Attacking the Flank

I’ve written a bit about my views on the educational system and a bit on what we’re doing to create a #LearningRevolution. However, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s difficult to see the connection between the two. One might rightly ask “how is everything you’re doing actually changing anything?”

Let me tie it all together.

First off, a quick re-statement of the issue: the education systems around the globe are not well equipped to handle the needs of students and society. Moreover, students become enthralled with the “Push” education model where they are told what to know and how to know it. I believe that ultimately, this reduces the amount that any individual can contribute to society or the world. And that’s a problem.

So how are we “fixing” this issue? Let me state the method, then explain my reasoning.

The method is to create shared workspaces as well as leased office spaces and workshop areas, which create a culture of collaboration between artists, business people, techies, Makers, and Learners.

We furthermore intend to build a social center at the heart of the space with multiple food vendors, space to relax, project exhibits by tenants and patrons, and a shared theater and art venue which will be used for shows, presentations, lectures, and a weekly meeting where everyone in our community can come together to talk about the projects they’re working on and their current challenges.

This will all be tied together by a “menu” of projects that are looking for help, and a building-wide social network for all members and tenants that facilitates communication and collaboration.

You will no doubt have noticed the strong emphasis on collaboration and sharing, and this is where the method of my madness exposes itself.

I believe that one way to shift people into a mode of personal entrepreneurship, by which I mean effecting change in your life in order to achieve an outcome, is to surround them with people who are already in that mode. People like entrepreneurs, artists, and small business owners who every day set aside convention and strive for their dreams. People like Makers who create products and art through a cunning mix of skill and determination. And people like Learners, who along with all those listed before refuse to believe that everything they need to know has been taught to them, and are wonderfully adept at self-directed “Pull” education.

So now you have a culture of people who are implicitly “Pull” learners, and into their midst you insert everyday people who just came in for a cup of coffee, a bagel, a book, or a game. These people may already know the joy of “Pull” education, or they may be perfectly happy living the life they’re living and the “Push” education lifestyle.

But if even 1% of the people who come in get immersed in a conversation about something new and amazing, or sign up to help with a project that struck their fancy, or listen with rapt interest to the weekly meeting and muse to themselves about a solution to a stated challenge … even if just 1% start to wonder “what if”, I believe it will be the beginning of the change we need for the #LearningRevolution.

If this idea takes hold, and this model can grow beyond this city, state, and country, then imagine what the world would be like if 1% of it’s population went from believing that things are just fine as they are, to thinking about changing their own life, or the world.

Imagine if 1% of those people start wondering “what if”?

I ask you – if that happened, what COULDN’T we accomplish?

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