What is a Future Forward College?
The following definitions and descriptions of Future Forward College concepts emerged from a 2011 discussion among Wake Tech deans and department heads.
1) Hyper-Individualized Curricula
“Learning what we want, when we want it – shifting away from prescribed course agendas to ones that are hyper-individualized, self-selected, and scheduled at times that sync well with the student will dramatically change levels of motivation and participation. Since each student comes with their own unique mixture of skills, desires, and preferences, the sooner a student can focus in on the traits and talents they excel at, the quicker they will be able to find a meaningful direction for themselves” – Thomas Frey, DaVinci Institute, Louisville, CO
“Though I can’t stand this buzzword, I do believe the concept of gamification will continue to penetrate every aspect of our lives. Gamification will even shape our interactions with government. Crowdsourcing and other incentivized models for engagement will drive public participation programs for public issues (policy design, the planning of public space, etc.).” —Daren C. Brabham, assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
3) Creative Molecular Economy
“An economy based on the integration of emerging technologies, with creative individuals, small groups and companies organized in interlocking networks, connecting and disconnecting constantly in processes of continuous innovation.” – Rick Smyre, President, Center for Communities of the Future
4) Smart Mobile Devices
“Smart mobility will change the way people interact. Increasingly, smart devices — portable tools that connect to the internet — have become a part of our lives. In the last quarter of 2010, sales of smartphones outpaced those of PCs for the first time, according to data from IDC. By 2014, more smart devices could be used to access the internet than traditional computers. The move to an increasingly mobile world will create new players and new opportunities for a variety of industries. We expect that new emerging market companies will be significant competitors, growing rapidly in part because a lack of legacy systems will enable them to profit more quickly from new technology as it becomes available. Emerging markets will create plenty of opportunities related to smart technology, and they will not be limited to for-profit enterprises ….” Ernst & Young
5) Creating Interactive, Parallel Process, Ping-Pong Effects
“When designing a system of parallel processes for systemic transformation, it is important to realize that key elements of the ability for new ideas to emerge will be determined by how many people and ideas outside an organization and community are connected into the thinking and action of local change efforts so that external “ping-pong” effects are created to build collaborative efforts for introducing local citizens to emerging weak signals and transformational thinking, and helping to evolve totally new ideas as a part of a national/international network of people and organizations ….” Rick Smyre, President, Center for Communities of the Future
6) Transformational Leadership (Master Capacity Builder)
“Transformational Leadership, known in the work of Communities of the Future as Master Capacity Builders, is focused on the concept of building ‘capacities’ for transformational thinking and action that help leaders shift their understanding of how to deal with emerging issues, never before experienced, within the context of a new paradigm or what is called a ‘futures context’.” Mark Waterhouse, Past President of the American Economic Development Council and Senior Fellow of the Center for Communities of the Future
“The iPad 2 is the second generation iPad, a tablet computer designed, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. It serves primarily as a platform for audio-visual media including books, periodicals, movies, music, games, presentations and web content. The iPad 2 comes with several applications by default, including Safari, Mail, Photos, Video, YouTube, Music, iTunes (store), Maps, Notes, Calendar, Photo Booth, and Contacts.” Wikipedia
8) Analogous Complexity
“The purpose of analogy in science education is to effect conceptual change: specifically in terms of a new or altered understanding. Of course, not everything that is to be learnt or understood as a result of the analogical process will always pre-exist in the learner’s cognition. There will be occasions when new data needs to be processed for learning to occur.” Dr. Yvette Hancock and Dr. Andrys Onsman, Monash University
This concept of “analogous complexity” will become a core way for “learning engineers” to help students see systemic connections in multiple ideas, people and processes; e.g., an understanding of the biomicracy of nature is central to understanding the methods of interdependency in a society, and leads to the skill of how parallel processes to ensure effective interlocking networks are designed.
9) Khan Academy
“With a library of more than 3,400 videos on everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice, we're on a mission to help you learn what you want, when you want, at your own pace. The knowledge map shows all of our challenges, skills, and concepts. You can zoom in and out and pan around all the different skills and challenges, just like on a normal map. You can start working anywhere on the map, and the Khan Academy will suggest the best skills for you to work on. We'll even remind you when you need a review. As you zoom out of the knowledge map, you'll find our challenges, which combine the concepts from multiple smaller skills. Zooming all the way out of the map and completing all of our challenges is a sign of math mastery.”
10) Identifying Weak Signals
“Weak Signals are precursors to full-blown trends at some later stage.” Elina Hiltunen (Finland). Weak signals are emerging ideas, inventions, discoveries and innovations that are not yet trends, but have the potential to impact local areas within 3-5 years. Weak signals can inform any process through which learning geared at coping with and perhaps creating the future is taking place. How do you identify weak signals that lead to the next big thing? There’s no substitute for being in the habit of looking for ideas and working with them once they’re found. Perhaps the mother of these habits is to simply be interested in the world around you—and attentive to its varied possibilities." Andy Boynton, Dean of the Boston College Carroll School of Management
11) Chaos, Complexity and Ecology
“The study of how living and nonliving things organize themselves into patterns and interact as systems. Complexity is extremely multidisciplinary and involves scientists in a vast assortment of fields from Biology to Physics. It is also closely related to Fractal Geometry and Chaos Theory. Chaos is a new scientific theory for dealing with systems that are complex, unpredictable, and/or have random events, or, in other words, most of the real world. Natural systems are so complicated that no matter how carefully we measure them, we can't know everything about them. Although measurements can be extremely accurate, they can't be accurate to infinity, and tiny differences/errors in the beginning can lead to gigantic ones later. This is known as the Butterfly Effect, because under the right circumstances, the effect of the fluttering of a butterfly's wings can make the difference between whether or not there will be a tornado. (So much for ever getting accurate weather predictions.)This shows how even the actions of the smallest creature can have a large effect on the whole. In ecological systems, everything is connected.” Wikipedia
12) Futures Generative Dialogue
“Futures Generative Dialogue can be defined as the process of interaction, based on value added listening, which helps to create new ideas, concepts and methods within a constantly changing context. It replaces the idea of debate, discussion and even traditional dialogue, and builds on new connections that can be developed when new trends, weak signals, and transformational ideas about the future are integrated into the dialogue. By definition, this type of dialogue opens up new thinking. Often, the most important outcomes of Futures Generative Dialogue are those things that could not have been anticipated when entering the dialogue.” Center for Communities of the Future
13) Science of Networks
“We are witnessing an increasing awareness that if we are to tackle complexity, the tools to do so are being born right now, in front of our eyes. The field that benefited most from this data windfall is often called network theory, and it is fundamentally reshaping our approach to complexity. Born at the twilight of the twentieth century, network theory aims to understand the origins and characteristics of networks that hold together the components in various complex systems. By simultaneously looking at the World Wide Web and genetic networks, Internet and social systems, it led to the discovery that despite the many differences in the nature of the nodes and the interactions between them, the networks behind most complex systems are governed by a series of fundamental laws that determine and limit their behavior.” Albert Laszlo-Barabosi, Notre Dame University
14) Adaptive Planning
“It doesn't just seem that the world is changing faster and that volatility is greater than it used to be. Both are measurably and demonstrably true, and both emerge from our increasingly connected economy. Our institutions, businesses included, have been built for stability, not for change. As connectivity proceeds, business leaders face an imperative to create organizations that can adapt continually and rapidly, to keep pace with shifts in their markets, technologies, and society itself. It is the world of biology that holds the key to meeting that adaptive imperative. Adaptation, the process by which organisms respond to volatility in their environments, has been going on for the past four billion years. As businesses today are struggling with volatility, they can look to nature's example for lessons on adaptation.” Stan Davis and Christopher Myer, It’s Alive: The Coming Convergence of Information, Biology and Business
15) Future Basics
When the term “basics” is utilized for education, the traditional tendency is to think of reading, writing, computer skills, and traditional critical thinking. Although these skills will continue to be important to any individual, the future is changing so rapidly that the concept of what is basic is no longer taken for granted and fully understood. In a time of constant change and radical transformation of our society and economy, new ideas and skills will become “basic” to the context of any person involved in lifelong learning. It is not just knowledge that exists that needs to be learned, but how emerging knowledge and new skills, never before needed, will become basic to our society … e.g., new sciences and technologies to include biotechnology, nanotechnology, and advanced computerization; the capacity to rethink fundamental ideas about how learning occurs; how to connect totally disparate ideas; and focusing on developing the capacities for insight, intuition, imagination, and constant innovation.
16) 2020 Professions
In 2000, a number of futurists proposed that 40% of the professions and jobs that existed in 2020 would evolve from technologies that did not exist in 2000. Some of those suggested are social media manager, mobile application developer, composite materials specialist, personal robot repairman, accelerated network connector, home biotechnician, mobile collaborative governance coordinator, cloud cartel big data technologist, etc. Hewlett Packard blog
A key need for all students will be to develop the capacity to identify emerging weak signals and trends to determine how to develop new skills that will be in demand and learn how to monetize those skills effectively in ways that will create multiple income streams as a result of continuous innovation.
17) Learning Guide/Learning Engineer
As personalized learning becomes the norm over time, the role of a teacher will shift from providing content to new forms, helping individuals identify what knowledge modules and other emerging skills will be important for the future … whether it is preparing for new jobs, or learning how to be an effective citizen in a constantly changing world. “Schools” will be redefined and learning guides/engineers will collaborate with students in many non-traditional ways. One key role will be to become a “membrane penetrator” that links individuals and collaborating learning networks to the real world. “The membrane between the real world and all of its marvels, opportunities and problems, and our schools will become transparent ….” Jon Madian, Building Our 21stCentury Learning Community
18) Social Networks
The future impact of social networking has just begun. Mark Suster, venture capitalist at GRP Partners predicted eight trends in December 2010: 1) The social graph will become portable; 2) We will form around true social networks: Quora, Hackernews, Namesake; 3) Privacy issues will continue to cause problems … Diaspora; 4) Social networking will become pervasive: Facebook Connects meets Pandora, NY Times; 5) Third party tools will embed social features in websites … Meebo; 6) Social networking like the Web will split into layers: SimpleGEO, PlaceIQ; 7) Social chaos will create new business opportunities … Klout, Sprout Social, CoTweet, awe.sm (next gen), Buzzd; and 8) Facebook will not be the only dominant player.
19) Emerging Connections and Disconnections
In an age of constant change and interlocking networks the concept of emerging connections and disconnections of diverse, multiple ideas, processes, people, projects, etc., will be at the core of any local community’s capacity to adapt to changing conditions. The following examples reflect this emerging trend in the realm of education: Blended learning in the liberal arts and blending online and classroom learning (Bryn Mawr); Components of Connectivism: At its core, George Siemens’ theory of connectivism is the combined effect of three different components: chaos theory, importance of networks, and the interplay of complexity and self-organization. University of Georgia School of Education
20) Non-Linear Systems
We are moving from an age of linear, deterministic thinking to one of non-linear, self-organizing, emergent connections of people, ideas, and processes. The capacity to identify, understand and work with non-linear systems will become key for communities interested in adapting to changing conditions as well as for a workforce able to innovate continuously. Nonlinear systems and processes do not present the familiar bell-shaped distribution associated with linear systems, where change is gradual and orderly and where measurements crowd together near an average value. On the contrary, Mandelbrot and Gleick, among others, discovered that in nonlinear systems change is more random and less predictable, and it involves discontinuities; rapid changes as opposed to smooth ones, and persistence; low, for instance, does not necessarily follow high. Examples of non-linear systems are weather systems, ecology systems, global financial systems, gardens, and the evolution of a more complex society.
21) Global Innovation Networks
A global knowledge economy is emerging in which the winners will be those who can successfully manage a global network of partners with access to technology, capabilities, and local market understanding (Booz & Co). In the emerging Creative Molecular Economy, global innovation networks will become more entrepreneurial as individuals, small groups, and corporations will connect and disconnect in a dance of continuous innovation. "Corporations around the world are racing to develop breakthrough new products and gain a competitive advantage. They're looking for new technologies from the outside to speed the process," said Andy Zynga, CEO of NineSigma, the leading innovation partner to organizations worldwide. "This drive to innovate is providing opportunities for entrepreneurs to be matched with organizations from other geographic regions or industries who have an immediate need for their solutions, and are willing to pay for them." This matchmaking is at the heart of open innovation, which involves "connecting organizations with the world" to accelerate the new solution development. Entrepreneurs are climbing onto the open innovation bandwagon to take advantage of new business development opportunities associated with this increasingly popular strategy.
22) Value-Added or Connective Listening
This is an emerging capacity of a Transformational Leader, Master Capacity Builder, accelerated connector and learning engineer who understands the need to use existing knowledge as a way to form “bridges of transformational thinking” in students of all ages. Instead of comparing what is said to existing knowledge to determine the rightness or wrongness of what is said, a “value-added listener” looks to connect what is said to other information or knowledge in order to create an environment in which new ideas and innovation can emerge. The staple of a “connective listener” is to identify an effective question that can help a colleague, student, or friend shift into a new paradigm by helping that person stop and go hmmmm?
23) Future Forward Workforce
We are in the early stages of an economic shift so significant, based on networks and complex adaptive systems, that a new form of organization will evolve that will be neither capitalism nor socialism as we know it. It is with this emergence of a new type of economy in mind that the following framework is suggested to establish a 21st century workforce for a Creative Molecular Economy – one that has the capacity to innovate, collaborate at a deeper level, and be capable of adapting to constant change in a fast-paced, increasingly complex society using communications technology and a new way of thinking: For any local workforce to prepare for an economy in constant change, where competition will emerge from anywhere in the world, and when artificial intelligence will develop the capacity to do more than the most menial of tasks, a systemic approach must be taken. Individuals will become responsible for their own economic capacities and need the following:
a) An understanding of how the society is transforming and how this transformation will impact economic opportunities for themselves and their communities.
b) Lifelong learning skills, which will become more than a phrase as individuals learn how to spot emerging weak signals and develop the capacity as electronic entrepreneurs to create new opportunities for income streams from different sources.
c) Capability to be constantly innovative by developing the capacity to connect total disparate “idea spaces” into new products and services that adapt to changing conditions.
d) Capability to use Internet access in multiple ways, to include uploading blueprints for new products that can be custom manufactured at instant manufacturing sites and shipped within the week to individuals anywhere in the world.
e) Well-developed imagination, intuition, and insight, so that individuals can be a part of a creative workforce able to adapt to constant change.
f) Ability to connect with other people and organizations throughout the world to develop innovation networks around emerging ideas, issues, or opportunities.
24) Interlocking Community Networks
The past thirty years has seen the focus for community-based planning be the concept of “strategic planning” that brings leaders of communities together to agree on a “unified” approach to preparing for the future, based on targeted outcomes and use of project teams to meet those outcomes with accountability schedules predetermined. The future of community planning will be very different due to the inability to predict the future and determine specific outcomes at some point in the future. As a result, adaptive planning will utilize the method of creating core groups of early adaptors around emerging transformational ideas and developing “interlocking community networks.” These networks will be both framed and self-organized depending on the needs and expectations of any situation to include 21st century learning groups, “futures projects,” and contests and community events.
25) Rapid Prototyping
Rapid Prototyping (RP) can be defined as a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data. What is commonly considered to be the first RP technique, Stereolithography, was developed by 3D Systems of Valencia, CA, USA. The company was founded in 1986, and since then, a number of different RP techniques have become available. Rapid Prototyping has also been referred to as solid free-form manufacturing, computer automated manufacturing, and layered manufacturing. RP has obvious use as a vehicle for visualization. In addition, RP models can be used for testing, such as when an airfoil shape is put into a wind tunnel. RP models can be used to create male models for tooling, such as silicone rubber molds and investment casts. In some cases, the RP part can be the final part, but typically the RP material is not strong or accurate enough. When the RP material is suitable, highly convoluted shapes (including parts nested within parts) can be produced because of the nature of RP. There is a multitude of experimental RP methodologies either in development or used by small groups of individuals. This section will focus on RP techniques that are currently commercially available, including Stereolithography (SLA), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS®), Laminated Object Manufacturing (LOM™), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), Solid Ground Curing (SGC), and Ink Jet printing techniques.
26) Direct Digital Manufacturing
Direct digital manufacturing (DDM) and 3D printing are getting a lot of attention these days even though the technology has been around for over two decades. After quietly serving the rapid prototyping needs of engineers and designers for 20 years, DDM is beginning to take on all the characteristics of a disruptive technology. Something has changed.
“As the (DDM) machines have gotten larger and faster, and more importantly, as the materials have improved, additive manufacturing is being used for an increasing wider range of applications.” Jeff DeGrange, VP, Stratasys
In today’s fast-paced world, people expect products, goods, and services to be delivered intact and on demand – consider the instant gratification of downloading a video or a music track over iTunes. DDM – additive manufacturing – meets those expectations in a way that conventional manufacturing does not. Through a number of initiatives, Stratasys is working to change all that. For example, the company has a well-developed educational initiative, bringing 3D printing into the classroom. Right now, its Dimension 3D Printers are in more than 3,500 schools in all 50 states, serving more than 250,000 students for applications as diverse as engineering, architecture, CAD, archaeology, anthropology, biology, and art. At the high end, the company is touting its Fortus Production 3D Printers for production runs as well as prototyping. Based on Fused Deposition Modeling, a Stratasys invention, these machines produce parts from a variety of industrial thermoplastics – the same materials used in injection molding, such as ABS, PC, and ULTEM.
27) Connective Thinking
A key to the future of 21st century learning is to help all students develop the capacity for “connective thinking.” Such a skill will ensure that whatever a student reads, he/she is always looking to consider how a newly-emerging idea can connect to something else to create an innovation of business, community transformation, or individual service. The term “mashup” has evolved in the last decade to reflect this skill of connecting totally disparate ideas. Examples of products that reflect connective thinking are WII, Fluid Fabric Systems, and Mobile Collaborative Governance.
28) Cognitive Brain Research
In recent years educators have explored links between classroom teaching and emerging theories about how people learn. Exciting discoveries in neuroscience and continued developments in cognitive psychology have presented new ways of thinking about the brain-the human neurological structure and the attendant perceptions and emotions that contribute to learning. Explanations of how the brain works have used metaphors that vary from the computer (an information processor, creating, storing, and manipulating data) to a jungle (a somewhat chaotic, layered world of interwoven, interdependent neurological connections) … Southwest Educational Development Laboratory. Gerald Edelman, chairman of the Department of Neurobiology at Scripps Research Institute and 1972 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology, offers a view of the brain that could influence the future classroom. Edelman's vision of the brain as a jungle in which systems interact continuously in a chaotic fashion suggests that learners would thrive in an environment that provides many sensory, cultural, and problem layers. These ideas suggest that students have a natural inclination to learn, understand, and grow. Surround students with a variety of instructional opportunities and they will make the connections for learning.
29) Targeted Learning
Targeting learning means you learn what you need to learn without wasting your time with what you may already know. Mentored Learning is an on-demand delivery model, you determine when you attend training and for how long. Each workstation contains two computer monitors. On one, you can access the course content: video, text, and audio. On the other monitor, you have access to the production environment so you can practice your skills at any time during the course. This allows you to fast-forward through areas, or stop the content and practice a concept hands-on as many times as you need. This increases knowledge retention and the ability to apply your newly acquired knowledge on the job. Skill sets are assessed prior to training to identify the gap between your current level of knowledge and required level of knowledge. Your learning path can then be customized to specifically fill that knowledge gap. You are completely in charge of the pace of the course and the content covered so you can focus only what you need to learn. New Horizons Computer Learning Centers
30) Modular Knowledge
The future of learning will not focus on extensive scope and sequence curricula. Instead, it will be based on modules of emerging knowledge that can be connected to exiting knowledge modules. This approach will allow a constantly-changing approach to 21st century core knowledge to be provided for any area of learning at the same time that a changing context within which that knowledge will be need is seen as morphing. This approach will allow any student to work in collaboration with peers, mentors, and learning guides to create an individualized curriculum and learning methodology. Of special importance, such an approach will give any student an understanding of the need to identify weak signals and emerging knowledge as the basis for a platform of individual evolution and constant innovation.
31) Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) becomes a substantial and ubiquitous technology and subsequently penetrates applications for education, learning, and training. In addition to multimedia, VR places the user in a three-dimensional environment. The user feels “in the middle of another environment.” Most of the VR systems allow the user to travel and navigate. More promising for learning purposes is to let the user manipulate objects and experience the consequences. Augmented reality occurs when the user faces the real world, but on top of that the VR environment superimposes a computer-generated message in order to assist the user to perform the right operations. Educational VR systems seem to be a natural extension of computer-based simulations nowadays. The basic approach is to allow students to explore and discover the fundamental laws in a new environment and domain. "The ultimate dream is to merge the real world and the virtual world into a totally seamless experience." PhotoSynth project. The next step (2010-2015) is going to be development of more open systems, where content can be moved across platforms and where separate worlds can be linked (for example a room in a virtual building can be simulated on a private server using different simulation software, but would still be accessible for the people walking in the virtual city).  Open source may play a role there.  Eventually virtual reality worlds will integrate into a global Metaverse running on a distributed grid. The step after that will be the integration of these worlds with input/output technologies, such as VR goggles and brain-computer interfaces. By then most of the people will spend a significant part of their lives in virtual reality (playing, communicating, working, having sex). Eventually, uploading will make feasible a full migration into virtual reality, while robotic bodies will make the reverse possible.
32) History-Future Analogies
In a time of constant transformation, the knowledge and understanding of “context” becomes critical. One of the great challenges when shifting thinking into new paradigms of the future is to help an individual come to one’s own conclusions that there is a need for change and to develop a capacity to transform himself/herself. One of the ways in which this can be done is to utilize historical circumstances and stories to illustrate how our ancestors adapted to their own times of radical change, look for principles that are applicable to today, and utilize the connection of historical context and a futures context to help any individual learn why transformation is needed and how to adapt oneself, one’s organization and one’s community to an emerging future very different from the past.
33) Futures Appreciative Inquiry
The concept of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) has been utilized as a mechanism for positive change for many years. Only recently have the use of “appropriate questions” been considered as a way to help build “capacities for transformation” in people, organizations and communities. When considering a time in the future that has no template or model by which to go, statements of existing facts are not possible, and questions become a key vehicle to help others think about ideas and concepts that are only beginning to be discernable and have possible patterns emerging. Examples of such questions are 1) what if we……, 2) did you see the article….., 3) how might be connect….. Any leader and facilitator of new ways of learning will need to become skilled at asking appropriate questions to help others come to see the need to shift thinking into new paradigms. Rick Smyre, Center for Communities of the Future
34) The Concept of Holism
The highest function of education is to bring about an integrated individual who is capable of dealing with life as a whole. J. Krishnamurti
In a time of great change, what has been considered truth is no longer valid in many cases. The capacity to “unlearn” what has worked in the past is one of the greatest needs of modern man and woman. It is important to realize that “efficient unlearning” requires a quiet confidence, maturity, and true humbleness to create the proper environment. Consider the following poem by an 11th century monk mentioned in Jack Uldrich’s book, Unlearning 101.
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
This is the capacity to 1) think at a higher level of complexity, 2) connect disparate ideas in real time, and 3) work with systems. In the future an educated person will require all three capacities and a sense of how to seed new ways of thinking in self and others in order to help build an environment for continuous transformation. Rick Smyre
If chaos theory transformed our view of the universe, biomimicry is transforming our life on Earth. Biomimicry is innovation inspired by nature – taking advantage of evolution’s 3.8 billion years of R&D since the first bacteria. Biomimics studies nature’s best ideas: photosynthesis, brain power, and shells – and adapts them for human use. They are revolutionizing how we invent, compute, heal ourselves, harness energy, repair the environment, and feed the world. Biomimicry has a great potential for helping students learn systemic thinking and how to adapt.
38) Conceptual Evaluation
For 30 years, quantification has been the foundation to evaluate anything. If it could not be measured, it was not valid progress. If processes and people were not accountable, success could not be defined. In an age of constant and radical change, when the qualitative ideas undergirding an emerging society very different from the past are more important that quantitative measurement, the need for new evaluative ideas based on innovation and shifts in conceptual thinking is increasingly important. When building connections and capacities for transformation are core to the ability to adapt effectively, and when there is no model to go by, then effectiveness becomes more important than efficiency and the concept of “conceptual evaluation” rises to the center of any shift in paradigm. For example, is Mobile Collaborative Governance more important as a concept than having more people vote for our democracy as presently organized? Is the idea of developing a Creative Molecular Economy more important than maximizing short-term profits? Is the ability to learn how to make connections as a part of a Future Forward College learning platform more important than improving scores on standardized tests when our society is in the process of true transformation?
39) Continuous Innovation
The idea of continuous improvement shifts to the need for continuous innovation in a time of constant change. The ability to create an environment that supports continuous innovation is a great challenge when the culture of local communities is still based on the ideas of standard answers, linear thinking, and strategic planning. Only by developing the capacities in people, organizations, and communities to search for new ideas and be open to change in general will we develop a truly adaptable workforces, economy, and society able to be vital and successful in a time of radical transformation.
40) Access Points
It is a key skill for a “learning engineer,” Transformational Leader, and Master Capacity Builder to be able to identify “access points” at which a new idea, concept, or method can be seeded in the thinking and activities of people, processes, organizations, and communities. Whether it is a question someone asks, an existing need defined, or a concern expressed in confidence, multiple access points occur constantly and are key to transformational thinking and action. Someone who knows how to utilize such an opportunity with dignity, ethics, and true concern.
Probably the most important ongoing historical transition is the shift from the core idea of “independence” to the idea of “interdependence.” In linear thinking, one looks for the best practice or one best idea. In non-linear, systemic thinking, there is a need to look to identify how multiple factors interconnect. Thus, it is important to understand the shift, in this time of immense change, from the core concept of independence to one of interdependence. One of the key impacts of this is to transform the education system to help students learn how to understand context and how to look for connections in knowledge and ideas that are just emerging.
42) Biological Organization
During the Industrial Age, the principles of physics dominated as we learned to analyze what existed. In the future, as the Organic/Connected Age emerges, biological principles come to the forefront of importance because of the need to think systemically, understand how complexity evolves, and how to see connections among totally disparate ideas, processes, people, and events. The idea of dynamic, interlocking networks will replace the structure of rigid hierarchies as the building blocks of our society and economy.
43) 21st Century Technologies
The emphasis on STEM knowledge (science, technology, engineering and math) is just beginning. In the future, a more complex society will require citizens and a workforce that is more knowledgeable and capable of dealing with systems and integrated thinking than ever before. The following technologies will be at the center of any successful organization and community: advanced computerization and deep data; renewable energies to include solar and wind; composite materials; nanotechnology; biotechnology; and cognitive brain and medical technologies.
44) Semantic Web 3.0
The Web is entering a new phase of evolution. There has been much debate recently about what to call this new phase. Some would prefer to not name it all, while others suggest continuing to call it “Web 2.0”. However, this new phase of evolution has quite a different focus from what Web 2.0 has come to mean. Web 3.0, a phrase coined by John Markoff of the New York Times in 2006, refers to a supposed third generation of Internet-based services that collectively comprise what might be called ‘the intelligent Web’ — such as those using semantic web, microformats, natural language search, data-mining, machine learning, recommendation agents, and artificial intelligence technologies — which emphasize machine-facilitated understanding of information in order to provide a more productive and intuitive user experience. There are actually several major technology trends that are about to reach a new level of maturity at the same time. The simultaneous maturity of these trends is mutually reinforcing, and collectively they will drive the third-generation Web. From this broader perspective, Web 3.0 might be defined as a third-generation of the Web enabled by the convergence of several key emerging technology trends: Broadband adoption, Mobile Internet access, Mobile devices, Software-as-a-service business models, Web services interoperability, Distributed computing (P2P, grid computing, hosted “cloud computing” server farms such as Amazon S3), Semantic Web technologies (RDF, OWL, SWRL, SPARQL, Semantic application platforms, and statement-based datastores such as triplestores and associative databases), Distributed databases — or what is called “The World Wide Database” (wide-area distributed database interoperability enabled by Semantic Web technologies), Intelligent applications (natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, autonomous agents). Web 3.0 will be more connected, open, and intelligent, with semantic Web technologies, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents.
45) New 21st Century Literacy
Alvin Toffler, a famous futurist, is quoted as saying, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” The Center for Communities of the Future would add the concept of the need for “uplearning” to be literate in the 21st century. Bill Crossman in California believes that by the year 2040, computer artificial intelligence will interact with humans through voice synthesization, and thus reading as a skill will not be needed. In any event, what it means to be literate in the future will have elements of the past, but will require different skills that will allow individuals to be productive citizens in a more complex world and economy.
46) Futures Institute/Futures Station
Every community will need to have a central locale where futures thinking and transformational design is the focus for preparing for a different kind of economy and society. Included in a “futures institute” or “futures station” will be the need for cutting-edge communications technology, areas for futures generative dialogue, areas for 21st century entrepreneurs to connect, and learning spaces to build “capacities for transformation” in the thinking, attitudes, and behavior of as many citizens as possible. Rick Smyre, Center for Communities of the Future
47) Transformational Coach
There is no greater need in a Future Forward College or for a “community transformation” than to have Master Capacity Builders who can provide the function and facilitation of a Transformational Coach. The capacity to help people see the need to shift their thinking into new paradigms; the capacity to design parallel processes to move transformational ahead in systemic ways; the capacity to ask appropriate questions; the capacity to connect disparate ideas, people, processes and projects; the capacity to spot and utilize access points … all are key to the future vitality and dynamic sustainability of organizations and communities in a time of constant change. There are four stages of personal transformation and five stages of community transformation. Without transformational coaches who are able to mentor others during times of challenge, effective transformation cannot occur. This is little understood by professional managers and local leaders who are in positions of authority, unless they have come to the aha! stage of transformation. It is this need that is the basis for the creation and development of a Future Forward College.