Education and Innovation – Open Forum Dubai 2010

Education and Innovation – Open Forum Dubai 2010


Good afternoon. My name is Majed
Mohsen and I’m going to be the moderator for this session
titled Education and Innovation. Now I would like to explain to you
all what is going to happen here. In the first 60 minutes or so, we gonna
have a panel discussion and right after that we will devote 30 minutes for your
questions and here I would like to encourage you all to ask as
many questions as possible. Whatever questions that you
have, we are in a forum. We’re discussing ideas and opinions and
there is no rights and wrong about all what you’re gonna say. Now it
is time to meet our panel. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer
of Seed, a Young Global Leader and a member of the Global Agenda
Council on Innovation. Please welcome Adam Bly. He is the Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer of Caden Corporation, United Kingdom and a member of the Global
Agenda Council on Migration. Please welcome Goran Hultin. He is the Chairman and Founder of the
Institute for Large Scale Innovation and the Chair of the Global Agenda
Council on Innovation. Please welcome John Kao. He is a professor of International Education,
the director of International Education Policy Program at Harvard Graduate
School of Education and the Chair of the Global Agenda
Council on Education. Please welcome Fernando Reimers. And lastly, he is the President and Board
Member of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) USA and a member of the Global
Agenda Council on Migration. Please welcome Demetrios
G. Papademetriou. All right. My first question
I guess would be how can the Middle East develop a skill and
talent pool that ensures long-term growth? The question
is to all of you. Go ahead Adam. Well, I think that we’re living in a time
now where science is widely associated with all the most important transformations
that we can foresee in the coming decades. Science is
driving our global culture and our conversation unlike ever before
it’s affecting world markets. It’s affecting our discussions about
health, about energy, about climate. We’re living at a time where this is arguably
a global scientific renaissance that were on a… and so I think that a
region such as this one that has such a rich history when it comes to science and
has contributed so much to the world historically when it comes to science has
a real opportunity, a rather unique opportunity, to ensure that science
figures into both education and innovation policies and systems at this
very critical moment so that we can enjoy these real fruits of the scientific
renaissance as participants. And this means rethinking
how science is taught. This means rethinking how science has invested
in, how investment and research can be better deployed across
the region and better shared. So it’s a whole series of questions I think
that it opens up acknowledging that science is the cornerstone of the future
has a rich history in this region and that the people of this region can
be tremendously benefited from and can tremendously contribute to this
global science culture. And is this what is happening?
I think very much so. I was just in Qatar this past weekend and
was at the finale of a program that the Qatar Foundation has been running called
Stars of Science recognizing that one of the challenges for any region that
find a grow as science sculpture is to establish an aspiration, associate that
aspiration with science so that young people want to become scientists. I think
that in many parts of the world including this part of the world becoming
a scientist or pursuing a career in science is not quite, you know, at the
highest echelons of aspiration and yet when we look at where our future is
heading, becoming a scientist, studying science is a precondition for almost
any possible career that we can embark on in the future. So I think experiments
like the one that we’re seeing just very recently in Qatar
is a very worthwhile example, a very notable example of getting young Arab
innovators across the region to, you know, participate in experiment that has
I think capture the imagination of a lot of people in the region. John,
you wanna say something? Well, I think what’s interesting about
the talent development opportunity in this region is the abundance of resources
not just in science or in traditional let’s say RND kinds of environments but
also the cultural assets that are being developed here. Also the hunger for opportunities in let’s
say the entrepreneurial side of business. I was here just
a few weeks ago. I seem to be commuting here for something
called the Celebration of Entrepreneurship and it’s
a great event, you know. There are almost 2,000 young entrepreneurs
that someone remarked that it felt like San Francisco in the late
90’s when things were quite exciting there in the starred up type of arena. So
I think what is interesting about the talent development opportunity in this region
is that it has the opportunity to blend the experiences in a way that in
let’s say societies that had more established ways of doing things,
the talent has been [inaudible] [0:06:13]. So for example,
you’ve heard a lot about stem education but there’s a fellow named
John Maeda who teaches Design now at the Rhode Island School of Design who actually
says that STEM should be STEAM because the “A” should be included
in there and stand for Arts. Now, you may think that that’s kind of a
frivolous idea but China, for instance, is investing in arts and music education
like it’s going out of style very explicitly because they wanna invest in developing
the next generation of talent. So here, you know, you have an opportunity
to make the bridge between basic research and the application of discovery
in the commercialization arena which is entrepreneurship and also to make
a bridge between science and arts and other kinds of connections as well
which is I think a very fortunate, very unique kind of circumstance.
Fernando? I agree about what my colleagues have said
about the importance of both science education and arts education. I think
an opportunity for the region in trying to produce the kind of talent that
would really be able to seize and lead the opportunities of the 21st century
is to produce some disruptions in the existing system of education to shake things
up a little bit and I would like to suggest three disruptions that
would be very beneficial. One is to start at the base of the pyramid
with the younger students but also with the most excluded students and
to make sure that the necessary supports are there for those students to have access
to a very high quality curriculum that is more centered in them in their
activities that is project based, that is interdisciplinary, that is really
supported by technology where the opportunity to be creative is a daily
experience for the students. And what is involved in producing
that disruption? Well, designing some new models of
education, figuring out a way to disseminate those models and to help teachers
develop their competencies to work in those models and to engage new
actors in that process of studying and diffusion and experimentation. The
second disruption which I think would be helpful to the region is to bring some
new actors to the education enterprise. Along the lines that you have just mentioned
I think that there is great potential in bringing entrepreneurs to
work together with public education institutions in the task of
generating innovations. So for example, there is a program in the
Middle East called Injaz Al-Arab led by Soraya Salti which in thirteen countries
in the region is teaching young high school students the ability
to create a small business. It’s teaching them business skills
and entrepreneurial skills. And I think that this kind of example – I
don’t mean only this one but generating many more opportunities of that sort for
students both in school programs, out of school programs, weekend programs, summer
programs is a second disruption that would be very welcome. And the last
one is really to engage the universities seriously in the task
of education improvement. I think that universities have a potential
to be tremendous engines for social development for
economic development. But my sense is that in most countries of
the world, they don’t really play that role and they don’t play that role and were
looking in part because the way in which universities measure their quality
reflect values that are hundred years old. Universities measure
their quality fundamentally by how many students they
exclude and by how many papers faculty produced in certain journals without much
attention to who reads those papers or what impact they have. There are
two things that universities could do that would alter the equation. One is to take teaching more seriously and
to figure out a way to measure what are students learn which would force us to
be very deliberate about what we want to teach them and to prepare our faculty to
do that well and the second index that universities should use in measuring
their performance is an index of university social responsibility of impact
in their communities of which they are a part and this is an area that
could have tremendous impact. It caused a very positive disruption in
this region but could also be a gift of this region to the world because no region
has yet added those two components to the indices that are used
to rank universities. But I mean is this enough? Because
we have tried before to clone other programs or other practices but unless
it is genuine, unless it is from the society, it will remain as it is now.
Scattered initiatives that is not being participated by the majority
of the society. And I would like to ask
this question to Goran. What kind of adjustments we have to make
on the educational system or in the training and pretaining practices in the
work place in order to be competitive in today’s world.
Yes, indeed. Listening to my colleagues here, I would
probably approach this whole question from the angle of the labor market, the employment
market and why we can observe there. And let me just
start by saying no country in the world actually has the
right strategy there because anywhere and everywhere that we go in the world, what
we see is just huge skills shortages and these skill shortages persist
even during crises. So it is not a question of the
pure numbers or job cuts. It is a question of a persisting
skill shortage in the world. And in that contest what I would probably
say to begin with is that the underlying reasons is really in a number
of misalignments in the education system and how the education system is linked with
the realities of the labor market. You don’t have really a good connectivity
between the curricula and what the actual needs are
in the labor market on — Are we talking about the Middle
East or the world by large? This is in every country
where we do work. And the second misalignment is in the career
of choices and I think you refer to that in terms of the resistance or
let’s say the slowness of people to actually go into science which clearly I
think if we look at the upper level of the education, that’s precisely
where the shortages are. But I think we have to keep a broader mind
as well because it’s not only about the… of the education levels but it is generally
looking at the way that skills by and large in the labor market are met and
there, unfortunately, whether were in the high skill, in the mid level skills
area, the career choices tend to be misaligned with the reality. Skill matching is clearly a problem. People
even with the skill profiles that they have, tend to not find the right kinds
of jobs where they can actually be effective and also grow with the job. Now what you mentioned is very interesting
and very true that almost every country has a shortage of skills and
one way to tackle this issue and to overcome it is by migration policies
and that leads me to Mr. Demetrios. Right. And I want
to add my voice, of course, to what it is that my colleagues
have addressed. But I also want to be very practical and
the practical person in me sides very clearly with Goran. I mean the
academy all too often tends to reproduce itself. That’s what
they get paid for, to create sort of like people who will be like them
and I know that everybody’s crazed with the potential of science and
mathematics, etc. etc. which is all very important. You know,
all the innovation is going to come partly by creating the scientists
and engineers that can actually solve problems. At solving problems,
critical thinking is also a big part of the creation.
Most of those competitive companies around the world are now important social
scientists and people with cultural knowledge into their scientific teams
because that’s basically how you – it provides the glue through which innovation
happens and the opportunities to take innovation to market. And ultimately,
you know, you have to be able to take whatever it is that you produce
in laboratory to market and first to market is still what matters more than
anything else and we all know that we have examples, you know, over the past 20
or 30 years where second is not only not good enough but second doesn’t
really get you anywhere. And increasingly, I think students here
and others have to think much more in terms of a global labor pool rather than
a local or even a regional labor pool. If you’re going to be good enough, you’re
going to have to be good enough for pretty much the world because the most
competitive companies are going to actually work both here and there. Okay. And that’s an extremely important
thing for us to tackle. Indeed, it’s not an easy thing to do but
I would like to ask you why do you think that people shouldn’t be as optimistic as
they are regarding all the scientific trends and dreams in that regard? The
practical guy that you are is shaped by what? By the facts on
the ground that people are slow in adopting change or that
innovation is unteachable? No, no, no. Innovation maybe
unteachable, you know, in the classroom but what you get in the
classroom is all of the different pieces but the pieces come together in a team
concept and somehow, you know, an Einstein sort of sitting at 3 A.M. in the
morning and coming up with a great idea and if you’re gonna translate that great idea
into something practical, that gives people jobs that creates opportunity
for the largest number of people. Okay. They’re going
to have to do that. I think we have people from different
school here but I’m coming to you but let’s go to Fernando first. I just wanna… with what you said coz I think
that there are tremendous practical implications for how to change higher
education that come from your idea. And the practical implication – I mean
I think that in most places, in most societies, leaders are graduates of universities
and I would define effective leaders as people who have, first of all,
ambition who can think in big terms not small thinkers. Second
imagination, creativity. Third, the capacity to think
systemically to connect the dots and to anticipate the consequences of their
actions two and three steps. Fourth, ethics. To do the right thing.
And lastly, courage. To do what they know to be right.
And I think that we have a short supply of those leaders in many places in part because
we don’t set out to educate them deliberately. And I think
universities have a huge opportunity to produce those individuals.
If they do more than give lectures to students who sit in rows for most of the
time they’re in university, if they give opportunities for students in universities
to be teachers from time to time, to teach their faculty, to take
responsibility, to solve some real problems in the communities of which they
are a part, to have many opportunities to demonstrate that they can apply what they
are learning, to solving concrete problems. So I think it is
possible to get educ – unnecessary to get educational institutions
to act on your very good advice to produce the kind of leadership
that would give us reasons to be very optimistic that the future can
be even better than the past. Okay. Adam. I wanna pick up on the sort of view of
science that you heard earlier which I would wholeheartedly disagree with.
I think that we have this common perception of science that permeates the
west right now, that science is simply a subject. It’s simply something
that societies invest in and the output is measured in
the drugs and technologies that it yields. And in the greatest moments in history for
certainly for this region, for Europe and elsewhere, it’s come about because
science has been a lens. It’s been a way of thinking and it has represented
the kind of critical thinking and imagination and ability to problem
solve, ability to imagine, ability to make connections. Today, as
we’re living in a time of great complexity and interdependence and
that will certainly be a hallmark of our generation going forward, what science
offers us if properly introduce into society and insured as a universal right
for people is the ability to make these connections and recognize that we can’t
solve for epidemics for example without understanding climate change and we can’t
solve for climate change unless we think about economic growth and we can’t think
about economic growth unless we think about populations and we can’t think about
populations unless we understand epidemics. And this kind
of approach to thinking is fundamentally rooted in science as a lens
and a way of approaching problem solving. And I think that we’ve seen great figures
emerged from the Islamic world where science and poetry and science and
arts have been inherently linked and I think this is about kind of rebooting
science educations so that we are producing not only scientists and engineers
who are actually practicing science coz that’s important to a whole
number of industries in the future but also come through a sort of education that
is rooted in a scientific method. Today we hear a lot. One of the
big themes emerging from the global agenda summit that we’re all coming
from is the power of design as another tool today for the labor force
being able to solve problems, to prototype solutions, to drive innovation
in their companies and these are parallel talents to that — that
is inherent to science. So being able to follow a scientific method
is very much mirrored in the kind of design thinking that’s very much rooted
in the innovation practices of some of the best companies
in the world today. So I wanna just offer a competing view to
the narrow view you’ve heard of science because I think that if we view science
so limited, it will just be a part of society and then it will naturally engender
resistance from other domains of society and that’s a very big risk. It’s
something that we’re seeing in the United States right now and you have an opportunity
in this region to insure that that’s not the future that you have. I
wanna go to John and Fernando to ask about innovation whether it’s teachable
or not but first let me just comment on what you just said. Is it
– I mean applicable? Because what he was trying to say is
that we need more performers than talents, super talents. What you
are talking about is is it applicable to the major –
does it solve problems? Does it solve high unemployment rates that
we are witnessing around the world or it’s just a dreamy
idea? Yeah. I think that we can both be dreamy and
solve practical problems at once. I think to not solve for both at the same
time, just results in crisis after crisis and ultimately not taking
advantage of this crisis. It’s very much in vogue in the United States
to sort of talk about not wasting the crisis and I think that that’s
very much a global phenomenon. So I think that we can be – we can recognize
that science is not about making more Einsteins. Einsteins will emerge as, you know, patent
clerks frankly not as scientist, right? Einstein is a patent
clerk and so these kinds of geniuses that will give us grand
unified theories and, you know, very theoretical frameworks and advancement
in society, they’ll come about. Societies will nurture them but they could
be working in patent offices right now. This is really about developing a broad
based literacy for this century that I think is fundamentally scientific. But
from science comes a whole bunch of other dimensions of this new literacy. I
would advocate at one of them, is the ability to deal with information.
I think that this is gonna be a tremendous facade of a whole number
of industries in the future. We are now at a time where we’re producing
a tremendous amount of data. About all sorts of assets of society. This
is an engine of innovation for many companies and industries around the world
is being able to take advantage of data and be able to understand what happens
when you have plus [inaudible] [0:24:26] of data, terabytes
of data, being able to navigate these complex spaces. These
are the kinds of skill sets that are very new and to sort of circumvent
them in pursuit of quick solutions to unemployment I think is sort
of wasting a crisis. And it requires a certain
level of innovation. Is innovation teachable John? Well, I think it is. I don’t think
you can teach people how to be Mozart or Einstein because there’s
often a confusion between the skill of practicing innovation of creative thinking
on the one hand versus being a genius or a high level
talents on the other. I mean talent comes from somewhere else
but if we think about innovation and I think what we’ve been having here is a
very interesting conversation about in a way a more integrative approach
to addressing complex problems, more integrative approach to the learning
process within which there are multiple, if I can coin a Harvard term, a multiple
intelligences, multiple perspectives at work that in a way combine to create
the ability to innovate. So one of my favorite examples – I’m sure
some of you in the room are Star Trek fans. And if you think about Star Trek, every show
is the same because every show shows a team that is a very diversed team that
has a really significant innovation challenge that they have to solve in 51
minutes so there’s enough time for the commercials. And if you think
about the Star Trek team, so you have the science
guy Spock, right? You have the detail oriented person which
is the radio operator who can tell the difference between Chanel 61.4 and 61.5,
you have the doctor who is filled with social science knowledge and empathy
and then you have Kirk who is the entrepreneur visionary. And in a
sense, only when you have all of those attributes at work, do
you have an effective team? And only at that point also
do you have innovation? So the first point to be made is that innovation
isn’t just about one kind of skill. Innovation, in some
respect, is about integrating many kinds of skills. If you
think in a society, for instance, about how innovation works,
it’s actually a process. It’s a value chain or
a sequence of events. So the people in laboratories in the white
lab coats who say “Eureka, I have found it!” who do the discoveries
maybe a very important part of the innovation process
but there are only one part. The discovery has to be refined, has to be
adapted, then it has to be applied to some kind of human need. So you make
the transition in a way from basic to applied research to commercial
functions that have to do with user-centered design, that have to do
with prototyping and manufacturing and scaling up and industrialization.
And all of a sudden, you find that there’s actually a whole team of people who
are required to go from the discovery to the application in the market place.
And there’s often a lot of confusion about what innovation is. I mean
for example, Thomas Edison when he created the first light bulb that lit
up after hundreds of failures, at that moment he was not an innovator.
He was an inventor. It was really only when there were millions
and millions of light bulbs in use that he was an innovator, right?
So this whole notion of creativity applied to some purpose to realize value,
you know, is typically not a one-man or one-woman kind of activity. It involves
a lot of different kinds of skills. It involves a lot
of different actors within a complex sequence of activities.
It’s a team sport. Now, if you relate that in to the classic
function of the or the way universities organized, you know, highly
specialized functional knowledge, you know, you go – I mean I taught at Harvard
Business School for 14 years and just to get to the education school, you know,
it wasn’t a, you know, 500-yard walk. It was a 500, you know, mile walk psychologically
in some respects to go from one part of the university to another
because, you know, they’re very different kind of cultures that separate
departments and discipline. But innovation happens when these
disciplines become integrate. Now, how does that integration occur?
Well, I could say you have to go be integrator, right? And you’d say
“okay”, but that’s a very fairly abstract kind of conversation.
So what’s very interesting about the present moment is that we’re confronted
as global civil society with lots and lots of really complicated, messy intractable
challenges and opportunities, you know. I mean here in
this region you could make a long list of interesting complicated
challenges and opportunities and leadership in this region has been
very I think good about setting challenges. The Crown
Prince of Abu Dhabi, for instance, saying, you know, he wants to
be one of the five best governments in the world within a certain
number of years. Well, that’s, you know, that’s a Kennedy
moon shot kind of challenge. Once you start having real problems
that are complex and messy, right? And you put that in front of academic
knowledge, interesting things start to happen because the learning
process changes. You start to understand that these linkages
between disciplines are actually extremely important that managing collaboration
is really important that innovation isn’t just about standing in a
corner and coming up with great ideas. It’s about interacting with other people and
making something which is much bigger than – where the whole is much
bigger than some of the parts. So, you know, one of the reasons why
I stayed as long as I did at Harvard Business School as educator so to speak
is because the pedagogical method there was case method, you know. We didn’t
read textbooks on marketing or finance. We actually – you
know, the first day as students arrived at Harvard Business School,
they get a stock of case studies and, you know, one day you’re studying
the Central Bank of Chile and the next day you’re studying the software development
team at Apple Computer. The next day you’re studying a manufacturing
process and, you know, having to analyze that and day after day,
you’re confronted with complicated open ended kinds of questions. So you
begin to understand your job isn’t to be one kind of thinker
or another kind. Your job is to be a generalist and an
integrator and, you know, that’s in a sense what we called general management.
It also is very much about innovation which is bringing all the pieces of the
puzzle together and orchestrate it. Do you think that this requires a major change
to the current educational system? Yeah. Or this is applicable
to everybody? Because I was under the impression while
you are speaking that – I was under the impression that it is – the mission is not
that possible for everybody because not everybody has the multiple intelligence
you are talking about. Everybody wants, you know, a quiet
life. They want to perform. After eight hours of work they want to go
and enjoy some time with their family. Not everybody wants to deal with
challenges all the time. Well, you know, you brought this point
up earlier as well in terms of are we talking about something just for elites or
are we talking about something for the masses and I think that some of it has to
do with the choices in life you make, you know. Not everybody wants
to go start a company or be an innovator and break the mold
and, you know, as you say some people wanna go and do a job and have to be very
clear what they’re doing and, you know, started 9:00 and ended 5:00 with
lunch at 12:00 and that’s fine. But I wanna make the other point though that
I think that the kind of innovation that we’re talking about isn’t just an
elite phenomenon where, you know, you have to have read Howard Gardner from
Harvard School of Education’s book on multiple intelligences and recognize
yourself to be a great innovator. I mean in these days, you know, think
about what’s happening in the digital domain where people are reaching out to one
another through Facebook and My Space and LinkedIn and all these other kinds
of social media platforms, you know. I mean, you know, Facebook has a population
that’s almost twice the population of the United States right now
and it’s, you know, if we were a country, you know, we’d have to have a front row
sit at the United Nations and then you think about well, what’s going on there.
Well, there’s an enormous amount of interaction collaboration, you know, the
virgin points of view coming together and that’s part of the innovation process,
you know, in a micro level right there. So, you know, this whole idea that innovation
can be democratic, that crowds can have wisdom, that everyone in a way has
the opportunity to participate in an innovation economy I think, you know, for
me is a very fundamental set of beliefs. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily, you know, ask
a crowd to decide how they wanted to do my brain surgery if
I had a tumor, right? I mean I’d much rather have an expert who
just knew exactly what to do so there is bottom up, you know, their opportunities
for that to be appropriate in the reverse. I think that
is the most relevant question that everybody here in this room
is asking whether we’re gonna have — in the near future, whether we’re gonna have
to some extent a predictable careers, a predictable life. Because we
keep bombarding people with these predictions about the future that it’s
gonna be only for those who are the, you know, highly gifted
and stuff like that. Go on. Isn’t it that the
computer inventor Alan Kay once said that the best way to predict
the future is to invent it? And I would paraphrase him and say that the
best way we can prepare students for the future is to prepare
them to invent them. I do think it’s quite possible to provide
the kind of skill set that will allow people to create the jobs
that do not yet exist. That’s what I tell my graduate
students when they come. First thing I want you to forget about
is that I’m preparing you for a job description that exists because that reflects
somebody’s idea 20 years ago about what’s necessary. I’m preparing
you to write your job description. And that creates
some anxiety at the beginning and eventually, all of my students
end up having jobs and being quite satisfied of making a big difference
and I’ve got 700 graduates now. We’re on the world
leading in education. Now, in order to be consistent with that
aspiration, with that belief, there are certain things you need to do and
certain things you have to avoid. What you have to avoid is to be the
person who stands in front of the classroom, talks all the time and then test
your students and ask them to repeat what you said. That is a sure
way to not prepare them to lead but to prepare them to follow
what you can’t do that will help. And in addition to doing the kinds of
things that you’re just talking about is to engage your students
in real problem solving. And that creates a lot of anxiety to students
who have not experienced that before but, you know, students
are very resilient. They’re very capable of rising
to your highest expectations. So for example, right now I’m working
with a team of my graduate students designing a curriculum that the group
of individuals is inventing to create a network of schools who are gonna be very
focused on developing global competency. I know there are a few things we can look
up but the last time someone did that seriously was 50 years ago when international
baccalaureate was invented. We’re trying to do something
better than the IB. And so you engage students in that process
and of course, at the beginning it may be nerve wracking.
Who am I going to follow? Nobody. We’re going to
solve this problem together and I do that routinely
and so do my colleagues. For example, I teach a course on Innovation
and Social Entrepreneurship where students have to not only to engage
with active entrepreneurs but their final project is to design a social enterprise
and they have to then present that to people who’ve done
this before. So — And it is not, really, it is not easy for
a teacher who had learned to do things in a certain way just to change
the method like this. But it’s easy to help us. For example,
I’ve only been teaching at Harvard for the last 13 years and when I
joined, my Dean said “I want you to do two things. One is I want
you to take a seminar on case methods teaching and
education for judgment.” And I took a seminar with 25 other new faculty
in the university from different schools for an entire semester. We
deliberated and learned from the masters what does it mean
to educate for judgment. And educating for judgment means asking a
lot of open ended questions, not feeling that you have to provide the answer all
the time, having wait time, waiting for the students to come up
with the solutions. Then the following year, the Dean said
you have to be in a seminar so you can support faculty to become better. It seems
to me that the change will come from the students not from the teachers
and that’s probably the reason why Adam is so excited about the change that comes
from the people and probably it is also the same reason that makes Mr. Demetrios
so not as enthusiastic about the change that comes from policies
and policy makers. If we are to say something to these students
here to encourage them to foster change in the classrooms,
what is it going to be? Pick some problem that you’re really passionate
about and organize with others to do something about it and figure out a
way to engage your faculty to engage in solving that problem. I spent
– three weeks ago I was in Marrakech in the final competition of
Injaz, the social entrepreneurs. I’ll describe what a team of high school
students from Oman, five young women, had done. They had created
a company to produce book readers that parents could read to
their children before they began school and I asked them “Why did you do that?”
And their answer showed a lot of thoughtfulness. They said “A
lot of people in Oman don’t do very well in their studies and in talking
to our teachers and some faculty in the university, we’ve concluded that
they don’t do that because some people never really quite learn how to read with
understanding, with love, with the desire to read, and, therefore, with the fluency
to be able to learn from what you read. And we think the reason that happens is
because nobody reads to their kids when they’re very little and one of the reasons
is because there aren’t enough interesting materials
in Arabic to do that. So we decided to do something about it.”
So my advice to the students and to their faculty would be engage on Monday [phonetics]
in a process of conversation about what is a problem that you think is
important that you can do something about and figure out what are you
going to do to solve it. And you’re gonna need the help I think
of your professors in deciding what problems are within your reach. I mean
be ambitious but also reasonable and then use that problem as a context to
integrate what you’re learning in the school. It can be
a lot of fun. It can be very satisfying and I am convinced
it is the fundamental component of an education that is going
to prepare you to lead. Well, from you, sir, you’ve
been quiet for some time. I’m fascinated by the conversation here
and I might say that what I find a bit troubling is the comment that you made
which is that somehow the university is going to prepare you to find a job where
you’re gonna put honest eight hours worth of work and then you’re going to go
home and have your family time. Now, I’m an immigrant myself. I’ve
been in the United States for 40 years. Well, I recognize about education and
about life is that if you’re not passionate, if you’re not curious, if you’re
not going to constantly challenge yourself in this system whether you’re a student
or a worker, you’re not likely to succeed in life. The idea that somehow , the ideas about
parents perhaps said or the idea that people who may not have a college education
or the need for a college or university education that somehow they’re
gonna work their eight hours and then go home and have a wonderful life until the next
morning is a very foreign idea to me both as a person, as a former educator,
as a person could now writes and gives advice and tries to solve problems. So
I understand the passionate thing. It is critical. The curiosity
thing, it is critical. The idea of constantly trying to work within
systems, not within this system, but understanding systems. How
things connect to other things and trying to figure out constantly how to
change the system while you fit into it. This is the way that you move forward
as far as I’m concerned. This is also how innovation happens. And I think this is the kind of thing that
you need to install to people from the, you know, the high school
level or even before that. Certainly, the college and
the university level. So if you’re not going to cut yourself short
and if you want to sort of succeed as it were, retain your curiosity, challenge
your teacher, take things into your own hands and don’t think that your
education ends the moment or the year or the decade after you finished with
your university education. This is going to be —
[audience clapping]. Thank you. This is going
to be a lifetime engagement with solving problems. So
it does really matter all that much whether you’re, you know, a literature major
or a whatever, political scientist or, you know, in the management school or
what have you, you’re going to have to always be creating your
own future everyday. Otherwise, you won’t succeed. Now,
some of you will have nice cushly jobs and it doesn’t really matter, you know,
what it is that you do but for the rest of us, it’s something that we have
to constantly reinvent everyday as we move forward. I wanna hear from you before we go to
the questions from the audience. Well, I don’t take that issue actually.
I think everything that’s being said here is actually semicon… but I do sense
from my point of view, there needs to be a little bit of recalibration of some
of the attention to focus that we are shedding on this. Sure, scientists, innovators, creators,
those are all absolutely very, very important and certainly, I would be the
last one to deny or to step away from being a promoter of precisely
that kind of an agenda. But when we look at what actually is
needed in the labor market, it is a combination of hard skills and
it is combined with soft skills. And I think that that’s actually what Demetrios
is also pointing to is to do that – have that combination which is relevant
and to use that combination in such a way that get into continuous learning
which is actually the one – and one of the most important focus is in
the global context in terms of how do we actually allow for. The world and the labor market is changing
so rapidly that it is absolutely no way that an institution, an educational
institution or training institution, is able to do anything else
but be two or three steps behind. And that’s the reason why the owners of
training and employability maintaining your relevance in the labor market
becomes increasingly an individual responsibility. And then
the question, of course, from the society or the public sector at large
is what kind of tools and what kind of possibilities do we provide for
individuals to take over that responsibility.
Thank you, sir. Let’s hear from you now.
First question? As I said please ask as many questions as
possible in the most informal fashion. There is no right or wrong about
what we’re gonna say… Go ahead. I actually have
three questions. And the first is “What in your opinion
is more significant note of skills in Math and Science or innovation
and can you explain this?” Second is “Do you think that innovation
is rewarded as much as skills and Maths in university?” And the third is “To what extent does Mr.
Kao think that social networks such as Facebook have impact on
education and innovation, respectively?” Go ahead. Adam,
do you want to answer that? Go ahead. Yeah. That set of skills in science. Well, you know, I think that that most important
skills that can be learned in science are the methodology of science
or not the facts of science. I think the facts of science are increasingly
less important because we can find them. They’re available
to us now and so we used to measure success in science education
based on certain abilities to memorize certain things and be able to
say deoxyribonucleic acid or this revolves around that and
other run around that. You know, today, I think that science gives
us the capacity to permanently deal with change. That’s the greatest contribution of the
scientific method is that with new observation comes the capacity to hypothesize,
to devise an experiment and test it, to look for data, to
get results and then to change. And it preconditions you to constantly
be able to change your mind with new evidence and I think that’s a life skill
that is even more important in a time where there is rapid change, where we have
less predictability and visibility into what comes next, that the most important
thing one can take away from the Science education
is how Science works. Because we created it, right? We weren’t
given science in the same way that we weren’t given Biology.
We weren’t given Physics. We made these things. We
made the disciplines. Nature didn’t create them.
They were useful to us. We created the scientific method and we
refined it over centuries because it works. Because it’s this
extraordinary human achievement that we’ve created to understand
things and test things – As long as it is good, it is there. Once
something better comes or better explains a phenomena, then it is
gone and we have to be flexible. That’s right. And I think
that’s an incredibly valuable lesson. I mean we see
– you know, there are so many examples in the world where the
aversions of change, the notion of changing your mind is actually viewed as something…
and not something that should be embraced has gotten us into a lot of
trouble in the world in domains so far away from biochemistry. So I
think that that’s the most important take away from science. I
think to sum up the answer for the first question is you have to be flexible
and you have to be curious if I might say, right? And the ability
to experiment. I mean I think that, you know, the ability
to see something and test it and be able to – Second question
I think Goran want to answer it. First, I just wanna add to that because in
reflecting on the…, I do work with on a daily basis with people who actually
interview and recruit young people. And there are a number of things that they
will look at immediately in terms of ascertaining the young person’s
employability. The first one is experience which may I
say right up front obvious is not gonna be very high on the evaluation list because
if you’re young by definition, you won’t have a lot of experience. Maybe
you have some by having taken up short of term jobs during your education
or vacations but generally, that’s not the highest one. The highest
one is how do you present yourself, how do you communicate and what
is your commitment to the workplace that you are talking about
i.e. work culture. Are you prepared to go in for that job
to make a contribution or is it just a place where you earn a little
bit of pocket money? Those are the three things
that are important. So to your question, Science, Math, yes.
But you really have to think about the softer side or the softer dimension
of your skill sets. And is it rewarded as Science
and Mathematics is? It’s in any workplace. It is increasingly
important for that and may I just add we talked earlier about
sort of the changing labor markets and the fact that as Demetrios says we
have to renew ourselves continuously. It has now by research been also shown
that if you have the right set of soft skills, that actually helps you
also renew your hard skills. I want to say a word on the two perspectives
that have been offered here regarding science and another disciplines
and maybe offered bridging proposition. I’m not a scientist myself but I have
observed scientist up close in some engagement professional but also both
of my father and mother-in-law are distinguished neuroscientist and I agree
that science is a wonderful thing. Very necessary. For one is one
of the most cosmopolitan activities that I know where people from
different geographies really come together in pursuit of truth. But I disagree that Science is something
that people do individually. I think Science is done
very much in teams. The creative process in Science is a
process of engaging with a number of communities, talking to other people and
I’m also very intrigued by the possible pathways between the scientific creative
mind and the artistic creative mind. The most distinguished scientists that I
know are also very distinguished in some artistic domain. And I have not seen a lot of empirical research
examining that connection but I think that there are implications for how
we teach Science in elementary schools and in college. Some of my colleagues who teach in the
Science at Harvard, for example, would absolutely agree with you that if
you wanna produce a very good computer science, it’d be pretty good for that person
to also take a course on Design or in History or in something outside the field
as a way to allow people to see the connections, to have insights
that are truly noble. And certainly, I think that very good social
skills, the ability to work with other people is fundamental to
being a creative scientist. So I think science is great but I don’t
it’s a – my sense is that any kind of fundamentalism including the fundamentalism
about the virtue of science is not likely to move us in direction
of producing people who can actually invent the future,
create a future. Okay. Next question? You wanna say
something before we go? Yes. I can’t address the issue
of these social networks. In other words, all of these, you know,
the things that young people do today, you know, and all that.
Sorry about that. But I can address sort of some of the things
that my colleagues have already put on the table and, you know, this soft
scientific method – this is how we all learn. We basically learn by having a set
of assumptions that then others and hopefully, ourselves learn to question. This constant process of question and assumptions,
scientific method, you know, that some of my colleagues have mentioned
that is the way that you move forward in any endeavor. But I do have
bit of a career advice here that is practical
in a different way. We talked about social skills.
Of course, a good education. Good writing skills. I’m in the business where the hardest thing
that I have to do as an employer and I’m gonna apologize in advance to my
colleagues from the universities is I have to sort of unteach people with PhDs
or Masters and Public Policy degrees, and teach them many of the things that they
learn at university which is write in a way that in a sense is recognizable
in the discipline and write in a way, teach them how to write in a way this
way that you can be understood – That is more relevant, yeah. By,
you know, the common person, the policy maker, the, you know,
educated whatever it is. Right. So among the other
skills that you should really push yourself to get while you’re
at the university is learn how to write clearly and to the point. This is an essential skill in most of
the things that you’re gonna end up doing. This is going
to be an absolute requirement. This is going
to be something of which you are either going to succeed or fail and for me, if you can’t write, I have to
question whether you actually can think. With all due respect. I’m saying
this, you know, after, you know, anyway. I’ve worked
in the government. I’ve worked in many other places
– the university, etc. and I always have had the hardest time finding
clear thinkers who can actually put things in writing.
Next question. So we talked a little bit
about social network. I said earlier that… You know,
when I went to college, people woke up, had breakfast, went to class,
sat in classrooms, professors presented, you went to the library, you read books,
you studied, you went to bed, you repeated that. Now, my impression is the way college
works is you wake up in the morning and have breakfast but everything else is
different and a lot of it has to do with social networks that essentially provide you
with the information, the contents of lectures. People don’t go
to lectures anymore. They basically participate in social networks
that are about exchange in the contents side. So there’s a
whole other aspect of the process of education which may, you know,
still be there but, you know, it seems to me that what we’re seeing in terms of the
growing importance of this virtual domain has a lot of profound implications for
the traditional education enterprise. Coz there’s a lot of education
going on in it already. If you look at – I don’t know how many
people in this room play a World of Warcraft. But World of Warcraft
consumes as much time on the part of teenagers as going
to high school in the United States. I mean it’s astonishing actually. So you think about what’s going on in World
of Warcraft which essentially is a virtual world where people collaborate and
they acquire skills and they discover things and so forth and so on. By
the way, it’s going into a new version so for those of you that are big
fans of World of Warcraft, you’re gonna be very happy shortly. But, you
know, you’re learning a lot of skills of collaboration, making decisions
under conditions of uncertainty, you know, working in complex environment,
acquiring skills and things this time which you could argue are kind of a proxy
for a lot the “learning process” that one might, you know, associate with
more traditional kinds of environment. So that’s one part of the answer. The
other thing that I wanna say is that to me it’s a no-brainer that – well, it’s
a no-brainer that figuring out high quality ways of accomplishing, learning,
using internet-based delivery mechanisms is an inability. And the stuff
that we have now which is sort of online learning University of
Phoenix stuff, it’s nothing compared to what is gonna be happening
over the next few years. There’s an enormous amount of innovation that’s
going on in the space and when you think about it from a social policy perspective,
there isn’t enough money in the world, even in this part of the world
to pay for all the buildings and the teachers and the infrastructure that would
serve six billion people in the world let alone nine billion, you know,
people, you know, coz we’re gonna continue to grow. So the only
answer in terms of creating democracy in education at least in the
near term is going to be creating much more vivid, effective, interactive, personalized
approaches to education that will essentially be zero marginal cost
and will be able to be delivered by a Smart phone. So you’ll have,
you know, kids who won’t have access to a school or textbooks but
they’ll have a Smart phone which will, you know, because it’s made in Malaysia
will cost $4.00, you know, on the road with learning curve effects but at the
end of that Smart phone is going to be zero marginal cost education. You know,
English is a second language. Basic Math skills, basic Science,
basic Civic, basic World History, basic everything and why would you, you know,
recreate that curriculum 50 different times when in fact, you just need to
create, you know, one really good approach to – though our few competing
approaches and you got it down. Okay? So this is gonna actually
create a lot of competition with the established education
institutions because a lot of the commodity side of education I think
will be taken care of in this high tech as opposed to the high touch
approach. Lovely. Next question. As you were
talking, Demetrios gave me the face that I can’t wait to see that. I must belong in the last century.
I don’t disagree at all with it. Well, I don’t know about that. Go ahead. Go ahead. Thank you all for coming. I have
one question for Professor Reimers. You mentioned an element saying that – I
want to ask about little to you wanted to… how university adding
value to the social life. Now, part of the innovations or entrepreneurship
are saying that it’s not matter of… product or say that it’s matter
of how you would add a value to the social or to the certain community of
adding that service or that product. But actually, this region know…
that principle is not there. It’s the principle of just producing. How
do you advise that we can adopt that in our schools, from starting from schools
to the university and to the higher studies. This is the
year that actually we have as a… and I think I’m gonna try. Let
me give you two concrete examples of how this has been done actually in Mexico
which I think are very good. In Mexico, there is a university that
was established about 70 years ago modeled after MIT in Massachusetts called
the Technological Institute of Monterrey. It’s been led by one of the best university
of presidents I have ever met in my life, Rafael Rangel. He’s about
to retire so I can say this and what he did with this university was
to really turn it into an engine for economic and social development. And he did many things.
I’ll mention two. One was to create – this university has
60 campuses throughout the country of Mexico. And in every state,
he created a council that involved business leaders and university
professors to discuss what were the potential opportunities. Not
the jobs that exist there for which they couldn’t find people. The
potential areas of economic advantage that could be actually developed
if there were graduates with those skills and those councils are a wonderful
vessel of communication to make sure that people who are designing curriculum
are in conversations with those that are generating industry. The second thing he did within the university
was to establish incubators for enterprises. So the students
have the opportunity to develop an engineering firm and the university
will help them incubate it. Provide legal advice, some financing, help
the connections with people who have more capital and so on. Another thing that they do which is very
important to them is the development of citizenship skills and there’s where I think
in my mind good education is always about academic excellence and character.
The competencies that help you take yourselves seriously historically find
a purpose, find passion in your life and understand how do you connect with others
to really make something happen to make a difference. And so they have
a program that requires older students to do community
service. This is required. But it’s not silly community service.
They provide university support. So a few years ago, I went there to look
at some of the projects the universities have developed. So here’s
a student in engineering, third year student. His project
was to create jobs in a low income community. So he went
there and he studied. Why do people not have
jobs in this area? And he concluded that many of the unemployed
people were young mothers who had migrated from the South had young kids,
didn’t have a place to leave the kids and they couldn’t travel two
hours each day to the factories. And so he said how about
if I brought work here. Essentially, this guy designed a soap factory
that he placed in that community and what was involve in designing a soap
factory was to provide a three-month training course that this student designed
with the help of his professors not just in his field, in architecture, some
people in the social sciences and so on. Imagine the impact
in a student in his third year of career to realize that he
can create a social investment with the return – I know a few educational programs
that have a kind of return that this individual had on a three-month
training course. And so I think that making the university
an engine for social development is above doing
those kinds of things. Of course, we all contribute wonderful things
to the world by the graduates that we produce. But I think the
most important thing we can contribute is to provide our students
the opportunity to take themselves seriously historically and to know what
it means to make a difference in a community. One of the first
things I do, I direct the Masters program in education leadership,
and when I welcome my students at the beginning of the school
year, I welcome them in a little reception like that and then after I tell
them how happy we are that they’ve come. I encourage them to take a little walk down
the street… and away from where my school is. And that street
– it’s a beautiful walk ends up in a cemetery and I tell them
I want you to spend two hours in that cemetery. It’s a beautiful
place but I also want you to reflect on your own mortality because
even though you may not think this way at this point in your life, the
truth is that you will not have enough time to do all the things
that you could do. So you better think about what is really
important and you better take yourselves seriously as a historical actor
and then act accordingly. And it’s wonderful what that little
walk does to the students. When they come back from the
walk, they all thank me. It’s a very powerful thing. I encourage
you to do the same thing. Excellent. Obviously, our
time is up but we will extend this session as we started late.
We will extend it for five ten minutes and I would like to take a series
of questions this time. Go ahead.
And you after him. I actually have a few questions. My first question is that you guys didn’t
focus on education that would take place in places in the Middle
East where there’s conflict. There is nothing said about that and the
thing that I would like to emphasize is that one person that is making a
difference on people who are not receiving education and, you know, places
in conflict like Iraq and the West Bank is Her Majesty Queen Rania. She has
a foundation called One Goal and she tries to help out kids who are in
those, you know, areas of conflict that cannot receive education. And what
she’s trying to emphasize is that the more you educate these people in
places of conflict, the less ignorance we have which produces less extremisms.
So it bridges, you know, between the Middle East and the West and she
brought up an interesting fact. She said that within two months Europe spent
16 million dollars on just candy, a necessity. Not
a need, a want. She said if we take that money and carry
on for a whole year, we can educate everybody in the world and that way, you
know, it’s idealistic thing to say that we can erase ignorance but it
helps in erasing conflicts. And she brings up an example. She has,
yeah, she has her own Youtube account. She brings up an
example of a child in the West Bank and he can’t go to school
anymore because the war was built where his school was and he’s not receiving
education anymore. I mean so imagine what will happen to the
generations and the generations of this child. He’s just gonna
have hatred within him. So what I’m trying to emphasize is that if
— and obviously the community didn’t have any money to, you know, build a new
school so what I’m trying to emphasize is that
– Okay. we need to help out these people that
cannot receive education in places of conflict. Sorry, can I just
have one more minute. I’m sorry. And the other
thing is that – A question, yeah? Of course,
it’s a question. The other thing is that you’re saying that
we need to improve in Science and we need to improve in innovation. However,
it’s kind of difficult in this region of the world. I’m not
emphasizing on the GCC. I’m talking about our world in a whole is
that it’s hard to do that because His Majesty King Abdullah in the World Economic
Forum earlier this year said “I would like to improve education and innovation
but I get the – you know, it’s a very big thing in the Arab
culture and I cannot improve it. And then you have the same problem from the
private trying to improve the public. For example, if I was from country X and
I want to improve my country, I need to criticize it but they
see that as a threat. So we need to have – I want to know
where your opinion is on this. What actions are being taken
on this? Okay. Thank you. Thank you. Here
and there. Who’s next?
Go ahead. Give him the mic. No, no that guy – Can I start
and then we’ll pass the microphone to him? Ah… Go ahead. A significant point about this region
is that education is very – …yes. education
is very limited. For instance, they have a student who wants
to study Criminology or Biomedical Engineering or even Psychology. They
will have to study abroad in the West because these majors are not
provided within this region. The university in the region only provide
major that serve the community. The other majors are seen irrelevant because
it does not help the economy or community itself. What’s
your opinion about this? Okay. There. Okay. There’s
just two points that I’d like you to elaborate on. One of them is critical thinking
and how early it should start. Are we talking – because you mention high
school and you mention university students but I’m thinking
even earlier than that, kindergarten. And the point that you brought
up about the books that they use to teach parents should be reading to students even before
or their kids before they even start school. And then another thing is about all the
interdisciplinary kind of real world programs that should be taken
into universities. There are different sectors within the community
that should really collaborate on that. It’s not only
the students, it’s not only the faculty and universities.
It’s the government. It’s the corporations. It’s like
they need to be more for link between academia and industry and if you could
give some examples or some ideas of how that could be implement
in our region. Thank you.
All right. Thank you. Two more questions and then – Actually
the question was almost covered there. My question is what,
you know, to come to the practical side of the problem, what
role can government play in fostering innovation culture? We’re talking
about innovation policies and so like lot of thing that government
can do or not do so I wanna like your opinion on this.
Thank you. Okay. What
else? Yeah, we’re coming to you. Next there.
Okay. Go ahead.
Yeah. My question is about in the Middle East specifically
I think there’s a culture of risk aversion and that’s because failure is
kind of looked at as a finality rather than a learning process. So
what would you, as achieved individuals, what is your lesson to the
audience here about failure and how to look at and deal with
failure. Thank you. Okay. Go ahead. Hi. I’m so glad to be hearing so much
about opportunity and chances and education if a student was to take it but
I’ve got the feeling and I’m a little bit worried this is all more towards luxury
education and not towards its institutions who don’t take
money for education. And my question as a student now is do
you as professionals have you lost the hope on education that is for free or do you
still believe in it or do you believe that the chances and the opportunities lie
only with those who go institutions that are with a name.
Thank you. Thank you.
Good point. Last question?
Last two. Yeah. Go
ahead. I feel there was a more of talk
about – Can’t hear you. There was a lot of talk about school
and university but obviously, education doesn’t stop when you finish university
and for many people they only realize what you really like when you’re 22 or 23 but then you start getting a job and comfort
zone and responsibility and you start being disconnected with academy
world and here you stop, what is the solution to that? What
do you think? Okay. Last question. To what extent do you think that education
today is moving more towards a requirement for Mandarin as a second
language as opposed to English as a second language?
Mandarin. All right. Very quickly. First question I think was about
the places of conflicts. How can we, you know, foster a culture of
education and Science and places that are troubled?
Yeah. Go ahead. Very
quickly. I agree with what you said. It’s absolutely
imperative to teach in those places because education is an avenue
to peace and if you wanna know more about it, Google my name. You will
find my web page and there are number of papers that I have written
on that very subject. So I agree with you. This is
a very important thing. It’s an opportunity for some of you to
make a difference in that domain. Some of my graduates are working in
the very regions you mentioned. Okay. How early should the critical thinking
process starts in schools? Go ahead. I think as early as possible. I think
there is opportunities for a… to be crucible for some of the collaborative
skills, the question and answering, also the risk taking to — we can
know that question as well. I mean to me education that isn’t about
instilling an appetite for a reasonable level of risk is not successful
education. Because we learned by making mistakes
and failing, you know. Nobody in this room that rides a bicycle
or knows how to ride a bicycle did it successfully the first time, you know.
You fell down a whole bunch of times and that was inherent in
the learning process. Okay. I just really want
to recognize some of the questions here. What some
of the first questions actually would do in with broadening the
whole spectrum of the discussion. We’d been focusing very much in Science
and Technology and so on and so forth and whereas there is something that we did
touch on was a broader labor market and such. But what you guys
did was you actually broaden it even further and I think that’s
a very, very important point to pick up on because nobody can thrive in
an environment of conflict and strive. So, therefore, if education can play a
role in terms of pacifying some of the conflicts that we have in the world, then
that will in its own way, although it’s not the innovation part of it, but it
certainly will be the enabling and it will provide the enabling
environment for that. On Mandarin if I might still say. I work
a lot with China and last time I was there, I sent a text message to my
younger son and I said “How about learning Mandarin?” Thank you very much.
That says it all. I wanna ask you about the role of governments
in fostering the culture of education or improving education. Let
me say first something about the role of family which in a sense addresses. I
have agreed with – I agree with all of my colleagues here and I also think that
your questions, you know, are really extremely good questions but the answers to
your questions are already imbedded in your questions. You
know the answers. So it doesn’t really matter, you
know. Education starts at home. I’m not a development of psychologist but,
you know, I’m sure at the age of one or two or three or five, you’re already
learning things that stills that will actually serve you well for
the rest of your life. So there is not such a thing
as when it starts. It starts from the very beginning and the
role of family is critical in this. I have no view about the
cost of education. It should be free. But we all realize that, you know, it
is not going to be free but there are certain parts of education certainly, you
know, and through high school that should be universal and free. This is something
that the government in a sense owes to its citizens. But
the young lady was asking about whether we have lost hope
for free education. Yeah. Let me just say. There is
not such a thing as free education. You have institutions
that are either publicly funded and managed or institutions
that are privately funded and managed. But in my
university, in Harvard University, if you are admitted to Harvard
college and your family makes an annual income under $60,000.00, you get
a full scholarship, tuition and cost of living. And in the public
universities in my State those universities are not free.
They are funded with the contributions of the tax payers make. There
is a cost to higher education and sometimes the cost for student is not
very different in public and private universities. And the question
as to which of those universities offer a higher quality
very much depends on the specific universities. There is
no simple answer. There is no universal as to whether public
universities are consistently better or private. So I haven’t
given any hope but I’m not sure I understand the question because
I don’t believe there is – there maybe and education that is free to the student and
even that is not true because the student that goes to university and doesn’t pay
tuition is still making the choice to spend their time that way as opposed to
be doing something else with their time so. I wanna end with you Adam
and John maybe briefly. How to deal with failure? Is there
such a thing as failure? And if I might add, who are going to be
the winners and the losers in the 21st century?
Yes. So I mean on the point of failure and the
point of taking risk I think that that’s a hallmark of any, you know, part of the
world that we were considered to be innovative is the acceptance of risk, the
acceptance of failure and I think it’s fundamental to ultimately fostering and
innovation cultures is just accepting that and certainly in many parts of the
world, that’s more difficult than in others but we just know that’s the truth.
So it’s almost now we’d just have to orient ourselves towards it
because it’s just critical. On the winners and losers,
I’ll pick that up. You know, I think that I’ll actually
angle it towards the first question about, you know, when does critical thinking
when should that be taught? I think the winners and losers are
divided based on that moment. The answer to that question in my point
of view is as soon as another way of thinking could supersede it, that’s when
critical thinking has to enter the equation because too often in many parts
of the world, in almost all over the world, that approach to thinking, that
approach to being able to deal with change, that approach to start taking evidence
and being able to change your mind is a life lesson and either that’s
your primary lens for the rest of your life or it’s not. It’s very hard to learn
that later in life. It’s very easy to bring new
things into that equation. Morality, faith, all sorts of other things
that are important to life but if that critical thinking is… So to me
the winner and loser distinction is decided very much at that moment. John. Very quickly. So I wanna
go back to the Chinese-English topic only to point out that China is about
to become or already is the largest English speaking country in the world
which tells you something about which languages are gonna be
primary in the future. You know, business, aviation, medicine, science,
you know, they’re all heading in the direction of English. So we wanna
learn Chinese to be effective in China but, you know, draw
your own conclusions. As far as the failure issue is concerned,
there’s a very famous diagnostic test for figuring out whether people are gonna be
successful entrepreneurs and it’s called the Ring Toss. So it’s the thing
where you’ve got a post and you’ve got a round rubber ring and
you throw it and they observe your behavior. So this is – I’m
giving you a big tip. This is a freebie now so if you get
this test, you’ll know what to do. And what are they looking for? Well,
they basically are looking for people who stand right next to the
post and throw the ring on. They don’t want those people because
they have no appetite for risk. Then they observe people who are standing
so far away and throwing the rings like this hoping that they’re gonna
get on to score high points, high risk, high return. They don’t want
those people either, you know. They want people
who are willing to find the sweet spot and take a reasonable
amount of risk. So as Adam said and others have said,
risk is inherent in the process. It’s also inherent in
the learning process. It should be inherent in
the education process. It’s, you know, in our global, you know,
agenda councils, we were talking about the fact that risk is the new normal. Uncertainty turmoil is the new normal.
There is no such thing really as stability in the classical sense anymore
so we might as well get good at that and education is very important role
to play in developing those skills. Thank you very much panel. You’ve
been great and you too and I apologize if we didn’t have the time
to answer all of your questions. Tomorrow is the National Day of the emirates
and I would like to wish you a pleasant holiday and to my country,
a happy National Day. Thank you very much and Good Luck.

Danny Hutson

4 thoughts on “Education and Innovation – Open Forum Dubai 2010

  1. I would hate to think of a world that teaches through one social network system, and teaches the SAME thing to EVERYONE…

  2. Excellant meeting; great subject matter and very informative. Something that can be built on based on ones personal level of interest, understanding and pursuit of excellence. One's ability to think outside the box is certainly not God-given. It's developed.

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