In the midst of the global pandemic, we have learned that resilience is going to be the most in demand skill for the foreseeable future. Kids who learn to be resilient will have a distinct advantage over those who have not developed this skill.
The global pandemic has brought about many changes. One of the most noticeable is an increased use of technology to help navigate our lives. Customers are ordering groceries online. Businesses are utilizing contactless delivery & checkout. If you look around, you will notice that the use of technology has dramatically increased. Functionality that we thought would have taken years to implement is being used real time after a development period of just a few months.
As we look at the firms that are leading these innovations, they are by and large those that take risks. While Amazon has been criticized over the years for their very public failures, the reality is that you can’t invent anything new if you only invest in projects that have a proven chance of success. There are times that you really need to swing for the fences in order to see what the team is truly capable. So, while they may have missed with the Amazon phone, it is hard to argue that their ability to get items to our homes in 2 hours or less with Amazon Prime is unprecedented.
For restaurants, they have historically relied on reservations and customers consuming their food on site. To remain stuck to that model would have meant certain failure. Instead, restaurants adapted their offering to carryout and delivery. While there are some companies like Domino’s and Jimmy Johns that have these offerings in their DNA, there were quite a few resilient restaurants that were able to adapt. More often that not, their adaptation required an investment in technology.
With more and more people staying at home, we’ve seen an explosion of content being created. From podcasts to TikTok videos, people are expressing their creativity like never before. While it would have been easy and more than acceptable to sit home and ride out the pandemic, there were a number of resilient educators, fitness instructors and chefs who have been able to build massive audiences because of the utility of their content.
In nearly every industry and every geography, there has been a consistent theme of resilience. Through resilience those who may have been counted out have adapted. In startup lexicon, they call this a pivot. However, I think there is something more fundamental that can be learned by our kids. If you can adapt quickly to an ever changing world and carve a path despite rapid changes in the environment and circumstances, you will be successful.
From an education perspective, there is no better training ground for resilience development than learning to build with technology. While there are high level boundary conditions such as the structure, syntax, logic, and grammar of a given programming language or hardware development platform, the reality is that technology tools are more akin to a blank canvas. These platforms and tools are designed to push the boundaries. As students learn more about the platforms, they inevitably will try to execute functionality or features that don’t quite work.
When this happens, they must revisit their assumptions and figure out why things didn’t go as planned. In technology, this can happen hundreds or thousands of times depending on the scope of a project. Through the learning process, students will often figure out where the gap was in their algorithm and go in and modify the logic to achieve the desired outcome. As they develop a body of work in building technology projects, the confidence for being able to solve anything that comes their way increases.
Eventually, this resilience is transferred beyond their technology projects into events and circumstances in their life. As they realize that environmental changes like a global pandemic is simply another problem to be solved, they can approach that not from a position of frustration or fear. Instead, they can realize that they simply need to figure out how to adapt to the circumstance.
While other subjects can simulate contrived problem solving, technology in unparalleled when it comes to providing examples of open-ended, ambiguous problems. To provide your child with a leg up going forward, its wise to invest in teaching them how to solve problems with technology. They will appreciate the resilience and you can be confident in the fact that they are ready for anything that might come their way.