Posted by: Nancy | September 6, 2010


Still musing on the discussions from TEDxKC a few weeks ago — here’s some of the nuggets that stuck to me, like falling into quicksand.

A thread running through the topic is the importance of play and creativity in solving the problems of the world. This isn’t hyperbole — the discussion really looked at the largest issues in the world.

From Jane McGonigal: the idea that in playing games, we are using our best version of ourselves; the mindpower that can be harnessed in playing games to make the world a better place.

Her goal: to make it as easy to save the world in real life, as it is in online games. And she’s not joking. If we could increase our game playing time from its current 3 billion hours a week to 21 billion hours a week, the world would be different place.

I look at gaming in a new light.

From Michael Wesch, social anthropologist from K-State: Good questions and illustrations of the world on fire — and brilliant insights on the changes technology offers. We can’t live the next 100 years like the last.

Media uses us as much as we use it; and there is no opting out. Media mediates relationships, when media changes, relationships change — including the structure of our culture.

Technology in our hands creates new potential. Question is how will we use it? How will it change us? Wesch articulates the razor’s edge between a hopeful future and a more ominous one with new openness and freedom, transparency, mass participation vs. the potential for more survelliance and control, deception, mass distraction.

His goal is to move his students from being knowlegeable to knowledge-able. He explains we need (and need to teach) skills to find, sort, analyze, organize and create knowledge.

He told the story of when the world was on fire. All the animals running to escape, but it was impossible — the fires were raging and soon they were trapped.

One little bird had an idea. The little bird flew to the stream and picked up a drop of water in its beak, flew back to the fire and dropped the water. And again, and again, and again.

What are you doing little bird? The best I can.

The heroics inspired the rest of the creatures (or variously, the gods) who joined in to save the day and put out the fire, by working together in the example of the littlest bird.

From Francis Cholle:  We need a higher level of creativity to solve sustainability questions. Creativity will be the the No. 1 leadership competency in the future.We need to play more to become more creative — play eludes our analytical minds. Our analytical minds can be a handicap to creativity.

The most important skills to master:

  • Think holistically; there’s more to consider than the P&L
  • Think paradoxically
  • Listen for the unusual. Or, stop thinking and start feeling.
  • Lead by influence, not by control

Plenty to ponder.  Thanks, TEDxKC.

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