Meet Jack. He knows he will never be a creative genius. He learned that in fifth grade during his weekly trumpet lessons when he sat next to Wynton Marsalis. He learned it again in ninth grade when we played on his junior high basketball with Magic Johnson. He learned it yet again in college when Timothy Berners-Lee was his computer lab partner. The difference in talent or good fortune didn’t seem fair or democratic to Jack, but he knew it was real. Jack knows the truth about creative genius because he has seen it in action and has the good sense to realize that he will never possess it.

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Don’t let the word “digital” fool you in all this talk about how difficult it is for digital natives and digital immigrants to communicate. The truth is that this generational gap between the so-called digital natives (the generation of people born during or after the rise of digital technologies) and the digital immigrants (people born before the advent of digital technology) doesn’t actually have to do with technology. The real issue is that the two worldviews that they represent are so different.

Digital natives view the world horizontally, in equalitarian terms. Rather than dividing the world into hierarchies, they see everyone as existing on an equal level. They embrace the benefits of sharing things and ideas with each other and, in doing so, they cross boundaries. They are driven by values. For this reason, many of them are distrustful of traditional cultural and social institutions: marriage, religion, government. In opting out of these institutions, they have declared themselves microsegments of one – free agents. (more…)

In some practical ways our world is still illuminated by the Scottish Enlightenment that brought us such goodies as electromagnetism, capitalism and single malt whisky. The modern incarnation of Caledonian resourcefulness and skepticism may well be that inventive investigator, Angus MacGyver, and those purveyors of spontaneous hamburgery, McDonald’s. Each represents an important mindset required to make innovation happen. Yet, when sequenced in the wrong order they bring about the chaos of rule breakers and the oppression of rule makers. (more…)