Looking back, I wonder what my grandparents would have said on the day that I was born if they were told about the world in which that tiny baby would, herself, be a grandmother. Half a century of change has made the world almost unrecognisable in so many ways. Same planet, fewer forests, more pollution, more people, more cars, traffic and factories. More problems. Different problems.
The goods and services that we took for granted a year ago were science fiction fifty years ago. Now, at the end of this dreadful year, the year of the virus, the world has been turned on its head completely.
I remember reading Alvin Tofflar’s The Third Wave in the early 80’s and what he described then is our reality now. At the time I thought the man was mad; smoking socks. Work from home? Nah! How would people manage their time? And yet, for the better part of 30 years my office space has been at home. Look at us now – the world has realised without a doubt that working from home on a large scale is a viable option – and look what that will do to the inner cities and property market in the next ten years. Alvin Tofflar had a spyglass that we need now to look ahead again.
Try fast-forwarding in your imagination to just twenty years from now. How old will you be? Your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews? Where will you live? How will you live? How will you spend your time? What will be important to you? How will you shop? Where? What will be your most pressing issues? Can you fathom what will be different?
The short answer is that we don’t know. We can guess. We can predict. And we can focus on the things that we do know for sure.
School, for start, needs an upgrade. You know that saying, “school days are the best days of your life”? I remember people saying it to my fellow scholars all the time. People say that anymore.
If we want young people to grow up able to, and willing to, find solutions to problems, we need to create an environment that nurtures their curiosity and stimulated their imaginations. We need people who are confident and practiced at asking, “I wonder what will happen if I…” and “How might we…“. We need to eradicate the notion of perfection. We need people who are unafraid to “fail”.
Perfection does not exist. It is a fallacy. Striving for perfection prevents us from learning. If we learn to learn from experience and not think in terms of a once-off attempt at being the one-and-only – like having one chance to write an essay and never getting to do a re-write – then where will that leave people in the future?
Learning to iterate is the key. That’s how entrepreneurs will improve their products and services. That’s how we will make the world a better place. That’s how we will make school fun – and achieve our compelling goal at E3.
If my grandparents had looked at the little baby in their arms and said, “I just want you to be happy,” their wish is fulfilled. I am in the right place at the right time. I am in my happy place, in this team of willing-to-learn, passionate people right now.
Susie Spies, Lead Coach
Susie is a writer, artist, mother, grandmother, permaculture designer and crafter. She has facilitated countless courses, developed teaching resources, and is always looking for ways to find solutions.