What Technology Companies Can Learn from Toy Makers – HBR

English: The iPad on a table in the Apple case

English: The iPad on a table in the Apple case (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to this HBR article, digital tools should enhance offline activities.

Source: What Technology Companies Can Learn from Toy Makers

Personally, I sense that the digital world has caused permanent damage to normal socialization for both children and adults.

The other day Marilyn (my wife) and I were on travelling on Bangkok‘s Skytrain during the evening rush hour and Marilyn commented:

Apart from us, everybody on this train is staring at an electronic screen. Nobody’s reading a hardcopy book or newspaper!

Later that evening, we watched a young American man follow an online map on his iPad to a dark alley in Bangkok – he suddenly stopped looked round and appeared totally

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In Thailand, we observed Russian and Chinese families sitting at a dinner table all looking at their own electronic devices.

So for me, the HBR article raises an important point but understates the size of the social crisis.


Opinion – Fabian Society » Three things that really matter to teachers – Andrew Old – Best Blogs Series – John Gelmini

I’m afraid that getting a subjective viewpoint on what matters to UK teachers with input from parents, pupils, politicians, the police etc., as Dr Alf suggests, is not going to do the job.

The state education system in the UK used to be number 1 in the world in 1960 and it has progressively fallen to 44th position during that time and to 29th position in terms of literacy and numeracy.

1 child in 5 who leaves state education cannot read, write or communicate and this rises to 1 in 3.5 in the Fens and on sink estates.

Effectively then many school leavers are unemployable.

We also have a situation even after Coalition job creation successes of there being 47 people chasing each vacancy and 75% of the jobs being filled by migrants.

The idea that we can have “learning for learning’s sake” any more really is fanciful.

Parents and a great many of the stakeholders Dr Alf lists have not the faintest idea just how far behind the UK education system is at state level ages 5 to 18.

The UK teaching profession with its differentiated teaching methods, “wow factor” and a recruitment system which involves pupils in the selection process know least of all.

The politicians do not address the question of worker productivity and exports(2 of the ways we can pay for improvements and create more jobs) nor do they look at just how un-competitive the country and the education system is when compared with Finland, South Korea,Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, France, Sweden etc,etc.

The Fabian Society may have a vision but it is not one which deals with these basic problems which will get worse as we automate, develop more expert systems, use 3D printing, use robots and offshore.
Britain’s teachers are for the most part not fit for purpose in this brave new world and must be replaced en-mass by non-unionized teachers of the right calibre who “get it”, parents from socio- economic groups C1, C2, D and E need to wake up to what is going on and the entire educational regime needs to be revamped on Singaporean lines with extra tuition South Korean style making for a longer but more intensive and immersive experience that takes the school-day up to 5 pm, excluding homework plus Saturday school for the laggards and intellectually challenged.

The UK, like Singapore, needs to calculate exactly how many scientists, doctors, lawyers, engineers, technologists, chemists and teachers it needs on a 5 year rolling basis, factor in drop out rates and then come up with a set number of university places. These would be allocated on the basis of actual results, a SAT and a demanding interview to the brightest students. Those who wanted to study things not needed by the country would be directed to study overseas and those who were not university material would be given vocational training following a longer period of National Service than would apply to University graduates.

People with practical skills of a non-academic bent would be “incubated” into self-employment or encouraged to “swarm out” overseas once they had language skills.

John Gelmini