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Imagine if it were 2%.

In Facilitating Genius, High Touch on June 6, 2011 at 6:15 pm

This post was inspired by a conversation with my daughter after her recent college graduation.  She encouraged me to also view a presentation by Bruce Mau at the AIGA 2011 CompostModern conference.  The images below where ‘grabbed’ from his presentation and/or captured via an iPhone camera.

Congratulations to the Class of 2011.  Across the United States and in many other developed nations family and friends gathered to celebrate the achievements of loved ones graduating from college or university.  My wife, son, and I were among those so lucky.  We traveled hundreds of miles to witness the conference of degrees upon nearly two thousand members the SCAD Class of 2011.  We were surrounded by other families in a large civic center.  We listened to the university president, several deans, the undergraduate valedictorian, a representative from the graduate students, and to Whoopi Goldberg who served as the graduation speaker and also received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from SCAD: The University for Creative Careers.

Did you know that only one percent of the world’s population graduate from a university?  I didn’t.  And I surely didn’t think so last Saturday while visiting Savannah.  Many of us live in communities where to graduate from a college or university is the norm.  Chances are that if you’re reading this blog, you too are among this privileged class of the college-educated.  But stop a moment and think about this.  Ninety-nine percent of the world’s population have NOT graduated from college.  The untapped creative potential of this vast majority is mind-boggling.

Only one percent of the world's population has graduated from a college or university.

When you think of the progress we’ve made and the wealth that has been generated to date, pause and think what increase in productivity might result if we doubled the educational opportunity for those who aspire to go to college.

Of course there are some who will say that not everyone needs to go to college claiming that many jobs only call for a high school diploma.  To which I’d ask, “Do you want fries with that burger?”

And some may state, “Bill Gates didn’t graduate from college.”  To whom I’d answer, “But consider all the college graduates he employs.  And then consider all the college graduates and white-collar workers who use the software that his company creates.”  Mr. Gates is the exception that proves the rule.  Few would argue that his commitment to education and/or the elimination of disease in the world are hypocritical.

Designing a better future.  When you visit a school like SCAD, your perspective may be changed.  At such schools you catch a glimpse of tomorrow; where design is at the intersection of what’s both smart and sexy.  Tomorrow’s artists and designers think about sustainability, life-cycle costs, and recycling.  And at this intersection, design teams and work groups may need a  facilitator to help them with collaborative creation.  Imagine if we were called upon to facilitate problem-solving sessions where the creative potential were double or triple what it is today.

Kelsey Lesko, Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design - SCAD Class of 2011, surrounded by family & friends and hopefully ready to renew our world. From left to right: Belinda McLain plus Jonathan, Debra, Kelsey, and John Lesko.

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  1. John, did you know that in the US, that number is around 24.5 percent. That’s right: just one in 4 Americans have a college degree. THAT statistic really flabergasted me when I learned about it many moons ago. The sad part is that the number has NOT dramatically increased in the last decade.

    John CONGRATULATIONS on Kelsey’s graduation! You must be over the moon! I am very happy for you and all of your family. 🙂

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