Schools of the Future

Schools Today

The modern school as we know it was designed to provide workers for the expanding paradigm of the Industrial Revolution. That is, the first Industrial Revolution. We are now up to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0. So how well are we doing 3 Industrial Revolutions later?

 

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0

 

First of all, lets look at the positives. Basic education has been an overwhelming success. A foundation level of literacy, numeracy and essential mathematics skills has served us really well for several generations. And it will continue to though the need for it is reducing because so much of our modern world does a lot of this for us. This is of course the developed world. We still have a third of the planet living in abject poverty and that is a challenge in itself. But the baseline education we all get at primary school works for the vast majority of people. I know there are exceptions who have both physical and intellectual challenges but it works on the whole.

 

So where is the issue?

 

Applied Learning

The real issue is when we start to get past basic education, the foundation we all benefit from, and start to move into Applied Learning or Interest Based Learning. Someone who is going to be a brilliant dancer might not benefit so much for advanced mathematics training. So we already allow for this in course selection. By VCE and the like there is a lot of selection going on. The same at University.

 

The issue comes back to what we are preparing students for. Funding policy drives a lot of decisions. You can’t keep a school open if the subjects you teach or how you teach them are not aligned with the funding model. You may not even get a sick bed or enough toilets (yes I know of one example of this)! And at present. we don’t seem to have governments with a strong view to to doing anything in schools except exclude faith and culture based learning and enforce the idea that alternative sexual orientations are preferred. At least this is how it looks to the community. And all this means we are not equipping students for the Jobs of the Future or the Industries of Tomorrow (or even today in many cases).

 

I present to Secondary Schools and Universities including MBA programs and recently to a Primary School. Schools matter. So it is time to start fixing a broken system. And it isn’t teachers and principals I am talking about here, it is funding policy.

 

Universities are funded based on peer reviewed papers and student numbers by class type. There is no requirement for either to be industry relevant. This has been the case for a while and we now find ourselves where this funding policy leads:

 

  • Australia has the lowest rate of publicly funded research commercialisation in the world
  • Australia has the lowest rate of academia to Industry engagement in the world

Put differently, the currently funding put into public research and academia structures is failing completely. The model is broken. And I’ve heard this repeatedly for the past half a decade so it isn’t just me.

 

Some other indicators that this is the case.

 

According to figures published by CEDA, The Committee for Economic Development of Australia40% of currents jobs will disappear is a decade.

 

Digital Readiness

Yet Digital Literacy in Australia continues to decline as the rest of the world gets ready for the next round of jobs and value creation while we fall behind. Everyone agrees that this is the wave of the future. But no action. The last policy discussion was in 2008!

 

Some references:

 

 

The latter has this graph of our current ranking in Digital Competitiveness (we used to be known as the country of early adopters).

 

Australian Digital Competitiveness

Australian Digital Competitiveness

 

I hope you notice that the most competitive economies in the world are also the most digital ready! Check out the Global Competitiveness Report summarised on Wikipedia to see the relativities. This is also why the current destruction of the capability of the NBN, or National Broadband Network, looks like economic sabotage when you consider how it is going to limit jobs growth potential and further stifle Digital Readiness.

 

It isn’t like this problem is new or not understood. It seems the current policy split is between:

 

  • if it costs money you can’t have it because we can’t afford it
  • protecting the borders is more important than ensuring there is something worth protecting inside them
  • lets redesign our social fabric because we can

 

Yes I know I have shown them in extreme profile, but this is where these ideas ultimately end up. And none of them are in the interest of Australia’s long term future. I don’t think being Digital Ready for the Future is restricted to a single gender, ethnic group or demographic nor mandated or precluded by your faith background or sexual orientation or any of a large number of other factors.

 

Tomorrows jobs will be created by the workers, not companies“. Ray Keefe 2016.

 

You will see a similar quote below for primary schools. But this is the new paradigm. It is already here. This isn’t tomorrow. This is now. What is a Lean Digital Startup? It is creating your own job!

 

So this has been a long post already but there is one more element I want to share. And this is an initiative which I am hoping will be able to make a difference.

 

Tech Schools

No this is not a nostalgic return to the past, just using the same name for a very new approach.

 

I am pleased to announce that the Casey Tech School Strategic Charter was signed last week. I am one of 2 Industry Representatives involved in the process. Hopefully this will grow significantly once the foundations have been firmly established. And this same process is happening in other regions of Victoria.

 

So if they are reusing the name, what are they now using it for?

 

The Casey Tech School will use funding from the Victorian State Government to establish an advanced learning centre to augment existing schools. This will include Digital Ready learning opportunities and will support student interest learning and not just a fixed curriculum. The details of how to get this high leverage education facility interfaced with existing school activities is still to be worked out. But the core idea is that if there isn’t enough money for every school to do this independently, then spend one lot of money and let every school take advantage of it.

 

Here are a couple of photos of the event.

 

Casey Tech School Charter Signed

Casey Tech School Charter Signed

 

Successful Endeavours Support the Casey Tech School

Successful Endeavours Support the Casey Tech School

 

And this isn’t the only interesting school initiative going on right now.

Primary Schools Step Up

As an example of where primary school teaching is going, I was recently involved in a Mini-Mart run by Dandenong Primary School. The Grade 5 students did a survey of the grade 3 and 4 students to determine goods they could design, build and sell to them. There were rules covering design elements, what constituted a sufficient offering and even things like Warranty. Then they made the goods, set up stalls, and in a series of waves tried selling to the same grade 3 and 4 students they had surveyed.

 

Brilliant.

 

And in between waves, they got advice on OH&S, selling and influencing techniques  from a teacher who could have been presenting to an MBA program. I had to wait another 40 years after my Primary School experience before I got training in business skills as good as this.  Needless to say, I was very impressed and it made me wonder why we aren’t doing this across the board.

 

Mini-market moguls

Dandenong Primary School’s Grade 5 and 6 students have explored the process of creating, producing and marketing their own products.
The students hosted a mini-market as part of their school studies, surveying students from Grade 3 and 4 to see what products would sell and then competing to see who could sell the most.

 

“These children are going to have to invent their own jobs…”

 

The result was an impressive array of fun and appealing items from bookmarks and fridge magnets to squishy balls and multi coloured slime.

 

The event was supported by four local employers who judged each team on their product design and quality, stall design and customer service.

 

Ray Keefe from Successful Endeavours was joined by Anthony Di Battista from Hilton Manufacturing, Marcus Barber from Looking Up Feeling Good and Chelsie Dickson from Cirque Design.

 

“These children are going to have to invent their own jobs so it’s great they’re thinking about this very important challenge now,” Mr Keefe said.

 

Dandenong Primary School looks set to produce some impressive entrepreneurs of the future if the success of this project is anything to go by.

 

Community News – The City – November 2016

 

Jobs of the Future

Jobs of the Future

And if you want a really interesting view of what this could be like 10 years from now, I recommend readings Rainbow’s End by Vernor Vinge. Enjoy. Its not just the education component, its the whole idea that jobs just wont exist any more!

 

Rainbows End - Vernor Vinge

Rainbows End – Vernor Vinge

 

Rainbow End : Fair use

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

CEDA – Meeting the Innovation Challenge

CEDA and Australia’s Innovation Challenge

CEDA, or the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, run regular industry sessions to discuss topics of national economic importance. The latest was a lunchtime session covering the benefits of Innovation and also some of the challenges we need to overcome to take advantage of Innovation in Australia.

 

Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Committee for Economic Development of Australia

 

Here are videos of the panel discussion which raise a lot of excellent points. They are split into 2 due to their length.

 

 

 

Below I cover my take on some of the areas covered both before and during the panel discussion.

 

Innovation in Job Hunting

Job hunting, or seeking, is a 2 way problem. Potential employees want a good job and potential employers want good employees. Should be simple, right?

 

Doug Blue of SEEK shared some changes in the jobs market. SEEK used to just place job advertisements on a Web site. Now they have moved to employment fulfillment with up to 70% of job placements being through their services. This is typical of the shift in value creation that is happening all over the world.
A recent survey in Australia shows that 76% of people do not like their current job.

 

Innovation in Governance

Glenys Beauchamp PSM, of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, shared statistics and perspectives on the local economy. This is a summary of what was a very comprehensive and competent presentation.

 

Glenys Beauchamp

Glenys Beauchamp

 

The OECD statistics show that up to 50% of new jobs are due to Innovation. So this is an important topic for national growth. And to add more weight to the argument, 60% of productivity gains are due to Innovation.

 

Australia’s GDP growth has remained flat since 2011 and if this continues then our standard of living will start to fall.

 

Innovative businesses grow faster, have a more diverse range of market offerings, and create more jobs in them and around them than businesses which are not Innovation focused.

 

Drivers for Innovation:

 

  • High proportion of tertiary qualified young adults
  • High standard of research capability

 

And a few challenges:

 

  • Low rates of disruptive Innovation
  • Reducing investment for Innovation
  • Low levels of venture and early stage investment
  • Lowest level of Collaboration with universities and publicly funded research organisations in the OECD
  • Low Collaboration in general

 

The Australian Government is looking at all options to improve this including funding schemes not based on grants, big science infrastructure, tax incentives, entrepreneurs programs and simplifying engagement between business and publicly funded organisations.

 

Innovation Panel

Lunch was followed by a panel session. The panel was:

 

  • Glenys Beauchamp PSM – Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
  • Geoff Culbert – GE Australia, NZ, Papua New Guinea
  • Andrew Smith – Shell Australia
  • Andy Vessey – AGL

 

This is a summary of the discussion.

 

Innovation can’t just be about improving core business output, it also has to have spread and it has to be able to cross organisational and industry boundaries.

 

One big challenge is moving to a net zero emissions while increasing energy availability. So clean energy generation is a key and Australia is well placed to be exploring that.

 

Consumers of tomorrow will be making informed choices so those businesses that don’t educate and inform their customers will lose them to businesses that do. Many traditional businesses and industries are ripe for digital disruption.

 

GE see software as key to their digital industrial product range. IoT, or the Internet of Things,  is key to the adding of more value.

 

Shell are looking sideways at every industry they can to identify technologies they can harness in their industry. And they find Australia has many excellent researchers and businesses that can be tapped for solutions to problems that they don’t yet have a satisfactory answer for.

 

There is a role for Government to get the macro economic conditions right to encourage businesses to act through appropriate incentives. But Government also needs to change its own behaviour to be able to be a part of the future rather than living in a bureaucratic past.

 

Australia was outraged that we came 10th in the medals tally at the Olympic Games yet there is no outrage about our abysmally low Collaboration and business ratings! How do we get the bigger conversation going at the citizen level?

 

It is about investment level and investment focus. We value sporting success so we invest. To do better we have to either invest more or invest smarter. It is the same with Innovation and Collaboration. The real issue is where will the funding come from, and exactly how will it be applied. No-one seems to be addressing the lack of funding in a serious way.

 

Intellectual Property is no longer the main game, nor is data. It is the insights you get from data that is more important. GE have made their IoT operating system, Predix, open source because it is the leverage you get from it that is valuable, not just owning it. And it could also allow others to design devices that can readily fit into the GE ecosystem.

 

Innovation Summary

For me, the key points that keep coming up are:

 

  • Low Collaboration is holding us back. And this is a cultural issue. So no amount of money can fix that. We have to address the culture itself.
  • Everyone agrees a lot more money is needed and should be invested. No-one agrees to offer it.
  • Business models are still the biggest area for Innovation and we should keep pushing the boundaries on business models

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development, focusing on products that are intended to be Made In Australia. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd.

CEDA Australian Manufacturing Symposium 2016

CEDA Manufacturing Symposium 2016

The Casey Cardinia Region was a major sponsor of this particular symposium, also know as the Manufacturing and Future Industries Forum,  and so this meeting included some region specific statistics. So here they are:

 

  • Casey Cardinia Region is headed for 650,000 people over the next 20 years
  • Manufacturing accounts for more than 50% of GDP in Melbourne’s south East
  • 100 families a week move into the Casey Cardinia Region
  • 135 babies a week a born – hence Monash health referring to it as nappy valley 🙂
  • 70% of resident workers have to travel outside the region for work

 

Casey Cardinia Region

Casey Cardinia Region

Australian Manufacturing History

 

Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Committee for Economic Development of Australia

Manufacturing GDP in Australia has halved since then 1980s. This is offset by the rise in finance, mining and health. Looking at recent history it grew slightly from 2000 to 2008 then slowly dropped back to the same level today and for the past 10 months has grown each month.

 

Manufacturing’s declining percentage of GDP is due to holding its output level while GDP grows.

 

Employment has been the biggest reduction at 18% decline or 200,000 jobs; mostly in Victoria and South Australia.

 

Food and beverage is the biggest category followed by machinery and equipment which includes automotive. Construction and building materials has held its own in the light of recent Senate enquiries into sub-standard and non-conforming product being imported. This has led to an advantage in quality confidence for local products showing it isn’t just about price. This has also been assisted by the rise in residential construction on the eastern and South eastern sea board.

 

Major issues and roadblocks

The listed issues for Australian manufacturers are:

 

  • Access to finance
  • Australia is a difficult place to do business
  • Tax and regulation
  • Australia ranks 21st for global manufacturing competitiveness
  • Similar to other business rankings for Australia

 

Julie Toth

Julie Toth AIG

Industry Policy

The Victorian Government has identified 5 sectors for policy support:

 

  • Food and agribusiness
  • Mining
  • Oil, Gas and Energy
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Medical and diagnostic devices

 

Discussion on Australia’s Future industries and employment options

The panel consisted of:

 

  • Dr Cathy Foley, CSIRO, Clunies Ross award recipient 2015 (Australia’s Nobel prize)
  • Michael Green, Victorian DEDJTR
  • Julie Tooth, chief economist AIG
  • Jennifer Conley, moderator

 

Dr Cathy Foley

Dr Cathy Foley – CSIRO

Michael Green made the point that Advanced Manufacturing meant the value add must go beyond the quality and cost story to the customer. So not getting the attention of the chief purchasing office, but instead of the new product or strategic technology alliance executive.

 

Dr Cathy Foley explained that we underestimate the value of thinking globally. CSIRO has a national remit but recognises it needs to help businesses achieve international competitiveness. And now they can help sole traders get to a breakthrough technology and not just focus on big players. In one project Cathy used their superconducting technology to create a new magnetic field detector to improve exploration efficiency.

 

CSIRO

CSIRO

Julie Tooth was asked if we had squandered our energy advantage? She explained that we used to have a cost advantage but that has now gone. Renewable investment has also been unreliable due to frequent changes in policy at both federal and state levels. Other policy and trade agreement activity has also muddied rather than clarified future direction.

 

AIG

AIG – Australian Industry Group

Dr Cathy Foley explained that the exit of girls from STEM needs to be seriously addressed. And where there is take-up, what we aren’t seeing is progressing into leadership and management roles. With our growing Asian background and proximity to Asia not being taken advantage of. We need to be wary of creating a social divide between higher socio-economic areas where you get access to coding and technology skills and those living in lower income areas or rural and remote communities do not.

 

Can we make high technology devices here?

Michael Green stated that this needs investment in the infrastructure.

 

Dr Cathy Foley noted that researchers stop short of delivering a full solution – traditionally this has been the case but it is increasingly becoming obvious that that path from fundamental research to applied research to full manufacturing capability including process technology improvement.

 

Michael Green explained that new manufactured products will have digital products and artefacts alongside it.

 

Improving collaboration?

It isn’t just a case of university to business collaboration. A business needs to collaborate with a broad range of other businesses including their own customers. So it isn’t a simple issue. A supply chain needs multiple entities and it isn’t just a case of dealing directly with the end customer but also supporting all the intermediates so the whole ecosystem end to end.

 

The CSIRO lean start-up program is focusing researchers on creating product product opportunities and engaging with potential customers and making sure they really need it.

 

And although I can’t yet give you details yet, we are involved in the development of one of the lean start-up products.

 

Grow Magazine

The most recent edition of Grow Magazine, an initiative between the Start News Group and the City of Casey, covered the event as well. You can read about it in Successful Endeavours – Grow Magazine 20160705.

 

GROW Magazine

GROW Magazine

You can also read the entire magazine online at Rising to the Global Challenge.

 

CEDA - Rising To The Global Challenge

CEDA – Rising To The Global Challenge

 

Successful Endeavours specialise in Electronics Design and Embedded Software Development. Ray Keefe has developed market leading electronics products in Australia for more than 30 years. This post is Copyright © 2016 Successful Endeavours Pty Ltd