We're living in times of concurrent technology, health, and climate revolutions. How many parents of teenagers know what it's like to grow up in times of turmoil, let alone in times of social revolution?
Humanity now faces challenges that are unprecedented in our history, unless you want to reference the Ice Ages that began 2.4 million years ago and lasted until 11,500 years ago. While they were indeed incredibly disruptive, it was primarily disruptive for dinosours and pre-human primates.
The challenges we're dealing with in 2021 are being driven by several interacting forces. They include the increasingly exponential rate of technological change, the massive increases in consumption, pollution on a scale never before seen, and our unsustainable demands on the earth’s resources.
We aren't going to find the solutions we all so desperately need in the institutions that were created a few hundred years ago. Institutions haven't really evolved much at all, other than they did become expert at finding continually larger sources of funding to protect their positions.
Do we really think that institutions created in the 18th, 19th, and even 20th-centuries have the ethos needed to solve today's most fundamental problems? The question is of course rhetorical.
I recently stood in front of a cohort of graduates from our Enterprise in the Community program that has been delivered for year 9 and 10 high school students.
The point I shared with them was that the collaborative effort to design and deliver the program they had just completed was achieved because the students are our country's future and we need to empower them with all possible skills to have any chance that Earth will survive another millenium. Those of us who designed and delivered the program are our present and the students are our future.
Earth's human resources are like the earth’s natural resources. They are highly diverse and often buried deep beneath the surface. They need to be discovered, refined and applied. Education typically promotes a narrow view of ability, as do many corporate organizations. As a result, most people are unaware of the variety of their talents and depth of their potential. At the Skills Studio our motivations are in unearthing the diversity of human capacity and the processes that best cultivate those capacities.
Many of our institutions evolved in earlier times to meet entirely different needs than those needs that are apparent now. Many of them are failing the people they’re meant to serve and the missions of those who work in them. If we’re to have fulfilled lives as individuals and meet the challenges we face collectively, we're going to need to create the conditions in our schools, communities and organizations for people to flourish and to realize their potential to each make a really big and positive impact.
A primary means of reimagining how humans participate in Earth's complex web of interactions is to uncover and empower human potential. We take our intellectual superiority for granted. Rather we must find ways of helping our young people to appreciate their respective roles in either encouraging or suppressing the very core of what makes us human – our innate powers of collaboration, imagination, creativity, and persuasion.
Would you agree that a vibrant and healthy society depends on a huge variety of talents and passions, and that it's in our common interest to cultivate them?
The late and wonderful Sir Ken Robinson wrote in 2019, that “we humans don’t live in the world as other creature’s do, we create the worlds that we desire to live in.”
One of the great tragedies of Sir Ken's death in August 2020 is that there has never been a more important time for his message. We continue to find ourselves at a shared crossroads as we collectively try to navigate one of the most turbulent periods of living history. Sir Ken advised that in our effort to “return to normal” we should be re-evaluating what type of normal we want to return to. As we create the worlds that we live in, it is within our power to recreate them if we harness our innate powers of imagination, creativity, and collaboration.
Sir Ken Robinson was the inspiration for the Skills Studio and we'd be honored to contribute to help humanity harness our innate powers of imagination, creativity, and collaboration.
About the Author:
Greg Twemlow is a Sydney-based Social Enterprise Founder | Startup Mentor | CEO | Writer | Speaker | Designer at the Skills Studio