Category Archives: Education

[Info] The best jobs for your personality type

Written by Richard Feloni and Skye Gould
Published Monday 10 October 2016
Nils Westerlund of Sweden, Sofia Braendstroem of Sweden, Alessandro Contini of Italy  and Emma Rose of Britain (R-L) of the HowDo start-up attend a production meeting at their office at the Wostel co-working space in Berlin March 18, 2013. Europe must urgently tackle youth unemployment, the French, German and Italian governments said May 28, 2013, urging action to rescue an entire generation who fear they will not find jobs. Some 7.5 million Europeans aged 15-24 are neither in employment nor in education or training, according to EU data. Youth unemployment in the EU stood at 23.6 percent in January, more than twice as high as the adult rate. Picture taken March 18, 2013.   REUTERS/Thomas Peter (GERMANY - Tags: BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTX103SF

Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the charts below.
Image: REUTERS/Thomas Peter
America’s biggest companies have been operating on the assumption for decades that certain personalities correspond to certain jobs, and one of the main tools they’ve used is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test.

It assigns people one of 16 personality types based on how they measure themselves against four criteria — it’s the test where you can find out if you’re an ESTJ or an ISTP. According to statistics from a few years ago, around 80% of Fortune 500 companies use the test, as does the world’s largest hedge fund.

To determine five of the best jobs for every personality, we consulted one of the most popular personality guides based on the Myers-Briggs system, “Do What You Are,” which has sold more than 1 million copies over its five editions, and spoke with one of its authors, Paul Tieger. (Note: The book is not affiliated with the Myers & Briggs Foundation, the company that manages the official MBTI test.)

The job lists aren’t meant to be definitive, but rather serve as a fun way to see how certain occupations attract a particular kind of person.

Figure out which type suits you best, and then check out the charts below.

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider

Image: Skye Gould Business Insider
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[Info] 5 Things I Learnt as a Designer at LEGO

Jonathan Bree 🚀Follow Industrial design, UX, product strategy and startups. Maker. London. Nov 17

At 5am on a cold, misty morning, my plane tumbled to a stop in a strange land where I didn’t speak a word of the language. I was about to embark on one of the best (and most bizarre) adventures I’d had so far — working as a designer at LEGO HQ in Denmark.

I was fresh-faced, just a few weeks after finishing university, and about to be thrown into the deep end of my first real design job.

Over the course of my time there, I would work on a secret project, a real life ‘LEGO House’ — a 12,000 square meter new spiritual home for the cult brand, standing 23 meters tall. The ‘House’ was to be filled with slightly surreal digital and physical experiences showing the values and future vision for LEGO.

The LEGO House in progress, construction expected to be completed in the latter half of 2017.

That sink-or-swim experience influences much of my approach today. Here are the top five things I picked up in between all of the pickled herring, liquorice-flavoured everything, and hygge*.

*Don’t ask.

1 — Every point of the experience matters

Often as a designer or entrepreneur, the focus is on the product, testing learning and shipping — however, the product is merely one piece of the experience puzzle. Where are the users when they interact with it? What were they doing before? How did they discover it? What will they do after? These are all part of the broader product experience. Every product, whether it may seem like it or not, is a service of some kind, and needs to be considered holistically within the user’s journey.

At LEGO, the approach is to actually map the experiential journey that the product or service will exist within and seek to understand how that can be made better.

Below is one of the tools LEGO uses to plot the user’s mood across the various touch-points of the journey, diving into how the user feels and their situation at any one moment.

Every pain point is an opportunity to be won or wasted, and can add to the product experience… or easily subtract from it.

2 — Build play in

For a product to be truly sticky, it needs to be more than functional, connecting on an emotional level — to be a joy to use… like, actually fun.

Of course, this doesn’t mean throwing unnecessary animations in left, right and centre. The user’s path to completing a goal within the product should never be impeded by pointless fluff, but there are always novel ways to accomplish a task or fun elements can be embedded into the experience.

This is a key part of the LEGO philosophy; embed little surprising moments of play into everything. Although perhaps this isn’t surprising for a toy company. However, this approach is now being applied in markets where it wouldn’t have in the past — take the popular example of Slack, which sits in the ever so lively enterprise communication space… with other fun products like… Lync and Yammer. At the end of the day, any product will be used by real people, so building small moments of delight (what designer Oki Sato calls ‘!’ moments) can be the difference between success or sighs.

Some nice examples:

Product Hunt tells you to go to bed if you’ve been browsing too long. Credit: Muzli

When Google Chrome can’t connect to the internet, users can pass the time playing a tree-hopping dinosaur game until they’re reconnected. Credit: omgchrome
If you click MailChimp’s high five hand too many times, it starts to turn red. Credit: Little Big Details

3 — Think with your hands, not just your head

Make it real. At LEGO, I had the pencil snatched out of my hand and was told – don’t sketch it… build it.

You can perceive the form and functionality of anything so much better once you make it more tangible, and realising something in physical form is one of the best ways of doing this.

Foam models and paper prototypes may seem crude and childlike next to CAD or wire-framing tools, but absolutely nothing beats sense-checking in the real world — the sooner something can be tested, the sooner it can be improved. Something that is astoundingly obvious when you are holding a physical model in your hand and trying it out may be completely lost in the 2D world of a computer screen or on paper.

Get it off the paper.

4 — Don’t be afraid to dismantle to find a better way

Sometimes the only way to fix something… is to take it apart and start again.

When something doesn’t work, it is all too easy to try to fall into the trap of simply fixing it, which will get you back on track as quickly as possible. But this misses the real opportunity, which is to actually re-build with a new understanding of the previous design’s weaknesses.

Just as with making something out of LEGO; it’s always quicker to create something a second time, because your understanding of it runs a little deeper. You know where the awkward parts are, so you can change your approach.

Although it can seem crazy or painful to start again or intentionally break apart something that you put time into creating, the end result will be all the better for it.

5— Simplicity is strength

In the same way that Twitter’s famous 140 character limit frees people from the burden of producing a masterpiece, (and led to significant growth in its early years) LEGO frees people to build quickly, effectively — but most importantly, roughly.

Roughly? Lower fidelity lowers the barrier to entry — everyone can try and anyone can succeed. There is no wrong way to connect simple plastic bricks, and no wrong way to tweet. It is a playground safe from failure. It is much in the same way that many are hesitant to draw in front of a group or are put off by the pressure of a blank page (just think about how often you hear the phrase: “but I can’t draw!”). Whilst drawing may offer more scope and depth, there also comes the perception that someone can miss the mark… creating a subconscious barrier to entry.

Less allows for more.

6 — Allow the plan to change

Yep, I know… I said 5 at the start. But sometimes you have to be prepared to change the plan or break the old structure when it no longer fits or works the given task. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what you are about to create or what the outcome will be, and that’s ok. Let the plan change.

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[Info] Addiction: This is what’s happening in your brain

Written by Rafi Letzter Science Reporter, Business Insider
Published Monday 31 October 2016
 A boy who was addicted to the internet, has his brain scanned for research purposes at Daxing Internet Addiction Treatment Center in Beijing February 22, 2014.  As growing numbers of young people in China immerse themselves in the cyber world, spending hours playing games online, worried parents are increasingly turning to boot camps to crush addiction. Military-style boot camps, designed to wean young people off their addiction to the internet, number as many as 250 in China alone. Picture taken February 22, 2014. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA - Tags: SOCIETY)ATTENTION EDITORS - PICTURE 21 OF 33 FOR PACKAGE 'CURING CHINA'S INTERNET ADDICTS'TO FIND ALL IMAGES SEARCH 'INTERNET BOOT CAMP' - RTR3WL7Y

Image: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Why are certain people more likely to develop addictions?
 Why can’t you quit drinking? Why can’t your dad quit cigarettes? Why can’t your friend quit cocaine?

There’s an easy, incomplete answer: You have addictions. You have a disorder that compromises the mechanisms in your brain that lead you toward better choices.

But what does that mean, really? If addiction is a disease, what does it look like? Is it the same from drug to drug or addicted person to addicted person?

A new paper from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offers a new framework for describing and understanding addiction writ large.

That’s a big deal, because it offers researchers a system for dealing with addiction as a single neurological problem, and fitting the puzzle pieces individual kinds of habitual substance abuse into a larger whole.

It makes it easier to ask and answer questions like Why are certain people more likely to develop addictions? Why do so many addicted people have this gene? and, most importantly How can we prevent and treat addictions once they form?

Addiction, the paper’s authors argue, based on a review of existing research, has three keys:

Executive function: The human brain is really good at zooming out to think about big-picture challenges and how to deal with them. It faces complex questions and offers complex answers.

People with addictions tend to have problems with this kind of thinking though — especially when it comes to long-term planning. They struggle with attention, inhibition, long-term planning, and judgments about the past and future.

These kinds of deficits show up in people with addictions to substances ranging from nicotine to cocaine to cannabis, and seem to play a significant role in addiction as a mental disease.

Incentive salience: Why did you eat that gross, sugary cinnamon bun this morning? Because your mind doesn’t make all of its decisions at the level of executive function. A lot of the choices we make come down to more primal reward seeking.

When your brain is trained to want something, whether a sweet treat or a shot of alcohol, a rewards system kicks in, and you develop a craving. And when it gets it, it releases a surge of reward chemicals, including dopamine — the most well known hormone in the brain. This is the underlying system behind any habit.

In people with addictions, that reward system is altered. The addictive substance gets outsized salience. That is, the addicted brain weighs it as more important and kicks in larger rewards when it arrives.

Negative emotionality: This is the simplest of the three keys. People with addictions display more negativity. Present them with some stimulus, and their reaction is more likely to be sad or angry.

Negative feelings (which researchers term “hypohedonia”) make addicted people more susceptible to their cravings. And the substances that drive their addictions become temporary salves for that internal hurt.

Those three keys drive addictions as common as nicotine habits and as ravaging as opioids and amphetamines. And they track with genetic factors like mental health and family history, as well as environmental factors like class and education.

Addiction

Image: Biological Psychiatry

This paper aims to become a kind of frame on top of which researchers can build future developments in addiction science. Expect to see a lot of studies citing it down the road.

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[Info] A evolução do analfabetismo funcional no Brasil

Catarina Pignato, Vitória Ostetti e Daniel Mariani
21 Nov 2016 (atualizado 22/Nov 17h59)

O Brasil tem 27% de sua população entre 15 e 64 anos de analfabetos funcionais. Em 2001 e 2002, esse número era de 39%. Na zona rural são 41%

Fonte: IPM – Instituto Paulo Montenegro, com apoio do Ibope. *Observações: No gráfico sobre setores da economia, agricultura e pecuária incluem produção florestal e pesca; transporte inclui armazenagem e correio; indústria extrativista inclui indústria de transformação; saúde inclui serviços sociais; atividades financeiras inclui atividades administrativas.

ESTAVA ERRADO: Os gráficos 2 e 4  tinham no seu título “porcentagem de alfabetismo” o correto é “porcentagem de analfabetismo”. A correção foi feita às 11h33 de 22 de novembro de 2016.

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[Info] Uma escola feita só de recreio

Matéria da Época Negócios sobre a escola pública Quest to Learn de NY…

Em vez de carteiras e um professor na frente da classe ensinando conversão entre sistemas métricos, um monte de amigos disputam em um tabuleiro partidas de Metric Mystery, transformando polegadas em metros. Em vez de livros de história sobre a guerra civil americana, uma brincadeira transforma professores em soldados, donos de terra, políticos, comerciantes e escravos, falando sobre seus motivos para lutar entre si. Em vez de física, alunos constroem um robô com peças de Lego, a partir de um desafio proposto pelos professores. É assim que se ensina todo o conteúdo escolar para os 400 alunos da Quest to Learn, um colégio público de Nova York. É, nas palavras dos responsáveis pelo projeto, “a primeira escola do mundo a ter 100% de seu currículo baseado em jogos”.

O uso de jogos em empresas ou em campanhas publicitárias, em que funcionários ou clientes marcam pontos e ganham recompensas, não é propriamente uma novidade. O fenômeno já tem até nome: gameficação. No Brasil, empresas como Nike, Bradesco, IBM, Volkswagen e Itaú há anos aplicam jogos em treinamento de equipes e fidelização de consumidores. “Os jogos não são apenas divertidos; eles aumentam o engajamento e o aprendizado em tarefas que seriam maçantes no modelo tradicional”, diz Francisco Tupy, game designer e pesquisador da USP. Segundo a consultoria Gartner, 70% das 2 mil maiores empresas do mundo possuem projetos na área. Só nos Estados Unidos, estima-se que a gameficação movimente mais de US$ 2 bilhões por ano.


“Somos uma reação ao declínio dos EUA na preparação dos jovens”, diz Brian Waniewski, diretor do Institute of Play 

 

A verdadeira revolução da Quest to Learn (Q2L) é levar esses conceitos de forma integral para as salas de aula. “O sistema educacional deixa a desejar em engajamento e motivação, exatamente os pontos em que os jogos mais atuam”, diz Tennyson Pinheiro, sócio da consultoria Live/Work, especializada em design para negócios. “A gameficação nas escolas junta a fome com a vontade de comer.” Para Katie Salen, diretora da Q2L, o sistema escolar tradicional, baseado na memorização, molda crianças para empregos tradicionais. Com os games, o objetivo é prepará-las para trabalho em equipe, soluções criativas, gerenciamento do tempo e estímulo ao pensamento independente.

A Q2L é uma das respostas à crise no modelo escolar tradicional americano. “Somos uma reação ao momento de declínio do país na preparação de seus jovens”, diz Brian Waniewski, diretor-geral do Institute of Play, a organização que elaborou o currículo da Q2L. Hoje, os EUA ocupam a 17ª posição global na formação de engenheiros e cientistas. Segundo o Institute of Play, 32% dos diplomas obtidos por estudantes americanos são nessas áreas; no Japão e na China, são 66% e 59%, respectivamente. (Se os EUA estão em crise, imagine o Brasil: nossa taxa de engenheiros e cientistas é de 15%.)

O currículo não se resume a jogos eletrônicos. Há jogos de cartas e de tabuleiro, brincadeiras criadas pelos próprios alunos e representações teatrais. Também a educação física é estruturada como uma série de competições (Foto: Divulgação)O CURRÍCULO NÃO SE RESUME A JOGOS ELETRÔNICOS. HÁ JOGOS DE CARTAS E DE TABULEIRO, BRINCADEIRAS CRIADAS PELOS PRÓPRIOS ALUNOS E REPRESENTAÇÕES TEATRAIS. TAMBÉM A EDUCAÇÃO FÍSICA É ESTRUTURADA COMO UMA SÉRIE DE COMPETIÇÕES (FOTO: DIVULGAÇÃO)

A Q2L surgiu, em 2007, a partir de uma parceria entre o Institute of Play, ONG formada por designers profissionais de videogames, e a New Visions for Public Schools, instituição que promove modelos inovadores de educação na rede pública de Nova York. “A New Visions trouxe a ideia da gameficação”, diz Waniewski. “Nós transformamos essas ideias em currículo e treinamos os professores.” A verba (não revelada) veio de uma fundação beneficente, mas as contas da escola, como salário dos professores, luz e manutenção de equipamentos, são bancadas pelo estado. O custo por aluno é um terço maior, chegando a US$ 24 mil por ano. Em contrapartida, nos testes obrigatórios do estado, os alunos da Q2L, na região sudeste de Manhattan, tiveram marcas acima da média – e crescentes – nos últimos três anos. A escola é a atual bicampeã da Olimpíada de Matemática do estado. Ainda não existem bolsas ou critérios de renda para o ingresso na Q2L, que atende crianças de 8 a 12 anos. Mais duas turmas devem ser criadas até 2014, elevando a idade máxima para 14.

Em vez de disciplinas separadas como matemática, ciências e gramática, as aulas são divididas em cinco grandes conjuntos (leia o quadro acima). Na matéria Codeworlds, por exemplo, o foco maior são números, porém integrados a letras, palavras e artes, para produzir uma percepção mais aberta do raciocínio matemático. Wellness é educação física, mas misturada a conteúdos de saúde, nutrição, psicologia e integração social. É como se a escola fosse um grande videogame, com cinco jogos diferentes.


O custo por aluno na Q2L é um terço maior que o normal. Mas a escola é bicampeã da Olimpíada de Matemática do estado de Nova York  

As próprias aulas têm estrutura igual à de um jogo eletrônico. É preciso superar desafios, cumprir missões e enfrentar um chefão para passar de fase. Durante dez semanas por semestre, os alunos têm de atingir objetivos em jogos criados pelos professores. Os alunos devem superar vários Desafios, que em seu conjunto dão aos estudantes as ferramentas necessárias para cumprir cada Missão. Uma possível Missão de História, por exemplo, é acabar com a guerra entre Atenas e Esparta – sendo que cada lado não pode abrir mão de seus objetivos centrais. Para chegar à paz, será preciso resolver as diferenças em uma série de aspectos comerciais, pessoais e diplomáticos, cada um deles sendo um Desafio diferente. O conteúdo histórico também pode ser repassado numa partida de um tradicional jogo de tabuleiro chamado Settlers of Catan (colonizadores de Catan) ou pela criação de uma revista em quadrinhos cujo tema seja o poema épico Gilgamesh.

As Missões e os Desafios podem ir da criação de um cardápio orgânico para a cantina da escola – com dados sobre nutrição, preparo de alimentos, logística e finanças – até a construção de pequenas estações de rádio. Os estudantes mais avançados têm como uma de suas Missões criar Desafios para as turmas mais novas.

TUDO JUNTO E MISTURADO (Foto: Reprodução)

Após cumprir as Missões, os estudantes passam duas semanas na Fase do Chefe: o desafio final, que exigirá todo o conhecimento obtido ao longo do período anterior. Essa fase é dura: os alunos precisam pesquisar, construir teorias, testar hipóteses e passar pelo crivo de uma banca de professores. Caso sejam aprovados, “sobem de nível”, ou seja, passam de ano. Não há notas, e sim uma avaliação que leva em conta como eles usaram o conteúdo do semestre. Os próprios estudantes, aliás, podem mudar o modo como são avaliados, se conseguirem construir um processo melhor. “Queremos que os alunos sejam os designers de seu próprio aprendizado”, diz Waniewski. Até hoje, nenhum aluno repetiu de ano.

A Q2L prioriza os jogos – mas não necessariamente os eletrônicos. A tecnologia está lá, nas impressoras 3D, laptops e iPads, nos videogames como The Sims e Spore e no uso do Google Earth, além da rede social dedicada, do estúdio de realidade virtual e do sistema digital de design. Mas o conceito mais amplo de jogos inclui desde brincadeiras físicas, como pega-pega e esconde-esconde, a jogos de carta, tabuleiro e RPG (uma espécie de representação teatral). “Não somos uma escola dirigida pela tecnologia, mas pelo engajamento”, afirma Waniewski. Para o pesquisador Tupy, da USP, “os recursos eletrônicos não são o fim e sim um meio para desenvolver temas como gestão de projeto, inovação, empreendedorismo”.

É claro que o ensino por jogos não é uma unanimidade em educação. É apenas uma das linhas que procuram desenvolver pessoas críticas, num mundo lotado de informações. “O uso de jogos não pode ser uma camisa de força”, diz Tupy. “Ele tem de servir para a emancipação, não para o condicionamento.” De acordo com Carlos Grieco, fundador da EvoBooks, empresa que vende produtos baseados em videogames voltados à educação, as crianças também precisam passar por uma adaptação na hora de deixar a escola, para que possam se integrar a ambientes sem jogos.

O modelo, pelo menos por enquanto, não serve para larga escala. “É complicado replicar esse tipo de solução”, diz Grieco. “Nossa rede pública tem carências mais urgentes, de itens básicos.” Mas, mesmo aqui, já se usam os jogos em algumas escolas, em algumas disciplinas. Segundo os diretores da Q2L, esta é a ideia: incorporar os jogos aos poucos. O Institute of Play tem recebido encomendas dos EUA e de fora para gameficar partes do currículo de outras escolas. O jogo está só na primeira fase.   

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MANUAL DE INSTRUÇÕES (Foto: Reprodução)

 

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[Info] Bill Gates: Here’s My Plan to Improve Our World — And How You Can Help

  • BILL GATES for WIRED (12/11/2013)
I am a little obsessed with fertilizer. I mean I’m fascinated with its role, not with using it. I go to meetings where it’s a serious topic of conversation. I read books about its benefits and the problems with overusing it. It’s the kind of topic I have to remind myself not to talk about too much at cocktail parties, since most people don’t find it as interesting as I do.

But like anyone with a mild obsession, I think mine is entirely justified. Two out of every five people on Earth today owe their lives to the higher crop outputs that fertilizer has made possible. It helped fuel the Green Revolution, an explosion of agricultural productivity that lifted hundreds of millions of people around the world out of poverty.
 
These days I get to spend a lot of time trying to advance innovation that improves people’s lives in the same way that fertilizer did. Let me reiterate this: A full 40 percent of Earth’s population is alive today because, in 1909, a German chemist named Fritz Haber figured out how to make synthetic ammonia. Another example: Polio cases are down more than 99 percent in the past 25 years, not because the disease is going away on its own but because Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk invented polio vaccines and the world rolled out a massive effort to deliver them.
 
Thanks to inventions like these, life has steadily gotten better. It can be easy to conclude otherwise—as I write this essay, more than 100,000 people have died in a civil war in Syria, and big problems like climate change are bearing down on us with no simple solution in sight. But if you take the long view, by almost any measure of progress we are living in history’s greatest era. Wars are becoming less frequent. Life expectancy has more than doubled in the past century. More children than ever are going to primary school. The world is better than it has ever been.
 
But it is still not as good as we wish. If we want to accelerate progress, we need to actively pursue the same kind of breakthroughs achieved by Haber, Sabin, and Salk. It’s a simple fact: Innovation makes the world better—and more innovation equals faster progress. That belief drives the work my wife, Melinda, and I are doing through our foundation.
 
WE WENT ON A SAFARI TO SEE WILD ANIMALS BUT ENDED UP GETTING OUR FIRST SUSTAINED LOOK AT EXTREME POVERTY. WE WERE SHOCKED.
 
Of course, not all innovation is the same. We want to give our wealth back to society in a way that has the most impact, and so we look for opportunities to invest for the largest returns. That means tackling the world’s biggest problems and funding the most likely solutions. That’s an even greater challenge than it sounds. I don’t have a magic formula for prioritizing the world’s problems. You could make a good case for poverty, disease, hunger, war, poor education, bad governance, political instability, weak trade, or mistreatment of women. Melinda and I have focused on poverty and disease globally, and on education in the US. We picked those issues by starting with an idea we learned from our parents: Everyone’s life has equal value. If you begin with that premise, you quickly see where the world acts as though some lives aren’t worth as much as others. That’s where you can make the greatest difference, where every dollar you spend is liable to have the greatest impact.
 
I have known since my early thirties that I was going to give my wealth back to society. The success of Microsoft provided me with an enormous fortune, and I felt responsible for using it in a thoughtful way. I had read a lot about how governments underinvest in basic scientific research. I thought, that’s a big mistake. If we don’t give scientists the room to deepen our fundamental understanding of the world, we won’t provide a basis for the next generation of innovations. I figured, therefore, that I could help the most by creating an institute where the best minds would come to do research.
 
There’s no single lightbulb moment when I changed my mind about that, but I tend to trace it back to a trip Melinda and I took to Africa in 1993. We went on a safari to see wild animals but ended up getting our first sustained look at extreme poverty. I remember peering out a car window at a long line of women walking down the road with big jerricans of water on their heads. How far away do these women live? we wondered. Who’s watching their children while they’re away?
 
That was the beginning of our education in the problems of the world’s poorest people. In 1996 my father sent us a New York Times article about the million children who were dying every year from rotavirus, a disease that doesn’t kill kids in rich countries. A friend gave me a copy of a World Development Report from the World Bank that spelled out in detail the problems with childhood diseases.
 
Melinda and I were shocked that more wasn’t being done. Although rich-world governments were quietly giving aid, few foundations were doing much. Corporations weren’t working on vaccines or drugs for diseases that affected primarily the poor. Newspapers didn’t write a lot about these children’s deaths.
 
This realization led me to rethink some of my assumptions about how the world improves. I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest. This system is responsible for many of the great advances that have improved the lives of billions—from airplanes to air-conditioning to computers.
 
But capitalism alone can’t address the needs of the very poor. This means market-driven innovation can actually widen the gap between rich and poor. I saw firsthand just how wide that gap was when I visited a slum in Durban, South Africa, in 2009. Seeing the open-pit latrine there was a humbling reminder of just how much I take modern plumbing for granted. Meanwhile, 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to proper sanitation, a problem that contributes to the deaths of 1.5 million children a year.
 
Governments don’t do enough to drive innovation either. Although aid from the rich world saves a lot of lives, governments habitually underinvest in research and development, especially for the poor. For one thing, they’re averse to risk, given the eagerness of political opponents to exploit failures, so they have a hard time giving money to a bunch of innovators with the knowledge that many of them will fail.
By the late 1990s, I had dropped the idea of starting an institute for basic research. Instead I began seeking out other areas where business and government underinvest. Together Melinda and I found a few areas that cried out for philanthropy—in particular for what I have called catalytic philanthropy.
 
I have been sharing my idea of catalytic philanthropy for a while now. It works a lot like the private markets: You invest for big returns. But there’s a big difference. In philanthropy, the investor doesn’t need to get any of the benefit. We take a double-pronged approach: (1) Narrow the gap so that advances for the rich world reach the poor world faster, and (2) turn more of the world’s IQ toward devising solutions to problems that only people in the poor world face. Of course, this comes with its own challenges. You’re working in a global economy worth tens of trillions of dollars, so any philanthropic effort is relatively small. If you want to have a big impact, you need a leverage point—a way to put in a dollar of funding or an hour of effort and benefit society by a hundred or a thousand times as much.
 
One way you can find that leverage point is to look for a problem that markets and governments aren’t paying much attention to. That’s what Melinda and I did when we saw how little notice global health got in the mid-1990s. Children were dying of measles for lack of a vaccine that cost less than 25 cents, which meant there was a big opportunity to save a lot of lives relatively cheaply. The same was true of malaria.
 
When we made our first big grant for malaria research, it nearly doubled the amount of money spent on the disease worldwide—not because our grant was so big, but because malaria research was so underfunded.
 
But you don’t necessarily need to find a problem that’s been missed. You can also discover a strategy that has been overlooked. Take our foundation’s work in education. Government spends huge sums on schools. The state of California alone budgets roughly $68 billion annually for K-12, more than 100 times what our foundation spends in the entire United States. How could we have an impact on an area where the government spends so much?
 
We looked for a new approach. To me one of the great tragedies of our education system is that teachers get so little help identifying and learning from those who are most effective. As we talked with instructors about what they needed, it became clear that a smart application of technology could make a big difference. Teachers should be able to watch videos of the best educators in action. And if they want, they should be able to record themselves in the classroom and then review the video with a coach. This was an approach that others had missed. So now we’re working with teachers and several school districts around the country to set up systems that give teachers the feedback and support they deserve.
 
The goal in much of what we do is to provide seed funding for various ideas. Some will fail. We fill a function that government cannot—making a lot of risky bets with the expectation that at least a few of them will succeed. At that point, governments and other backers can help scale up the successful ones, a much more comfortable role for them.
 
We work to draw in not just governments but also businesses, because that’s where most innovation comes from. I’ve heard some people describe the economy of the future as “post-corporatist and post-capitalist”—one in which large corporations crumble and all innovation happens from the bottom up. What nonsense. People who say things like that never have a convincing explanation for who will make drugs or low-cost carbon-free energy. Catalytic philanthropy doesn’t replace businesses. It helps more of their innovations benefit the poor.
 
Look at what happened to agriculture in the 20th century. For decades, scientists worked to develop hardier crops. But those advances mostly benefited the rich world, leaving the poor behind. Then in the middle of the century, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations stepped in. They funded Norman Borlaug’s research on new strains of high-yielding wheat, which sparked the Green Revolution. (As Borlaug said, fertilizer was the fuel that powered the forward thrust of the Green Revolution, but these new crops were the catalysts that sparked it.) No private company had any interest in funding Borlaug. There was no profit in it. But today all the people who have escaped poverty represent a huge market opportunity—and now companies are flocking to serve them.
 
Or take a more recent example: the advent of Big Data. It’s indisputable that the availability of massive amounts of information will revolutionize US health care, manufac­turing, retail, and more. But it can also benefit the poorest 2 billion. Right now researchers are using satellite images to study soil health and help poor farmers plan their harvests more efficiently. We need a lot more of this kind of innovation. Otherwise, Big Data will be a big wasted opportunity to reduce inequity.
 
People often ask me, “What can I do? How can I help?”
 
Rich-world governments need to maintain or even increase foreign aid, which has saved millions of lives and helped many more people lift themselves out of poverty. It helps when policymakers hear from voters, especially in tough economic times, when they’re looking for ways to cut budgets. I hope people let their representatives know that aid works and that they care about saving lives. Bono’s group ONE.org is a great channel for getting your voice heard.
 
Companies—especially those in the technology sector—can dedicate a percentage of their top innovators’ time to issues that could help people who’ve been left out of the global economy or deprived of opportunity here in the US. If you write great code or are an expert in genomics or know how to develop new seeds, I’d encourage you to learn more about the problems of the poorest and see how you can help.
 
At heart I’m an optimist. Technology is helping us overcome our biggest challenges. Just as important, it’s also bringing the world closer together. Today we can sit at our desks and see people thousands of miles away in real time. I think this helps explain the growing interest young people today have in global health and poverty. It’s getting harder and harder for those of us in the rich world to ignore poverty and suffering, even if it’s happening half a planet away.
 
Technology is unlocking the innate compassion we have for our fellow human beings. In the end, that combination—the advances of science together with our emerging global conscience—may be the most powerful tool we have for improving the world.
 
There’s no single lightbulb moment when I changed my mind about that, but I tend to trace it back to a trip Melinda and I took to Africa in 1993. We went on a safari to see wild animals but ended up getting our first sustained look at extreme poverty. I remember peering out a car window at a long line of women walking down the road with big jerricans of water on their heads. How far away do these women live? we wondered. Who’s watching their children while they’re away?
 
That was the beginning of our education in the problems of the world’s poorest people. In 1996 my father sent us a New York Times article about the million children who were dying every year from rotavirus, a disease that doesn’t kill kids in rich countries. A friend gave me a copy of a World Development Report from the World Bank that spelled out in detail the problems with childhood diseases.
 
Melinda and I were shocked that more wasn’t being done. Although rich-world governments were quietly giving aid, few foundations were doing much. Corporations weren’t working on vaccines or drugs for diseases that affected primarily the poor. Newspapers didn’t write a lot about these children’s deaths.
 
This realization led me to rethink some of my assumptions about how the world improves. I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest. This system is responsible for many of the great advances that have improved the lives of billions—from airplanes to air-conditioning to computers.
 
But capitalism alone can’t address the needs of the very poor. This means market-driven innovation can actually widen the gap between rich and poor. I saw firsthand just how wide that gap was when I visited a slum in Durban, South Africa, in 2009. Seeing the open-pit latrine there was a humbling reminder of just how much I take modern plumbing for granted. Meanwhile, 2.5 billion people worldwide don’t have access to proper sanitation, a problem that contributes to the deaths of 1.5 million children a year.
 
Governments don’t do enough to drive innovation either. Although aid from the rich world saves a lot of lives, governments habitually underinvest in research and development, especially for the poor. For one thing, they’re averse to risk, given the eagerness of political opponents to exploit failures, so they have a hard time giving money to a bunch of innovators with the knowledge that many of them will fail.
By the late 1990s, I had dropped the idea of starting an institute for basic research. Instead I began seeking out other areas where business and government underinvest. Together Melinda and I found a few areas that cried out for philanthropy—in particular for what I have called catalytic philanthropy.
 
I have been sharing my idea of catalytic philanthropy for a while now. It works a lot like the private markets: You invest for big returns. But there’s a big difference. In philanthropy, the investor doesn’t need to get any of the benefit. We take a double-pronged approach: (1) Narrow the gap so that advances for the rich world reach the poor world faster, and (2) turn more of the world’s IQ toward devising solutions to problems that only people in the poor world face. Of course, this comes with its own challenges. You’re working in a global economy worth tens of trillions of dollars, so any philanthropic effort is relatively small. If you want to have a big impact, you need a leverage point—a way to put in a dollar of funding or an hour of effort and benefit society by a hundred or a thousand times as much.
 
One way you can find that leverage point is to look for a problem that markets and governments aren’t paying much attention to. That’s what Melinda and I did when we saw how little notice global health got in the mid-1990s. Children were dying of measles for lack of a vaccine that cost less than 25 cents, which meant there was a big opportunity to save a lot of lives relatively cheaply. The same was true of malaria. When we made our first big grant for malaria research, it nearly doubled the amount of money spent on the disease worldwide—not because our grant was so big, but because malaria research was so underfunded.
 
But you don’t necessarily need to find a problem that’s been missed. You can also discover a strategy that has been overlooked. Take our foundation’s work in education. Government spends huge sums on schools. The state of California alone budgets roughly $68 billion annually for K-12, more than 100 times what our foundation spends in the entire United States. How could we have an impact on an area where the government spends so much?
 
We looked for a new approach. To me one of the great tragedies of our education system is that teachers get so little help identifying and learning from those who are most effective. As we talked with instructors about what they needed, it became clear that a smart application of technology could make a big difference. Teachers should be able to watch videos of the best educators in action. And if they want, they should be able to record themselves in the classroom and then review the video with a coach. This was an approach that others had missed. So now we’re working with teachers and several school districts around the country to set up systems that give teachers the feedback and support they deserve.
 
The goal in much of what we do is to provide seed funding for various ideas. Some will fail. We fill a function that government cannot—making a lot of risky bets with the expectation that at least a few of them will succeed. At that point, governments and other backers can help scale up the successful ones, a much more comfortable role for them.
 
We work to draw in not just governments but also businesses, because that’s where most innovation comes from. I’ve heard some people describe the economy of the future as “post-corporatist and post-capitalist”—one in which large corporations crumble and all innovation happens from the bottom up. What nonsense. People who say things like that never have a convincing explanation for who will make drugs or low-cost carbon-free energy. Catalytic philanthropy doesn’t replace businesses. It helps more of their innovations benefit the poor.
 
Look at what happened to agriculture in the 20th century. For decades, scientists worked to develop hardier crops. But those advances mostly benefited the rich world, leaving the poor behind. Then in the middle of the century, the Rockefeller and Ford foundations stepped in. They funded Norman Borlaug’s research on new strains of high-yielding wheat, which sparked the Green Revolution. (As Borlaug said, fertilizer was the fuel that powered the forward thrust of the Green Revolution, but these new crops were the catalysts that sparked it.) No private company had any interest in funding Borlaug. There was no profit in it. But today all the people who have escaped poverty represent a huge market opportunity—and now companies are flocking to serve them.
 
Or take a more recent example: the advent of Big Data. It’s indisputable that the availability of massive amounts of information will revolutionize US health care, manufac­turing, retail, and more. But it can also benefit the poorest 2 billion. Right now researchers are using satellite images to study soil health and help poor farmers plan their harvests more efficiently. We need a lot more of this kind of innovation. Otherwise, Big Data will be a big wasted opportunity to reduce inequity.
 
People often ask me, “What can I do? How can I help?”
 
Rich-world governments need to maintain or even increase foreign aid, which has saved millions of lives and helped many more people lift themselves out of poverty. It helps when policymakers hear from voters, especially in tough economic times, when they’re looking for ways to cut budgets. I hope people let their representatives know that aid works and that they care about saving lives. Bono’s group ONE.org is a great channel for getting your voice heard.
 
Companies—especially those in the technology sector—can dedicate a percentage of their top innovators’ time to issues that could help people who’ve been left out of the global economy or deprived of opportunity here in the US. If you write great code or are an expert in genomics or know how to develop new seeds, I’d encourage you to learn more about the problems of the poorest and see how you can help.
 
At heart I’m an optimist. Technology is helping us overcome our biggest challenges. Just as important, it’s also bringing the world closer together. Today we can sit at our desks and see people thousands of miles away in real time. I think this helps explain the growing interest young people today have in global health and poverty. It’s getting harder and harder for those of us in the rich world to ignore poverty and suffering, even if it’s happening half a planet away.
 
Technology is unlocking the innate compassion we have for our fellow human beings. In the end, that combination—the advances of science together with our emerging global conscience—may be the most powerful tool we have for improving the world.
 

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Filed under Education, Innovation

[Video] The Ideas Exchange – 1

Série de conversas entre líderes empresariais com vídeos de curta duração… Vale a pena! Mto interessantes! Primeiro capítulo com Jorgen Vig Knudstorp da Lego (Denmark) e Bethlehem Alemu da SoleRebels (Ethiopia)

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November 10, 2013 · 11:33 am