Posted by: crudbasher | September 2, 2011

Post #500: Age of Creativity

(cc) tanakawho

Welcome to the 500th blog post on Education Stormfront! I’ll try to make it a good one. 🙂

I seem to come up with a lot of realizations in the shower. I mean, I don’t try to do it, they just seem to sneak up on me. The way I work out a problem is I think about it for a while, then I drop it. Eventually the solution just pops in there. I look at it as similar to when you microwave your lunch, the box says to let it sit for 1-2 minutes extra. I think that’s how my brain works. 😉

As I was pondering what to write for this momentous 500th blog post, I realized something about an idea I have been pondering for a while, which is about the nature of the change the Internet is bringing. I call this change the Stormfront.

When the Internet begins to change an industry, say the newspaper business, it does two actual things. First, it breaks down current systems. Second, it enables more customized, efficient systems to replace them. But why? Why is the second system so much better than the first? I think I now get it.

Industrial Revolution

The most recent period of history has been known as the Industrial Revolution. It lasted about 120 years or so and it completely transformed our society. The whole human endeavour was reorganized into a production system that has allowed the fastest rise in the standard of living by far in history. The problem is, we have reached a plateau. The last 10 years have seen a leveling off of average household income in the US. Around the world it is still rising especially in China and India but in the traditional western democracies it has paused. Why?

I think the reason is that there isn’t much disruptive innovation anymore in actual physical things. Boeing just announced an improved version of it’s popular 737 jetliner. It will be 10-15% more efficient, and be nicer inside but it’s not a revolutionary product, it’s evolutionary. Cars are the same way. We pretty much know how to make cars now. Nobody is really deviating much from the formula. What is changing is the amount of labor required to create things. It’s dropping fast because of technology.

In order for society to progress to the next level we need the next great age to really get underway. So here’s my revelation. The Industrial Revolution caused an organization of the world into a configuration best suited for mass production of goods. People and resources moved to cities because that’s where the factories were. That is what is changing.

Physical vs Virtual

(cc) pietroisso

To put it another way, in the same way the Industrial Revolution was a reorganization of the physical world, the Internet is bringing about a reorganization of the world of ideas.  We are starting to disaggregate the structures and systems that were created for the Industrial Revolution. You can see this by looking at the big cities. Many are dying. The dead factories are like the pieces of broken egg shell left behind after the bird hatches. They did their job but because of transportation efficiencies you can now distribute that factory around the world.

When you are no longer working in the physical world, distance doesn’t matter anymore. Ideas don’t limit themselves to lines on a map (or walls of a classroom). We are starting to disassemble the systems of the physical world and build new ones more suited to the exchange of ideas. I call this new age the Age of Creativity. It’s not an original title of course, but I think it’s the one that best sums up how to succeed.

Age of Creativity

So what are the rules of this new age? Well, we aren’t producing cars here. We are producing ideas. Notice I didn’t say knowledge? Knowledge actually is falling rapidly in actual value since it is becoming abundant. What is still scarce is taking that knowledge and producing something with added value. Being able to take facts and create something new is the hot career path of this next century.

Think Global Not Local

What this means for Education is profound. Our schools are currently organized on physical principles. You go to the closest teacher with other students from your area. Can anyone make the case that the teacher you get assigned to is the exact best teacher for you in the whole world? I believe that there aren’t really bad teachers, just bad teachers for you. I think we will see a system that matches the perfect teacher with the exact right students online. This is the biggest advantage online schooling has over physical school. If the best teacher for you is one in a million, you can only find them if you have a very large pool to choose from. A college professor might be a genius in the field he teaches in, but if you aren’t going to learn anything from his teaching style, are you wasting your time?

So, to sum up, the old age we just left was based on the physical so was local in nature. The new one is based on ideas and therefore is global in nature. I feel privileged to participate in the most profound change in human society in over a 100 years. Therefore I will continue to contribute my ideas to the global pool and hope to make a difference.

Thanks to everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis! I’m looking forward to the next 500 posts! 🙂

Sunrise : Credit-Nasa




  1. “I believe that there aren’t really bad teachers, just bad teachers for you.”

    I had some bad teachers. There are bad teachers. Not just for me.
    I could probably link to there “credentials” on the web if you like…

    • I know what you mean SomeGuy… Even so… Have you heard of a program called Scared Straight? It’s where hardened criminals go to juvenile hall and try to teach the kids to change their ways. It’s been fairly effective so could you say that even criminals can be good teachers to the right students?

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Congrats on your 500th post!
    I can’t but think that this was inspired by one of Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talks “Bring on the Learning Revolution”, which I plan on posting about in the near future. Maybe you’re a fan of his too? 🙂

    • Hi Mary,

      I was very fortunate to see Sir Ken Robinson speak when he came to our school in 2006. I think that planted a seed that has helped open up my thinking to other possibilities about learning. I would like to read your post when it’s done. Thanks for commenting and thanks for the kind words!!

  3. […] Post #500: The Age Of Creativity […]

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