Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dan Pink Lecture Recap

I attended a lecture hosted by Challenge Success last week. Dan Pink was the guest lecturer and it was refreshing to hear such an engaging businessman give advice to a group of educators and parents.

I blogged about his book, “A Whole New Mind” a while ago. You can read that post here: (

One thing Dan Pink said that I thought was really worthwhile was, “We need to prepare kids for THEIR future, not our past.” And by “our past” he meant the workforce as we knew it when we were young – a very different one from today’s workforce.

He also talked about the 3 A’s – Asia, Automation and Abundance

Asia: Offshoring is having a huge effect on our world. India will be the largest English speaking country in the world in the near future. Routine jobs are not valuable anymore here in the US. If you can write down the steps to a job, chances are it will be outsourced to India.

Automation: Software is replacing our brain (the left side, anyway).

Abundance: The US is doing extremely well in terms of material possessions. But to keep up that pace you have to give the world something they didn’t know they couldn’t live without. For example, the iPad. This is where creativity and right brain abilities are needed.

The schools of the past focused on routines, right answers and standardization; the business world of the future needs novelty, nuance and customization.

To read more about this, check out his two books: A Whole New Mind and Drive.

He ended with “The Candle Problem” which I urge you to watch on this TED lecture, “Dan Pink on the surprising science of motivation. The Candle Problem is talked about in the first few minutes of the video and well worth the 9+ minutes to watch it.

One of the key points for me in Dan Pink’s lecture was rethinking vocations that cannot be outsourced or computerized. Carpenters, mechanics, hair stylists, wait-staff, nannies, teachers, athletes, etc. cannot be outsourced (not yet!). What implication does that have for us as we think about the future as a family, a community, and as a country?

One thing it means to me is redefining success. If it will be nearly impossible for many of our children to get high status jobs, then we must be ok with that and redefine what is important to live a happy, productive, successful life.

What implications does outsourcing have to you as you raise and educate your children?


  1. Excellent Ted lecture. Thanks for posting.

    Sharon Muhlenkort

  2. Loved the Ted Lecture....having my kids watch it too! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  3. Kerry:

    I found this post so refreshing. In my opinion, "Outside the Box" thinking is going to be a valued commodity in future workforces. This post was thought-provoking and insightful. With one heading into high school (with yours) next year, and all the standardized testing most colleges require, I want to be sure to devote equal time to embracing the qualities in my son that can't be measure by the ACT. Keep up the good work Kerry!