How Can We Raise Future Innovators?

In "Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World," Harvard Innovation Lab Expert in Residence Tony Wagner describes parents’ educational policies and the roles fulfilled by universities. It is a good book.

Wagner advocates the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education. He presents a policy of cultivating critical thinking ability, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
The book scathingly judges US university innovative education quality as low. One ponders his consideration of Japanese universities.

Wagner says university reform is essential. He states that, as the impact of “MOOC” (Massive Open Online Courses) implies, the value of knowledge and information is close to zero. I too gave lectures on the MOOC, but in my view existing instruction is not the value of university. We are asked whether we must hasten the formation of universities as models of creation and opportunity, or if we must try to protect past models.

The MIT Media Lab is given as an example. It gives no grades, classes can be taken freely, and there are no required subjects: it is enough to simply create. Lessons are rich in immediacy and utility, and directly connected to business, social conduct, etc. I also like that vision and put my efforts into the media lab. I want to create such an environment in Japan as well.

When David Kelley made the Stanford University d. school (Institute of Design), it seems that instructors with business experience held a lower position than academics, which caused trouble, but the school was completed with the contributions of SAP’s Hasso Plattner. When attempting to break through a large wall, the finishing move (fundraising in this case) means victory or defeat. This appears to be the same everywhere.

Creator education is filled with unconventional mentors. Rather than teaching, they create opportunities, make students act, and play a supportive role. When I was at MIT and at Stanford University, my time was spent on research (or rather, project creation) rather than direct training. Now I am finally also engaged in teaching at Japanese universities, but the learning style is that students are given industry-academic project opportunities and learn in the midst of actual performance.

My thoughts align with this book, I am not achieving its concepts. I think this is because I lack the politically strategic mindset of training innovators. Rather than training, I am preparing to train. So something is lacking. Yet such is my situation; I feel that it is easy to merely devise project ideas.


What is the Superhuman Sports Society?

Anyone can become a superhuman and enjoy sports. Through the unification of body and machine, anyone can overcome physical and spatial restrictions to enjoy new sports with a “single human-machine body.” the community for that purpose is the "Superhuman Sports Society." I am employed as a representative.

Enacting Superhuman Sports means many “enhancements.”
“Physical enhancements.” This means developing technology and designs to enhance the body with smart augmentations: exoskeleton sports, super artificial limbs, etc.
“Object enhancements.” This means the development of such devices as a magic ball that anyone can throw, a bow and arrow that can pierce through a target any number of kilometers away, etc.
“Field enhancements.” This means developing virtual space and cultivating real land, sea, and air sports locations.
“Training enhancements.” We can anticipate not only matches, but also daily practice and training innovations.
“Player class enhancements.” Superhuman sports will not only deal in serious, high-end games. It is more important that anyone be able to participate. Men and women of all ages, people with disabilities...anyone would get excited and want to participate. For example, wonderful sports like bubble soccer are fun for everyone.

2020: The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics align with the opening of a superhuman pentathlon international tournament.
2028: Superhuman Sports is adopted as a formal Olympics and Paralympics event.
2030: The Superhuman Sports game population reaches 10 million and the market scale of superhuman technology reaches ¥1 trillion.

We are creating a community where persons from many fields participate: researchers, scientists, designers, and artists from fields like VR, IT, sports engineering, and neuroscience. We are advancing development and promulgation of new sports, with everyone’s help.
We are already opening a Superhuman Sports hackathon, developing and implementing all manner of games, and expanding places for people to personally experience the sports with such things as the Superhuman Sports Expo.

Many of the current Olympic games were developed in the 19th century and are the sports of agricultural society: soccer, baseball, and rugby. The industrial societies of the 20th century developed motorsports. So what are the 21st century information society sports? What are the new games that incorporate IT and digital technology into the body?

That is our homework.


The MIT World-Changing $100 Laptop Project

 Walter Bender and others wrote, “Learning to Change the World: The Social Impact of One Laptop Per Child.”
 It is a good book packed with the sweat and tears a large project’s execution. Walter succeeded Professor Nicholas Negroponte as the second MIT media lab director. As I well know of the hardships he experienced, I read it in support.
 The $100 laptop plan focused on technology (T) and design (D). Undertaking to have the laptops manufactured was management (M). Influencing each nation to purchase, distribute, and use the laptops was the role of policy (P). 
 This book describes the creation of a high speed, wireless, sturdy, power-conserving machine (T+D), but it also goes beyond that to discuss contracts, sales, and funds management (M+P), which lends a fresh perspective.

 Conceiving of laptops for the purpose of education is step one, and the following journey of manufacture, sales, and distribution are the following. This book describes those nine steps. This is the actualization of what I have been teaching for some time: “How, rather than what.” We are drawing in cooperative instruction from all manner of projects rather than PCs and education alone.
 The book states that innovators and entrepreneurs are different. That is correct. Innovation is good at the discovery level, but starting a business comes with risks. We cannot only be available for consultation; we must also enact implementation. Walter did not write this, but perhaps he thinks so as well.

 Kazuhiko Nishi, myself, and others proposed the original media lab concept in July 2001. Director Negroponte and MIT immediately made it a project. It impacted planning at a time when laptops were $1000. It was the first sketch of the idea.

Our plan was composed of a single notion that did not go beyond “what.” It was immediately made into a project, the enterprise consortium “OLPC” (One Laptop Per Child) was formed in 2005, and the actualization of the nine “hows,” which involved many countries, was the meat of the matter. Distributing 2.5 million laptops to 40 countries is a hard-won achievement. Surely indeed, it is the media lab’s greatest achievement.

        According to MIT Professor Seymour Papert, we are moving from instructional to constructive doctrine.

        His pupil Mitchel Resnick worked with the team that created Logo and Scratch, and handled the abstract infrastructure of the plan.

        We launched CANVAS, which boosts the digital creativity of children in Japan, one year after the creation of the $100 laptop plan in 2002. The activity continues fourteen years later.

        The Association of Digital Textbook and Teaching was launched in 2010. Japan is advancing digital education as well. The news of the distribution of $100 laptops to all children in Uruguay in 2009 had a big impact. We will try our best and succeed.