and jobs. However, balance out the reciprocal exchange in creating healthy profits with investing resources, achieving results for all the stakeholders, and giving back to society.
- Practise transparency over opaqueness, adhering to principles of conviction and commitment over mere compliance. Great societies and organisations value open, honest communications. They practise doing the right thing over doing what is most expedient, with a commitment to long-term vision, purpose, and results.
- Practise promoting advocacy over apathy. This means speaking and acting with courage and “walking your talk,” often placing the needs of others ahead of your own fear of leading change.
We all know that education is key to all of our lives. It is the key to civilisation, the heart of human, social, economic, political, cultural, and historical development across the ages. Education also brings meaningfulness to our daily life as it challenges us to grow and to let go of that which doesn’t serve our growth process. It emboldens us to reach for the activities, work, relationships, and values that ground our lives with meaning. Education is necessary for supporting the development of skills, attitudes, and competences that generate rich and healthy families and work environments, both principal and intersecting spheres of our lives. However, neither education nor our educational systems can be taken for granted or remain static in their historical foundations today, especially given the amazing and alarming speed of technology advancement, the new theatres that beckon us (like the metaverse), and the exponential number of connections and networks within which we may operate.
The deadline for achieving the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, is fast approaching. Will we achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030? With the promises achieved and the promises broken from decades of work by countries and the United Nations—including the 1992 Earth Summit and the Millennium Development Goals set at the 2000 Millennium Summit—we have learned that leaders at all levels of institutions and from all walks of life need to envision and then deliver a systemic solution that has the potential to address our interconnected and systemically based wicked problems. We believe that at the very heart of this needed system-wide transformation process is education. We simply must ensure that all children and adults will have access to education—the right kind of education—that will support the equitable development of all people in all facets of human and societal functioning. This will necessarily include their education in human uniqueness capabilities, relational and connection skills (including emotional, social, and heart intelligence), talent development, and digital literacy. This will also include “twenty-first-century (soft) skills” such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, compassion, empathy, resilience-building and communication. All will be needed to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to contribute while continuing to evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of our burgeoning cyber-reality.
In both Part One and Part Two of this paper, we challenge the bureaucratic logjam that has stunted our educational system along with its very concept and roots. We argue that we are not doing enough to respect the drivers of societal transformation or to match its speed of change. Talent around the globe is becoming obsolete. Many are neglected or forgotten as the world continues its rapid evolutions and revolutions. Leaders who recognise that now is the time to lead towards a future that is already being created are desperately looking for a renovated educational compass for guidance. It is not easy to find such a compass. However, if we do not even see that we need one, much less be on the journey to envision, find, co-create, and voice it into reality, then the probability for conflicts, disasters, epidemics, and social and economic chaos will only increase.
In many corners of the world, the topic of education is typically applied to children and teenagers—the learners in primary and secondary education. While supporting this focus, we call for a transformed curriculum and set of new processes in both of our papers to help these students learn to learn and unlearn while also deepening their development of human uniqueness capabilities and digital skills (as well as STEM and liberal arts subjects). We must not stop here. In today’s knowledge-driven economies, which includes nations in both the developed and developing worlds, access to both quality education and talent development are necessary and related components. We argue for systematised lifelong learning to be developed and implemented within all seven chapters of the human journey. Simultaneously, we also argue that all world leaders must embed, invest in, and lead as one voice for this to occur across the globe and at all levels of human identity (individuals, communities, cities, countries, organisations, and institutions). This will be essential in order for us to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 (while preparing ourselves for the next set of shared and universal goals we will need to achieve as we move through the century) and to be prepared to live and work, survive and thrive, in a completely new world.
People of all countries, regardless of their level of health and wealth, their level of technological and cultural development, stand to gain immensely from an improved and transformed education paradigm. Collaborations between governments, parent and teacher associations, Superminds, Supermind Academies, and all teachers, students, coaches, and mentors must work together to find the best (i.e., the most efficient, effective, constructive, integrative, and intelligent) ways to transform education. Many questions need to be asked. What do we keep? What do we change? How shall we innovate? How will we partner and collaborate? Who will we listen to? Who shall speak? Who shall lead? Who may follow? And, how can we stay hopeful, mindful, heart-filled, and purpose-driven throughout the process?
As a writing team, we call for action—innovative, envisioning, and inclusive action. We call for the organisation of an Education Transformation Summit, gathering others to pull together to lead the change we both anticipate and fear. We seek to inspire others as well as ourselves to shift out of our comfort zones and ask the tough questions, explore the void of creativity, and enter a heroes’ journey of learning, unlearning, relearning, and returning with the gifts of discovery and transformation. For the first time in history, we are in the unique position of being able to provide education opportunities for all, but only if we pull together. We cannot miss this critical opportunity. The time for change is now. The place for change is here.
This paper is Part II of two articles presented in sequence under the same principal heading. The subheading is somewhat different for these two parts, and they are very complementary.
About the Authors
Dr Mario Raich is a Swiss futurist, book author and global management consultant. He was a senior executive in several global financial organisations, and Invited Professor to some leading business schools, such as ESADE (Barcelona). He is the co-founder and Chairman of e-Merit Academy (www.emeritacademy.com), and Managing Director for the Innovation Services at Frei+Raich Ltd. in Zurich. In addition, he is a member of the advisory board of the Global Future of Work Foundation in Barcelona. Currently he is researching the impact of cyber-reality and artificial intelligence on society, education, business, and work.
Dr Kristine Marin Kawamura is currently a Clinical Full Professor of Management, Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University (California, USA). She is also the CEO and founder of Yoomi Consulting Group, Inc., a leadership success and transformation consulting company. Her research as well as overall purpose is focused on transforming leadership, organisations, societies, and individual lives with Care—a core resource for creating extraordinary collaboration, authenticity, resilience, and engagement in organisations and unlocking new levels of human, technological, and societal impact.
Dr Simon L. Dolan is currently the President of the Global Future of Work Foundation. He was formerly the Future of Work Chair at ESADE Business School in Barcelona. He taught in many North American business schools, such as Montreal, McGill, Boston, and Colorado. He is a prolific author, with over 80 books on themes connected to managing people, culture reengineering, values, coaching, and stress and resilience enhancement. He has also published over 150 papers in scientific journals. He is an internationally sought speaker. His full c.v. is at: http://www.simondolan.com
Dr Paweł Rowiński is ALLEA Board Member (Polish Academy of Sciences). He holds a degree in mathematics from the University of Warsaw, and doctoral and habilitation degrees in earth sciences with a specialisation in geophysics from the Institute of Geophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences. Among others, his research interests include mathematical methods in geophysics, geophysical flows, river hydrodynamics, and fluvial hydraulics. Paweł Rowiński has published more than 160 refereed scientific publications. He serves as associate editor for several prominent scientific journals and publications. In 2018 he was elected Vice Chair of the Europe Division Leadership Team of the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research IAHR. Since May 2015, he has served as Vice President of the Polish Academy of Sciences (second term in office).
Mr Claudio Cisullo is a Swiss entrepreneur. During his entrepreneurial career, he has founded and established over 26 companies in different business segments globally. He is a board member of several internationally renowned companies. He is the founder and owner of the family office CC Trust Group AG and also the founder and Executive Chairman of Chain IQ Group AG, with its headquarters in Zurich. Chain IQ is an independent, global service and consulting company providing strategic, tactical, and operational procurement. (https://chainiq.com/)
Notes and References
- Solomon’s Code. Humanity in a World of Thinking Machines, Olaf Groth and Mark Nitzberg, 2018
- Michael Soskil, the 2017-18 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year in his contribution “A time of unprecedented change”, to the book Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Routledge, 2018
- A World Without Work, Daniel Susskind, Metropolitan books, New York, 2020
- To read more, order the book or watch video on the theme, see: Superminds by Thomas W. Malone | MIT Center for Collective Intelligence
- Source: 45 Shocking Ageism Statistics – BrandonGaille.com. Accessed 29 April 2022
- Source: Ageism Effect on Younger and Older Executives (bluesteps.com). Accessed 29 April 2022
- The main difference between genetics and epigenetics is that genetics is the study of genes that control the functions of the body, whereas epigenetics is the study of inheritable changes of organisms caused by the modification of gene expression. Genes are the basic units of heredity that pass genetic information over generations.
- The concept has been developed by Giocama Rizzolatti and his colleagues at the University of Parma, who have undertaken research into what have become known as “mirror neurons.” The early stages of research were received with a fair amount of scepticism but they are now generally regarded as being for real, and they change the accepted view on how perception and cognition work and how empathy functions. Rizzolatti’s work comes out of the brain research that has been mapping the brain and its functions over the last twenty years or so. His discovery, through primate research, is that when an observer sees someone act with intention, not only do they respond perceptively, as revealed by neuron activity, but also as if they themselves were doing the action. This does away with the old division of perception, cognition, and action as discrete activities.
- Please see www.yoomiconsulting.com for more information on accessing the power of the heart and positive emotions to transform deeply-embedded neurological patterns (e.g., subconscious emotional memories and associated physiological patterns that lead to unconscious bias, judgments, and negative emotional reactions) and increase inner coherence, resilience, and improved decision-making.
- More information in our paper: “Managing by Traction (MbT). Reinventing Management in the Cyber-Age”, Mario Raich, Tomasz Krzeminski, Claudio Cisullo, Simon L. Dolan, and Bonnie A. Richley, The European Business Review, November-December 2020
- For more on values, read: Dolan S.L., The Secret of Coaching and Leading by Values, How to Ensure Alignment and Proper Realignment. Routledge, 2020