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The Book of Lifelong (L)earning

Thousands of youth have already validated pathways to jobs. Why not put together a career guide based on those actual validated pathways?

Photo of Dave Zinsman
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Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?

This will help 16-24-year-old talent chart their career and learning path, and give real examples of how to navigate that path.

How is your idea specifically increasing access to employment opportunities and pathways for young people?

This is a peer-to-peer resource that allows the reader to discover several actual pathways that worked for their peers.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Make a brief pamphlet that represents all of the component parts of the proposed book, and test it out with youth.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to receive from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?

Art, copy, advice, hoorays, boos, any and all input is hugely appreciated!

The idea emerged from:

  • A group brainstorm

How do you envision your idea being implemented?

  • Keen to prototype it, find partners and pursue implementation

55 comments

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Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

Dave, cool idea!
What if, instead of a book, you had like a website? I really liked the example page. What if people could somehow add to the site and share their stories. You could provide a template, and they could fill it out. Then, website visitors could search the stories.
I mean, some stories would be more helpful than others, and I'm not sure you'd want to include all of them, but professionals would probably be willing to share how they got to where they are now. Being in high school, lots of times I see people with really cool jobs and wonder, "How did they get there?"
Obviously, people can take opposite paths and end in the same place, but it's always good to be inspired by the paths of others.
There could also be some place for visitors to ask the people sharing their stories questions or advice. Just thinking!

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hey Gavin,

Thanks! Anything is possible, and you're right, a website should definitely be in the mix. One of the reasons why I like the idea of having a published book as part of this product concept is to incentivize youth to actually get IN to the book, and "get published." Online publishing via personal blogs, LinkedIn, etc., is great but doesn't do a lot to help youth stand out. Employers and college admissions officers are awash in a sea of online profiles, blogs, etc.--very hard for someone to stand out.

Imagine instead if a youth job applicant can put on a CV:

"featured in The Book of Lifelong Learning, (2015) p. 204, Pearson, ISBN: 978-3-16-148410-0"

I love the potential you highlight about taking the book to the web, and creating a community! Also, there would be some interesting synergies between Lifelong (L)earning products and Real World Challenge experiences in the classroom--let's cross-design!

Photo of Sarah Klein
Team

This is a great idea, but I echo Gavin's concern about a book vs. e-format. Yes, of course both formats can exist, but in today's world, the book may become outdated very quickly. Also, will the book be accessible financially and physically to those who live in developing areas and have limited financial resources? Perhaps rather than a book, to provide the cache of "being published" to participating youth, this project could partner with a well-known periodical like Time Magazine, National Geographic, Business Week, etc. to release a special edition and then emphasize the e-format of this resource. What do you think?

Photo of Gavin Cosgrave
Team

I like the idea of partnering with a magazine. It would be hard to get started, but it would be a great format for this (especially if you wanted to print it).
Just because it is a website, doesn't mean you can't feature a certain number of stories. You could just pick 20 or 50 or 100, and stick with those. By limiting it, you're kind of making it a competition. What personal story is better than another person's story? Success means different things. So, how would you choose, and what would that reflect? Just the ambition of the person?

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Thanks Sarah! Yes I agree, there are many ways the content could be distributed, and condensed paperback, via special feature in a periodical, etc. all work! I think the idea with all of our ideas on this project is to cast as wide a net as possible. You just never know who/what entity would be keen to publish and distribute this content--the more applications that are part of the pitch, the better

I was thinking that from a feasibility standpoint, a condensed paperback printed version may actually be necessary for youth without sufficient access to computers or broadband internet.

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Definitely, Gavin. The website and related social media campaign with user-selected/voted "best practices" identified for publishing. A panel could choose the stories based on several factors, ambition being one of them, but I think it would be more fun and effective to have the crowd vote the best stories into the published book/magazine special/etc.

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

I love the idea of an e-version as suggested by Gavin and Sarah; I'll start a basic website for it. I'd love your help! If you'd like me to add you as an author, send me an email and I'll add you!

Photo of Sarah Klein
Team

Hi Dave and Gavin,

Lots of great points. Perhaps the more formats the book could take, the better.

While this project could help youth add the credential/honor of being part of this project to their resumes, I hesitate to fully push for the framework of "competition" or exclusivity being related to this project. I hesitate because the competition framework may help youth who already have great experience add further great experience to their resumes while leaving those who have not been as fortunate and/or are at earlier stages in their careers in the dust.

Is there a way the website could use a model similar to that of OpenIDEO, i.e. there are certain "winners" or highlighted experiences but everyone can openly share their experiences and receive applause? Where this deviates from a crowd-vote competition is that rather than viewing it as a competition, it could be presented as a collaboration somehow, just like OpenIDEO. Maybe people would vote/applaud not based on factors like ambition but on helpfulness, relatability--something that connects people and emphasizes this project's utility as a tool rather than the job search version of American Idol. Thoughts?

Also, thanks for the invite, Dave! I'll shoot you an email later today.

~ Sarah

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Great point on being careful about making publishing a competition. I visualize crowd voting as a function of two things:

- "Likes or Applauds" similar to what we see on Facebook
and
- "Traffic" similar to what we see on Facebook--"Your friend liked this"

So then, the basic idea is for best practices to be identified as a function of those aspects as opposed to a "vote for your favorite" campaign.

Scaling these types of functionalities for a global-facing website is definitely going down the road of series A funding and beyond, but I'm more than happy to pursue anything feasible and viable to present to CGI!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Fab discussion emerging from your promising kernel, Dave! Excited to see where it will lead in terms of further prototyping...

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Thanks, Meena! We're starting a really scrappy hack--we'll see how it morphs!

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Dave and all!
Great idea and conversation. I filled out your questionnaire which I liked as well! My impression is that this can be a tool for youth to react to and perhaps see parts of themselves in others. I was thinking like Gavin that it would be great to be able to put oneself into it and therefore also thought of a website.
I also was thinking about a deck of cards rather than a book. I like the deck of cards idea as a tool that one can sort through and make into piles. Piles of bios that resonate. Immediate reactions which can then be sorted again. What about that bio can I relate to? Sometimes one is fearful or anxious about their experiences and skills. When they see how someone builds from the same type of experience and turns it into a positive attribute that can be enlightening and empowering. Many times one has to be their own PR person. For a young person this is not easy. Seeing how others negotiate this space can be extremely useful. One can see a reflection of their own experiences in that of another. Perhaps you can use a website in a similar way. A space where one can read, sort, resort - exploring the paths that others take. I see it as a big pin up board of interesting people with interesting paths.
Excited to see how this builds Dave!

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hey Bettina,

Cards--love it! That also opens up into game category which I hadn't thought about previously. A lot of people also suggest an interactive and social website that provides peer-to-peer advice on job pathways, which of course could also extend the information exchanged to opportunity exchange. Definitely should be part of the customer journey! I'm loving your cards idea, and you'll see it up soon. We've got a basic website that we're starting up, let me know if you'd like to add you as an author--would love to see any cards design input!

Photo of Aristides Nakos
Team

Dave,

You have started a tsunami. This idea can have a tantamount effect on youth.

As a teacher I find it very hard to motivate students to read. How about we play their game instead? The internet is increasingly becoming more interactive and more accessible to all.

Ways to make this interactive:

1)Create a map with pins of youth or current adults in their current residency. Click on the person and it can physically show you a trajectory from their initial point (point A) to their current point (point B). Almost like asking Google to direct you to your next location. This ties in with the lunchbox idea, where we can see life is NOT linear.

2)Create filters in a way like arranging a deck of cards as Sarah mentioned. For instance, the user mentions a set of key words and a location to narrow down their query results.

Pamphlets should be considered, but for a low start-up cost the internet might be the best option here.

Curious to hear more from other open-minded-IDEOlogists.

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Thanks, Aristides!

For sure, a web-based implementation would be awesome--something we're working on right now. If the goal of the resource is to empower and inspire youth to take action on their (L)earning, the basic customer journey would be:

information > query > discovery > connection

Whereas compelling information is the first touch point:

A) information: "oh cool that's a clever way of getting a job"

B) query: "I wonder if there are any clever pathways in/on here for what I like to do"

C) discovery: "There are a bunch of cool ways others have done what I'd like to do, sweet!"

D) connection: "Here are a bunch of people/places in my area where I can start this journey"

What do you think of this basic customer journey? Pluses, minuses, scalability?

Photo of Hima Batavia
Team

I love this idea, Dave! Even as a young (employed) professional - I am constantly pondering the "how" of those who I admire, so I can imagine how impactful this could be a tool to generate inspiration, motivation and action. It could be kind of interesting to pair it with mentoring opportunities from those who share their path / stories, as a paid/free/application process. Couple of models come to mind: 10000 cups of coffee (application process to get mentoring time with top executives) and Clarity.fm (per hour rate with experts for mentoring).

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Thanks for the model input, Hima! That's something that we're exploring. "What are the potential touch points that could stem from the resource?" I'm definitely with you there--it would be great to learn about how those you admire got where they are! There are lots of "you can too" books out there from wildly successful people. Those things are cool, but sometimes it's like "become a billionaire? Right now, I just want to find a cool job."

It may be that peer-to-peer advice on professional success holds more value than billionaire-to-whomever advice on how to become a billionaire.

How about you, any ideas in the works?

Photo of Robin Smith
Team

Dave, do you have a team? If you are recruiting , I'd love to be part of it and figure out how I could help? I have access to computer programmers, artists, writers,.. I write a bit too. (smile)
Anyway, your idea is one of the more exciting ones put forward, and I believe the most user (student, job seeker) friendly.

Anyway, keep me in mind.
Robin

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Of course you're welcome; we need all the minds we can get! Will post a collaboration platform in the coming days. Talk soon, thanks!

Photo of Robin Smith
Team

Fantastic! don't know where I'll fit in but we will see.
Robin

Photo of Robin Smith
Team

Dave
What about mentor cards (seeking to gain or be a mentor) -- set by geography and/or interest! I know from some of my online communities (stage32 is an example) that you need not be geographic neighbors to connect, assist, encourage or mentor! Job seekers your a Omentor card to seek a mentor, mentors use a +Mentor card to add themselves as mentors -- again in either a geographic or interest based listing of searchable cards.

Also, golden cards (like a Wonka golden ticket?) show extra-ordinary approaches to the whole job/ career search. Fantastic chances taken that paid off, life changing advice, a golden opportunity NOT missed, extraordinary stories! Challenges overcome, or a stroke of insight, inspiration or a twist that propelled someone into something great! Like that photoArtist working now for Coca Cola, that created his own job by seeing photography in a whole new way...
Wonder boy I think he's called.

Like any sale there has to be room for those that go off the charts or outside the lines!

Robin

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