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Xero Gravity: Frances Valintine – Embracing automation

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On this episode of Xero Gravity, we’re chatting with educational futurist Frances Valintine. She’s the founder of The Mind Lab, a tech-focused collaborative space for kids and the more recent Tech Futures Lab for professional tech development. Frances joins us this week to discuss everything from automation and adapting to change to taking risks and welcoming failure.

After realizing that mainstream education wasn’t keeping up with the rapid changes of technology, Frances set out to make digital education more accessible to kids as well as teachers. “We launched The Mind Lab to get kids in front of robotics and electronics. To have them explore different types of software and collaboration around programming.”

“We’re in the middle of a messy debate over what skills we actually need in the workforce. Parents, grandparents, and teachers need to establish their views on tech, and then inform those views so a balanced conversation can be had about what careers the children of tomorrow will have,” says Frances. 768w, 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px" style="box-sizing: inherit; max-width: 616px; height: auto; margin-bottom: 30px; display: block; margin-top: 30px; width: 616px;">

And Frances has the same mindset when it comes to professional development – making the argument that “We can prepare for the age of automation instead of sticking our heads in the sand.” Preparing for automation means learning new skills and even being open to new career paths.“The human brain is a muscle that needs to be worked. We are responsible for our own livelihood,” she says.

Frances also makes the point that businesses need to push for and reward internal innovation – even if that means that people try and fail. “Usually innovation is the first thing to go. But we need to build a culture around a business saying that innovation is your lifeline. A parallel stream of income needs to be there if your main cash cow disappears,” she says.

Tune in to hear more from Frances on Xero Gravity #93. She’s sharing her thoughts on how we’re moving away from consumerism and towards a more sharing economy – she even shares a puppy! And don’t miss her advice on why we should all embrace our inner imposter.


If you enjoyed this episode, join us again next week when we chat with John McAvoy, the former criminal who is aiming to become the world’s best long-distance triathlete. Be sure to check out all of our previous episodes for more small business tips, resources and insights.

You can subscribe to Xero Gravity on iTunes and SoundCloud.

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Got a topic you’d like to hear discussed? Or a business expert you admire and would like to hear from? Let us know in the comments below!

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