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How Peter Diamandis Is Inspiring Students To Go BOLD Into The Future

I have met some amazing people in the past (like the time I met Paulo Coelho in Davos, Switzerland—now that’s a different post!), but have yet to meet Peter Diamandis. Hmm—maybe I will someday . . .

The first time I heard of Peter Diamandis was while watching Ray Kurzweil’s documentary Transcendent Man. (If you haven’t seen this movie yet, I highly recommend it!) In the movie, Diamandis had several interviews in which he talked about the future with such excitement, such vigour, it was as if he were there and telling us about it first hand: about how we are creating AI that will be like gods and will supersede us in strength and intelligence—it was brash and bombastic and . . . well . . . bold.

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Students Are Inspired to Pursue Their Personal Vision Without Limitation

We believe that students should be given the tools and processes to fulfill their personal vision without limitation—and Diamandis is an amazing inspiration. But how do you do that? How do you create the conditions for students to go BOLD?

The way we do it at Master’s is to teach students the patterns and principles of innovation and creativity. A lot of places tout creativity as part of their offerings, but it’s rare to see schools that can actually show you how. We focus a lot of our research and development on innovation and creativity because we have a vision for students to become imaginal. So, how do we create conditions for students to go BOLD?

Peter Diamandis’s Book BOLD 

I was doing some research for a workshop Tom Rudmik and I were facilitating in Brazil. Typically when I’m designing a collaborative engagement I scan a lot of different books for ideas. Then, I pretty much dump parts of the books into the themes and concepts the group will be working through to create new solutions. I went through several books, such as Kevin Kelly’s What Technology Wants, and The Technium, but it was BOLD that really caught my attention—I mean, who doesn’t want to create bold new solutions?

Another Sao Paulo Insight

On our way home from Brazil, Tom Rudmik and I had a three hour layover in Sao Paulo. We were in the Star Alliance Lounge waiting for our flight, and over coffee and sweets recountingthe concepts and outcomes of the workshop we had facilitated. Time and again we returned to this concept of BOLD. We thought it would be cool if our students took part in a BOLD challenge—but we called it the Imaginal Bold Challenge: a way for students to become imaginal by seeing, learning from, and creating the future. We also thought it would be cool for the challenge to be similar to the XPRIZE. We got back to Canada jazzed and ready to create something truly, imaginally BOLD.

Here’s How You Go BOLD

The book BOLD is a sequel to the book Abundance, in which Diamandis argues that as we continue along this trajectory of technological advancement, we will be able to leverage those technologies to create greater solutions that impact millions of people. We will be, Diamandis argues, living in a world of abundance.BOLD follows a similar argument. It’s broken down into three parts:

  1. Part One focuses on exponential technologies that are making it easier for entrepreneurs to become BOLD:“3D printing, artificial intelligence, robotics, networks and sensors, and synthetic biology—the very technologies enabling today’s entrepreneurs to tackle the kinds of enormous challenges that were once only possible for governments and major corporations.” It’s a great argument, and a compelling precursor to becoming BOLD.
  2. Part Two focuses on the psychology of BOLD. I was particularly interested in this part because I enjoy reading about people’s habits and routines and how they amp up creativity and productivity. Here Diamandis outlines his Peter’s Rules, which are, frankly, a riot! Maxims such as“When given a choice, take both!” and“Multiple projects lead to multiple success,” and “Stare at the top then make your way up,” are a lot of fun and helpful when thinking about your own projects. Another important topic of this chapter—from which I gleaned a great deal—is understanding Flow states and how to get into them (I’ll write more about this very important topic in a later post).
  3. Part Three is chalk full of tools and ideas for creating something MASSIVE and getting it out there for funding. His stuff on crowd-funding and crowd-sourcing is amazing; and the case-studies will inspire you.

So with BOLD as an inspiration, we at Master’s College created the Imaginal Bold Challenge.

The Imaginal BOLD Challenge

The Imaginal BOLD Challenge is designed for students in grades 10-12 here at Master’s. It is a competition for students at Master’s College to solve complex problems through innovation, design, and foresight. The objective of the competition is for students to make an impact both at Master’s and in their surrounding communities. At the heart of the Imaginal BOLD Challenge is Imaginal Leadership. Imaginal Leaders can see, learn from, and create the future. With 98 projects this year from grades 7-12, the Imaginal BOLD Challenge is a showcase of Imaginal Leaders in the making.This was the first year of the Imaginal BOLD Challenge, so it was as much a learning by doing for us as it was for the students. But that’s what it’s all about right—taking risks! And this is one of the big learnings we want our students to come away with: the importance of failure and iteration for going BOLD. You can’t go BOLD if you’re afraid of failure. You can’t go BOLD in an environment that tests only for one right answer. You can’t go BOLD if you are not being cultivated as a creative thinker. Sadly, for most children, creative courage has been largely taught out of them by a system that rewards conformity and punishes multiplicity and non-linearity. But the world is calling for heightened levels of creativity and the ability to see from different vantage points. It’s not that 1+1=2, but that 1+1 might equal purple. It is in divergence that creativity emerges. And so it’s important to us at Master’s that we create the conditions for students to push beyond the status quo, push beyond the fear of failure, and try to do something that hasn’t been done before that will benefit a lot of people. The Imaginal BOLD Challenge is all about students becoming imaginal in a social and pedagogical context that facilitates diversity of thinking, non-linearity, emergence, and high levels of risk. And we couldn’t expect students to go BOLD if we didn’t go to work each day and do it ourselves in our quest to transform education around the world. Now that’s BOLD!

Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down for BOLD

Peter Diamandis’ book BOLD is not only inspirational but also loaded with practical information. When I read this book, I had to ask myself how bold I am in my daily work. Am I pushing the boundaries of my ideas? Am I thinking global enough? Have I slipped into complacency and compliance in my thinking and doing? All these questions churned in my mind as I read. But when I got to the final part and saw all the amazing tools and practical tips I got excited. For those of you who are entrepreneurs, or have entrepreneurial aspirations, or work at a dynamic innovative organization like Master’s, this book is definitely for you. I give it a big thumbs up. And if I ever meet Peter Diamandis, I’ll be sure to give him a big thumbs up too!

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