Two weeks ago, in the blogpost on Why the Digital Day is important for Switzerland, I talked about the consequences if the dialogue with the broader public on digital transformation is not happening and people start being left out or behind in this 4th Industrial Revolution. The book from Thomas L. Friedman presents a great many quotes perfect for our cause. However, the book not only provides warnings, but also focus areas where we will need to act upon as a state, society, as business leaders and politicians in order to cope with the age of accelerations. In short, and as quoted in my last post, now is “a time to understand more, so we may fear less” (p. 3).

Below, I want to share with you my key takeaways from the book regarding the focus area «Education». In this time of digital transformation, education is an area that we at digitalswitzerland put a strong focus on and invest much of our resources in in order to move in the right direction and fast – both within the Digital Day 2018 as well as within one of our main pillars Education & Talent.

The bicycle trick – a new kind of stability

In the book, Astro Teller, Captain of Alphabets Moonshot Research lab Google X, is pointing towards a new human state we need to get into:

«What we are experiencing today, with shorter and shorter innovation cycles, and less time to learn to adapt, is the difference between a constant state of destabilization versus occasional destabilization. The time of static stability has passed us by. That does not mean we can’t have a new kind of stability, but the new kind of stability has to be dynamic stability. There are some ways of being, like riding a bicycle, where you cannot stand still, but once you are moving it is actually easier. It is not our natural state. But humanity has to learn to exist in this state.» (p. 35)

«We are all going to have to learn that bicycle trick.» (p. 35)

«When that happens, in a weird way, we will be calm again, but it will take substantial relearning.» p.35

Preparing our children for the new reality

One of the main keys to dynamic stability is an overhaul of today’s education for our kids, our students and ourselves. The following statement is crucial and needs to be addressed by all education stakeholders, be it in primary or secondary school, in vocational training, in universities or in lifelong education:

«We definitely don’t train our children for dynamic stability.» (p. 35)

Astro Teller is supported in this sentiment by IBM Chief of Watson (Supercomputer), John E. Kelly, who piles on top of that:

«In the twenty-first century knowing all the answers won’t distinguish someone’s intelligence – rather the ability to ask all the right questions will be the mark of true genius.» (p. 103)

Motivational divide will matter

We have to train everyone and ourselves for motivation and inspiration:

«You have to know more, you have to update more often, and you have to do more creative tasks with it than just routine tasks. That recursive loop really defines work and learning today. And that is why self-motivation is now so much more important.» (p. 205)

«Within the next decade that digital divide [note: not everyone connected/online] will largely disappear. And when that happens only one divide will matter […] and that is the motivational divide. The future will belong to those who have self-motivation to take advantage of all the free and cheap tools and flows coming out of the supernova [note: the cloud].» (p. 205)

In my next blogpost in two weeks’ time, I will provide specific examples as presented in the book on how AT&T handles employee education and how the Khan Academy provides free support for all kids. Stay updated and sign up for our newsletter.