Our January Season Event
is about the future of Urban Mobility
Thursday, January 30, 18:30 - 21:15.
Head of Research & Development Unit, Goudappel Coffeng, Robert
Co-founder and CEO, PAL-V, Nick
Senior Business Developer, TomTom and Rohit
CEO, Fast Future Research
Season Event is about the future of Learning
Thursday, February 27, 18:30 - 21:15
collaboration between THNK,
the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership
and the Club
Senior Partner, itim International Carel Jacobs is senior consultant/trainer for itim in The
Netherlands, he is also Certification Agent for the Educational
Sector of the Hofstede Centre.
Can we introduce best practices in education across countries?
As a result of globalization, many people are becoming interested
in ranking systems which show how their own countries compare
with others on a variety of measures. The World Economic Forum
publishes an annual ranking of countries on economic competitiveness;
the United Nations a ranking on human development; the OECD publishes
comparisons on the quality of healthcare systems. Even a ranking
system for "happiness" can be found.
In this paper we
will explore the outcome of ranking countries on the quality of
education. In particular we will focus on a recent report "The
Learning Curve" (2013) published by The Economist Magazine's
Intelligence Unit. In this report an attempt was made to look
for "best practices" - approaches that systematically
lead to higher quality education thereby enabling policy makers
and practitioners in other countries to simply "copy and
paste" and work towards educational reforms that have proven
effective in raising educational achievement in some countries.
The surprising conclusion from this report, however, is that almost
no practices were found that could be implemented globally. The
authors explain that while the inputs to education - like money,
school choice, years in school, and teacher-pupil ratio's - can
be identified; and outputs can be compared looking at ranking
systems on measures of literacy, numeracy, and educational attainment;
what happens between input and output is very much a local issue.
They describe this country-specific process as a "black box",
implying that there is no systematic way to describe how the differences
in the teaching/learning process transforms inputs into outputs.
We will show that well-researched systematic differences in value
preferences across countries are vital for understanding the way
teaching/learning processes are handled. Using the seminal work
of Geert Hofstede on cultural differences, we will show that the
five culture dimensions he found provides an analytical tool for
understanding the local differences in educational policy and
teaching methods in school systems. Based on this cross-cultural
framework, we ask a fundamental question: is it possible to find
best practices that work worldwide in spite of these value differences?
In short this article attempts to:
Summarize recent rankings of educational performance across countries
and the influence of culture on these ranking systems.
culture is and how it influences the way we educate and learn.
practices", i.e. can we export practices across cultures.
Can we learn from each other while being so different?
Enlarge the discussion
of some key issues in education by incorporating a cultural
I. Ranking educational
In the field of education there are several systems used to compare
educational quality across countries, including: Progress in International
Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS); Trends in International Mathematics
and Science Study (TIMMS); and the Programme for International
Student Assessment (PISA). These approaches focus on benchmarking
the factors leading to achievement and, more specifically, trying
to identify what specific factors differentiate the highest achievers.
As professor Schleicher (OECD) says: "education debates are
no longer about the improvement by national standards. Best performing
countries now set the tone".
Recently the Economist
Intelligence Unit of the Economist Magazine published a new ranking
system: the Learning Curve Data Bank LCDB: country performance
in education. This report outlines the main findings from a large
body of internationally comparable education data. In the report
they provide an overall ranking (column 1) by comparing cognitive
skills attainment (column 2) which combines the results from the
PIRLS, TIMMS and Pisa systems, and scores of countries on the
highest degree of education individuals complete: "educational
attainment" (column 3).
The top 20 countries are shown below:
The most interesting result of the analyses, as summarized in this
report, is "how few correlations there are". In order
to explain this result, one observation is that in any number of
surveys researchers measure what is measurable. Usually inputs are
identified more than outputs because they are simpler and easier
to measure. However, the "softer" inputs of education
tend to be left out. The authors conclude: "These inputs, however
can be crucial, such as the cultural context in which education
occurs." The difficulty the writers admit is: "how do
you disentangle deeply embedded cultural values from social and
educational policies?" The quality and approach of teachers
plays a big role in this. Teachers are key transmitters of cultural
values. Much research has focused on: "what education systems
can do to ensure that they find teachers who add value". But
even here the report concludes that "the rules tend to be country
The how and what of education is very much connected to the culture
of the country at hand. A lot of different ideas exist about the
role and position of the teacher as well as expectations around
the "right" behavior of students. These key elements again
are highly linked to cultural values. In the Economist report culture
is discussed only in a very generic way. Education remains, in the
words of The Economist, "a black box (*5) in which inputs are
turned into outputs in ways that are difficult to predict or quantify
Looking at the black box above, we believe that it can be opened.
We will outline how culture can be used as the key. Culture, however,
is a vague term and is used in very different ways.
II. What is culture? How does culture influence the learning process?
a. About culture: the research of Geert Hofstede
We will first delve a little bit deeper in this notion of "culture".
As a starting point we take the results of the scientific research
by professor Geert Hofstede. Hofstede is widely recognized as
the one who did the most fundamental research on cultural differences(*6,7,8,9).
He defines culture as "the collective programming of the
mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of
people from others". Hofstede carried out fundamental research
into the dominant values of countries and the way in which they
influence behavior in organizations. Original data were based
on an extensive IBM database for which 116,000 questionnaires
were used in 72 countries and in 20 languages.
The results of his research were validated against about 40 cross-cultural
studies from a variety of disciplines. Analyzing his data, Hofstede
found five value clusters (or "dimensions") being the
most fundamental in understanding and explaining the differences
in answers to the single questions in his questionnaires. He measured
the differences and calculated scores for 56 countries on these
5 dimensions. Later research, partly done by others have extended
this to about a 100 countries. The combined scores for each country
explain variations in behavior of people and organizations. The
scores indicate the relative differences between cultures.
The five dimensions
of national culture identified by Hofstede are:
vs. collectivism (IDV)
Long Term Orientation
Country scores on
each dimension are ranked from low to high, i.e. from 0 to 100.
Please note that the score of a country is not meant to imply
that everyone in a particular society is programmed in exactly
the same way. There are considerable individual differences. But
when fundamental values of various societies are compared, 'majority
preferences' are found to exist, which occur again and again as
a result of the way children are brought up by their parents and
the educational system. And when we examine how societies organize
themselves, these majority preferences turn out to have a modifying
influence at all levels. They have an influence on the ways teacher
and students are expected to behave. Even the ideas of the objectives
of education are stated in different ways. For example in some
countries the objective of education is: to develop a critical
mind, which in other cultures is viewed as absurd. In these countries
students are supposed to try to learn as much as possible from
the older generation and only when you are fully initiated you
may communicate to have ideas of yourself.
Thursday, January 30, 2013, 18:30
Location: Info.nl- Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16,
1011 HB Amsterdam [Next to Nieuwmarkt]
Tickets: Euro 30, Euro 20 (Members etc.) or Euro 10 (Students)
event is supported by Info.nl & TPEX (TelePresence
and topics are
Head of Research & Development Unit, Goudappel Coffeng The 21 century: the end of the car mobility as we know it
Co-founder and CEO, PAL-V Flying cars, how will it affect future mobility?
Senior Business Developer, TomTom TomTom on Urban Mobility: The Future is Now
CEO, Fast Future Research Global Forces Shaping Urban Mobility
Haarlemmerweg 8a, 1014 BE Amsterdam (Westergasfabriek)
Euro 30, Euro
20 (Members etc.) or Euro
10 (Students) Ticket
conference language is English.
collaboration between THNK,
the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership
and the Club
event will take inspiration and use elements of the THNK Forum
format which is designed to deepen dialogue and elevate discussion
by asking questions and re-framing issues to lead to surprising
Beyond the lecture model The traditional
way to impart knowledge has been the lecture and question-and-answer
session. The message is usually completely fixed before it is
communicated. The question-and-answer session allows the audience
to get clarification and to put in critical comments. But it is
also often unfocused, because questions are dealt with haphazardly
as they are raised.
Going out of our comfort zone
Participants ask the questions and structure the dialogue; they
share the responsibility for an interesting outcome. It requires
commitment and courage. The experts in creative leadership are
encouraged to ask questions of the participants, to make it a
true dialogue; this means its a two-way street, and participants
need to abandon the comfortable position of being the only ones
Our "thought starters"
Beamer, Social Designer and Educator. Founder at Unexpect,
co-founder at Butterfly Works and NairoBits
Senior Partner, itim
International Can we introduce "best
practices" in education across countries?
Meat Atlas: facts and figures about the animals we eat
by Heinrich Böll Foundation and Friends of the Earth Europe
How overconsumption and intensive meat production wrecks the planet
Intensive meat and
dairy production is having an increasingly devastating impact
on society and the environment.
The way we produce
and consume meat and dairy needs a radical rethink. Our industrialised
production system is untenable, according to the report, since
it depends on scarce land and water resources, and passes on hidden
costs to the consumer. Curbs on corporate control over food need
to be implemented, it says, to reduce the impact on society and
The Meat Atlas aims
to catalyse the debate over the need for better, safer and more
sustainable food and farming and advocates clear individual and
Adrian Bebb, senior
food, agriculture and biodiversity campaigner for Friends of the
Earth Europe said:"Diet is no longer a private matter.
Every time we eat, we are making a political choice, and we are
impacting upon the lives of people around the world, on the environment,
biodiversity and the climate. Huge amounts of resources go into
the food on our plates. Sustainable alternatives exist to the
dominant destructive, corporate-controlled and intensive global
system for producing and consuming meat."
The report outlines the impact of intensive meat and dairy production
on freshwater usage and land. Worldwide agriculture consumes 70%
of available freshwater, one third of which goes towards raising
livestock. The increasingly intensive livestock sector is also
one of largest consumers of land and edible crops, with more than
40% of the annual output of wheat, rye, oats and maize used for
animal feed, and with one third of the world's 14 billion hectares
of cultivated land used to grow it.
To produce a kilo
of beef requires 15,500 litres of water the same amount
required to produce 12 kilos of wheat or 118 kilos of carrots.
To make a hamburger requires more than 3.5 square metres of land.
President Heinrich Boell Foundation:"Intensive meat
production isn't just torture for animals. It destroys the environment,
and devours great chunks of our raw materials which we import
from the global South as animal feed. After China, Europe is the
biggest importer of soya. Argentina and Brazil are dramatically
increasing their soya cultivation, and it's being fed almost exclusively
to the animals we slaughter. Rising meat consumption is forcing
up land prices. This has devastating consequences: Nearly a third
of the world's land is being used to grow animal feed. Meanwhile,
small farmers are losing their land and their livelihoods. That
schnitzel on our plates jeopardises the food security of many
people in the global South."
The report also warns that the trade talks between the EU
and the US risk pushing food and farming standards down on both
sides of the Atlantic.
Big food and biotech companies want to lift EU restrictions on
genetically modified (GM) foods and animal feeds, and are challenging
consumer labelling laws. They also want to undermine the EU's
'precautionary principle' which sets food safety standards, and
aim to further globalise and industrialise the meat industry.
and urbanism as a potent lever to contribute to an .ongoing
paradigmatical shift in world balances
and studies is one group trying to conceive, create and practice
architecture and urbanism as a potent lever to contribute to an
ongoing paradigmatical shift in world balances.
"We prefer to work with ecological materials such as wood,
straw bale, earth and stone construction, in a contemporary architecture
and a well-considered design. Since one spends his or her time
living and sleeping mainly inside buildings, we have minute attention
for the health effects of construction techniques and materials.
We advice self-builders in the design and construction of their
home, as well as we love to make renovations or additions to existing
Library of Muyinga
The first library of Muyinga, part of a future inclusive school
for deaf children, in locally sourced compressed earth blocks,
built with a participatory approach.
Sama & Kasa Niamey, Niger
An extension of the MNBH museum of earth architecture
Sama & Kasa (high and low in the Haoussa language) is the
project we presented for the pavilion, to promote earth architecture,
in the national museum Boubou-Hama in Niamey. Logically the project
was inspired by the vernacular architecture of Niger. It contains
characteristics of traditional materials, techniques and forms
to obtain a contemporary architecture in harmony with the local
8 Eco-tourism Hotel rooms
The Ben Abeba 'rock hewn hotel rooms' project aims at creating
a contemporary and ecologically sensitive architecture inspired
by the power of expression of the historical rock hewn churches
in the town of Lalibela.
impact of culture on education
by Huib Wursten, Senior Partner, itim International and
Carel Jacobs is senior consultant/trainer for itim in The Netherlands,
he is also Certification Agent for the Educational Sector of the
A report by Bytes
for All, Pakistan - a human rights organization with
a focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Pakistan's Internet revolution is a story of unprecedented,
sometimes contentious change, as this medium of communication
and information gains popularity in a largely conservative society.
A country that has always struggled with freedom of speech and
access to information has, at the same time, come to cherish
the freedom it has found to interact, communicate and stay informed
With Internet penetration
growing daily, there is great need for further discourse on
the impact of the internet, examined in a local context, especially
in relation to the state's increasing attempts to regulate and
The Pakistan Internet
landscape report aims to fuel that discourse, and will serve
as a reference point for the ongoing debate on Pakistan's online
space. The report outlines Internet control mechanisms deployed
by the government, and highlights existing legislation and its
application in relation to the internet. It provides a historical
perspective of Internet censorship in Pakistan and the move
to criminalize legitimate expression online. It also outlines
the state of internet surveillance, means deployed, and the
purpose and impact of such monitoring.
Lastly, the report
maps the existing Internet governance infrastructure and examines
different stakeholders' roles including those of government
bodies, the military, businesses, politicians, the judiciary
and radical religious groups, among others. The role of civil
society is also examined, with a discussion on the effectiveness
of citizens and organizations involved in the online space.
At its core, RoboEarth is a World Wide Web for robots: a giant
network and database repository where robots can share information
and learn from each other about their behavior and their environment.
Bringing a new meaning to the phrase experience is the best
teacher, the goal of RoboEarth is to allow robotic systems
to benefit from the experience of other robots, paving the way
for rapid advances in machine cognition and behaviour, and ultimately,
for more subtle and sophisticated human-machine interaction.
Written by a powerful
new voice in the field of multicultural education, Rosa Hernandez
Sheets draws from her extensive teaching experience in urban schools
to examine the learning issues of diverse student populations
from pre-school to high school. The first in its field to demonstrate
and explicate the interconnectedness of culture and cognition
to the teaching-learning process, Diversity Pedagogy: Examining
The Role Of Culture In The Teaching-Learning Process promotes
successful services for more students, especially those from underserved
communities. This text introduces a new theory - diversity pedagogy
- constructs explicit applications to practice by providing examples
of real-life classroom situations throughout, ultimately uniting
schooling, culture, and psychology.
a symbiosis of fabric
a Swiss innovative textile specialist, artistically fuses refined
weaves and light. eLumino is an exclusive textile
product with embroidered LED elements that shine, glow or shimmer
depending upon the desired look and which can even be dimmed.
When the two most sensuous furnishing elements, fabric and light,
are fused together the result is a work of art, a symbiosis of
a soft fluid weave and atmospheric lighting. An ingenious light
emitting curtain fabric which can be cut to size and processed
into curtaining that is so much more than mere window dressing.
It started with the creative design teams long coveted wish
for a harmonious fusion of light and textile. Again and again
attempts and fascinating experiments emerged. Finally LED technology
facilitated a union which met the exacting standards of Création
Baumann products both aesthetically and technically. The technology
was developed in a research project in close co-operation with
several partners, which included the company Forster Rohner AG
and the Lucerne University of Applied Science and Arts.
Within the embroidery integrated strip conductors and LED elements
generate a decorative pattern of spots of light on the fabric
that dim to three different levels of intensity. eLumino
has a cable which terminates in a USB plug for connection to the
power supply, but can also be operated by batteries.
Two fabric qualities display different designs. eLumino
Aves is a metallic, soft shimmering, opaque weave, which
can be sculptured and draped. The pattern spreads in a wide linear
border along the lower third of the curtain. The second design
eLumino Sema dances freely and dreamily in waves across
the delicate and soft transparent voile.
"eLumino can be used for stylish staging, in a sea
of light or as an individual panel in combination with the harmonised
uni fabrics Aves and Sema. The innovative
light emitting textiles conjure a wealth of ambiance and sensuality
into an apartment. The dimmable light displays and the flowing
fluid fabric generate textile light sculptures.
Imagining the Internet explores and provides insights into
the impact of Internet evolution. It exposes future possibilities
and provides a peek at the past. Here you will find the words
of many thousands of people from every corner of the world, from
today and yesterday, sharing thoughts about the likely future
Her 6,500-plus-page Imagining the Internet resource offers
thousands of expert predictions about the future of information
/ communications, and a section that allows anyone anywhere to
add predictions to the site. It also offers survey data, videos,
audio files, extensive sections on the future of the world and
the past history of communications, a KidZone, and a Teachers
Tips section. The site has won international acclaim, including
coverage in the New York Times and other national and international
Janna Anderson in an interview by FUTURIST
senior editor Patrick Tucker:
"I do believe that a face-to-face setting is an important
element of learning. The era of hyperconnectivity will require
that most professionals weave their careers and personal lives
into a blended mosaic of activity. Work and leisure will be interlaced
throughout waking hours, every day of the week. We need to move
away from the format of school time and non-school time, which
is no longer necessary. It was invented to facilitate the agrarian
and industrial economies.
and principals could inform students that they expect them to
learn outside of the classroom and beyond homework assignments.
The Internet plays a key role in that. Rather than classrooms,
one can see the possible emergence of learning centers where students
with no Internet access at home can go online, but everyone will
be working on a different project, not on the same lesson. You
can also imagine students making use of mobile and wireless technology
for purposes of learning.
we need to teach kids to value self-directed learning, teach them
how to learn on their own terms, and how to create an individual
time schedule. We need to combine face time with learning online.
And we cant be afraid to use the popular platforms like
text-messaging and social networks. As those tools become more
immersive, students will feel empowered and motivated to learn
on their own - more so than when they were stuck behind a desk."
of the Internet and Communications
Season Events 2013 / 2014
January 30, 2014 the
future of Urban Mobility January 30, 2014, 18:30 - 21:15
Sint Antoniesbreestraat 16, 1011 HB Amsterdam [Next
event is supported by Info.nl
& TPEX (TelePresence
February 27, 2014 the
future of Learning
The impact of culture on teaching and early learning.
February 27, 2014, 18:30 - 21:15
THNK, Haarlemmerweg 8a, 1014 BE Amsterdam (Westergasfabriek)
A collaboration between THNK, the Amsterdam School
of Creative Leadership and the Club of Amsterdam
March 27, 2014 the
Arts & Consciousness March 27, 2014, 18:30 - 21:15 (Amsterdam
Van Gendthallen (next to Roest), VOC-kade 10, Amsterdam
Co-location: The Vortex Dome, Los Angeles
collaboration between c3:
Center for Conscious Creativity, Vortex Immersion
Media, TPEX and the Club of Amsterdam
future of ... April 24, 2014, 18:30 - 21:15
May 29, 2014
the future of Green
Architecture May 29, 2014, 18:30 - 21:15
Location: Geelvinck Museum, Keizersgracht 633, 1017
Geelvinck Museum and
the Club of Amsterdam
future of ... June 26, 2014, 18:30 - 21:15