Young people are now coaching online gaming fanatics to get them through difficult stages in the game. They earn a living wage from it. Other gamers derive an income from selling codes that unlock new game levels on eBay . Women still in their teens with huge followings on Twitter and MySpace earn six figure fees from cosmetic brands to influence their followers. This work is frequently fractional in nature and so allows people to blend work with their passions, creativity and interests. YouTube (owned by Google) has applied for terrestrial broadcasting licences in its major markets. What opportunities does this create for our young people? There should be little doubt in most people’s mind, that a tectonic shift in the nature of work has occurred, even though it is apparently ‘unevenly spread’.
Young people sense the internet has caused a fundamental change in their attitude towards work and the realisation that a 'career' has ceased to be a feasible way to organise working life. They now view work as an instrument of self-development and personal autonomy and entrepreneurship not as a status symbol, but as an attitude - an attitude that everyone is going to need. We are not preparing our children for this kind of work. We do not teach them;
• How to collaborate
• How to communicate
• How to network
• How to thrive on portfolio work
• How to create sustainable, ethical wealth
It is hardly surprising that Facebook, Twitter, Google and MySpace were created in the US. We simply don’t teach our young people “to have a healthy disrespect for the impossible”.
The Olympic Legacy – a 21st Century Guild
The most consummate networker of our time recently said;
“If you want to set something in motion on this planet, you need access to people you haven’t met. You need knowledge and information that is not yet at your disposal. You need ideas. You can always get them somewhere. From people.” Martijn Aslander, Loyal Rebels
The internet and more specifically social software is enabling peer-to-peer connectivity on a breathtaking scale. This is, historically speaking, a completely new phenomenon. One that’s easily as significant as the invention of the printing press in terms of its societal impact, velocity and rate of adoption.
Social networks are communities of people who share the same cause, situation, or vocation. They facilitate professional exchange, allow members to establish a bond of common experiences and challenges online, and build networks of relationships which are leveraged offline.
Research pioneered in the 1970’s by Etienne Wenger on what he called ‘communities of practice’ concluded that “learning is an inherently social process and that it cannot be separated from the social context in which it happens”.
These are in effect, early stage 21st century guilds. There is an opportunity for the LDA to create a modern day guild that equips young people with the skills to thrive in the networked economy. Social software means it’s possible to;
• Provide a teacher for every student, on every subject, on a one to one basis and ‘on demand’
• Enable the wider local community to contribute to student learning (“it takes a whole village”)
• Make every component of the guild qualification a practical, real life project, that shifts mindset from ‘job’ to wealth creation
There is a case for creating a platform that goes beyond online forums and ‘talking shops’. By re-purposing social software used by existing global business communities, students can be provided with the freedom to organize themselves so that their practical projects can be realised with the help and support of their local communities.
Members of this community will be drawn from the local business/social ecosystem to create a diverse population of people committed to coaching, mentoring and transferring their knowledge to students as an integral part of the qualification process. The social, collaborative and communications skills acquired alone will satisfy employers increasingly vocal demand for these skills sets. This will prepare the country’s Loyal Rebels for a wide range of models of work, provide them with the support networks that are now an essential aspect of achieving personal work/life balance aspirations, and more importantly, make them more ‘employer ready’.