Hawai’i’s Shared Futures By Vision Foresight Strategy

Futures Index and Social Media in Education

Good Morning, everyone.  Well, now that we’re getting our writing projects back on track and reorganzined, and particularly because we’ve entered a first full swing in Summit 2009 planning, today we’re working once again on the Hawai’i Futures Index.  Meant to be something of a issues barometer and set of indicators for Hawai’i’s desired futures, we survey the attendees to the Summit each year and then build the Index up from there.  A challenge is staying away from the typical ideas about what to track, like visitor stays and construction permits, and build a set of indicators that really taps into the issues that decision makers and thought leaders care about that relate to the futures they actually desire.  And, being futurists, we need a broader and more nuanced (foresightful) set of relationships and impacts to consider, again, beyond just the traditional, “what is California and Japan’s economy doing?”

Also, we want to put a shout out for the new book out by Jeff Piontek (head of the charter school Hawai’i Technology Academy).  We toured the school yesterday (in my old stomping grounds of Waipahu) and their tools and approach are simply fascinating and impressive.  Jeff will also be one of our speakers at this year’s Summit.

His new book is Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts, Oh, My! And please note that the Amazon info on publication date and availability is wrong: the book was just published and is actually in print.

Think about tomorrow.


Filed under: Education, futures, Hawai'i, Summit

Managing the Flood

Good morning, everyone.  Last night we had a very good conversation on the future of education in the state, and I think some of the ideas that went around the room have a reasonable chance of getting a higher profile in the current discourse.  And thankfully, while there are serious obstacles to systemic improvement, just about everyone present seemed to genuinely want to see changes and improvements, and they seem committed to working on implementing them.  Interestingly, nothing truly radical (at least from a futurist’s perspective) in the ‘fixes’; structural changes to be sure, but apparently nothing that isn’t already heard in education and reform circles.  If anyone has any suggestions for concrete changes in our local educational system (explicitly linked to producing the kind of citizens that we want), we’d be happy to through them on the wall for future discussions.

And in line with some of our later conversations from last night, here’s an upbeat video about managing tasks and information, something we’re all struggling to do everyday.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Managing the Flood“, posted with vodpod

Today, we’re launching the first part of the ‘nonprofit future’ project, and we’ll be conducting our initial working session this afternoon and likely coming up with both cool ideas to consider as well as scoping the focus of the exploration; it will definitely deal with the operational life and reality of local Hawai’i nonprofits.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Education, Nonprofit, scenarios

The week starts in education and economic stimulus

Aloha kakahiaka, folks.  Last night I had a surprisingly good time at a special awards event, where I got to meet President Obama’s sister.  Like just about any event, what really made it good was the people you got to connect with, and last night was wonderful in that respect.  But I can tell you that, based on conversations list night, the future will bring some interesting and provocative events.  Cool.

The week looks like it will kick off with a special session we’re involved in looking at the future of education.  We’re prepping for this today, and we expect another very interesting discussion drawing in several views about what the priorities are and how we can address change.  Much of the rest of the week will be devoted to getting the website project rolling at full speed.  This is cool little project, and as soon as the beta is ready, we’ll be blasting it out to everyone.  I think you’ll be interested in the possibilities.  We’ve appreciated all of the suggestions for web developers and connections to people interested in larger civic engagement.  Mahalo.

And we came across this post this morning and thought people would be interested in another look at how economic stimulus money will be allocated across the states in the union.  It looks like we’ll be receivng the lowest category (no surprise), less than $5 billion.  According to the map, we look to get $2.33 B, with 10.58% going to balancing the state budget.

Filed under: Economics, Education, ,

Looking for education

We’re prepping right now for an upcoming session on the future of education, and we’re pretty excited about the potential for provocative conversation and frank discussion of how to make positive change. A bit of research, a bit of briefing notes, and we’re looking for any really good sites people know about that have (serious) prescriptions for both improving as well as overhauling the education systems in the US. If you’ve got any to suggest, please let us know and we’ll happily check them out.

Tomorrow we’ll also be stopping in for some of the HCEI workgroup meetings, something that, if we can follow through on, could open up Hawai’i’s potential futures tremendously. It’s of course related to the energy working group on community engagement that emerged out of this past year’s Summit, the next meeting for which is on February 25. Good folks with serious hope for change. If you’re interested in learning more, sign on to SummitNet and we’ll start getting you connected.

Oh, and we’ll also be meeting on some other potential ‘future-of-Hawaii’ sessions for later this year, so if anyone has any suggestions as to what kind of work would be most inspiring to people, please let us know.

Think about tomorrow.

Filed under: Change, Education, Energy, Hawai'i, Summit

Learning Languages and Social Networks

Live Mocha, a new site still in testing phase, is designed to help individuals learn new languages online. The browser-based service (meaning you don’t need any downloads or additional tools) draws upon the characteristics of social networks to connect learners with native speakers online. Thus, in addition to the more traditional self-learning tools also available on the site, the service provides the access to a global network of individuals looking to share knowledge and learn from each other.

Thoughts: One of the sadder examples of America’s less-than-ambitious or innovative approach to general education is the traditional lack of emphasis on developing a multilingual citizenry. Aside from the obvious benefits of being able to communicate with people from other countries, learning languages opens up windows onto other worldviews and cultures, and typically improves the learner’s understanding of their own first language. As globalization proceeds apace, more experiments like Live Mocha should be encouraged to increase the connections among people and across identities. This would have the effect of opening up more relationships and hopefully less intractable conflict.


Filed under: Education, Identity

Socializing Entrepreneurship

BusinessWeek online has a new special report on the best young entrepreneurs under 25. The report links also include short articles on resources, education for, and examples of Millennial business starters.

The education and socialization and our youth really does need a major overhaul and redesign, both in terms of process and outcomes. Most current generations were trained in the industrial age model and have had to develop wholly new skills to be competent and contributing adults in contemporary society. It is interesting that in a society (and indeed, a civilization) that is built upon market economies and esteems the ‘company’, we do so little to socialize our youth to the opportunities and realities of business. And we don’t mean business in the Ebeneezer Scrooge, 19th century robber-baron sense, but in the community-minded, globally-aware and connected 21st century sense. Education and socialization need to be rethought and mapped against the emerging realities (and hopes) of contemporary life.


Filed under: Business, Education

Entrepreneurship in the U.S.

An annual Kauffman Foundation study released today finds that the general rate of entrepreneurship in the United States has remained steady over the past 11 years. Between 2005 and 2006, an estimated 465,000 adults created new businesses every month. The annual Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity is the only annual study that measures new business development for the entire US at the individual level.


Filed under: Economics, Education

Shaping the Future of State Education

The University of Michigan developed the National Clearinghouse on Academic Worklife, a repository and portal for articles, policy papers, and link regarding the changes and evolution in professional life in higher education.

Thoughts: While the above scan hit really relates to the lives of professionals in universities and colleges, the issues they are facing with ongoing changes in higher education and collegiate life of course have a much broader impact. The central issue of ‘what future higher education’ has been thrown about for years, and yet for all the articles in the popular press and all of the reports, conferences, and journal pieces concerned with the ‘future of education’, there has been surprisingly little innovative thinking proposed. But as is often the case, inspiration for radically innovative changes often do not originate within the host industry.

The world is changing, as it always has, only now it is changing at a much more rapid clip. To not only compete economically in a globalized world (perhaps of primary concern to the US political establishment), but also cultivate the strong, healthy, and adaptive citizens a society needs today, we need more serious and determined examinations of the role and nature of formal state education (i.e., that base educational experience to socialize and prepare a common citizenry). The futures are opening up interesting possibilities for creating organized and disaggregated systems for education across the lifespan, but inspiration for these possibilities will not necessarily (and certainly not only) come from the education profession, and serious investigators should be looking abroad at other fields. But such most also look to the different roles, responsibilities, and capabilities that institutions other than ‘schools’ should and may have: communities, families, professions, and global communities.  By example, in recent years thousands across the country have seized upon ‘charter schools’ as The Answer to whatever educational or cultural deficiency they detected in the current system.  The Charter school movement is unlikely to be the silver bullet (and indeed there rarely is one, but single point solutions make good press), and should instead by viewed as one of several efforts available and employed by society to create a more adaptive and competent citizenry.  As with all complex social issues, the drivers are many and the responses must be many.


Filed under: Education

Hawai’i: the Reboot

2 days. 200 innovators. A new future for Hawai'i.

The Hawai'i Futures Summit 2009 October 16 and 17, 2009


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