Teaching the Future Today®

Are we preparing our students to thrive in the future?

If we assume that the future our students will be living and working in will be like the present, we are making a big mistake. Technology has the power to alter reality. Consider that most of what we do today was, at one time in human history, completely impossible. How have human beings been able to redefine what is possible over and over again throughout history? New technology has always provided us with the ability to redefine what is possible.

Never before in history has so much technology come together to create so much change so quickly, and the biggest changes have yet to come. As we move into a world of altered genes, microscopic-sized machines, and almost unlimited bandwidth and computer power, to mention only a few, will our students be ready?

Much of the future is unknown. It’s hard to teach something we don’t know. On the other hand, the driving forces of technical change are already in place and it is possible to see much of what the future will hold if we only take the time to look.

Educators need to understand as much about the future as possible in order to teach the future today! Does this mean that there is no place for teaching history? Of course not. We need to teach students that the past is fertile ground for learning many lessons they can use to shape and literally create a positive future.

What about the three Rs — Reading, ‘Riting and ‘Rithmetic? They are all relevant today and will be relevant tomorrow. However, we need to add the three Cs — Change, Creativity, and Communication.

Is our current school curriculum obsolete? No, but it is far from complete. English, math, science, history, art, music — all of the traditional subjects — will remain extremely important. How they are taught will change greatly with the increasing use of technology, but the subject categories of today are good.

Many subjects that teach interpersonal skills, such as sports and music, are being cut back at the present time but shouldn’t be. Foreign language skills can no longer be neglected. Two languages, at minimum, should be introduced when children are in the lower elementary grades when the ability to learn languages is at a peak, instead of waiting for junior or senior high when the ability has begun to atrophy.

We must widen our children’s horizons so they understand that the economy of the 21st century will be global in scope and they will be a part of it.

In my book Technotrends® I listed a set of 21st century basics that students would need to master in order to thrive in the future. The list is reprinted here and is meant to stimulate your thinking and help you create your own list, one that you feel is relevant for your children’s, or if you are a teacher your students’, future.

  1. Ability to demonstrate adaptability in a rapidly changing environment.
  2. Ability to communicate orally.
  3. Ability to work in collaboration with others.
  4. Ability to identify and apply the benefits of cultural diversity.
  5. Ability to identify and apply the benefits of being observant.
  6. Ability to identify and apply the benefits derived from service to others.
  7. Ability to focus and apply creative problem solving techniques.
  8. Ability to apply memorization techniques.
  9. Ability to learn new skills and assimilate new ideas quickly.
  10. Ability to take initiative and be self directed.
  11. Ability to apply abstract thinking techniques.
  12. Ability to identify problems and develop solutions.
  13. Ability to apply negotiating skills while demonstrating personal responsibility.
  14. Ability to demonstrate technological literacy in problem solving.
  15. Ability to apply computer technology to enhance task performance.
  16. Ability to find and communicate paper-based and digital information.

If we keep these student basics in mind — all of them are aimed at providing an education that is not frozen in time but upgradable in response to change — then there will be great latitude when it comes to teaching specific content.

The subject of the future has a self motivating component to it for all students. Let’s face it, they will spend the rest of their lives in the future. The more they know about it now, the more prepared they will be to thrive in it.

Watch the Reaction

Watch the reaction to Daniel Burrus’ Recent Keynote presentation.

Daniel Burrus has over three decades of being right about where things are going, which is evidenced by his long and diverse list of repeat clients. Daniel has worked with leaders from Fortune 500 companies, the Pentagon, and heads of State-delivering powerful insights and actionable strategies.

A ‘must-hear’ presentation.

Steven A. Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

Your thoughts on how to create an opportunity for change through a customer focus is the excellence our team is striving for. The framework you provided on innovation, creativity and customer value will be instituted as a management practiceto enable the technology infrastructure group to take Wells Fargo to the next stage.

Victor Nichols, Wells Fargo

By applying Daniel Burrus’ principles to our business, in less than a year we have been able to double our revenues and increase the value of our company by a factor of four, and we feel the biggest impact is yet to come.

Arni Bellini, CEO, ConnectWise

Recent Work

Recent Work

When IBM launched IBM Global Business Services with their top 40 industry experts to plan a game‑changing future for IBM, the only outside resource they used was Daniel Burrus. (The meeting was a great success, and he has continued to work with IBM).

When Vodafone launched its Global Mobile Enterprise service to Fortune 200 companies, they chose Daniel Burrus to deliver the message to C-level Executives in multiple national events.

When Deloitte gathered leaders from China and SE Asia for a major forecasting event, they chose Daniel Burrus. (Based on the success of that event, Deloitte has changed their industry-forecasting model to incorporate Burrus’ Hard-Trend methodology.

A Master at Tailoring Presentations

A master at tailoring his presentations to the specific needs of your audience, Daniel is a futurist keynote speaker who identifies game-changing trends and strategies to help you:

  • Empower audiences to take positive action.
  • Separate the Hard Trends that will happen from the Soft Trends than might happen
  • Learn which current and emerging technologies will have the biggest impact on your industry.
  • Learn how to creatively apply these technologies to create strategic value and competitive advantage.
  • Anticipate Disruptions, Problems, Customer Needs and New Opportunities
  • Learn how to leverage the skills and talents within your organization in new ways.
  • Learn how to use new tools to change the rules of your industry with honesty and integrity.
  • Learn powerful personal strategies for shaping your future.
Daniel Burrus’ Speaking Accolades

Daniel Burrus’ Accolades

  • The New York Times named Daniel as one of the top three gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.
  • One of the Top 21 Speakers For the 21st Century by Successful Meetings Magazine.
  • He has been voted by his peers and clients as one of the Top Five Futurists and Technology Speakers every year since the award program started.
  • A member of the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame.
  • He has delivered over 2,700 keynote speeches on six continents to audiences from 25 to 12,000.