Live Blog: Wanted – A New Generation of Problem Solvers

Live updates will be provided from today’s rotating sessions. Each new update will be from a completely different group of our guests discussing each room’s topics.

ROOM TOPIC: What are the ideal skills and intellectual capacities needed for a new generation of problem-solvers?

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4:05PM: We should give students practical experience in building a networked community. In the fall you start, and by May you’ve nurtured something, figured out how to use the available tools, struggled.
There’s something to be said for the process of making something that internalizes it, and helps you realize your own agency. We should look at collaborative communities of makers/doers as a leader or problem solver model.

Technology allows individuals to express themselves and become self-sufficient like they’ve never been able to do before. Should we let the thousand flowers bloom, allow more things to come from the bottom up? But putting emphasis on individuals leaves out a class of problems that often excludes the macro narrative. Can you mitigate climate change, or other pressing global issues, from the bottom up?

3:57PM: The problem solvers of the 21st century in government need to know enough computer science and stats to understand what is possible with these tools, and we need to teach scientist and engineers about government to understand what kind of questions to be asking.

Why is it the skills for the 21st century leaders? We don’t just need a smarter government, we need smarter citizens. The citizen should also take leadership within their different roles and responsibilities.

3:15PM: The core values for the 21st century are openness and honesty. We must create a context that encourages honesty about failure, and a nonjudgemental, open discussion about what was done/what wasn’t done, why the failure happened. Beyond the internal embodiment of these values, you also need to create the external architecture that upholds and encourages these values.

We should orchestrate fun— if you’re trying to sustain participation, it can’t be serious and political at all. Sometimes you need a meeting that’s also a party and sometimes you need a party that’s also a meeting. This is about cultural lifelong learning, and learning how we learn best.

But also, once you break the barrier of being afraid to try something new, once you master technology, you’re set for life. A leader of the 21st century is not affected by the fear of potential failure when faced with a new situation or challenge.

Young people should be treated as current leaders not future leaders. They’re often the early adopters of technology but they’re treated as though they should wait before they speak out and lead.

2:50PM: Often times unexpected success comes from people doing things with your tools that you would never expect.

Theories are not to be  acted upon on an assumption – it is important to test your hypothesis.

How can you do something differently with as little money as possible? Throwing money at the problem doesn’t solve it.

Some people don’t think that government is broken—a lot of people have bought into it and are happy the way it is. What about the 99%? How do you work within the institution alongside the current values?

2:32PM: How do you draw out a good idea? There must be a willingness to experiment; to frame questions in terms of active experimentation. By doing this you link curiosity and knowledge with the skills of a project manager.

2:24PM: What skills do we need in the 21st century to change the ethos and the norms of a system? A change agent must have a diverse skill set which often times don’t overtly seem to coincide—broad knowledge of subject matter, a knowledge of government and law, as well as an ever increasing understanding of technological skills.

Does this mean creating the space for students to work together in a professional environment, encouraging collaboration rather than simply applying individual skill sets?

Does a leader of the 21st century mean being a great coder, who knows everything they need to know about law and the subject, but taking all these elements in a direction that works within the social systems to truly produce meaningful change?

A technically literate person may “know what’s out there,” but this is very different than knowing “what could be out there.”

Is it realistic for individuals to know everything about a subject, the law and processes relating to that subject, as well as the technical ability? Or is it rather a systems-thinker who can assemble teams which can contribute this knowledge to the whole?

A leader is not a single operating entity—the metaskill is collaborating with members of teams who embody a wide spectrum of knowledge and skills.

In this role, there cannot be a disconnect between how a leader may want to solve problems and what the problems actually are on the ground. This requires being a participating observer—figuring out the systems/structure and then bringing this into the tech work.

How do you listen to create platforms for citizen centered design?

This is the tech paradigm—we’re so wonderful and disruptive and we’re going to come up with something completely from a position outside the box. Where is the middle ground for the tech revolutionary?

Either inside the system or outside the system—it’s not a technology system, it’s an anthropological system.

Change agents should not simply be observers, but observers of what could be changed. Understanding change means understanding cause and effect.

This is the “rich context” leaders must cultivate—understanding all the weavers, the pressure points, the drivers to understand government, and then teaching these tools and techniques to students; getting in, understanding what’s going on at a process level and a ocial level and then translating this to change and education quickly.

2:20PM: You have to understand how to understand people. Ethnography plays into the learning posture. You must have a reasonable understanding of operations. With senior leaders, you have an ideologue—good ideas, bad ideas, but when it comes turning things into action they don’t have a clue. You have to know how to get things done.

2:19PM: Projects that are constantly blooming and then ending. Knowing what you know and don’t know, how can you quickly aggregate knowledge and execute? How to find the people who have the skill sets you lack? This is a posture, a way of being, an approach, not so much a specific skill set. Curiousity is key. You have to be thirsty for knowing what you don’t know. Skepticism, as well, about your own beliefs. Skepticism of the intellect, and passion in personal will.

2:14PM: What skills do we need in the 21st century to change the ethos and the norms of a system? A change agent must have a diverse skill set which often times don’t overtly seem to coincide—broad knowledge of subject matter, a knowledge of government and law, as well as an ever increasing understanding of technological skills.

Does this mean creating the space for students to work together in a professional environment, encouraging collaboration rather than simply applying individual skill sets?

Does a leader of the 21st century mean being a great coder, who knows everything they need to know about law and the subject, but taking all these elements in a direction that works within the social systems to truly produce meaningful change?

A technically literate person may “know what’s out there,” but this is very different than knowing “what could be out there.”

Is it realistic for individuals to know everything about a subject, the law and processes relating to that subject, as well as the technical ability? Or is it rather a systems-thinker who can assemble teams which can contribute this knowledge to the whole?

A leader is not a single operating entity—the metaskill is collaborating with members of teams who embody a wide spectrum of knowledge and skills.

In this role, there cannot be a disconnect between how a leader may want to solve problems and what the problems actually are on the ground. This requires being a participating observer—figuring out the systems/structure and then bringing this into the tech work.

How do you listen to create platforms for citizen centered design?

This is the tech paradigm—we’re so wonderful and disruptive and we’re going to come up with something completely from a position outside the box. Where is the middle ground for the tech revolutionary?

Either inside the system or outside the system—it’s not a technology system, it’s an anthropological system.

Change agents should not simply be observers, but observers of what could be changed. Understanding change means understanding cause and effect.

This is the “rich context” leaders must cultivate—understanding all the weavers, the pressure points, the drivers to understand government, and then teaching these tools and techniques to students; getting in, understanding what’s going on at a process level and a social level and then translating this to change and education quickly.

1:30PM: What are the new skills we need for next generation’s leaders –what is the toolkit, and what is the skill-set?

THEY SHOULD BE SKILLED IN:

  • Using Reddit as a change platform
  • Computer security
  • Participatory policy
  • P2P skill-sharing and problem-solving
  • Matching skill-sets to practitioners
  • Peer and social learning
  • Foreign affairs
  • Using for social networks and social sharing
  • Resilience in the face of change
  • Sharing knowledge and working on both sides of that share –giving and receiving
  • Applying private sector practices to bettering governance
  • Using technology to change what we mean by civic engagement
  • Crowdsourcing lawmaking
  • Design-based thinking –and being better scientists
  • Building capacity for implementing ideas

 

What are the skills that future leaders have to implement these things we are excited about?

THEY SHOULD HAVE:

  • A penchant for synthesis, analysis, and creativity
  • The ability to manage relationships
  • A sensitivity to the degree to which you can change your constituency –knowing your boundaries
  • A knowledge of social science –a more diverse understanding of culture, society, and how they relate
  • Good team-building skills –empathy, humaneness, humbleness
  • The ability to communicate efficiently beyond your constituency or “silo”
  • The ability to locate talent and knowing what you don’t know
  • A view towards “middle-layer” innovation
  • A strategy for bottom-up vs top-down innovation
  • A fundamental respect for practice –what is done
  • An understanding of failure as part of practice
  • The ability to measure success once we’ve figured out what the right questions are

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Culture Hacking | Open Gov Underground - May 3, 2013

    […] Small groups rotated through different rooms, where a facilitator lead topics like what a new generation of problem solvers will need, evidence and metrics for success, and the dimensions and definitions of open government. Finally, […]

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