Open Future NZ "We need to engage ourselves in our own lives"

Tom Norton


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Source: Notes taken by John Veitch from a Radio New Zealand programme featuring a Canadian, Tom Norton - 1993?

Tom Norton on Education

"There are no local standards, in a modern world, we need to understand that standards have a world scale. We need to dream about the things that the world needs."

We tend to look back to our cultural roots, to find the culture that we feel most comfortable with. We look back at the countries we came from. We need to look to the countries we are moving toward, to the Pacific rim and Asia to discover the standards we need to adopt.

We have a rich multi-ethnic base, and we should use it to discover the way of the future.

There are major structural problems throughout the world. The notion that we can train our way out of the problem is wrong. Education cannot be the front end package that ensures future employment. Nor can we hope to look for somebody else to advise us, or to set future directions for us.

We need to look to other people for ideas that we then use to discover our own answers. There is no Canadian answer to New Zealand's situation.

We need to engage ourselves in our own lives. That's our challenge. We need both formal and informal learning structures. We need to discover our own ways to adapt to the future. The notion that there are already invented answers, in a book or in a university course simply isn't true.

We should try to help people to learn the skills they need before they lose their jobs and before they lose confidence. Employers are happy to invest in capital equipment, but are unhappy about investing in human capital. Yet people learn best, part time, while they are working.

"Everyone has a vested interest in creating the future."

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Key Ideas above

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So how do we do those things? Open Future Limited has an answer to that question. We would like to discuss that with you.


Jane McGonigal says that she has the answer, to play more games.  We are fully engaged when we play games.  She explains how we need to learn how to carry that engagement of millions of people into the solution of the problems of the real world.  We need to be motivated to collaborate with others and to give the problem our best effort.  She wants us to become super-empowered, hopeful individuals.

McGonigal identifies the following characteristics as the critical features of engagement: urgent optimism, tight social connection, blissful productivity and a challenge with epic meaning.  Brilliant.

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