Three wishes for 2011

The Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange has asked a number of Boston-area bloggers and digital leaders to share their predictions for 2011 in a series running on their blog between now and the end of the year.

They asked me for mine. However, there are people much more qualified for that task than I. So I took a pass. Instead I made a list of wishes.

Would love to hear your wishes for 2011, too. Here are three of mine.

Schools will teach kids to write code instead of how to use Powerpoint

Too many public school systems fail to teach programming until high school. Instead we teach kids to use Powerpoint and other programs. Our educators need to read Douglas Rushkoff and Jaron Lanier. Just open a Facebook account and it’s evident that the web and its creators are programming us. We’re forced to fit personal profiles into pre-determined templates. We squeeze our ideas into fields that someone else has prescribed. We’re even told that the only way to organize content is in cute little desktop folders. Don’t get me wrong. I love Apple,  AppMakr, Weebly, WordPress and Posterous. But I don’t want my kids (or anyone’s kids) to be programmed. I want them to be programmers.

More people will start businesses with a conscience

I watched this year as Sheena Matheiken launched The Uniform Project. To raise money in support of Akanksha, Sheena wore the same dress every day for a year, changing her appearance daily with nothing more than donated accessories – belts, scarves, vests, leggings.  Using Twitter, Facebook and a blog to promote the project, she raised $100,000 to send kids to school in India and amassed a large enough following to start a sustainable fashion company. Today Sheena “uses fashion as a vehicle to make acts of charity more inspired and playful, enabling individuals to rise as role models of style, sustainability and social consciousness.” Sheena’s selling dresses, raising money for charity, and in the process, pioneering a new business model. I’m hoping for more Sheenas in 2011.

Design will become big enough to affect real change

For most of us it’s the sleek look of Apple’s products that epitomizes modern design. But I’m hoping this year we embrace a new definition of design — one put forth by Ideo’s Tim Brown.  Design needs to be big again and more companies and organizations need to embrace design as a way to solve real problems: bringing potable water to the places on earth that suffer from drought and pollution;  reducing automobile congestion in our cities (government and engineers have failed miserably); improving how we deliver health care. Design and design thinking may be our greatest asset in solving the big problems especially now that we can crowdsource, co-create and instantly mobilize communities. As Tim Brown says, “design is too important to be left to designers.”  In fact it just might be the solution for how to solve the challenges listed here and many more.  Then they wouldn’t have to be wishes. They could become predictions.

What are you wishing for in 2011?  Please share.

6 comments
eldadyogev
eldadyogev

Your first wish is one million % correct. It's wonderful that children are learning PowerPoint and such at an earlier age but programming is a crucial skill to have. If you ever hear of a kid programming course please let us know immediately. It won't just be my 10yr old stepson who signs up - I'll be doing it right there with him.

On that programming education note - are you aware of Mozilla's free school of webcraft? http://yhoo.it/gBG8C2 Starting in Jan. they are conducting free courses for HTML5, Javascript and CSS.

Jennifer_Hohn
Jennifer_Hohn

Agreed, especially with the design thinking importance. It affects the other two. This ability to step back, consider the experience and empathize with the audience has never been more essential. In education, business, and society.

Sushi
Sushi

I'm with you on the programming one. With technology showing up earlier and earlier in kids' lives, programming is a natural thing to start teaching. Even the very basics can be explained to young kids in a nonprogramming way before getting to the nitty-gritty.

bradgosse
bradgosse

I definitely like the part about programming.

My wish for 2011 is to see a search engine incorporating Facebook like results into their algorithm. Finally graduating from search engine to recommendation engine. I am so sick of searching Google for the best link builders instead of the best recommendation.

JeffShattuck
JeffShattuck

I'm going to go ahead and make a few predictions, then some wishes!

PREDICTIONS

- Wireless will start to replace wired for everyday Internet use
- Cell phones will start to replace wallets
- The price of gold will fall

WISHES

- We declare victory and leave Afgahnistan
- The garbage patch gyros in our oceans become more urgent than climate change (which is a a lost cause, anyway)
- The Fed stops printing money

edwardboches
edwardboches moderator

@bradgosse I think it might be coming. Or a variation thereof. Keep your eye on Springpad.