Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Unity and Leadership

Colonel John Boyd
This afternoon while working on a project about the future of information, I came across some books I have in my library from the insightful military strategist USAF Colonel John Boyd.  He spent decades studying military strategies and learning how to unify people, and how to unhinge or divide them.  Here is his summary on how to unify people

Identify and find ways to overcome or eliminate blemishes, flaws, or contradictions that generate mistrust and discord so these negative qualities neither alienate nor set us against one another, because these will destroy internal harmony, paralyze and make it difficult to cope with an uncertain, ever-changing world at large.

Instead we must emphasize our cultural traditions, previous experiences, and unfolding events that build-up harmony and trust, thereby create those implicit bonds that permit us as individuals and as a society to shape as well as adapt to the course of events in the world.

We as individuals must look for qualities in our leaders that will create unity and purpose so we can face the chaotic world together.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Post-Pandemic University Experiences

Last month I interviewed professors, deans, provosts and futurist on the future of higher education, and the university of tomorrow. All of them believe that the Covid-19 global pandemic will change universities forever.  The move to virtual learning environments has forced universities to adapt and learn new ways of operating.  It has also emphasized how much both students and parents crave an in-person university experience.  Both want a thriving social environment involving regular interactions between students, professors and classmates on a university campus in a park like setting with culture, sporting events, art, music, entertainment, class projects, clubs and student governments.  The pandemic, of course, has caused major interruptions to these experiences in 2020, and students are desperate for there to be a return to normalcy, but as we have all come to realize there is a very new and different normal ahead of us. 

Parents have long carried big expectations when they send their kids off to the university.  They want universities to help them transform their obstinate teenagers into cultured, skilled, self-sufficient, educated and responsible adults.  Students, as one might imagine, have some of the same goals, but prioritize them differently.  They are seeking friendships and transformative educational and social experiences.  It is during these experiences that many lifelong relationships and professional networks are formed.  In addition to classroom experiences, a wealth of valuable knowledge and experiences are gained from being coached, mentored and challenged in classrooms and during extracurricular activities by adults and classmates that don't carry the title of parent.

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Future of Higher Education, a European Perspective with Dr. David Kalisz

While preparing for another pandemic induced lockdown, Dr. David Kalisz, Associate Professor at the Paris School of Business, shares his pandemic experiences with us, and his views into the future of higher education, teaching, competition, and possible future scenarios for universities.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
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Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

The University of Tomorrow with Futurist, Author and Expert David Espindola

What does the future hold for post-pandemic universities, university experiences, university campuses and higher education?  In this episode, futurist and author David Espindola shares his views on future scenarios for higher education.  More on David's soon to be released book, The Exponential Era, can be found here -  https://theexponentialerabook.com/.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Reimagining Higher Education with Professor Jack Shannon and Futurist Frank Diana

In this compelling episode we take a deep dive with futurist Frank Diana and Professor Jack Shannon into the future of children, the future of work and the future of higher education.  We then discuss how the pandemic and emerging technologies have impacted all of them and explore what possible future scenarios may look like.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Digital Transformation, Caring for Students and Meeting Expectations during a Pandemic at Tuskegee University with Dr. Jack Crumbly

This year has been like no other.  Join me as I interview Professor Jack Crumbly from the historically black Tuskegee University.  In addition to the rapid digital transformation already taking place in higher education, 2020 introduced the Covid-19 pandemic and social unrest.  Learn what it is like to chair a department in this vortex of change while working to provide the best student experience possible.



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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Rethinking the Future of Higher Education with Futurist Alexandra Whittington

Join me as futurist Alexandra Whittington helps us rethink and expand our perceptions of what the future of higher education might look like.  The notion of a "traditional university experience” may no longer apply to the students of tomorrow who have different requirements, dreams and aspirations.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Higher Education and Pandemic Inspired Digital Transformation with Professor Bill Griffiths

In this episode, Professor Bill Griffiths of St. John’s University, who has over fifty-two years of teaching experience, shares how the pandemic has made the year 2020 different from all others.  We explore the impact of the pandemic on higher education in general, professors, and students.  We discuss the digital transformation journey of universities over the past decade, and how this pandemic experience has accelerated change and may have a long-lasting impact.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Higher Education and Pandemic Inspired Digital Transformation with Dr. Marek Kowalkiewicz, Part 2

In Part 2 (watch part 1 here) of my interview with digital transformation and higher education expert Professor Marek Kowalkiewicz, we dig deep into the technologies that support universities, digital transformation and the long-term effects of the pandemic on higher education.


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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

Twitching Professors, Outsourced Parenting, Digital Transformation and the University Experience

“Even our custodians have a role to play in transforming our students,” explained Dr. Jack Crumbly of Tuskegee University, when describing the value of the “university experience.” The future is about “universities without borders,” predicted Dr. Marek Kowalkiewicz, a professor who studies Twitch gamers to improve his digital classroom teaching experience.  “It’s really about what the students want, and what those business models look like,” added Dr. Bill Griffiths, a professor with 52-years of educational experience.  These are just a few of the comments I recorded over the past few weeks while interviewing professors in higher education.

I noted four particular findings from my interviews and research:

1. It’s about the experience of learning and growing in a community focused on higher education
2. Universities must deliver for both students and parents
3. The importance of mentors, professors and engagement 
4. New players and business models are impacting the future of higher education

What does a “university experience” mean to an eighteen-year-old? Independence?  Relationships?  Parties?  Personal growth?  New friends?  New beginnings?  Escape?  YES!  To parents it may mean something completely different like - HELP!  Help me transform this obstinate teenager into an employable, self-sufficient, and responsible adult. No matter what the student’s or parent’s goals are, it will be difficult for these to be accomplished alone on a laptop in the family basement.  

Repeatedly in my interviews and discussions with professors the value and importance of an immersive learning and growing experience within a university community was emphasized.  It was my impression as a result of these discussions, that many of us underestimate the personal growth that takes place as part of the “university experience,” and focus too much on the acquired skills and degrees aspect.  Degrees can be achieved through multiple channels, but personal growth takes a purposeful village.

Online education has been around long enough that the basics are well understood.  The difficulties remain the ability to provide engagement and social connections for students in a digital environment.  Helping students feel a part of a supportive university community and a member of something important and meaningful is critical, and not easily done in digital only environments.  More work and focus are needed in this area.

If a student is just interested in acquiring skills and getting employed, companies like Google are now offering online classes that are treated as equal to university classes.  If a person successfully passes these Google courses, Google is willing to hire them without a university education.  The student, although potentially employable, will miss out on the personal growth and “university experience.”  It seems to me our communities will be less for it.

All three professors I interviewed last week mentioned the value of mentorship, guidance and advise that professors can provide when there are opportunities to form close relationships on a physical campus.  “Not all students come to us with backgrounds that enable them to easily understand a subject’s context,” Dr. Crumbly shared.  A professor working closely with a student can quickly recognize this context challenge and can help them remediate it.

Professors and instructors of all kinds are powerful professional contacts as well.  When resumes are thin, a good referral from a trusted professor can be just what a student needs to gain a foot in the door of a career opportunity.

It seems to me that the Covid-19 pandemic is helping to spotlight and clarify the required technical deliverables now and in the future for higher education.  Digital technologies should be used to enhance the “university experience” for students, parents and university staff, while providing opportunities for social engagement.  Digital platforms are valuable as a way of protecting students and staff during times of danger, they can remove geographic barriers, eliminate scheduling conflicts, reduce travel and parking issues and provide additional and alternative learning channels.

Watch "Higher Education and Pandemic Induced Digital Transformation" with Dr. Marek Kowalkiewicz, Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube now.

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Kevin Benedict
Partner | Futurist | Leadership Strategies at TCS
View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter @krbenedict
Join the Linkedin Group Digital Intelligence

***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.