The “fast-movers” in an industry are most likely to succeed, futurist Jim Carroll told about 400 representatives of education companies on Monday in his keynote address to kick off the EdNET 2016 conference here.
Carroll’s message to “think big, start small, and scale fast” was delivered to an audience of executives who are trying to gain market share in the historically slow-paced K-12 marketplace.
It’s advice he’s already given in presentations to NASA, Walt Disney Corp., major pharmaceutical companies, and the Professional Golf Association.
The group gathered here for EdNET are product and service providers in the education industry, meeting for three days to discuss their shared challenges, opportunities, and to network.
“It’s not big organizations that will control the future,” Carroll told the attendees. “It’s speed, agility, flexibility—the ability to respond to rapid change—that will increasingly define our success.” For instance, 60 percent of Apple Inc.’s revenues come from products that didn’t exist four years ago, he said.
Educators in everything from universities to elementary schools are “enveloped by speed,” he said, and asked the audience to reflect on “What can we do with this?”
Carroll drew on the perspective of Bill Gates as part of his rationale: “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction,” wrote Bill Gates in his 20-year-old book, The Road Ahead.
Earlier this year, Gates predicted major changes on the horizon in education, particularly around personalized learning, within the next five years.
As educators are being asked to teach students for future jobs that don’t yet exist, Carroll said businesses can help with this challenge. He pointed to the disappearance of existing careers and the rapid emergence of new careers like creators of real-time predictive analytical dashboards to monitor people’s health, and programmers who provide location intelligence.
Carroll encouraged the audience to start thinking of ways it can prepare for a future in which students are accustomed to “just-in-time knowledge,” where they can learn what they want to know from watching a video online or doing an internet search.
“Be the Elon Musk of your industry,” Carroll said, referring to the co-founder of Tesla. “Build experience, build knowledge, build understanding. It’s only by trying to do things we haven’t done before that we can get ahead.”