Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pixar University's Randy Nelson on Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age

A lot has been written about 21st Century Skills and jobs of the future but how do schools prepare students for jobs that don't exist yet and give students the needed skills for these job? I recently saw this video from Edutopia by Randy Nelson, Dean of Pixar University.

In this video Mr. Nelson explains what skills future employees will need and what schools must do to prepare students for new models in the workplace.

The following is an outline from the video.
Use improv as a mechanisim to help with collaboration. There are two core principles of improv.
  1. Accept every offer - if you don't accept the offer it goes no where
  2. Make your partner look good - always try to make your partner look good, not bad
    • It's called Plusing - take a piece of work and don't judge it - say, "here's where I'm starting, what can I do with this?"
    • How do I plus this?
    • How do I accept the offer and make my partner look good?
How can students be ready for innovative jobs with innovative companies? How can these innovative companies find someone who has a depth of knowledge that is able to do the job? Many innovative companies will look for people who have seen failure and figured out how to turn it into something positive rather than those people who have avoided failure. The core skill of innovators is error recovery not failure avoidance.

Some predictors that innovative companies will look for:
  1. Depth - Proof of a portfolio verses the promise of a resume. Students who are high achievers in school usually are high achievers in the workplace.
  2. Breadth - people who are extremely broad - people who are more interested in the job and learning than they are interesting - people who want to know what you know.
  3. Communication that involves translation - willing to work on communication as a destination, not a source, being able to communicate to your audience effectively. People with a broad range of experiences can effectively communicate to several audiences.
  4. Collaboration means amplification - connecting a group of people who are listening to each other; interested in each other; bringing separate depths to the problem; and bringing breadth that gives them interest in the entire solution. Collaboration allows people to communicate on multiple different levels - verbally, in writing, in feeling, in acting, in pictures, and helps them find the most articulate way to get the point across to a broad range of people so every person in the group can pull together.
Schools have an untapped resource in their students. Schools need to find ways to help students build leadership skills, problem-solving skills, collaboration skills and effective communication skills. Students also need to be given the opportunity and guidance to learn how to turn failure into something positive. All students need to be challenged to achieve mastery at school to become high achievers in their future careers.

To view the entire video:

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Scott Armstrong said...

I'm glad you mentioned this video. I made a note to watch it last week. It's a continual struggle to get students to learn to be creative problem solvers, and I'm glad that someone in a high-profile industry can spell it out for them (once again).

Shototech said...

You are so right Scott. Much has been said and written about 21st century skills and the fact that todays' students will work at jobs that haven't even been created yet.

It was great to see someone from the business and entertainment industry really spell out what skills our students need for their future careers.

Thanks for your comment