International Teachers’ Day: allow my Swedish reflection & appraisal

This day, I would like to praise three individuals I have met and worked with over the last two years in a globally recognized CSR initiative for HCL technology I managed together with Liselotte Hägertz Engstam. They are three real intrapreneurs and unsung  every day heroes within the Swedish education system. I am sure there are plenty around them so let them represent their combined team effort:

As we all know by now that the future of education is uncertain, critical and in desperate need for radical transformation (as highlighted well, at least according to me, by RSA):

Ref: RSA on Changing Education Paradigm)

It is wise to praise role models that sparkle, inspire and facilitate change in a direction that is suitable, feasible and doable while also building strategic capabilities, here among our teachers and later students, in a direction of useful competencies, global fit and inclusiveness.

My blog is about how to act, contribute as a professional – in a global context, as an individual, an employee or an employer, in a company, in an organization or in the public sector – within the nation, and how to drive that change. Big topic, yes, and we need to build totally new capabilities and competencies across all levels to keep status quo, to be competitive or to simply survive.

I have worked in an international context for 20 years in virtual teams in the IT industry. I passionately believe that our kids today increasingly have an unleveraged potential to work across borders, in virtual ad hoc teams etc. The way they play World of Warcraft or plan activities using social media is not much different with how Pharma companies develop or disqualify new drugs, the way software is being developed in distributed collaborative environment — and SW/services is the major value component in any product today.  However, the way kids use technology today is not leveraged by the school system. The system sucks. The students are disengaged. There is a gap between the school plan and reality. The school system and the way we teach / train / prepare our students are not fully aligned with how the world looks like, in my perspective:

  • Foster values and capabilities to prosper in virtual environments
  • Deploy new technologies such as social media in education more aggressively
  • Create awareness, trust and respect of opportunities around BRICS countries
  • Establish personal contacts between individual students in BRICS
  • Collaborative –crowd sourcing of education  — whatever that is – to evolve into a new way of life-long learning
  • Build a platform and context for constant change, innovation and entrepreneurship
  • How behavioral economics / gamification passionately can drive student engagement
  • Acknowledge that we are global citizens in a local context

I admire all the teachers doing an extremely important job, in a context and structure that is outdated, for students that lack global reality check or accountability, having absent parents. Keep up the spirit! However, my three heroes of today:

From “The Stockholm City Global Citizen Program”: Gunilla Söderström & Lennart Kågestam


Gunilla & Lennart, from Stockholms Stads Utbildningsförvaltning, has – together with the principals of Stockholm Upper Secondary Schools – in many years now, rolled out a comprehensive awareness program about China and India and Swedish with education relevance, inviting business leaders, leading scholars & academics, artists, politicians and NGOs to share what is going on, what is needed etc. The inspired principals are getting mobilzed for change and has so far in their turn created field trips for students to India and China to learn, to get contacts, to teach etc. I have participated now since early 2011 and am totally blown away of how much competence there is around this topic that is not shared in media as a positive story.

The mathematics is simple. Each school send 5-10 kids to India / China a year or more, 10 schools, 5 years => 250-500 personal contacts that will take us as a small nation closer to a tipping point where kids really believe in China and India. The meetings that Gunilla & Lennart facilitates are leading edge, bottom up, aligning business, school and students in a unique, practical way. They deserve more publicity and recognition for this program even if they have received recognition from the Tällberg Foundation in 2011 already…    

The third hero is one (of many) true innovators and enablers behind the …

From “Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship”:Mikolaj Norek


Mikolaj Norek is a like Gunilla & Lennart well connected a true entrepreneurship butterfly who spends a significant amount of time at Universities in India and Sweden. He is a true global citizen and a key enabler to the unique program or Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship. Being closer to business than Upper Secondary School, he is also active in the Global Citizen Program, but his and SSES teams’ key contribution here is the creation and delivery of a cross discipline course in Entrepreneurship (giving same academic credits!) covering architecture, arts, economy, university, technology and medicine. If a small country like Sweden is to prosper in the future we need entrepreneurships, new companies, service design capabilities and ability to bring ideas to new markets. SSES is one true relevant initiative in the right direction.

The activities you have done to transform the education system is suitable for all schools.

Have a good weekend!  Heroes! Respect!

About klingerii

Twitter: @klingerii
This entry was posted in Brainstorming. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s