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January 05, 2007


Amitai Givertz

Jeff, this looks great, very exciting. You reminded what a good post this was/is...


Jeff Hunter

Bless you Ami. I loved writing that piece, and the fact that you found it worthwhile means the world to me. I don't know whether The Big Pipe session is going to tackle that level or not, but US business is eventually going to have to respond to this problem. There will be no place to outsource to for a quick fix.

Dennis Hunter

In the world that will be, the United States, and the businesses domiciled therein, will be severely challenged. Its supremacy will no longer be assured. In fact, it’s incredible success over the past half century will be one of the major obstacles to overcome. How it responds to, or better yet anticipates, the changed and ever-changing basis of competition will have substantial impact not just on the vitality of its economy, but on its social and political coherence. What should the U.S. do to maximize its chances of calling forth those capabilities that will result in a continuous, generative renewal? What role should the business community play in encouraging and nurturing the realization of the needed changes?

The “Big Pipe” track of the Unconference will focus on the educational component of this issue. It will start with the proposition that the role of education (a broader topic than the role of schools) is to maximize the development of human potential, the generation of capacity, as opposed to the current concept that its role is the delivery of specified capabilities (Ref., No Child Left Behind, and the success of centrally planned anything.) The second proposition will be that the maximization of the country’s success potential should start by recognizing, and building upon, its most fundamental existing strengths. The first of those being its diversity, and the capacities that foster tolerance and build mutual trust and respect, what some would call the creation of “Social Capital.” The second advantage is our relatively higher level of acceptance of failure. Both can be used to build on the country’s well-deserved reputation for creativity. And it’s competing on the basis of creativity that provides the best chance for sustainable economic leadership. But, unlike what has been true in the past, it’s a creativity that needs to be far more broadly distributed. We will no longer be living in a world where the contribution of the few can provide opportunity for the many.

We shall explore the validity and appropriateness of such propositions before moving on to investigating the dimensions of potential for contribution in these areas from the business community. Finally, we shall examine whether there is sufficient commonality of beliefs and interests among the participants to undertake an on-going commitment to collaboratively seek to bring into being at least a portion of the changes needed to prepare us to compete in the brave new world.

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