The beginning of a trend?

On September 24, taxi drivers in London staged a 1,000-strong protest around Westminster.  Among their list of complaints included their concern over the growth in use of the smartphone app, Uber.  Uber allows users to book transportation using their smartphone’s GPS.  You can track the whereabouts of your cab as it heads towards your location, and, once your journey is complete, pay for your cab online: no money changes hands.

London cabbies are not the first to complain about the app, and Uber is not the only mobile internet-based service to come under fire.  AirBnB has been in the headlines rather a lot recently for causing ripples in the hotel world.  And no wonder: aside from tax and other regulatory concerns, their rate of growth is staggering.  It took Hilton hotels 93 years to build up a worldwide capacity of 610,000 rooms, while AirBnB beat it in only 4.

I guess the question is, are cabbies and hoteliers attempting to resist the irresistible: the tide of change brought in by the advancement in mobile Internet technology and by users’ changing preferences?  And if the Ubers and AirBnBs are to form part of a new economy, how are we investigating such ideas in our classrooms?

Uber and AirBnB could be classified as examples of disruptive innovation: ideas so appealing they completely alter an existing market, or they create a new one for themselves.  A number of emerging technologies and ideas fall into this category, including additive manufacturing, Internet of Things, collaborative consumption, complementary currencies, crowdfunding, biomimicry and Cradle-to-Cradle design.  Each of these has the potential to create transformational change; all will likely form a part of our futures.

For four weeks starting on October 20, the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF) invites you to investigate such ideas, and to contribute your own.  Aimed at thinkers, makers, learners, doers and systems changers, the DIF is interested in exploring systems-level change for our economy.

Change doesn’t happen without education.  We have lined up a handful of key thinkers to contribute to the DIF.  Included in our schedule is Sir Ken Robinson, Guy Claxton, Alan November and Oliver Quinlan, and we will also have key educational inputs from experts in the circular economy and biomimicry. More than that, we want YOU to get actively involved.  You can apply to run your own Open Mic session within the DIF; or quiz those who have already put themselves forward.  The philosophy is straightforward: anyone can get involved, regardless of age, knowledge or experience.  Participate as a learner, contribute by asking questions, create by applying to run a session.  Just visit to get started.

We hope to see you there.


* Image sourced from here.

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