Richard Florida made a statement about educational institutions in his talk on Friday at the “Creative Leadership Conference”. He said “Education Institutions should be about knowledge discovery and learning”. Allied to that statement he quoted Peter Drucker and mentioned “Research Universities as we know them will one day die”. The specific phrase he used for educational institutions was “they will be disintermediated”. WOW !!!
Dr. Florida said it in a conference room full of “educationists” and it would have been really cool to see how many of his audience agreed with his thesis. For me, as with most other things he said, I took this back to my TBridge drawing board to study how this would relate to the program. When I conceptualized TalentBridge, I had a few modelling requirements in mind, primarily:
- the program will “facilitate” experience, i.e. while, my role as the program prime would be to create “learning and development” opportunities for the participants, my role in the program would primarily be of a facilitator and not an ensurer.
- the program had to create a new social construct wherein everyone took responsibility of their own experience, i.e. again my role in the program would be to “advise and empower” but the initiative would have to come from each participants individually
- the program would have to be structured in such a way that every single participant will be encouraged to come forward with their ideas, whether they relate to their own development, or they are business ideas or ideas with a community imperative
- the program would have to be lean and able to adapt itself as per the needs of its primary audience – students and companies, meaning it is well understood that the program primarily exists to provide Ottawa’s talent with a unique empowering experience in the company of industry partners who share the programs dual vision of “talent engagement” and “talent empowerment”
- finally, the program will always be about “people” – the participants, the industry partners, the strategic stakeholders, the mentors, the community at large, and it would be my resolve to always make sure that the program does not ever lose that focus.
Why a revisit at this time, one would ask. Because, I was amused by Dr. Florida’s use of the expression “they will be disintermediated” and I wanted to take this moment to make sure that we are – more than a year into TalentBridge – still doing things as we started out to do. Ottawa needs a constant stream of thought leaders like Dr. Florida coming to come through and leave us with thought provoking gems. Thanks a lot Dr. Florida !!!