blurred | lines
Industry is Education and Visa-Versa
Industry and education are cousins. Kissing cousins. Even if each believed in an independent way … their paths have always been converging. It may not be clear to them, but their pace will become lock-step and unsure about who is leading whom.
The Law of Accelerating Change (Kurzweil, March 7, 2001, an easy essay to find) says the 21st Century won’t bring 100 years of change. It will be more like 20,000 years. Judging from a one-fifth experience, Kurzweil might have underestimated the pace. One truism (among many) is that accelerating change blurs the future. The application of new tools and the resulting implications give rise to astonishing unintended outcomes. Rapid change blurs all our futuristic assumptions.
Back to our cousins: If there ever was a sequential relationship with clear space between years spent in education and those in industry … it has become blurry. Even if a traditional degree earned over four years can give graduates enough to pursue opportunity, the industry will change before they walk across the stage and shake the president’s hand. Arguable, 800 years of change since they started (if a Kurzweil year = 200).
What will change (must change) is individual preparation to thrive in a blurry market. Skill sets go stale quickly (remember, change has an accelerating pace). Accurately discerning new challenges is nearly impossible. The only answer is immediate access to learning that has been informed by industry. Lifelong learners maintain forward momentum by constantly refreshing skills. Regular and frequent.
Don’t misunderstand. A general and classic education has immeasurable value. Our very culture depends on it. We need artists and chroniclers and patrons to emerge, and they will. Industry holding hands with education won’t change that.
Recognize the emerging questions. Apply new tools liberally. Concoct a blend that uses what works and sidelines the rest. Online or live? Certification or degree? Skill development or knowledge acquisition? Nano or macro? Managerial or production? It’s all of them. Let’s figure it out.