Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Obama Summit and CLMOOC's #mapvember

I'm listening to the presentations of the Obama Summit, being held in Chicago, and Tweeting out ideas at the same time, using hashtag #ObamaSummit.   If you're not able to watch today, the archives will be available.

As I've listened to the aspirational nature of this event, I hope that participants will be thinking of how they map the steps that get us from "where we are now" to "where we want to be. That's what this graphic represents.

At the same time, the Connected Learning #clmooc community has launched a November activity around the idea of making maps, using hashtag #mapvember to share daily creations, or makes.  Here's the page where this activity is described.  I was really honored, and pleased, that my own map making was included as one of the inspirations people were encouraged to consider.

Since #mapvember focuses much on fantasy maps, I created a version of the graphic above, to show the journey described in Toiken's Lord of the Rings novels.

From the start there was a destination in mind, Mt. Doom and a place where the Ring could be destroyed. Along the way friends and resources had to be located, challenges overcome, and disasters averted. 

Apply this to real world problem-solving journeys.

I included this graphic in an article I wrote in August 2017.  My "Race-Poverty" map is shown at the top while the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals are shown at the bottom.

Each node on these maps represents a complex, entrenched problem that appears in many places throughout the United States and the world.  It will take many years of consistent effort, innovation, and resource flow, to make a dent in these problems.

Without creating a map, building a team, and launching a journey, not much is likely to happen.

My primary concern with the Obama Summit is that young people are being encouraged to go forth and create new solutions to old problems.  In 1997 I was a delegate  to the  President's Summit for America's Future, where people were encouraged to go forth and find solutions to the poverty affecting more than 13 million children in America.

In 1997 the result was many people energized to find new ways to solve problems that I and many others had been working on for many years. Instead of the event bringing reinforcements to help us do this work, it actually drew resources away from us into "new ideas" launched by others.

If this cycle repeats, the new ideas generated in the next few years will be "old ideas seeking support" in a few years.  What the Lord of the Rings journey represents is a commitment to one purpose that was sustained over many months, despite the obstacles.

So, do your  homework. Who's already working in the field you want to support. How can you help them become great, or stay great.  Only start something new if nothing exists in the area  you want to help, or if what does exist is under-performing and can't be fixed.

I encourage you to dig deeper into my "here to there" graphic. Here's one article.

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