Monthly Archives: septembre 2014

The last step, before the next – Merci !

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Dear Mirror Networkers,

Please do not let your summer end yet.
Breaks allow us to think, imagine and dream; pauses enable us to reflect, understand and dive in.
I hope that accompanying me in the Mirror Network world tour gave you the opportunity to do exactly that: step back and look closer.
When I planned this journey I had in mind one question: why?
Why are so many people and organizations unaware of the latest educational innovations accessible to them to improve their lives?
Why are the main actors of the educational sector not communicating more to increase their impact and performance?
Why is education becoming a business and under which terms?
I ended the trip with another question: what for?
On the professional side, I realized that I did this trip not only to understand the evolution of the knowledge economy better, but to find the best way for me to contribute to its positive development. I travelled and analyzed for facilitating change at a larger scale.
On the personal side, I realized that this trip has allowed me to find an answer to the question I asked myself when I lost my mum last December: what had her impact on my life been? She did not only raised me, she helped me rise. I travelled and reached out for the best ways to empower people, including the children I wish to have one day.
Of course, I am not the only one with questions.
You, and many others, have been asking me for conclusions.
Since I came back to Paris two weeks ago I have been trying to organize my thoughts and memories so I could share with you today, not conclusions but the basis of my next departure point.
Conclusions from my 1st brain:
- humans, or more precisely their brains, will be the precious resource everyone will try to tap into in the 21st century, combining them with artificial intelligences
- yet, the educational systems and tools we are using globally are not adapted to prepare us to face the challenges and opportunities we are confronted to
- more specifically, the gap between populations and the new frontiers (technological, scientific, technical, etc.) is already huge and will not stop increasing; condemning masses to a new kind of poverty while new elites will orient not only powers but humanity
- nevertheless, to drive these forces and build a sustainable and profitable future for all, new empowerment mechanisms need to be identified and put into place
- pedagogy has outgrown classrooms to invade the public and corporate space; raising awareness on new skills for the 21st century, giving more people the chance to manage digital tools, enabling new kinds of communities to be formed and developed, will be among the conditions for organizations and countries to move forward
- education has become a business but not only, education is now an investment, research and playing field; knowledge management through people management appears to be a common goal for the public, private and non-profit sectors
- but what is specific to the field is that all these different actors will be forced to cooperate in order to play their own role; when it comes to managing human resources and to pave the way to the future of leaving, it demands connexions because no one is big enough to make the giant move on its own (in terms of needed investments, frames, tools, leadership, etc.) – for the better!
- maybe through this field we will be able to invent new ways of collective leverage as the issues we are facing are indeed global: evolution of the way we work, we live, we communicate, we have fun, we dream…
Conclusions from my 2nd brain:
- ice-cream is the big winner in the dessert category; everywhere it is the most enjoyed one – summer is not over indeed!
- pizzas win the savory contest globally; from slices, to squares to big rounds, they delight
- gastronomy is a global passion, seducing more and more aficionados
Conclusions are not endings.
They allow us to pause and they allow me to thank you.
Thank you for welcoming these letters, for opening your doors and minds, for sharing moments and conversations, for being part of this incredible journey.
This is my main conclusion, people, you, my children, the next generations, are my what for.
I have decided to use Mirror Network to serve:
- organizations wishing to invest in the business of education
=> for funds, incubators, enterprises to identify profitable yet impactful opportunities
- parents of the 21st century
=> they hold the future and need to understand it to orient it
While building these two proposals, I will more closely focus on time, space and communities management.
The blog will continue to be active as I will keep on posting on all the innovative ventures, tools, leaders I come across.
This time, I am actually asking for your help: send me or directly post articles about your organizations, or others, that you think would be of interest to investors and/or parents.
I hope to gather all of us in an active community to give us the perspective we are lacking over the business of education locally and globally.
If we do not build our own community it will only be a loss of money, time and energy as we will replicate models, avoid fruitful collaborations and fight for the same little piece of land instead of discovering new grounds.
We have a shot at being pioneers, we have the chance to be in the know, let’s build efficiently and make our dreams more powerful by sharing them – it is the only way.
I will be working towards these two goals and looking for opportunities to develop the solutions I am building.
If you wish to keep receiving information or to participate in this endeavor, I will be very happy to connect with you more directly.
The world is open, and it is ours to shape!
All the best with your next steps, I look forward to sharing some


Argentina, the RElindo REturn of education

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Dear Mirror Networkers,

I first discovered Argentina last June when I got invited to speak at the Youth Innovation Festival in Buenos Aires. I used to say that if and when I visited Latin America I would most certainly stay there. Well, I can now confirm that Argentina has this effect on people. It is not only the fantastic meat, the tango, the immensity; it is something more, deeply rooted in the Argentinian culture that makes you want to be a part of it.

Argentinians always put a « re » in front of their adjectives to emphasize them. Emphasis suits the country very well; nothing there is mediocre. Argentina was the leader of Latin America for decades thanks to its agriculture and dynamic exportations. At that time, they implemented a large public educational system – from primary school to university – that has done a great job until the past twenty years. The state of education in Argentina appears to be very correlated with its economy. It flourished and then started to fail ending up in an important crisis.

Today, Argentina has to face many challenges. First of all, teachers are poorly and randomly trained in many centers all over the country created to provide a professional future to citizens in rural areas, as they were cheaper to develop than any other type of academic institutions. In Argentina, almost anybody can become a teacher; you just need to apply and then to add up points – if you have a degree for example –. Following these simple steps and without any evaluation, you will most likely get a position somewhere where teachers are lacking. Of course there are some specific educational sciences university tracks but generally, almost no teacher knows about pedagogy. In some areas, not only will they accept anybody as a teacher but they will even ask some of them to serve more then 10 schools at a time, they are called “taxi-teachers”.

Secondly, it is important to pay attention to the quality of the school administration. Indeed, only teachers can become principals and take administrative charges after years of practice and by adding more points. Nevertheless, despite their merit, they will never receive any kind of training on how to manage a school from its finances to its human resources. Many schools therefore end up failing their communities because of poor management.

The Argentinian educational system did not become decadent only because of the schools; it takes more than that. The other main issue resides in the lack of motivation and trust from the people. Very few Argentinian families still value education as a great way to move forward in life and in society. The number of adults without their graduation diploma is unbelievable and usually the rule is not to finish school. If and when they do, they hardly ever chose engineering careers and alike demanding paths, which is deplored massively by corporate, academic and public leaders. At the same time, Argentina both welcomes many under-qualified workers and loses well-trained brains fleeing abroad. This process results in an under-developed and empowered workforce damaging the country’s chances of success and innovation.

Finally, politicians have a clear view on all these issues but yet not all of them seem concerned by the situation. Corruption is important and populists discourses too.

The situation appears to be stuck, and yet, Argentina is always and will always be full of surprises and well-deserved pride.

Despite the visible decline and increasing poverty rates, one can feel the exciting new beginning carried by some very innovative and talented individuals and organizations busy waking up their country. Entrepreneurship in Argentina today is the new grail. Many start ups, incubators, investors, public programs, are pushing forward new ways to learn and work.  This dynamic ecosystem tackles Argentinian educational issues one by one: Acamica and Wizzboo are two digital platforms facilitating e-learning around entrepreneurial skills; Kuepa is also a website that builds on the “bachilleratos populares” these courses opened for everyone in ancient factories where all teachers are volunteers and help people graduate from high school; new types of incubators like Incutex also help building the future of education by investing and accompanying closely some of the most promising young enterprises dealing with education such as Netbel which provides efficient management tools to schools; the public sector also can contribute to this awakening efforts as the “BA Emprende” program from the Buenos Aires city government – they designed very specific curriculum for citizens, teachers, students, and communities to embrace entrepreneurship and they wish to empower them to take ownership of their own lives; finally the private sector participates in this exciting process by joining forces in foundations and philanthropic initiatives such as the very dynamic and accurate “Fundacion Cordoba Mejora” which develops a leadership program for school directors with the help of many CEOs and head of businesses from the region.

Argentina is dealing with its issues as a society and it is impressive to see how everyone is taking his or her role seriously. Some want to awake, some want to give away tools, others wish to provide jobs, and all want to move the situation forward building this exciting community of knowledge. Entrepreneurship is not only a campaign theme; it is the core of Argentina’s fierce spirit.

Running in a park of Buenos Aires and thinking about my own enterprise and the Mirror Network trip I realized that I did it, I toured the world. I always thought it would all start in France and end there when in fact the journey started and ended in Argentina. That’s the thing with life adventures; you hardly ever know where they start and where they are going to take you. I have been lucky enough to be invited to share my story at the TEDx Cordoba conference and it has been a pleasure to end the voyage in such agreeable and cheering company.

If you are interested and can speak a little Spanish please check out the video of the event:

It has been hard to summarize such a trip in a few slides but I understood that it will be very important for me to share the lessons I learned and the conclusions I made only for others to feel capable of starting their own journey. I have been writing a lot about the importance of questions in my previous letters and I maintain that interrogations are the starting point of anything and everything. Argentina is a vivid example: only with questioning the established system can they revamp the country’s educational system. Questions lead to entrepreneurship, and that concerns us all.

Until the next and final letter,

Enjoy the ride and think about your next beginning!


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