Sunday, December 6, 2015

We need more walls!

For the last two years, a team of contractors, faculty and global collaboration experts have been working to create an incredible new space: HBX Live, a virtual classroom that connects students from anywhere in the world to a Harvard School of Business professor in Boston for a dynamic and engaging HBS-style discussion.
How does it work?  Participants from around the globe can log in and join real-time, case-based sessions with HBS faculty, who teach from the HBX Live studio on the Boston campus of public broadcaster, WGBH.  In the studio, high resolution monitors are arrayed to mimic the tiers of an HBS classroom. Sessions are expertly “produced” using still and roaming cameras—so realistically that we have had participants break out in a sweat as they experience a professor moving toward them. 
You can see this AMAZING technology in action in this 3 minute video:
And then, it hit me.
After Paris. After the San Bernardino shooting. After all of the talk of BUILDING MORE WALLS - building walls to keep people out, building walls to keep us safe. YES! We DO need more walls!
HD Video Walls.
Why can’t this same amazing technology be used to BREAK DOWN barriers? Why not use this amazing global collaboration technology to meet our neighbors? Truly meet them - deeply get to know our GLOBAL neighbors, no matter where they might live, no matter where they were born.
Strangers have been coming together for years, living on college campuses. Sharing dorm rooms. Joining fraternities, playing on sports teams. Sharing meals in cafeterias. Lifelong friendships have been formed. Strangers from around the world, people from the most diverse cultures, all becoming friends and colleagues. We have done it for years. It can be done.
It is so easy to hate people you never met. It is easy to be afraid of cultures we have never experienced.
Technology like the amazing video wall at Harvard Business School was built for a reason: it works. It allows people from around the world to work together and collaborate as a unified team. If this amazing technology works for the world of business - why would it not work for the world of…..well just THE WORLD?
I agree that we need more walls.  We need walls that unify. Walls that bring us together, not walls that keep us apart. Did you see the video from the International Space Station this week? We all share a single home, we all share this one tiny, fragile planet.
We need more walls. We need lots and lots of walls. We need enough walls so that we can allow ALL of the children to get to know each other. Let them learn together, let them play together. Let them form friendships. Hatred is learned, we are not born to hate. We are taught to hate.  Well, then we need to un-teach it. Classmates, emphasis on the two combined words: Class and Mates.
It will not happen overnight, but it will happen. It must happen. We are smarter than this, right? We are smart enough to make a video like the one below, and we cannot address this issue? How many HD Video walls can we build and deploy around the world, for the cost of just one trip to space?

 We all share one planet. Why not share one global classroom?