Category Archives: Words of Wisdom

JR’s Wish

Meet 2011 TED Prize Winner: JR

JR, the 2011 Ted Prize Winner, is a semi-anonymous street artists who uses his art to express his advocacy in some of the most troubled places on earth. JR keeps his full name and parts of his face under wraps, quite understandably, because his method of expression is designed to provoke a stinging awareness and change. JR is a photographer but not just.  He goes around the world and challenges the status quo by pasting pictures on walls and roofs and trains and on any surface that will hold  his photographs.

The most remarkable thing about JR’s work is that despite the simplicity of his methods the impact it leaves on the people involved is profound and  deeply unnerving. His black and white prints pasted on hillside houses create a collage of eyes staring, watching, silently bearing witness to the violence and injustice that has just transpired.  Whole faces are formed and transformed as the smiles pasted on the hillside align with the eyes pasted on a moving train travelling atop that same hill.  It is so hard to view his work without somehow being intrigued and taunted by its quiet powerful message.

JR was awarded the TED Prize for his inspiring collaborative work all across the globe, creating ripples of change among the lives he touches. JR will receive from TED US$100,000 and “One wish to change the world.” This is JR’s wish:

“I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT.”

JR’s Inside Out Project is a fun way to participate in peaceful global movement of personal advocacy. By pasting up portraits of the things we care about, we too can stand up and speak out with the rest of the world in a silent reverberating gesture of unity that is both diversely global and intimately personal.  Speaking through pictures, we break down the barrier of language. I would like to invite everyone who cares about anything to get involved and participate; and to even just try  to make a difference in their own little part of the world.

Watch JR’s inspiring video (below) as he launches his newest project on TED.  You can participate in fulfilling JR’s wish. Upload your own photograph depicting what you care about and JR will send you a poster that you can paste on your wall so you can turn the world …INSIDE OUT.

You can upload your photos here.

Here are some of JR’s Projects:


Wall with JR's PicturePicture VIllage

For more details on the Inside Out Project go to or visit their site at

The TED Prize is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, “One Wish to Change the World.” Designed to leverage the TED community’s exceptional array of talent and resources, the Prize leads to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.

Engage the Youth

Absorbed in video gamesIs our youth losing their interest in studying?

We are finding it harder and harder to get our kids to buckle down and study, which begs the question, have children lost their values? There was a time when very few individuals would challenge their parent’s expectation that they finish their education. But as we move deeper into the age of high-tech, more of our youth are rejecting this path. Teens seem to be very uninterested in their studies. Parents complains are that ‘children are too distracted’ or that ‘kids today don’t value education enough’ but is this really so?

I think not. It’s not that our youth don’t care about education or that they are too preoccupied with so many other things that they can’t focus on their studies. People are voracious learners, children more so, and given enough latitude, they will seek out things to learn on their own. I think the youth have already decided how they want to be educated and they are quite committed to educating themselves, only not in the places we insist they go to for education.

Our Educational Models are Flawed and Outdated

Student-defined LearningMany parents would be glad if their children would spend less time on Facebook, YouTube, Tumbler or the like, believing that these are taking away from their children’s study time. Parents need to understand the reason why their children spend so much time connecting with friends and watching all those videos. It is because videos are an incredibly efficient way to learn. Understand that I am not advocating that children be left alone to do as they please. What I am saying is that parents should allow their children to learn in an environment where they are most engaged and where they are most inclined to learn.

Studies have shown that children learn best when they study in groups. They direct their own focus of study based on the needs of the group. Individuals contribute their own understanding and everyone is brought up to speed by the members who already ‘get it’. Kids learn better and retain more information when they are allowed interact freely within diverse study groups of mixed ages.

Notably also, much learning is achieved by watching and doing. Children in a natural environment will learn most skills by watching other people do it. That is why YouTube is up there among the favourite ways teens choose to learn how to do something, whether it be to dance, to play the guitar, to skateboard or to turn their phones into a musical instrument.

Let the World be their Oyster

In a TED talks video, Chris Anderson discusses how web video powers global innovation. He notes how the arts and  sports have progressed so rapidly since streaming video became available over the internet. Dancers, musicians athletes and pretty much anyone could show off their ‘stuff’ on YouTube. Other people would watch, comment and build on their work and in turn post their own improvements. It’s collaborative learning on a global scale. Everyone has access to information from people who have already made significant headway in their particular field of interest, accelerating the learning process geometrically.

This has created a surge of innovation in almost every field especially in technology, art and sports because whether we will admit it or not, the best teachers are no longer found in the classrooms, they are out there in the world, making things happen and teaching us all through video and blogs and wiki if you would only care to learn.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that if there is only one thing that governments, schools and parents can do to impact education most profoundly, it would be to provide every child with a good computer and a high quality internet connection and allow the world be their school.  Give children the access to the best that is out there and you give them the opportunity to transform our world for the better.

I leave you with 3 videos. The first video discusses the flaw in our current educational paradigm and why it direly needs to be updated.  The second video makes an argument for “Crowd Accelerated Innovation” and how this could possibly turn the 9 billion people on earth into “net contributors instead of net plunderers”. The third video presents a radically new educational model that actually engages the youth, and makes them want  to stay in school. Watch and learn.

Education Paradigms

RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

Video length: 11 mins. and 41 secs.

Learning in Real Life

Chris Anderson: How Video is driving innovation

Video length: 22 mins. and 3 secs.

The Studio School

Geoff Mulgan: A short intro to the Studio School

Video length: 6 mins. and 16 secs.

Steve Jobs. ‘Nuf Said!

“Do what you love.”

Steve JobsSteve Jobs



I can’t say that I love Apple. I’ve been pretty much excluded from their market for the most part. I tried once to sign up for an i-tunes store account to buy a song and I was informed that I couldn’t because my county wasn’t covered in the copyright ‘thingie’, so I never bothered coming back.

I do own an iPod classic that is 2 (plus) years old. It is the only Apple product I have ever purchased.  You’d wish you could take out the files you put into it, but besides that, I have no regrets there. I hear Apple products are really great stuff and I am inclined to believe this, because one, I love my iPod, two because I have never seen first hand a dissatisfied Apple customer, and three, because I watched a video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement address. If a man can tell his life story in 15 minutes, and make the kind of impact that he did with me, I can believe that he is capable of anything. Steve Jobs’ is a truly astonishing life and this (below) is the video that made me believe so.

The following video sums up the magnum opus that is Steve Jobs‘ life.

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (with intro by President John Hennessy)


‘Nuf said!

Picture courtesy of Apple.Com and video courtesy of Stanford University.