by Natasha Juliana

What do fighter jet cockpits and public school classrooms have in common?

The second annual TEDx Sonoma County entertained a wide range of topics focused around this one simple word:”More”. Needless to say, the day proved that when it comes to “more”, we have plenty of “ideas worth sharing.”

Back to the initial question. Here’s the answer: They both thought that designing to the average was the best way to accommodate the largest number of people. The air force quickly figured out this is not the case. In fact, no one is actually ‘average’ in all dimensions so by designing a cockpit for this imaginary person, they were in the end designing for no one. So what did they do? They banned the average and instead required that their cockpits be designed to the edges. You know what they came up with? Adjustable seats! Seriously! So simple, yet so effective.

And here’s where our first speaker of the day and author of “Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers”, Todd Rose, takes this lesson and runs…education is making the same mistake the air force did. We’re designing curriculum for the ‘average’ student, of which there are NONE! Instead, the average hurts everyone and destroys talent. For example, a student very strong in science but behind in reading can’t excel in her talent because it’s text book based. Luckily, we are at a pivotal time in history with amazing technology available to create flexible learning environments and do more than average. Instead, we can design our curriculum to the edges.

It’s exciting and inspiring to think of how many industries could apply this simple concept. Could yours?

Natasha Juliana is co-owner of WORK: Independent Modern Workspace with her husband Matt. They live in Petaluma with their daughter, beagle, three chickens, and turtle. Curious about coWORKing? Contact Natasha and she’ll give you the low-down.