March 3, 2006

From TED

Focusing only on negative outcomes can blind you to the possibility of success. “Pessimism is a luxury of good times” – it will kill you in bad times.  Jamais Cascio  at TED2006.

The solutions featured on Worlrdchanging have certain things in common: transparency, collaboration, willingness to experiment and an appreciation of science. They make the invisible visible – people change their behavior when people can see what their actions mean. Having a visible gauge of gas mileage can change how people drive. Wall-mounted devices that show the power consumption of a house can change people’s energy footprints.

Bottom-up technology-based collaboration might allow us to work together to fix the future. “Another world isn’t just possible – another world is here. We just need to open our eyes.”

Sir Ken Robinson’s website tells us he’s a “World Renowned Expert on Innovation and Creativity”. His focus today is on education and creativity.

If you tell people you work in education, they run away rather than having to talk to you. But ask people about their own education, and they’ll talk your ear off. Education has an enormous impact on us. And it’s a difficult task, because we’re preparing children for a future that we cannot possibly predict.

“Creativity today is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” Children are creative because they’re not afraid to make mistakes. They’re born creative, but we educate them out of it with systems that make them afraid of making mistakes.

Everywhere on earth, mathematics and languages are on top, humanities in the middle and arts on the bottom in the academic hierarchy. Within the arts, visual art and music are on top, dance is on the very bottom. “As children grow, we educate them from the waist up. And then just the head, with a focus on one side of it.” He argues that the purpose of public education is the reproduction of university professors, a species that “live in their heads.. and slightly to one side.”

From Tony Robbins (!): The funniest moment of the talk? He asks for reasons people give when they fail. The audience starts yelling out “bad management”, “not enough resources”. He suggests that people have six basic emotional needs:
– Certainty
– Uncertainty/variety
– Significance – the idea that you’re important. Violence, he mentions, is the easiest way to make yourself very important for a brief moment.
– Connection/Love
– Growth
– Contributing beyond ourselves.

From Larry Brilliant: It doesn’t matter that sheep are really dumb. Evolution is really smart. Orgel’s second rule (by Francis Crick): “Evolution is cleverer than you are.” The designs discovered by natural selection are unbelievably brilliant, but the process is without foresight and design.

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