Grandmaster’s Insight : Asia’s Next Top (Business) Model.

Things appear very obvious when we have the perspective of hindsight but not when you’re trying to project the future, it’s pretty opaque. So far in my blogs on Series of Education, I have started with drawing attention to Thomas Frey’s writings and pointing to Ken Robinson and Alvin Toffler for context of how deeply we are immersed in a 20th Century model of thinking about education that we may not be able to uproot ourselves in time for life in the 21st Century.

But here’s something I’ve gleaned from GrandMaster; ( I shall not reveal the identity of Grandmaster but those who knew where I was and why I was there will know exactly who he is and my purpose for going) the training and camp business is going to EXPLODE within, not after, but WITHIN the next few years.

This makes perfect sense if you understand the context of the Fallout in Education, Fallout in Courses and formal Training and the emergence of Technology that will enable the exponential growth in the training and education industry. For some context, here’s a roundup.

Everything in our world has changed except our 150-year old schooling model. The schooling model was designed to create good, little, factory workers who turned up on time, obey authority, don’t ask too many questions and would be conditioned to depend on a contract where their time and life-force is exchanged for money.

Schooling was never designed to nurture innate potential and strengths or to help a young person find purpose and fulfillment in life. The mass economy would not have been able to take off if everyone realized we were all very different and our innate gifts and calling would lead us to different paths to pursue choice, happiness and fulfillment. If you find yourself still thinking that you cannot design your own education or learning experience or in fact, make a lot of money doing what you truly love, then you realize the deep-reaching impact the Mass Economy has had on all of us and our standard of living.

Malcolm Gladwell discussed Howard Moskowitz’s Eureka moment where he discovered in an elaborately designed experiment that there was no such thing as a bell curve, no such thing as the perfect Diet Pepsi and what companies should be looking for are the perfect Diet Pepsis. This was in the 70s when we started realizing that people are diverse, they want different things and different choices that make them happy.

If there’s no such thing as a soda that fits everyone’s taste, is it possible to still believe in a one-size-fits-all education paradigm? There are a few things we know about Intelligence : it is diverse, it is dynamic and it is different from one person to another. There’s not one type of intelligence but many types and because of the way these intelligences interact, the dynamism between them creates different abilities and levels of abilities.

What does this all say? Take a look at ourselves and we know this much is true : We want choice. More choices, more freedom. Freedom + Choice = Fulfillment and Happiness. It’s the same when we compare the experience of eating the same flavor of instant cup noodle every for lunch as opposed to the choice of a different buffet at a different restaurant every day. Which gives you a better sense of freedom and happiness?

The Mass Economy is dead. If you’re not convinced, you’re probably not from advertising, media or marketing. So do yourself a favor and Google up articles describing the fallout in everything mass; from mass media to mass marketing to mass production. We’re breaking up into masses of niches – a reflection of our intense desire to be individuals, to have choice, to have freedom.

There is absolutely no way that 20th century mass-schooling can survive as technology and trends like masses of niches become the norm. Would you fly in a 100 year old airplane? Would you use a coal iron instead of an electric one? Would you hand-wash your entire family’s laundry? Would you say to a client you don’t believe in using the Internet? You wouldn’t to all of that.

But a lot of people would risk their children’s futures putting them through a school model that is 150 years old.

So many awakening parents are either pulling their children out of school or telling themselves, “Our schooling 30 years ago, modeled after the schooling of our teachers 30 years before us, has failed us”. What makes us think when our children grow up, this same model, which is now a grand total of 100 years old, would not fail them? It has failed us and it has failed those now in their 20s and 30s. I cannot imagine anyone who is a teen today who will put their children through the same model of learning they went through. Can you?

I’ve heard parents say that what they’ve learned from seminars they wished they had learned in school. All we’re waiting for is the tipping point when parents realize that DAMN IT IS A BETTER IDEA TO LET THEM LEARN AT SEMINARS AND CAMPS THAN GO TO SCHOOL!!!! The tipping point is coming and it’s coming fast and it will come hard. Everything’s going to look perfectly the same, perfectly normal until one more apple joins the crowd and tips the cart over.

When the fallout in education happens, SCHOOLS WILL NOT BE READY. As a former schoolteacher, let me illuminate for you the vastness of the problem.

  1. Teachers who are 20 – 50 now came from an education system that did not prepare them for 21st Century Learning. (I will delve into what that means later on but in the meantime you can Google up the skill sets, qualities and counter-intuitive learning of 21st Century Learners).
  2. How many of us had teachers who were fantastic performers, entertaining us and in tune with our energy level, our interest level and able to wing-it if the classroom situation gets too dull or ramp it up if learners simply can’t get it? If you’ve ever performed live you’d understand how important it is to be able to interact with the audience, keep the energy level up, engage their attention in order to deliver performance.

I’d like to quote Marshal McLuhan and say that anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.

As you can see there is absolutely no way we can turn 100% of our current schoolteachers into Marketers and Performers.  It is so much easier to train to be a teacher than it is to train to be a performer or to become a savvy marketer. The good news is that we’ll be bringing the real world into the classroom. The bad news is that schoolteachers are going to fight this all the way. I suppose we can get GrandMaster to put them in a hall, shout at them about Integrity and then put them through several weeks of intense camps and workshops to enlighten them a bit.

So where are our children going to go? This is where the context of my Series on Future of Education start filling in the holes.  The Shape of Education to Come. We’re either going to see a long line to enter cluster or charter schools or the likes of programs like run by Singapore’s Chua Chu Kang primary school OR we’re going to unschool then spend the money sending our kids to seminars and camps!

Either way, Asia’s next top business model, as well as the rest of the world, is going to be in training and education. Since a trainer is going to be paid based on how well they leverage themselves, both as a performer and a marketer, we won’t be seeing a repeat of 20th Century learning where sub-par performers can call themselves “teachers”. Teaching is going to be glamorous again.

Taken by themselves; the counter-intuitive behavior of 21st Century Business, Marketing and Economics, the failure of schooling to align our purpose with an economic activity for abundant personal wealth and the predictions for the Future of Education (Organic, technology driven, shift of focus from teaching to learning, tested on how you know rather than what you know) don’t make sense. Taken together, it becomes so clear that if you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about, your business future and your children’s future is headed in an unpretty direction.

There’s no cause to panic because there’s no shortage of people who are capable and willing to help us make sense of this upcoming REVOLUTIONARY WEALTH. (If you haven’t watched the videos or watched the book I highly recommend it so you don’t suffer from even more FUTURE SHOCK.) The only problem, really, is the individual who, not knowing anything, continues to think they are right. The new illiterates, as Alvin Toffler says in his book, are not those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot LEARN, UNLEARN and RELEARN.

Seminars, training camps, workshops – these models will fill in the huge vacuum left by the fallout in schooling. It’s a good business to be in. Get good at it. There are only 2 simple  ingredients to it:

  • Anything we can learn very well, we can teach it well to others.
  • Be a performer.

The more crazy you are, the more heretical, high-energy, uninhibited and individualistic you are, the bigger the pay-offs. The 20th century model was work hard, save, wait for death. The 21st Century model : have fun, spend, live life to the fullest.


Leave a comment

Filed under Education 2.0 for 2020, ESL in Asia, Future of Education

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s