ITS Weekly - 5 May 2017

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Headline of the Week:  Thank You for Being Late : An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations

Tom Friedman’s most recent book is compelling. I’ve always enjoyed his books, especially the first two thirds or so. He’s a great researcher with amazing access. He is a fantastic story teller. He links and bridges and abstracts and connects lots of ideas and ultimately shares mental models to make meaning and sense of complex sets of forces. The last third of his books frequently turns to recommendation ideas which too often for me assign (abdicate?) responsibility to governments and government programs. Ed Kaschins taught me Milton Friedman in Economics class a couple years after Milton Friedman won the Nobel Peace Prize. I tend to start from the Milton Friedman end of the government intervention spectrum and move towards the Tom Friedman end as I think about problems and solutions.

Thomas Friedman’s main thesis is this:  “ understand the twenty-first century, you need to understand that the planet’s three largest forces—Moore’s law (technology), the Market (globalization), and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss)—are accelerating all at once. Then, he juxtaposes two curves. The first is an exponentially growing curve that captures the rate of change driven by technology. The second is a more linear curve that models human’s ability to adapt and change in response to technology. Time runs across the x-axis. The problem he takes on is that human ability to adapt to change has been outstripped by technology change. This leads to fear and anxiousness and he suggests it helps explain the recent Presidential election. He also suggests that one response is for people to be open, intentional and better at adapting. He suggests we need to be lifelong learners. If we can do that he says we can tip the adaptability curve up and move it above the technological change curve.

I am so grateful that lifelong learn ability is what we endeavor our students at Luther College to develop within themselves. Perhaps there is a strategic theme or at least an idea to better express the value of a Luther education that relates to the importance of adaptability to thriving into the future impacted by the planet’s three largest forces.

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Suggested Reading/Viewing/Listening:

Thank you for being late : an optimist's guide to thriving in the age of accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman

ITS Blog Highlights from the Week

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Notes from ITS Council

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ITS Weekly is published most Fridays by Paul Mattson, Executive Director of Information Technology Services at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

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