Spotlight Stage SPL226
Thinking the Unthinkable – With Nik Gowing
Date Friday, Nov 29 Time – Room Potsdam III
Why leaders in education and technology must adapt faster than they realise to new unthinkable realities and disruption.
On multiple fronts the stability, certainty and assumption of personal self-improvement which we have all taken for granted for years and decades is at risk. The next generation of learners have never known adversity or the scale of disruption that today’s leaders are facing and wrestling with.
The ‘New Normal’ is not a blip. It is a new and irreversible direction of travel. There are even more testing and probably sinister new realities coming down the track. This is not pessimism. It is realism.
Nik Gowing shares latest concerning findings from the “Thinking the Unthinkable” project. Why do leaders struggle with unthinkables, or more accurately the unpalatables?
He argues that instability is what the next generation and those educating them must be trained and prepared for. This is even if it includes new levels of adversity. Most make easy assumptions about – on balance – how great life is and will be filled with new opportunities. But in this new era of unthinkables that is a dangerously flawed assumption. All involved must be prepared for the opposite.
We need to focus and prepare education for this new reality at all levels. The evidence for what is coming is not unthinkable. It is unpalatable.
International communications consultant and editor of the eLearning Africa Report, UK
Dr Harold Elletson is an International Communications Consultant and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Statecraft.
He is a founding director of the Africa Forum on Business, Investment and Security, a member of the steering committee of OEB, a member of the Organising Committee of eLearning Africa and a consultant to ICWE GmbH. He is also the editor of The eLearning Africa Report.
Dr Elletson was previously Director of the NATO Forum on Business and Security, which he created with support from the NATO Science Programme.
A former Member of the United Kingdom Parliament (from 1992-1997), he served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in the early stages of the peace process and was also a member of the Select Committee on Environmental affairs. He served as a member of the Lancashire Education Authority (the Education Committee of Lancashire County Council) before being elected to Parliament where he represented the interests of schools and colleges in his constituency in discussions with Ministers and on the floor of the House of Commons. He is a Fellow of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme and of the Industry and Parliament Trust.
As a communications and public affairs specialist, he has advised many leading companies on aspects of their business in challenging markets, including BP in Azerbaijan and Alstom in Siberia. He has written widely on political and historical subjects and his first book, The General Against the Kremlin, that was published by Little Brown. His journalism has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines. Dr Elletson holds a PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Bradford.
Author, former BBC World News presenter and visiting professor at Kings College and Nanyang University, UK
In 2018 Nik Gowing co-authored (with Chris Langdon) “Thinking the Unthinkable”. In this era of a new disruption leaders reveal that they are ‘scared’, ‘confused’ and ‘overwhelmed’ especially by the new short termism. Nik founded the ongoing, dynamic project in 2014.
Nik was a main news presenter for BBC World News 1996-2014. He presented The Hub with Nik Gowing, BBC World Debates, Dateline London.
For 18 years he worked at ITN. He was bureau chief in Rome and Warsaw, and Diplomatic Editor for Channel Four News (1988-1996). He has been on the councils of Chatham House (1998–2004), the Royal United Services Institute (2005–present), the Overseas Development Institute (2007-2014), the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (1996-2005).
Nik was been a Visiting Professor at Kings College, London and Nanyang University (NTU), Singapore. In 2018 advised the President of the UN General Assembly on leadership challenges.