Merging Hand and Mind


Xconomist Report

My pat answer is mathematics (the universal language), biology (in order to master non-linear, dynamic thinking especially related to complex systems and ecosystemic issues) and Chinese (since in 10 years Chinese will be even more important than it is today in both the commercial and scientific domains).

But let’s peek around the corner. Both design and the arts are going to become increasingly important. Why? First we must crack the problems of our lives being flooded by junk. We need to better understand the design ethos of ‘elegant minimalism’ and then we need to master the art of the sketch where hand and mind merge to expand our imagination. Imagination will soon count more than creativity, if it doesn’t already, because there is no deep reason to be creative if we can’t first imagine new worlds to create or enact.

But in addition, as complexity increases, our ability to communicate the complex in simple, authentic terms will become increasingly important in order to mobilize collective action. The ability to create sketches or other forms of visualization that evoke understanding and help coordinate action will be priceless.

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John Seely Brown is a visiting scholar at USC. He was previously chief scientist at Xerox Corporation and director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Follow @

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