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Archive for August, 2013


full-office-cubicles-449-297“When did not having purpose become the norm?”

I don’t remember who said it, me or the person I was talking to, but that questions summed up a lengthy conversation last night about education, design and other things.

It’s true that it’s now the normal to go through life without purpose, without the feeling that you are working towards something worthwhile, something important to you as an individual.

When did that happen? And more importantly, why? More importantly again, how do we start to reverse it?

Early this week in a Medium post, Nick Crocker said “If you said to me, go and design a Diabetes store, I would just take you to the supermarket.”

I wonder if you someone asked you, “Can you design me an environment that reduces the chance of someone discovering purpose in their work and life”, whether you would just take them to a standard university or office suite.

Everyone is passionate about something, everyone is capable of finding purpose in their work, but to achieve that we might need to start rethinking how, where and why we learn and work.

Deliberately designing models and systems that encourage the discovery of purpose in life and work and in everything, should surely be one of societies highest priorities.




Education Ideas

What would an education system look like where students come to learn and leave when both the student and education provider agree they have learned what they came to learn? What would the business model be? 

More and more I find myself in long conversations about education, how important it is, how fucked up the current model appears to be etc.

One attribute of current education models that has been getting my attention lately is the relationship between time, money and learning.

Currently we pay an education provider to give us the relevant knowledge over a defined period of time e.g. 3 years to obtain some sort of qualification, degree, diploma etc.

This model works well for the institution because time is easy to plan and measure, but I wonder if it actually benefits the student (customer).

If it only takes me 6 months to learn all the information required to obtain what would normally be a 3 year degree, why do I need to wait 3 years? Likewise, what if it takes me longer to learn than other people? What if I need 4 years and 5 months to understand all the content properly?

Should the role of an education provider be to create an environment where a student can be curious and learn at their own pace and then step in to push them out of the nest when they observe they are ready?

• How does an education provider scale ‘knowing when to push someone out of the nest’? It’s a high touch problem.

• If not in ‘time’, how do yo charge a student for their education?


Peter Thiel (PayPal co-foudner) said in this interview (44:30) that the education providers are really insurance salesman and that most people view consciously or not, obtaining a qualification like buying insurance policy, ensuring they can get a job and avoid “falling through the cracks in our society” as Theil puts it. Few actually study because they are interested in learning.

If that is true, and I believe it is, we have a pretty big problem on our hands.