By Leigh Cook
Our Futures team was invited to speak at the Technical College System of Georgia’s (TCSG’s) annual Leadership Conference in Savannah, Georgia in October. We introduced some key concepts on “Thinking Like a Futurist” and discussed how they could be used to imagine the future of learning. It was a three day conference that brings together all the college board members, state leaders and organizations that are invested in the future of enabling thousands of students each year across Georgia to earn a degree that puts them on a path to a fulfilling career. These leaders are dedicated to this mission by investing their personal time and resources to grow young students and campuses in Georgia.
One full day of the conference was dedicated to “Tech Talks: Technology to the Rescue + The Future Has Arrived.” We shared the stage with other futurists from the fields of Georgia Tech’s active aging program, a surgical robotics new venture group, a 3D printed food startup, US agriculture development consulting and another 3D technology company to name a few. All are at the cutting edge of invention, ceaseless experimenting and collaboration to make the future real. We all presented on different emerging skills that the workforce of tomorrow must have. Our Futures team closed the day with an interactive session and game to share the fundamentals on having a futures mindset and toolset, expand their thinking about how new technologies and changing human values will continue to collide in new ways, and learn how to think 100 years ahead and make it actionable for today.
One of the futurists, former Georgia State Director for the US Department of Agriculture, couldn’t have summed up the day up better. He said in the 1900s 40% of US jobs were in agriculture. Today only 2% of US jobs are in agriculture. He then quoted futurist Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” Learning is no longer just about teaching students about what they need to do. Instead, learning is the work.