NESTA is an independent charity that works to increase the innovation capacity of the UK. It acts through a combination of practical programmes, investment, policy research and the formation of partnerships to promote innovation across a broad range of sectors.
As such it has a really good insight into what organisations and companies are researching and investing in for the future and is certainly an organisation the BIC is closely linked to.
There are 10 NESTA predictions for 2017, I considered three of them in Part 2 – here are another three:
The Rise of the Armchair Volunteer
For many years, the word volunteer has conjured up images of well-meaning ladies who lunch, stoically manning the soup kitchen for the homeless or serving tea to the elderly once a week. As more people work from home it is anticipated that volunteering will in the future also come from the home where people can man phones for charities, provide lecturing and seminars from home and even respond to queries by texts/e-mails from home.
Nesta’s prediction is that 2017 might just be the year of micro-volunteering and data donation, with cheap technologies allowing everyone to volunteer from home for short and sweet periods of time, no matter how much time they have to give.
As domestic and geopolitical tensions continue to rise, governments will find it increasingly hard to function amidst a constant barrage of uncontrollable information and the threat of cyberattacks, making them grow more wary of the internet’s influence.
The idea of splitting up the internet into different, balkanized internets – with a completely separate infrastructure – is not new. Like Brazil, the Germans (who don’t look too kindly upon government spying) took action after Snowden’s revelations and started looking into the construction of an “Internetz”, a German-only (with the possibility of expanding to the rest of the European Union) network. The current state of this project is unclear. China and Russia are looking at their own infrastructures too.
With several candidates out there, who will pull the trigger first is difficult to say. Will it be one of the usual suspects like China? Europe? Or even Trump’s America itself? What we do know is that the time of the internet of fun and games, of unfettered access, is quickly coming to an end.
Classroom Conundrums Tackled Together
The kids are coding. They’re making websites, programmes and apps. Slowly, but surely, we’re chipping away at the digital skills shortage. But what happens next? What’s the next skills gap crying out to be addressed?
Research suggests skills more ancient and human – the ones harder to automate and therefore more valuable in the long-term – creativity, dexterity and social intelligence and the ability to solve non-routine problems will top the list.
The people with these skills will be most resilient to changes in the jobs market. In 2017 educators will sit up and take a hard look at the skills needed for a better economy and stronger society, such as collaborative problem solving (CPS).
At its simplest level CPS is about solving problems together – a skill that is as useful in today’s workplace as it will be in tomorrow’s. There will be less focus in the classroom on predictable and routine tools and more on giving children the skills to ask questions and relate their knowledge and tools to a series of problems – a more rounded curriculum of knowledge and skills.