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John Moravec at the World Bank: Knowmadic futures for youth

Youth are the main consumers and participants in education. Despite intimate knowledge of the successes and failures of modern education, youth rarely become architects, shapers, or producers of a system that is built on their behalf. The World Bank Group’s Youth Summit 2016 sought to bridge that gap, giving youth an active voice in creating the vision for the future of education.

Speaking as an invited plenary session at the , Education Futures founder Dr. John Moravec noted:

Inside and beyond formal organizations, we’re seeing a new type of worker emerge. And they are becoming visible in our shift from industrial work to creative and innovative work.

This is a world where our fundamental relationships are becoming much more complex and creative; where we seek out synergies; where our worldviews are designed together; where change happens so fast, we can’t keep up; and, where these changes are occurring on a global level. The people that can navigate these spaces are knowmads – creative, imaginative, and innovative people who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. They create new value, contextualize what they know and what they can do to solve new problems. We see them as freelancers, contract workers, and even as intrapreneurs – mainstream employees taking risks within organizations to create positive, new value. When they cannot create new value, it is time to move on — and mobility created by the global economy and social and knowledge networks makes this happen.

Moravec’s talk is summarized as a mind map:

The Youth Summit was established in 2013 by the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, to provide a platform for the concerns of youth and empower young people to promote their ideas on development. Outputs from the summit are intended to inform the development of the next World Development Report and influence youth-oriented policy development around the world.

Thank you, Martine and Symen!

Thank you!

A lot of work goes into a book: writing, editing, design, printing, etc. At the end of the project, the authors typically get all the attention, but I think it’s equally important to highlight the work of the designers that sculpt the abstract text of the book into a more meaningful experience for our readers.

I want to take this opportunity to thank and praise the work of Martine Eyzenga and Symen Veenstra, who put in countless hours to make Knowmad Society great.

martine Martine is a graphic artist and information designer. Her creative work is featured in the core designs of the PICNIC Festival, Project Dreamschool, and Operation Education social innovation platforms. In this project, she worked on the layout and visual design of the book. Her approach reflected the book’s philosophy that it is a work that is still in process, and that the book should not be regarded as a sacred tome. Each chapter was given an individual design, reflecting that each contributing author is providing their own perspectives. And, Martine included lovingly, hand-drawn invitations to write within the book, tear out pages, and transform the volume into something that is more meaningful for the reader.

symen Symen, who goes by “Enkeling,” is an Amsterdam-based visual artist. His work is focused on illustration, typography, and portraiture. His hand-drawn work on the book’s cover echoes the various paths we take in our knowmadic lives, which converge into Knowmad Society. Given complete creative autonomy, I am blown away by how he interpreted and expressed his vision of Knowmad Society as word art.

It is very rare that an education book receives this much love and attention from its designers, and I am grateful to have worked with Martine and Symen on this project. Thank you both for making the book beautiful!

EF contributors receive Emerald Literati Network Award for Excellence

Education Futures contributors Arthur Harkins and John Moravec have been chosen as “highly commended” award winners at the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2012 for their article entitled Systemic Approaches to Knowledge Development and Application published in the journal, On the Horizon.

To highlight the paper further, the publisher has made the article free for download for the next three months. In the piece, Harkins and Moravec introduce systemic approaches to knowledge development and application — that is, a framework which provides a systems-language descriptive means for understanding and engaging in an expanding ecology of knowledge development options. We call this “MET” : mechanical (conservatively repetitive), evolutionary (self-organizing), and teleogenic (purposively creative). Many of the characteristics of the MET framework are summarized in this table (click to enlarge):

The MET knowledge development framework

From the article:

American preK-12 schooling systems may be primarily mechanical, but some of their students may learn at home or on the internet in parallel evolutionary and teleological ways. The question is how such students can survive the conservative impacts of the outdated majority culture mechanical model, especially if it is delivered in unsophisticated and undemanding ways. They may have to depend upon self-education, the help of their parents, and luck to avoid becoming the casualties of a declining knowledge-resistant culture. We believe that the MET archetypes, buttressed by [augmented reality], can help such people, beginning immediately.

Shameless self-promotion

The response has been phenomenal! Just two months after the release of the Spanish edition of Invisible Learning, Cristóbal Cobo and I have given talks in Argentina, Czech Republic, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. We also have near-term plans for additional talks in these countries and Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Finland, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Most importantly, the conversation about Invisible Learning is growing –and we are pleased to see others lead the way! Most recently, I was delighted to learn of this workshop on Invisible Learning in Finland by Tero Toivanen:

Next Wednesday (June 29), De Baak will host a gathering on Invisible Learning at their center in Driebergen. The next day, we will engage in a conversation on deep diving into the future of work at De Baak’s seaside facility in Noordwijk. Both events are provided free of charge by De Baak, and if you are in the Netherlands and are interested in applying to attend, please contact me — there might be space available.

The following week, from July 4-6, Cristóbal Cobo and I will lead a workshop on Invisible Learning at the International University of Andalusia (UNIA) in Malaga. If you would like to attend or would like more information, please contact UNIA.

If you cannot attend one of the above events, but would like to organize a presentation or workshop on Invisible Learning (virtual or in person) at your institution, please drop us an email. We look forward to expanding the conversation!

Apply by December 17 for the next Knowmads tribe

The Knowmads have released their new brochure, which I made available for download at Please give it a read and spread the word!

Knowmads is a school in the Netherlands that launched in January of this year. Much of the school — including the name itself — is based on the Knowmads concept that I shared at the Creative Company Conference in Amsterdam in 2009.

A one-year program, they are looking to build their next tribe for the February 2011 – February 2012 program. The application deadline is December 17. To get started, simply send an email stating that you’re interested to

A Knowmads student is, on average, between 20 – 35 years old, willing to learn in a team setting, adventurous, curious, has an entrepreneurial attitude, cooperative and independent, value driven, innovative, responsible, and fun to be with. Moreover, Knowmads attract students from diverse backgrounds around the world. This diversity is a stepping stone to learning from and with each other.

Want to learn more? Visit the Knowmads website at

Got a business plan for Open Educational Resources?

Startl has announced a $25,000 competition, soliciting business plans for best uses of Open Educational Resources. The prize is modest, but this could turn into a generator of alternative ideas for education. From their blog:

In partnership with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Graduate School of Education at University of Pennsylvania, Startl will announce the winner this spring during the Milken PennGSE Education Business Plan Competition. The Startl Prize for Open Educational Resources awards the best business plan that leverages openly licensed content to change the paradigm around the production, delivery, sharing, and experience of learning. The intention is to catalyze models that increase access to and dramatically lower the cost of learning. Startl is seeking to inspire entrepreneurs to think creatively about how to incorporate open principles into their core business strategy.

Invisible Learning preview

As Cristóbal Cobo and I are working on wrapping up the Invisible Learning book, promotion for the volume is already starting to appear. Although we anticipate its release in February, 2011, we’ve been giving a few talks on the topic, and thought I’d share some of the slides I’ve been using as a teaser:

This book is the product of the Invisible Learning project, which since its inception, we have called for the identification of areas of learning that have been neglected or otherwise not visible, and incorporate them into a broader meta-theory –or, a proto-paradigm— which we call Invisible Learning. Throughout this new book, we review research studies by thought leaders and the World Bank, OECD, and other institutions. In particular, we look into the invisibility of technologies and the formation of digital skills within the perspective of educational policy and practice. We tie this into the Society 1.0 – Society 3.0 framework, and also introduce some tools (i.e., normative forecasting) that can help build education that’s relevant for the future.

Finally, we discuss Invisible Learning from the perspectives of other authors and contributors to the project. Our approach is to generate a “source code” for an open dialogue between formal learning and learning that knows no time and space limitations. More than anything, Invisible Learning is an invitation, and we look forward to broadening the conversation in the upcoming months.

Stay tuned!

Share the love: Embedding the Education Futures timeline

Did you know the Education Futures timeline of education is Creative Commons licensed? You’re invited to share the love!

Simply cut-and-paste this text into your blog or website (assumes a column width of 500px):

<div align="center"><iframe src="/flashtimeline/index-500.html" width="500" height="310" scrolling="no" frameborder="0"></iframe><p>Source: <a href="/resources/timeline">Education Futures</a></p></div>

…and, it should create this:

Fox News attacks anticipatory thinking; Can a werewolf Congress bring us back to reality?

Fox News recently delved into the realm of the bizarre and ultra-hysterical with their new program, Glenn Beck’s “War Room.” The program does a disservice to the futures field by focusing on wildly improbable scenarios that seem intended to drive viewers into a state of fear and paranoia (especially in regard to the current presidential administration, which is working hard to correct for eight years of socioeconomic malfeasance by the previous occupant). The future is not something that we should be afraid of perpetually or have to fight against. From the February 20 program:

Let’s look at our first scenario. It’s the financial meltdown. The year is 2014.

All the U.S. banks have been nationalized. Unemployment is about between 12 percent and 20 percent. Dow is trading at 2,800. The real estate market has collapsed. Government and unions control most of the business, and America’s credit rating has been downgraded.


GERALD CELENTE, FOUNDER, TRENDS RESEARCH INSTITUTE: We’re writing the history of the future.

BECK: OK. What is life like — under that scenario — what is life like in 2014 for America?

CELENTE: New York City looks like Mexico City. If you have money or they think you’re going to have money, you’re going to be a target for a kidnapping. We’re going to see major cities look like Calcutta. There is going to be the homeless, panhandlers, hookers.

Stephen Colbert calls Beck on the b.s., and wonders how the U.S. Army would fight a werewolf Congress:

More at Indecision Forever



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