Both men are titans of the TED conference style of presenting “ideas worth spreading” to the Web. John Maeda emerged at TED two winters ago talking about The Laws of Simplicity, while inside he was reeling toward his own future, head still spinning from Ken Robinson’s TED talk a year earlier on education as a standardized way of crushing invention. Maeda, a star at MIT’s Media Lab, still in his thirties, heard a call from the heavens to “change my life.” And so he did, moving from MIT and the engineering of technology to the presidency of the Rhode Island School of Design and the teaching of art and innovation. After a RISD year that he’s been blogging at every turn, Maeda’s invitation to Robinson to give the commencement address felt like a personal thank-you and maybe an appeal for confirmation. Early on RISD’s graduation day, we had a three-way gab at the Hope Club in Providence about expressiveness and originality, in art and life, across the board.
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Sir Ken Robinson, one of the world’s most inspirational speakers on creativity, education and enterprise, visits the RSA to share new thinking on ‘The Element’ - the point at which natural talent meets personal passion.
In a new book, Sir Ken argues that we are all born with tremendous natural capacities, but that we lose touch with them as we spend more time in the world. Whether it’s a child bored in class, an employee being misused or just someone who feels frustrated but can’t quite explain why, too many people don’t know what they are really capable of achieving. And education, business and society as a whole are losing out.
At a time of deepening recession, we simply cannot afford to squander the skills and talents that will be vital to our future economic prosperity. Sir Ken will show how we can nurture our creative potential more fully and consider: What is required for organisations to survive in a difficult economic climate? What skills are successful business people exercising to maintain productivity, faced with increased competition, fluctuating markets and rapid advancements in technology? How do we prepare the workforce to meet these challenges and help them, individually and collectively, to realise their potential to be creative and innovative, using foresight and informed risk-taking?
Big box education is on the way out. Instead, imagine a future with schools of every variety available for mixing and matching, like sushi on a platter. Micro-schools, Waldorf Schools, part-time schools and more. And non-school alternatives like internships and single classes. That’s the future as seen by Matt Hern, an advocate for what he calls de-schooling. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, learning outside the box. And, redefining normal for kids on the short bus.
Jonathan Mooney says that "normal" is a social construct, not a medical one. Dan Zanes writes music for children of all ages. Matt Hern advocates alternative education. Michel Piechowski describes the way gifted children experience their lives. Sherman Alexie tries to teach an end to tribalism.