Vivek Wadhwa on Education for Innovation and His Five Tech Industry Predictions for 2012
Washington Post columnist and academic at Singularity University (and other leading institutions) Vivek Wadhwa examined some of the myths surrounding education for tech careers in a provocative April 2011 TedxEmbarcadero talk (above).
In his talk, Prof. Wadhwa addressed some of the key questions facing educators and anyone planning on working in high tech industries.
Why are US companies going abroad to hire engineers?
Are Chinese and Indian universities turning out better-educated engineers - or are the workers in those countries simply cheaper?
Are there important distinctions between the Indian, Chinese and American higher education systems that prepare workers for the tech industries?
Are the American, Indian and Chinese Universities all really only good at turning out mediocre students - who need to be retrained to succeed at innovation?
Is it even possible to educate for innovation?
Does innovation = science and engineering graduation rates?
Or is there something else at work?
Where is R&D really centered?
Is China innovating or simply copying?
What about India?
Is India becoming as R&D hub with a unique potential? And, if so, why?
What do the Indians know about workforce development?
What are the best practices for interviewing, testing and re-educating that explain India's rise?
(Hint: Wadhwa says that the best Indian companies simply accept the inadequacy of the their country’s education system and - in response - they've developed their own highly innovative, training programs that more than compensate for the mediocre educations that Indian universities generally deliver.)
Is the American system of high-priced higher education (as Peter Theil has recently argued) a deeply flawed model for innovation - holding out false hopes of huge returns?
Is there a higher education bubble (just like the housing bubble) that is about to burst?
Or, as Professor Wadhwa argues, is higher education necessary, if only as a credential and a time to mature.
Is a university education still good value if it costs over $100,000 - because it provides a foundation that can be built upon (by more specialized training for innovators?) later?
Where will tomorrow's innovators come from?
And, while we're thinking about the future, in addition to his Tedx Talk, I've excerpted (from a December 2011 blogpost in Venture Beat) that contained Professor Wadha's predictions for the coming year (2012) in technology:
1. Social media will lose its sizzle.
2. The bubble will pop for the current crop of tech IPOs.
3. The worldwide tablet market will explode - driven by sub-$100 tablets.
4. Voice recognition will go mainstream.
5. Issues with the security of cloud computing will shake the tech industry.