Annotated master (“the works”) presentation/ Tom Peters’ Re-Imagine excellence!



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Tom’s TIB* #1: Your principal moral obligation as a leader is to develop the skillset, “soft” and “hard,” of every one of the people in your charge (temporary as well as semi-permanent) to the maximum extent of your abilities. The good news: This is also the #1 mid- to long-term … profit maximization strategy! * This I Believe (courtesy Bill caudill)

  • ONE MORE TIME FOR THIS SLIDE.
  • BIGGEST OF BIG DEALS.
  • “Training” On Steroids: An Education Revolution*
  • *“Revolution” is a wildly overused word
  • —but I can think of no other in this instance.

“Right now, labor markets and jobs are changing faster than schools, and that means graduates are being left behind.” —Tyler Cowen, author Average Is Over, in Time (10.25.13)

  • “All human beings are entrepreneurs.” —Muhammad Yunus
  • “Human creativity is the ultimate economic resource.” —Richard Florida
  • “Every child is born an artist. The trick is to remain an artist.” —Picasso
  • "Creativity can no longer be treated as an elective.” —John Maeda
  • I believe—nay, I insist—that creativity and entrepreneurship must be the twin pillars of tomorrow’s education. (And that digital will be the medium of choice.)

“My wife and I went to a [kindergarten] parent-teacher conference and were informed that our budding refrigerator artist, Christopher, would be receiving a grade of ‘Unsatisfactory’ in art. We were shocked. How could any child— let alone our child—receive a poor grade in art at such a young age? HIS TEACHER INFORMED US THAT HE HAD REFUSED TO COLOR WITHIN THE LINES, WHICH WAS A STATE REQUIREMENT FOR DEMONSTRATING ‘GRADE-LEVEL MOTOR SKILLS.’ ” —Jordan Ayan, AHA!

  • Aargh.

“How many artists are there in the room? Would you please raise your hands. FIRST GRADE: En mass the children leapt from their seats, arms waving. Every child was an artist. SECOND GRADE: About half the kids raised their hands, shoulder high, no higher. The hands were still. THIRD GRADE: At best, 10 kids out of 30 would raise a hand, tentatively, self-consciously. By the time I reached SIXTH GRADE, no more than one or two kids raised their hands, and then ever so slightly, betraying a fear of being identified by the group as a ‘closet artist.’ The point is: EVERY SCHOOL I VISITED WAS PARTICIPATING IN THE SYSTEMATIC SUPPRESSION OF CREATIVE GENIUS.” —Gordon MacKenzie, retired creative director, Hallmark, from Orbiting the Giant Hairball

  • Aargh.

Science Technology Engineering Mathematics

Science Technology Engineering Arts* (*Courtesy John Maeda, president, RISD) Mathematics

  • STEM to STE A M:
  • A Big Deal.
  • (Courtesy John Maeda/former president, RISD)
  • Towards Addiction to … LEARNING
  • “When I enter a video game, I learn something about a fictitious world. And in that video gamee, I’m allowed to go at my own pace. I’m constantly assessed—assessment becomes my friend. I feel good when I master the next level. If you could only take that experience of a video game back into student learning, we could make learning addictive. My deep, deep desire is to find a magic formula for learning in the online age that would make it as addictive as playing video games.”—Sebastian Thrum, founder, Udacity,
  • lead developer of Google Glass, etc. (Foreign Affairs, 11-12.13)

The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning —James Paul Gee Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World —Jane McGonigal Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter —Steven Johnson Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter —Tom Bissell

  • A digital world. (The kids get it—even if the adults don’t. 25-year-old school principals anyone?)
  • The very best and the
  • very brightest and the
  • most energetic and enthusiastic and entrepreneurial and
  • tech-savvy of our university graduates must—must,
  • not should—be lured
  • into teaching.
  • How do we do it? God alone knows. Though programs such as Teach for America are good role models—though “scaling” them will be excruciatingly difficult. (Difficult but imperative. NO OPTION.)

RADICAL curricular revision imperative. (STEM/STEAM.) RADICAL digital strategy. REVOLUTIONARY new approach to teacher recruitment/development. RADICAL re-assessment of tertiary education (E.g., “MOOC-ization.”) RADICAL re-assessment business ed. RADICAL role re-assessment by corporations (busineses-as-educators). (Good news: Nobody’s got it right. Kids are doing it without you—if you’ll let them.)

  • Hardly a wholesale prescription.

Tom’s TIB* #1: Your principal moral obligation as a leader is to develop the skillset, “soft” and “hard,” of every one of the people in your charge (temporary as well as semi-permanent) to the maximum extent of your abilities. The good news: This is also the #1 mid- to long-term … profit maximization strategy! * This I Believe (courtesy Bill caudill)

  • In Good Business, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi argues persuasively that business has become the center of society. As such, an obligation to community is front & center. Business as societal bedrock, has the RESPONSIBILITY to increase the “SUM OF HUMAN WELL-BEING.” Business is NOT "part of the community." In terms of how adults collectively spend their waking hours … BUSINESS IS THE COMMUNITY. And should act accordingly. The (REALLY) good news: Community mindedness
  • is a great way (THE best way?) to have spirited/committed/ customer-centric work force—and, ultimately, increase (maximize?) profitability!
  • And one more time: A new (or wildly enhanced role for business.)
  • CONTEXT
  • Context:
  • 1,000,000
  • 1/721: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” —Albert A. Bartlett
  • It is not that dramatic change is in the air, though that’s true. It is that the … ACCELERATION … of the rate of change is unprecedented.
  • (Re “1/855,” I used this as the epigraph for an 855-page essay I wrote titled “Excellence. NO EXCUSES.”)
  • China/Foxconn:
  • 1,000,000 robots/next 3 years
  • Source: Race AGAINST the Machine, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
  • We typically think of China in terms of low-cost labor. China’s labor costs are soaring—and, like the rest of us, the Chinese are stepping up their game. (In fact this trend is so prominent that manufacturing employment in China is falling.)
  • “Automation has become so sophisticated that on a typical passenger flight, a human pilot holds the controls for a grand total of …3 minutes.
  • [Pilots] have become, it’s not
  • much of an exaggeration to say, computer operators.”
  • Source: Nicholas Carr, “The Great Forgetting,” The Atlantic, 11.13
  • “Meet Your
  • Next Surgeon:
  • Dr. Robot”
  • Source: Feature/Fortune/15 JAN 2013/on Intuitive Surgical’s
  • da Vinci /multiple bypass heart-surgery robot
  • “[Michael Vassar/MetaMed founder] is creating a better information system and new class of people to manage it. ‘Almost all health care people get is going to be done—hopefully—by algorithms within a decade or two. We used to rely on doctors to be experts, and we’ve crowded them into being something like factory workers, where their job is to see one patient every 8 to 11 minutes and implement a by-the-book solution. I’m talking about creating a new ‘expert profession’—medical quants, almost like hedgefund managers, who could do the high-level analytical work of directing all the information that flows into the world’s hard drives. Doctors would now be aided by Vassar’s new information experts who would be aided by advanced artificial intelligence.”—New York /0624.13
  • Persado (vs. copywriter): emotion words, product characteristics, “call to action,” position of text, images
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  • (4.1) “A creative person is good but random. We’ve taken the randomness out by building an ontology of language”
  • —Lawrence Whittle, head of sales
  • Source: Wall Street Journal/ 0825.14/ “It’s Finally Time to Take AI Seriously”
  • Algorithmically derived/produced
  • ad copy more effective than that of a human copywriter. Among other things, “BIG DATA” underpins the choice of every word.
  • “Flash forward to dystopia. You work in a chic cubicle, sucking chicken-flavor sustenance from
  • a tube. You’re furiously maneuvering with a joystick … Your boss stops by and gives you a look. ‘We need to talk about your loyalty to this company.’ The organization you work for has deduced that you are considering quitting. It predicts your plans and intentions, possibly before you have even conceived them.” —Eric Siegel, Predictive Analytics:
  • The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die (based on a real case, an
  • HP “Flight risk” PA model developed by HR, with astronomical savings potential)
  • AI comes to HR in the Age of “Big Data.” Katy bar the door.



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