"The Future of Rural" | Friedman Seminar | Tufts University
RFI Executive Director Chuck Schroeder and RFI Associate Executive Director Connie Remiers-Hild presented at the Friedman Seminar Series at Tufts University on April 4, 2018. Their presentation was entitled, "The Future of Rural."
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[00:00:03.184]I want to get started as quickly as we can here,
[00:00:05.850]and give our guests the hour that they deserve.
[00:00:09.440]Before I do that, a quick announcement
[00:00:11.220]on behalf of the school is on the screen.
[00:00:13.440]There's the Nutrition Data Summit taking place in the fall.
[00:00:17.440]Very much coming from interest from students,
[00:00:21.330]so you can find information on this,
[00:00:23.670]and I expect that you're probably
[00:00:24.960]already getting information on it,
[00:00:26.860]but something you should be looking forward to in the fall.
[00:00:30.230]With that, I know most of the people here.
[00:00:33.270]I'm Tim Griffin of the AFE program.
[00:00:35.583]You can imagine my excitement about
[00:00:38.332]having our guests here today
[00:00:40.970]from the University of Nebraska, as many of you,
[00:00:43.360]especially the AFE students know,
[00:00:45.460]I went to the University of Nebraska
[00:00:47.350]for my first two degrees.
[00:00:49.370]Grew up in the midwest, and I've been talking to RFI
[00:00:53.090]over the last year, and this is one thing
[00:00:56.220]we came up with last April in about the first 20 minutes
[00:00:59.290]of our conversation was we need to get together.
[00:01:03.040]And very much with the idea that we should be having
[00:01:07.130]conversations about positive opportunities
[00:01:10.890]that link rural and urban areas,
[00:01:13.240]both in the United States and outside of the United States.
[00:01:16.880]Our conversation over the last day and a half
[00:01:18.960]has been very much in that vein.
[00:01:22.130]We have two presenters today.
[00:01:24.330]We have Chuck Schroeder,
[00:01:25.630]and I'll let Chuck introduce his role.
[00:01:29.080]And we have Connie Reimers-Hild,
[00:01:31.150]and I'll let Connie introduce her role.
[00:01:33.720]I asked them as usual, to keep it to about 45 minutes,
[00:01:37.370]and then we will have some time for discussion.
[00:01:40.960]Students in the room probably already know
[00:01:43.390]that if you've seen information
[00:01:45.220]that there is a lunch afterwards upstairs.
[00:01:48.450]They've met with some undergrad
[00:01:49.760]and graduate students already,
[00:01:51.000]but it's another opportunity to do so.
[00:01:53.860]I don't know, Chuck, are you first?
[00:01:56.575]I'm gonna turn it over to Chuck,
[00:01:57.408]and let's welcome our guests.
[00:02:08.670]Well, what am I doing here?
[00:02:13.870]This always happens.
[00:02:18.120]I figured there was another presentation
[00:02:21.140]there somewhere, right?
[00:02:22.670]Well listen, good afternoon.
[00:02:23.600]I can't tell you what a delight it has been
[00:02:27.830]for Connie and me, as well as two colleagues,
[00:02:33.380]Lisa Klein and Katelyn Ideus,
[00:02:36.640]who are also here from the Rural Futures Institute
[00:02:38.700]at the University of Nebraska,
[00:02:40.020]to spend the last couple of days
[00:02:43.380]here at Tufts and at Harvard.
[00:02:45.650]We've been here long enough.
[00:02:46.730]I see some familiar faces,
[00:02:48.500]so it's already feeling kinda like home.
[00:02:51.860]I'm the founding executive director
[00:02:53.470]of the Rural Futures Institute,
[00:02:54.930]which was a big idea founded at the University of Nebraska,
[00:03:00.580]around the notion of shouldn't there be some place
[00:03:04.580]on the planet where we bring together
[00:03:08.040]the broadest array of resources?
[00:03:10.680]Harnessing the resources of the University of Nebraska
[00:03:13.820]and its partners, and that circle of partners
[00:03:16.530]has been expanding here over the last couple of days,
[00:03:20.020]where we could perhaps wrestle with
[00:03:22.720]the broadest array of challenges to rural people and places?
[00:03:28.230]Our big, hairy, audacious goal
[00:03:30.440]at the Rural Futures Institute
[00:03:32.000]is a thriving, high touch, high tech future for rural.
[00:03:38.860]We're very serious about both sides of that equation.
[00:03:42.280]We've spent a lot of time over the years
[00:03:44.900]thinking about the high tech side,
[00:03:47.310]and the importance of connectivity,
[00:03:48.930]and we'll talk a little more about that.
[00:03:50.540]Enormously important, but you know what?
[00:03:53.350]It is still all about people.
[00:03:55.100]It is still all about people and relationships.
[00:03:59.860]Human connections to one another, locally and broadly
[00:04:04.360]in order to achieve that high touch, high tech future
[00:04:08.910]where we believe communities can best thrive.
[00:04:12.243]If you are followers of Science Senate,
[00:04:14.150]you know that he says it's not just the what you do
[00:04:18.360]that's important, it's the why
[00:04:20.860]that creates the foundation for the things
[00:04:23.430]that you're gonna hear more about
[00:04:24.770]through my presentation and Connie's.
[00:04:27.440]I want to walk through a few of our core beliefs
[00:04:31.730]at the institute, and by the way,
[00:04:33.320]as I shared with a group this morning,
[00:04:35.430]these are not just theoretical,
[00:04:37.130]oh wouldn't that be nice things
[00:04:39.324]that you'd like to put on your resume to say,
[00:04:41.580]yes these things (mumbling) are what I'm all about.
[00:04:45.000]No, what we're gonna share with you,
[00:04:46.830]these beliefs are based in our observations of success
[00:04:52.000]in rural communities.
[00:04:53.420]Number one, and most fundamental,
[00:04:56.020]we believe in people's capacity to shape their own futures.
[00:05:01.550]You can read all the mega-trends that you want
[00:05:04.610]about how rural communities can't be successful,
[00:05:07.610]they're this, they're that,
[00:05:08.680]they're too far from the interstate,
[00:05:10.240]they're too small a population.
[00:05:13.070]All of that's great, except when you get down to individuals
[00:05:18.050]who are making decisions about what's going to happen
[00:05:21.530]to them, their families, and their communities.
[00:05:24.750]By the way, they're making a difference.
[00:05:28.970]We believe that communities are not just localities,
[00:05:32.280]but also networked groups of individuals
[00:05:35.610]working together toward a common goal and shared purpose.
[00:05:38.200]It's important to understand,
[00:05:39.710]because as we think about communities,
[00:05:41.540]indeed we think about Ord, Nebraska,
[00:05:44.970]and Seward, and places like that,
[00:05:47.150]but we also think about communities of practice.
[00:05:49.660]Folks that are working in and around the rural realm.
[00:05:53.200]By the way, we feel that we've added to that
[00:05:56.750]community of practice this morning
[00:05:58.560]with some students that we met with,
[00:06:00.900]the folks that we met with at Harvard Law
[00:06:03.150]a couple of days ago.
[00:06:06.030]It is important that we think about connectivity
[00:06:10.770]and creativity involving communities.
[00:06:14.130]Not only of location, but of practice.
[00:06:16.901]This whole idea of creativity,
[00:06:19.390]we had the notion come up this morning
[00:06:22.400]that while what we hear and what we think about
[00:06:24.750]rural communities is there's a lack of creativity,
[00:06:28.310]and that whole intellectual firepower.
[00:06:31.490]Well unfortunately, it's just not true.
[00:06:34.360]Richard Florida, who's a fellow that I worked with
[00:06:37.160]a good bit when I was in Oklahoma
[00:06:40.200]talks a bit about the creative class.
[00:06:42.420]Which by the way, is not confined to urban settings.
[00:06:46.390]But the important thing about creativity
[00:06:48.090]is that we think about it,
[00:06:49.440]and this is such a critical issue for rural communities,
[00:06:52.930]it's not just about business development.
[00:06:56.860]It's not just about technology,
[00:06:59.630]but creativity combines science and technology,
[00:07:02.967]and business management professions,
[00:07:04.710]art, design, entertainment.
[00:07:07.510]And in a small community, that has to happen.
[00:07:12.430]That's where the energy comes from
[00:07:14.690]is when we cross those sectors,
[00:07:17.090]and it's where creativity happens.
[00:07:19.040]We believe that leaders, by the way,
[00:07:20.890]are known by their vision, their ideas,
[00:07:22.630]their energy, passion and engagement in collective action.
[00:07:26.150]If you hear nothing else this afternoon,
[00:07:30.570]underline this notion of leadership.
[00:07:33.630]What we know about successful, thriving rural communities
[00:07:37.210]is it's not about population.
[00:07:40.060]It's not about how close they are
[00:07:41.620]to an interstate or an airport.
[00:07:44.070]It isn't about the mix of the local economy.
[00:07:48.230]It is always, always about leadership.
[00:07:52.580]It's about who's there, not where they are.
[00:07:55.390]By the way, in today's world,
[00:07:57.290]leaders are no longer defined by title or by heritage.
[00:08:01.930]Leadership in a rural community is no longer defined by
[00:08:04.390]the four oldest, fattest, whitest haired guys in town
[00:08:06.990]making all the decisions like they have
[00:08:08.427]for the last 40 years.
[00:08:10.120]It is defined by those folks in that community
[00:08:13.540]who have a vision.
[00:08:14.530]Who say here's, we're not okay with where we are.
[00:08:17.920]We think we know where we'd like to go as a community,
[00:08:20.377]and we have by the way, a core group of us
[00:08:24.480]that want to move in that direction.
[00:08:27.000]Those are the leaders that we try
[00:08:28.910]being in the business of empowering with information,
[00:08:32.690]with inspiration, with connectivity,
[00:08:34.780]in order to achieve their dreams.
[00:08:37.070]Entrepreneurs are individuals in communities
[00:08:40.040]that combine strategic foresight
[00:08:42.050]and grit to take action to reach their desired futures.
[00:08:44.780]Entrepreneurship is the key.
[00:08:46.950]By the way, it's not strictly economic entrepreneurship.
[00:08:50.680]Yes, we're interested in small business development,
[00:08:53.240]startups, using the resources of both human
[00:08:56.890]and natural resources in a community
[00:08:58.840]to start new enterprises that are reflective
[00:09:01.670]of the assets that are there.
[00:09:02.677]But we're also talking about social entrepreneurship.
[00:09:05.670]Rethinking what our community looks like.
[00:09:08.900]How we draw people into the circle of leadership
[00:09:13.590]in a community that weren't there before.
[00:09:16.210]We believe also that diverse and inclusive leadership
[00:09:20.770]is needed to propel communities forward.
[00:09:22.860]Again, we're seeing this happen.
[00:09:26.040]We're seeing a new generation of leaders
[00:09:28.610]in rural communities say, we can't just rely on the cosmos
[00:09:34.320]to drive change in our community.
[00:09:37.330]We're gonna have to take purposeful action
[00:09:39.930]in order to draw new residents in our community
[00:09:43.810]who are otherwise being left out of the circle.
[00:09:47.070]We're gonna invite 'em in.
[00:09:49.040]One of our good friends in West Point, Nebraska
[00:09:51.750]who's now well in his 70s,
[00:09:54.197]has been one of those change agents said,
[00:09:56.380]we just say invite 'em to church.
[00:09:57.900]We don't care what church.
[00:09:59.050]Just invite them to come.
[00:10:00.750]Come to the church social.
[00:10:02.100]Come be a part of some conversation,
[00:10:04.127]because once they're there once, you'll find them
[00:10:07.200]showing up at other events in the community.
[00:10:10.896]This whole idea of drawing new people into the circle
[00:10:15.530]gets around to this idea of shared creativity.
[00:10:19.050]Because creativity, unlike land, labor and capital,
[00:10:22.290]those things that we thought of as the key resources
[00:10:25.650]for economic development in the past,
[00:10:28.330]they could be depleted.
[00:10:29.800]Creativity, not so.
[00:10:32.160]Creativity builds on itself.
[00:10:33.960]Energy brings energy.
[00:10:35.320]We try to be in the business
[00:10:37.730]of encouraging those creative types
[00:10:40.900]to come into leadership roles in the community.
[00:10:43.380]We believe that our complex future requires mutual respect,
[00:10:46.950]collaboration between rural and urban.
[00:10:50.180]One of the principle reasons that we're here at Tufts
[00:10:54.030]is to connect rural and urban.
[00:10:56.730]We've had so many fascinating experiences
[00:10:59.150]over the last two days,
[00:11:00.620]but we know that we need each other.
[00:11:03.630]A whole rural urban divide is a myth
[00:11:06.040]that we would like to bust.
[00:11:09.110]What we also know.
[00:11:10.780]When we think about rural communities
[00:11:13.040]and connecting to urban communities,
[00:11:15.320]we know that creativity attracts creativity.
[00:11:18.530]Creative people attract other creative people.
[00:11:21.410]The more we can make that connection,
[00:11:23.390]the more that we can bring creative people together,
[00:11:26.679]the more success we're gonna have in rural communities.
[00:11:30.710]I'm gonna end my section of this
[00:11:32.780]going through six characteristics
[00:11:36.260]of a successful rural community.
[00:11:38.100]We had a study was commissioned a few years ago
[00:11:41.590]by Dr. Lindsay Hastings at the University of Nebraska,
[00:11:44.160]who looked at some rural communities
[00:11:46.460]that had been successful in transferring leadership
[00:11:50.070]generation to generation.
[00:11:53.110]Her findings, we found actually apply
[00:11:56.890]to virtually every successful rural community
[00:11:59.553]that we dealt with.
[00:12:00.530]Number one has to be leadership that matters.
[00:12:03.320]Again, leadership that's not just occupying a seat,
[00:12:07.320]that's not just so proud of being elected mayor,
[00:12:10.140]but are actually getting up every day and saying,
[00:12:12.200]okay, what actions can I take to draw people into the circle
[00:12:17.870]to encourage their creativity, to make my community better?
[00:12:22.890]Deliberate efforts to invite people into leadership roles
[00:12:25.500]who might not otherwise participate.
[00:12:26.970]We've touched on that.
[00:12:28.260]Willingness to invest in the community.
[00:12:31.960]We find rural communities that are really thriving today
[00:12:35.530]who are not sitting around waiting
[00:12:38.100]for the next big smoke stack to come to town
[00:12:40.500]and create an economy.
[00:12:43.240]West Point, Nebraska, Connie's hometown.
[00:12:46.290]Wonderful community that has thrived now for generations.
[00:12:50.170]They have business, after business, after business
[00:12:52.780]on Main Street that were established
[00:12:55.110]by groups of one, two, three, six local investors
[00:12:59.370]who have said, you know, our community would be stronger
[00:13:03.090]if we had that business.
[00:13:04.350]I don't care if it's terribly profitable.
[00:13:06.390]I want it to break even.
[00:13:07.690]But my business would be better
[00:13:09.340]if that business were here, so they invest.
[00:13:13.400]Fear is not a barrier to taking steps
[00:13:15.670]toward a desired objective.
[00:13:18.420]Towns like (mumbling), it's really a big deal.
[00:13:22.516]When we talk to folks in rural communities
[00:13:25.890]where they really have driven a renaissance
[00:13:28.240]and we say, well how did that happen?
[00:13:30.400]Hastings, Nebraska, their downtown redevelopment leader said
[00:13:34.600]5-4 votes of the city council,
[00:13:36.530]we figured out the cavalry (mumbling).
[00:13:40.680]And we're gonna have to take charge.
[00:13:42.950]And it was 5-4 votes of the city council.
[00:13:45.090]This was not Kumbaya at 4-H camp.
[00:13:47.540]Strong social networks.
[00:13:49.590]This is not everybody in town being on Facebook,
[00:13:52.160]Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.
[00:13:54.013]This is people coming out, sit down together and say,
[00:14:00.090]what could we do as a community
[00:14:01.620]that would make this a better place?
[00:14:04.210]Those communities that are making it, do this purposely.
[00:14:07.640]It isn't by accident.
[00:14:09.500]It isn't by accident.
[00:14:11.390]Finally, and most importantly, we've got T-shirts.
[00:14:14.510]If you want one, I'm sure we could get one to you.
[00:14:17.020]Hopeful vision backed by grit.
[00:14:19.780]Those communities that are making it have said,
[00:14:25.170]we're not okay with where we are.
[00:14:26.700]We believe that we can be better
[00:14:29.680]because I'm working and living around people who have hope.
[00:14:33.930]By the way, we're willing to take risk.
[00:14:38.210]We're willing to kinda fight it out in our decision making.
[00:14:42.370]And we're gonna see to it that this community
[00:14:45.260]is a better place than it's been.
[00:14:47.126]At this point, I'm gonna invite my colleague,
[00:14:49.690]Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild,
[00:14:50.900]who's the associate executive director
[00:14:52.980]and chief futurist at RFI to come talk to you.
[00:14:56.799]Great, thank you Chuck.
[00:14:59.240]Okay, so this is kind of the reaction I get.
[00:15:02.643]Let me get there.
[00:15:03.960]When people hear that I am the chief futurist.
[00:15:06.960]It goes one of two ways.
[00:15:08.210]Oh, that's really cool.
[00:15:09.230]Like how can I become one of those?
[00:15:10.840]Or futuring, yeah right.
[00:15:13.890]Like, what exactly is that?
[00:15:15.530]I do want to explain a little bit about what that is,
[00:15:18.380]and why this type of work is so critical
[00:15:20.630]to our mission at the Rural Futures Institute.
[00:15:23.630]Many times, people think the future, and futuring,
[00:15:27.620]also used as strategic foresight,
[00:15:29.700]I use those two terms interchangeably,
[00:15:31.760]you start at point A, and you move
[00:15:34.230]to the future like point B.
[00:15:36.160]You're actually predicting the future.
[00:15:38.540]Telling people what their future's gonna be.
[00:15:40.800]Sort of looking in that crystal ball
[00:15:42.970]and helping them understand that.
[00:15:45.040]But actually it's not like that at all.
[00:15:47.090]Futuring is really a science, it's a discipline.
[00:15:49.590]Now it's relatively new
[00:15:50.720]compared to some of the disciplines
[00:15:52.240]that are studied here at Tufts and other universities
[00:15:55.060]like our university system in Nebraska.
[00:15:58.400]But as we all know, I mean I think we're all
[00:16:00.340]at the point in our lives, we can sometimes see
[00:16:02.480]that the future looks a little more like this, right?
[00:16:05.880]We're at point A, but there are actually
[00:16:08.300]many plausible futures in our path.
[00:16:10.900]Many different ways we could go,
[00:16:12.330]decisions that we could make,
[00:16:14.140]but also other things that are gonna happen
[00:16:15.810]that we can't always predict.
[00:16:17.930]So strategic foresight and futuring
[00:16:19.630]are not an exact science,
[00:16:21.540]but it's really that science of looking forward.
[00:16:24.110]You're planning for the future.
[00:16:26.140]And it's the methodology,
[00:16:27.512]but that's really married up to the mindset.
[00:16:30.480]We now know that mindset's incredibly important
[00:16:33.120]to achieve outcomes.
[00:16:34.130]We have to believe things are possible.
[00:16:36.590]Just like many of the communities Chuck mentioned.
[00:16:38.950]If they believe their future is going to be
[00:16:41.510]one of opportunity and growth,
[00:16:43.410]then that's what's gonna happen.
[00:16:45.210]But if they believe it's gonna be desolate,
[00:16:47.850]that also will happen.
[00:16:49.360]They have to choose, they have to make those choices,
[00:16:51.750]and we want to help them with that.
[00:16:53.880]But it's also looking at the future and looking forward.
[00:16:57.210]What do we really want this to be?
[00:16:58.750]What do we really want to experience while we're here?
[00:17:01.980]What do we want our communities to experience?
[00:17:04.210]Just like the community of Tufts.
[00:17:05.970]I think with Tim hosting us here, it's been so fascinating
[00:17:09.141]and great to meet the students and the faculty,
[00:17:12.170]and just kinda feel the atmosphere, right?
[00:17:15.880]Feel the future as we're sitting here in these meetings
[00:17:19.030]and getting to meet with incredible people.
[00:17:21.740]It's recognized now as the core leadership competency.
[00:17:24.430]Why do you think that is?
[00:17:26.660]I have spent years in the classroom,
[00:17:28.480]so I am gonna call on people if I get desperate.
[00:17:31.828]I do want this to be a bit interactive.
[00:17:34.000]Why do you think now is a time
[00:17:35.820]to infuse strategic foresight and futuring into leadership?
[00:17:40.290]What do we experience right now?
[00:17:44.250]Say that a little louder.
[00:17:58.800]There's a lot of uncertainty, right?
[00:18:00.950]We can't just know everything about one thing anymore.
[00:18:04.050]It's about bringing people together and thoughts together,
[00:18:07.120]and taking those systems approaches
[00:18:09.230]much like you do here at the Friedman School.
[00:18:12.150]What, other thoughts?
[00:18:16.250]You look like you have a thought,
[00:18:17.820]and you're in the front row.
[00:18:18.670]Thank you. That's great.
[00:18:21.043]Because not everybody has it.
[00:18:26.153]Not everybody has it all the time.
[00:18:29.230]Expand what you're thinking, though.
[00:18:30.080]Not everybody has it.
[00:18:31.010]Not everybody has it all the time.
[00:18:36.370]It's not easy to look forward
[00:18:38.580]and see multiple plausible futures at the time ahead of you,
[00:18:43.602]and try to figure out a way to either choose
[00:18:46.260]which of those you think (mumbling),
[00:18:48.738]and how do you take the next step to get there.
[00:18:50.415]Great. Thank you.
[00:18:51.700]Yeah, this isn't necessarily a strength
[00:18:54.030]for everybody, right?
[00:18:55.060]We don't naturally have this or possess this.
[00:18:57.080]Now I didn't really always realize that
[00:18:59.440]I was a little bit of a futurist.
[00:19:00.880]Even when I was little, it was just something that
[00:19:03.550]sort of I was born with.
[00:19:04.500]It is one of my top strengths,
[00:19:05.810]if you take a tool like the Gallup StrengthsFinder.
[00:19:08.470]And for a long time, I always wondered why
[00:19:10.580]I was this person, like I was literally 10 years out here
[00:19:13.730]somewhere in my mind.
[00:19:15.668]It's sort of like where science fiction
[00:19:18.480]eventually meets science fact.
[00:19:20.720]I think that's where, and I'm gonna borrow that
[00:19:23.320]from the Thor movies because I am
[00:19:24.850]a bit of a science fiction junkie and nerd.
[00:19:28.441]But you know, it's really having
[00:19:30.830]a different view of the world.
[00:19:31.900]Actually, when I was in high school,
[00:19:33.340]now and this is, I'm not gonna totally age myself,
[00:19:34.977]but this was a long time ago.
[00:19:36.760]Just want you to know.
[00:19:37.593]It's been a while.
[00:19:38.870]I was actually, and I grew up in West Point, Nebraska,
[00:19:41.730]for the most part, a small town.
[00:19:43.962]And this is before the internet, or Facebook, or Twitter,
[00:19:47.000]but I could see where bottled water
[00:19:48.750]was gonna be a really big thing.
[00:19:50.290]I was like, okay mom, dad, I just need you to know this.
[00:19:53.030]And of course they're looking at me like,
[00:19:55.160]who are you? (laughs)
[00:19:57.070]What exactly are you trying to say?
[00:19:59.260]Well you could see this growth,
[00:20:00.627]and then of course about 10 years later,
[00:20:02.830]they're like, oh Connie,
[00:20:03.663]we really should've listened to you on that one, right?
[00:20:06.260]And so it's not that I always make
[00:20:08.300]the best investment decisions, or use that knowledge,
[00:20:11.220]but it is something where you can bring
[00:20:12.590]a lot of disparate phenomenon or data together
[00:20:15.090]and put it together in a very cohesive way
[00:20:17.340]to create those different alternatives and scenarios.
[00:20:20.670]Because we are seeing this pace of change
[00:20:22.510]at an increasingly rapid rate, right?
[00:20:25.210]Again, the future consists of many plausible outcomes.
[00:20:27.970]There's not just point A to point B.
[00:20:30.090]There's a lot that happens in between there.
[00:20:32.410]But also, people have the capacity,
[00:20:34.510]and I think this is very, very important.
[00:20:36.730]People have the capacity to influence those outcomes
[00:20:39.645]through their beliefs, their behaviors, and their mindsets.
[00:20:44.050]But there are also things that happen, right?
[00:20:45.880]In the world of futuring, we call these wildcards.
[00:20:48.560]Those things that you don't always foresee happening.
[00:20:50.910]The things that sort of strike you and you're like,
[00:20:53.790]oh wow, I totally didn't see that coming.
[00:20:56.600]So natural disasters we can think of as a wildcard.
[00:21:00.250]That can be a drought, it can be a tornado,
[00:21:03.370]it can be a hurricane.
[00:21:04.490]Things we can't always predict.
[00:21:05.850]We know that they're going to happen at some point.
[00:21:08.640]I mean, that's the likelihood.
[00:21:10.190]But we don't exactly know when, or how big, or how small.
[00:21:14.400]Health, you know you can have just personally
[00:21:17.500]a health situation that you didn't see coming.
[00:21:20.200]Now it mighta been in the making for a while,
[00:21:22.710]but at the same time you could be riding your bike, right?
[00:21:25.990]We know there's a lot of biking going on here.
[00:21:27.850]Riding your bike and have a major bike accident.
[00:21:30.410]That changes the outcome.
[00:21:32.640]Things like the stock market.
[00:21:34.770]Different financial situations throughout the world
[00:21:37.500]have an influence and impact on what happens.
[00:21:40.060]Those outcomes, right?
[00:21:42.320]You can even win the lottery.
[00:21:44.220]Now you have to buy a ticket to play, right?
[00:21:45.790]We know that.
[00:21:46.950]But you could inherit a large sum of money, for example.
[00:21:49.730]So wildcards don't always have to be negative.
[00:21:51.660]They can also be very positive.
[00:21:53.760]But again, if I would've won the Mega Millions
[00:21:56.550]at 520 million, I probably wouldn't be here, Tim.
[00:21:59.370]I'm sorry, but my goal with that was to call in rich,
[00:22:02.650]and just be done, right?
[00:22:04.495]So these types of things can happen.
[00:22:06.520]Again, that will influence those outcomes.
[00:22:08.480]It will influence the trajectory, or our path.
[00:22:12.530]But it's also mindset, right?
[00:22:14.720]We have to keep that path, know where we want to go,
[00:22:17.520]and keep working towards it, even against those odds,
[00:22:20.370]regardless of those wildcards, right?
[00:22:23.220]Everything that can be invented has been invented,
[00:22:26.280]and this was by Charles Duell,
[00:22:27.830]commissioner of the US Office of Patents in 1899.
[00:22:32.680]Now could you imagine if he could get in a time machine
[00:22:35.810]from 1899 and be transported here now?
[00:22:40.040]What he would think.
[00:22:40.900]I mean, what do you think his thoughts would be?
[00:22:44.630]I mean I hear little laughs and stuff,
[00:22:46.560]but seriously, that would be amazing, wouldn't it?
[00:22:49.180]To come from 1899 to the period in time
[00:22:51.950]that we're living in now.
[00:22:53.570]Let along, I'd love to beam myself
[00:22:55.320]100 years to the future sometimes
[00:22:56.960]to see what that really looks like, because we don't know.
[00:23:00.060]But has everything been invented?
[00:23:02.820]What do you believe?
[00:23:04.030]How many of you think yes?
[00:23:05.210]Like, I think it's all been invented
[00:23:07.610]and we're just kind of riffin' off some of the stuff now.
[00:23:10.700]How many of you think there's a lot more
[00:23:12.110]to do in this space?
[00:23:15.010]Yay, I'm so glad.
[00:23:17.190]Yes, and that's the mindset we need to have, right?
[00:23:19.150]We still have not just innovations
[00:23:22.030]in terms of technology to create.
[00:23:23.630]That will continue to happen.
[00:23:25.610]When we talk about innovation and the future,
[00:23:27.700]we talk about new partnerships,
[00:23:29.440]much like the reason RFI is here at Tufts right now.
[00:23:33.560]How can we bring new partnerships into this space?
[00:23:35.910]What new partnerships or programs can we create?
[00:23:39.230]It might be a technology solution, but it might not be.
[00:23:41.960]It might be a new collaboration.
[00:23:44.050]The key is that it has to get used somehow.
[00:23:46.120]We have to move from that creative space
[00:23:48.500]into the actual innovation of implementation and action.
[00:23:53.190]This is actually old data from like a year ago,
[00:23:55.400]so this has increased exponentially.
[00:23:57.730]But we know the world is changing
[00:23:59.310]at an increasingly rapid rate.
[00:24:00.980]I mean, you think about it.
[00:24:02.660]Again, I'll age myself a little bit,
[00:24:04.550]but when I first started listening to music,
[00:24:07.160]it was on an 8-track.
[00:24:09.080]How many of you have ever even seen that?
[00:24:11.750]Yeah, okay, so I still have a few.
[00:24:14.423]I was always hoping they'd make a comeback,
[00:24:16.340]but I don't think that's happening.
[00:24:18.060]The records have, but you know,
[00:24:19.810]I just remembered our 8-track player,
[00:24:21.870]and you'd have to be really patient
[00:24:24.440]'cause there wasn't a good way
[00:24:25.810]to really get to the next song, right?
[00:24:28.510]And then pretty soon, you had the boombox,
[00:24:31.670]and that was awesome, 'cause I'm like, yeah, portable music.
[00:24:34.470]It's like, 20 pounds.
[00:24:36.360]I mean, this thing was huge, right?
[00:24:38.270]But those cassettes were really sturdy.
[00:24:39.710]I still have some.
[00:24:40.560]I once in a while run into one.
[00:24:42.880]And then you move to the Walkman with the cassette,
[00:24:46.970]and pretty soon that was a DVD.
[00:24:49.480]So I think I have all these things in my house.
[00:24:51.910]It'd be kinda fun to just display them
[00:24:53.480]in a museum I think, at some point.
[00:24:55.360]The progression of all this.
[00:24:57.770]I would've never thought growing up,
[00:24:59.460]or as a teenager in high school
[00:25:01.470]that some day I'd be able to use my phone for music.
[00:25:04.590]I didn't see that coming, right?
[00:25:08.260]In thinking about how that's disrupted things
[00:25:10.250]like the music industry, for example,
[00:25:12.590]and how they've had to change their business model,
[00:25:14.770]this is where so many industries are,
[00:25:16.230]including higher education right now.
[00:25:18.860]Because this isn't just coming from companies.
[00:25:21.380]Where is it coming from?
[00:25:24.840]Where is it coming from?
[00:25:26.130]A lot of this data, a lot of the information being produced.
[00:25:30.050]Why are we seeing such a rapid growth?
[00:25:37.400]Love it, yes. Thank you.
[00:25:41.360]Positive have been empowered to create
[00:25:42.730]their own YouTube channels,
[00:25:43.960]to create whatever it is they can even at this point.
[00:25:49.490]And this evolution will continue.
[00:25:51.320]We'll continue to see technology expand at a rapid rate.
[00:25:55.030]I mean, many of you are working in this space.
[00:25:58.300]And I think as institutions of higher education,
[00:26:01.050]I think this is really interesting for us to think about
[00:26:03.100]how our model changes as well.
[00:26:05.220]Okay, now I have to see what's going on
[00:26:07.649]over here in the second row.
[00:26:11.430]Okay, so what is the joke?
[00:26:13.370]What is the joke?
[00:26:15.298]What are you thinking?
[00:26:16.131]She's my professor and she graduated
[00:26:17.920](speech drowned out by laughter).
[00:26:24.330]I think that's it, right?
[00:26:26.800]We have Jill Watson, AI-powered graduate assistant chatbot
[00:26:31.830]at the Georgia Institute of Technology
[00:26:34.060]who's answering questions with 97% accuracy, right?
[00:26:40.380]Because Jill is able to take all those answers
[00:26:44.340]and keep building and building on that database, right?
[00:26:46.990]And she's always available.
[00:26:50.000]It's really thinking about what this looks like
[00:26:52.450]as we move forward.
[00:26:54.230]Now the good news here is that we did host an executive
[00:26:57.550]from Microsoft last week, Shelley McKinley.
[00:26:59.400]She's our director of technology
[00:27:01.750]in corporate responsibility.
[00:27:03.140]She said what they're really finding,
[00:27:05.060]and research will prove this out, or bare this out,
[00:27:08.070]even in healthcare, is it's not just about accuracy.
[00:27:11.530]There's an element of humanity in here, as well.
[00:27:14.360]And so what improves accuracy in many of these cases,
[00:27:18.130]especially in places like the medical industry for example,
[00:27:21.560]is when things like artificial intelligence
[00:27:23.730]are married up with people, and the technology,
[00:27:27.590]that high tech and high touch come together
[00:27:30.690]in a very intentional way.
[00:27:32.780]Yeah, so I don't know.
[00:27:33.780]I feel like I could just do my job sometimes,
[00:27:35.557]and be like, just download that app on your phone
[00:27:38.280]and we're good to go, right?
[00:27:40.550]Other technologies that we see influencing
[00:27:43.090]the future of the world, and we heard about
[00:27:44.610]some of these this morning even.
[00:27:47.570]Developing something like lab on a chip
[00:27:49.900]that can be printed with an inkjet printer.
[00:27:53.010]Anywhere in the world you have an inkjet printer.
[00:27:55.760]And the reason this technology was developed
[00:27:58.070]was so more people would have access to healthcare.
[00:28:01.090]And so they could actually assess
[00:28:03.350]what their health was like using the chip.
[00:28:05.660]You can actually spit on the chip,
[00:28:07.950]and it'll read information about you.
[00:28:11.913]What's going on with your health, it can read that.
[00:28:14.920]In a lot of ways, this was developed
[00:28:16.540]for developing countries, but of course in our rural spaces,
[00:28:20.750]this type of technology's very important as well.
[00:28:24.010]But think about it.
[00:28:24.843]You don't even have to be a trained lab technician
[00:28:26.850]to use this type of technology,
[00:28:28.680]and it can be printed for cents.
[00:28:30.880]Literally, just a few cents.
[00:28:34.210]At the same time, we see all this growth and technology,
[00:28:36.870]and all these big investments in technology,
[00:28:38.730]we have a major demographic shift going on, right?
[00:28:42.760]This is where I think now rural has become
[00:28:45.960]kind of a hot topic lately.
[00:28:48.920]In 1910, in America, 54.4% of people lived in rural.
[00:28:54.470]By 2010, that had changed to less than 20%.
[00:28:58.610]We've had this huge sort of trend towards urbanization.
[00:29:03.040]Now we were asked a question today,
[00:29:04.880]do you think this is just,
[00:29:06.047]we had talked about the fact, is that just a trend?
[00:29:08.440]And will it ever go back the other way?
[00:29:11.360]I don't know, many plausible futures, right?
[00:29:13.660]Many plausible outcomes.
[00:29:15.540]It's hard to say at this point.
[00:29:18.100]But we do know with the population changes,
[00:29:21.090]it changes a lot of things about where you live.
[00:29:23.700]It changes a lot of things about communities.
[00:29:26.640]Not just urban, but also rural, right?
[00:29:29.950]We've seen hospitals close in the rural sector,
[00:29:32.230]and there are many factors associated with this.
[00:29:34.930]A lot of it is based on business models
[00:29:36.710]that are no longer relevant,
[00:29:38.390]but it's also based on that loss of population, right?
[00:29:40.760]You need patients if you're going to be
[00:29:43.000]a successful hospital.
[00:29:44.500]At least that's the way it has been,
[00:29:46.450]not necessarily the way it'll be.
[00:29:48.850]The ones that have reopened are in the green,
[00:29:50.740]so there have been two reopened.
[00:29:53.050]Also, the healthcare system has changed, right?
[00:29:55.290]There's a lot of ownership changes,
[00:29:57.310]a lot more of the corporate world.
[00:29:59.200]Not just owned locally anymore.
[00:30:03.470]Then of course, one of the big questions that we pursue
[00:30:05.950]as the Rural Futures Institute,
[00:30:07.890]why should anybody care about rural?
[00:30:10.020]Why did you come today?
[00:30:11.840]Why should anybody not living in rural care about rural?
[00:30:15.260]What does that really need to look like?
[00:30:17.370]I think this is one of the quotes
[00:30:19.840]that kinda hits the point home.
[00:30:21.950]Rural America is important to all Americans
[00:30:24.000]because it is a primary source for inexpensive
[00:30:26.870]and safe food, affordable energy, clean drinking water,
[00:30:30.120]and accessible outdoor recreation.
[00:30:32.960]There are definitely benefits to rural.
[00:30:34.940]Not just for the people living there,
[00:30:36.417]but to our urban centers as well, and vice versa.
[00:30:39.680]This is where urban and rural I think,
[00:30:41.450]have great opportunities to collaborate.
[00:30:44.820]Our rural areas are home to our pollinators,
[00:30:47.486]and we need pollinators.
[00:30:49.710]But what do we see happening in pollinator populations?
[00:30:55.900]Yes. You did it.
[00:30:58.250]Right, we're seeing that, right?
[00:31:00.440]And so we need to figure out why,
[00:31:02.317]and we need to figure out what we can do differently
[00:31:05.210]to make sure that our pollinator populations
[00:31:07.820]continue to grow and thrive.
[00:31:09.910]I've heard from a graduate student, not Jill, (laughs)
[00:31:13.590]physical graduate student at the University of Nebraska,
[00:31:17.080]that actually they're hand pollinating apples in China.
[00:31:21.420]Could you imagine if we had to do that here,
[00:31:23.550]what our food supply would look like?
[00:31:25.920]You know, how that would change things?
[00:31:28.650]I know, you're thinking, why would a person from Nebraska
[00:31:32.150]talk about elephants, right?
[00:31:34.200]But this is also rural.
[00:31:36.040]Sometimes I think we think about Nebraska or the midwest,
[00:31:39.360]but rural exists throughout our country,
[00:31:41.970]and throughout our world.
[00:31:43.960]One of the big elephant studies ever done
[00:31:46.860]found a more dramatic decline in elephant populations
[00:31:50.430]than they ever thought possible, right?
[00:31:53.257]And so this was very alarming,
[00:31:55.490]and some people, some futurists,
[00:31:57.510]really talk about the fact that we are
[00:31:58.990]in an age of mass extinction.
[00:32:01.460]Not just of our large animal populations,
[00:32:04.033]but think about those pollinators as well.
[00:32:07.170]Those bees that are kept, but also are native pollinators.
[00:32:11.110]What happens to us as humans?
[00:32:12.990]What happens to the planet if these things happen?
[00:32:15.140]A lot of the poaching that goes on is in rural areas
[00:32:18.310]because a lot of people are impoverished.
[00:32:21.340]It's a way to make money, but this is a global issues.
[00:32:25.640]Even zoos in places like America
[00:32:28.150]no longer will get elephants, right?
[00:32:31.320]And regardless of what you think of zoos,
[00:32:33.832]in Omaha, we have a huge zoo.
[00:32:35.810]It's a major economic driver
[00:32:37.480]for that area of our state, actually.
[00:32:40.300]What happens in rural influences urban?
[00:32:43.520]And our whole globe is impacted by these types of things.
[00:32:47.610]What is the future of rural?
[00:32:49.340]That's really the question that we're here to ask.
[00:32:52.170]Not just because we have some thoughts,
[00:32:54.640]but because we want to get thoughts from you all, as well,
[00:32:57.790]and have this robust conversation.
[00:33:01.170]We've been asking ourselves this question for a while.
[00:33:04.570]What problem are we trying to solve?
[00:33:06.940]That's kind of a step one type question, in many ways.
[00:33:10.910]But also, what we had posed to you today
[00:33:13.730]for some open discussion and thought,
[00:33:16.360]is what future do we want to create,
[00:33:18.950]and how do we do this together?
[00:33:20.340]What does that really need to look like?
[00:33:21.780]How do we take that systems integrated approach
[00:33:24.410]and do this differently than what has been done before?
[00:33:28.410]We know that future focused leadership is important.
[00:33:31.460]We need to infuse that in some of what we're doing.
[00:33:34.470]This whole model, this whole process moving forward
[00:33:36.760]has to be sustainable, include elements of humanity
[00:33:41.140]as things continue to evolve there, and technology,
[00:33:44.400]but rural and urban also have to come together
[00:33:46.820]in these conversations and in these models.
[00:33:50.240]We have companies like Microsoft, I mentioned earlier,
[00:33:53.210]really working to connect our rural areas,
[00:33:55.380]because in many ways, they have been left behind.
[00:33:57.470]Not just economically, but with technology.
[00:34:00.830]And connecting them will be an important part
[00:34:03.140]of the economy moving forward.
[00:34:06.160]But in order to do that, we have to envision
[00:34:08.640]almost the impossible in some ways.
[00:34:11.230]We have to envision those various futures.
[00:34:13.990]The different outcomes.
[00:34:16.030]When Google's hot air balloons connect the most rural
[00:34:18.300]and underdeveloped areas to universal high-speed internet,
[00:34:21.800]or micro-drones deliver medical supplies
[00:34:23.840]after natural disasters, we can start to imagine a world
[00:34:27.420]where the ultimate resource technology
[00:34:29.240]amplifies our imagination to believe anything is possible.
[00:34:33.370]And that's the mindset we would like to start out with
[00:34:36.283]in our time here together in our discussion period.
[00:34:40.480]I really enjoyed learning more about the Friedman School.
[00:34:43.630]I think the work here is incredible.
[00:34:45.140]I think we've all discovered that.
[00:34:47.440]The students, the faculty, and just the ideas,
[00:34:50.620]and the work that's being done,
[00:34:52.040]and the models that you're using to do it,
[00:34:54.290]I think are so rich, and we're learning so much.
[00:34:58.030]I love the Friedman School pursues
[00:35:00.840]cutting-edge research and education from cell to society.
[00:35:05.560]I mean, that's a very wholistic view
[00:35:07.950]of what needs to happen moving forward,
[00:35:11.000]and so it's exciting to be here today
[00:35:12.850]and to really share with you,
[00:35:15.330]but also learn from you as well.
[00:35:17.760]Thank you so much Tim, for your hospitality,
[00:35:21.290]and all of you have taken time to meet with us.
[00:35:23.040]Those of you that have come to this seminar,
[00:35:25.100]so appreciate this connection
[00:35:26.620]and so looking forward to seeing what plausible futures
[00:35:29.460]we get to co-create together.
[00:35:31.930]I also want to thank your staff,
[00:35:34.330]and the team that's helped make all this possible.
[00:35:36.360]Jen in particular.
[00:35:37.490]She's around, yes, yes.
[00:35:39.460]It's been awesome.
[00:35:40.700]Also Theresa, Katelyn, thank you both.
[00:35:42.650]I know it takes a lot to make all this happen.
[00:35:45.680]We appreciate everything.
[00:35:48.200]Yeah, yeah I am, that's where I live.
[00:35:50.770]I'll let you kinda guess which one is me. (laughs)
[00:35:55.760]And my two kids with me.
[00:35:57.410]Now this is where we could totally say,
[00:36:00.330]let the force be with you,
[00:36:01.680]and leave, and fly back to Nebraska tomorrow,
[00:36:04.230]and hope it all works out here,
[00:36:06.180]and hope it all works out there,
[00:36:08.240]but that's not why we're here.
[00:36:09.600]That's not the purpose at all.
[00:36:11.702]We want to know what your big ideas are.
[00:36:13.930]We want to know what's possible.
[00:36:16.080]Things like the X Prize for example,
[00:36:18.210]where big pots of money are given to come up with ideas.
[00:36:21.450]Anyone a Star Trek fan and remember the Tricorder?
[00:36:24.530]Yes, I see some hands in the back, thank you.
[00:36:27.030]Has been developed, yes, I know.
[00:36:29.390]Prototyped, it has been prototyped.
[00:36:30.587]It's a very exciting time.
[00:36:33.760]But the X Prize is what has made that possible.
[00:36:36.351]It has always made us think, is there a rural X Prize
[00:36:39.380]that we can launch?
[00:36:40.213]What can we do here to stimulate great thinking,
[00:36:43.630]but also, really crowdsource that thinking?
[00:36:46.650]It can't just be our little team
[00:36:48.580]at the Rural Futures Institute.
[00:36:49.870]It has to be crowdsourced.
[00:36:51.262]It has to be done differently.
[00:36:53.490]We also have a catch up with Chuck on Facebook.
[00:36:56.380]We have a Podcast, we're always looking for great speakers.
[00:36:58.930]We interviewed Tim this morning,
[00:37:00.300]and he'll be on catch up with Chuck tomorrow.
[00:37:02.730]So I'd love some deep thinkers,
[00:37:04.540]people that are wanting to get
[00:37:06.040]their maverick selves out there and be heard.
[00:37:08.780]Please do join us.
[00:37:10.440]With that, I'd like to say thank you
[00:37:12.190]and open it up for questions.
[00:37:21.886]I know Connie and Chuck
[00:37:22.980]are looking for your big ideas.
[00:37:24.510]I am always.
[00:37:26.000]We have lots of time at 1:15
[00:37:28.730]to have that conversation about what those might look like.
[00:37:32.100]From what we think about here,
[00:37:33.790]to what you think about there.
[00:37:35.078]I'm gonna just step aside and let that conversation happen.
[00:37:37.967]Great, thank you, Tim.
[00:37:43.835]How can we develop (mumbling)?
[00:37:49.160]Go to school for it. (laughs)
[00:37:51.900]No seriously, I've taken a lot of
[00:37:53.190]professional development in that space.
[00:37:56.560]It's always been there, but to learn
[00:37:58.470]the methodologies behind it, and the tools,
[00:38:01.320]I mean I think it's part of that learning,
[00:38:03.210]and then doing and really practicing.
[00:38:05.840]But there's some great information,
[00:38:07.470]different programs for example,
[00:38:09.450]but I think too, it's kind of putting yourself
[00:38:11.770]out there a little bit.
[00:38:13.200]'Cause I'm not gonna say it's always easy
[00:38:17.340]to be somebody who probably doesn't agree with the norm.
[00:38:20.670]I'll give an example of I was invited to submit
[00:38:22.950]a journal article around the future of rural healthcare.
[00:38:29.030]I know it didn't say exactly what the journal was hoping.
[00:38:31.900]It took several rounds of back and forth
[00:38:34.670]to get that published, but I would encourage you
[00:38:37.520]to get some professional development,
[00:38:38.824]but also just linking up with other people.
[00:38:41.150]Like if this is your world, linking up with other people
[00:38:44.020]in that space is incredible
[00:38:45.370]because it'll expand your thinking.
[00:38:47.630]If I can give you my card after, I'd love to.
[00:38:50.820]Yeah, the old maxim of show up for conversations.
[00:38:55.573]We've had a number of these conversations lately,
[00:38:58.950]particularly with students.
[00:39:02.290]It's not that magic to get yourself
[00:39:05.450]into a leadership role in an industry, in a community,
[00:39:09.630]and it revolves heavily around showing up
[00:39:12.900]and creating the conversation,
[00:39:14.420]and being willing to talk with people
[00:39:15.870]that maybe don't necessarily see the world like you do.
[00:39:19.320]But those relationships really matter.
[00:39:21.787]And I think you're probably,
[00:39:22.930]if you're asking that question, already doing it
[00:39:24.900]in some form or fashion.
[00:39:26.690]I think being able to do that at that bigger level is great.
[00:39:30.640]Because of time, we didn't get into a lot of detail
[00:39:33.140]on some things, but it's not just imagining
[00:39:35.440]those plausible futures.
[00:39:36.590]It's also then, how do we get there?
[00:39:38.570]That involves organizational shifts in cultures many times,
[00:39:42.640]but it also involves individuals.
[00:39:43.997]And those beliefs and behaviors
[00:39:45.530]happen at the individual level.
[00:39:48.355]I'm also a certified professional coach,
[00:39:50.240]and so marrying the futuring and the coaching together
[00:39:53.160]have really helped.
[00:39:54.070]You don't just come up with a plan.
[00:39:55.890]You can actually execute on that plan,
[00:39:57.910]and pivot when necessary.
[00:40:02.010]Was somebody in the middle.
[00:40:03.160]Yeah, we have some other--
[00:40:07.860]If you must work on gentrification,
[00:40:11.133]and why certain (mumbling) in rural areas.
[00:40:20.298]Kind of a barrier to sustainability in rural areas,
[00:40:27.999]Also, I worked for a couple of years in rural Maine
[00:40:32.052]in healthcare, and there was (mumbling).
[00:40:41.828]I don't have (mumbling).
[00:40:47.655]I've been serving on a task force
[00:40:49.150]for the Nebraska Department of Transpotation
[00:40:50.836]where we've had actually our friends
[00:40:53.560]from the University of Nebraska at Omaha,
[00:40:56.370]we've had a number of very creative people
[00:40:59.140]coming around this issue.
[00:41:01.480]Let me touch on two elements of that.
[00:41:04.860]One, just in terms of creative transportation solutions
[00:41:09.700]in more remote areas, the whole driverless vehicle notion
[00:41:14.710]has some real appeal.
[00:41:16.890]Because so often, the transportation by the way,
[00:41:20.960]is from location to hospital, location to grocery store,
[00:41:27.460]location to school, location to work.
[00:41:31.592]They're pretty definable paths
[00:41:34.850]that seems to perhaps hold some opportunity
[00:41:39.220]for that as a low-cost means of moving people around.
[00:41:43.860]Now the other side, the barriers,
[00:41:46.350]we find some wacky regulatory things.
[00:41:51.460]The transportation system in this rural county,
[00:41:54.950]in Arthur County, Nebraska, population of about 700,
[00:41:59.060]well they can't cross the county line
[00:42:01.940]into McPherson County.
[00:42:03.690]So they have a population of about 2,500.
[00:42:07.080]I mean it's just crazy.
[00:42:10.498]We're working with regulators to say hey, come on.
[00:42:14.413]Let's be reasonable here because we do have
[00:42:18.460]even with more traditional transportation services,
[00:42:21.560]minivans, et cetera, they're willing to do that.
[00:42:25.070]Okay, so who pays for the gas?
[00:42:27.490]There are all those sort of complex issues,
[00:42:30.340]but there are folks that are starting to set down and say,
[00:42:33.210]hey if we're going to have that livable community out here
[00:42:38.690]that accommodates not only the young professionals
[00:42:42.410]that we're actively trying to recruit,
[00:42:44.950]but by the way, their parents and grandparents
[00:42:46.780]that still live there, and who now are in a position
[00:42:49.850]where they need a little more sophisticated healthcare,
[00:42:53.000]which means they have to go down the road a ways.
[00:42:56.290]Let's figure out how to resolve that.
[00:42:59.710]Honestly, I've been pretty encouraged by
[00:43:02.130]the nature of people that are coming to the table
[00:43:04.100]around those issues.
[00:43:05.580]You know, driverless vehicles
[00:43:06.680]are of course a huge point of conversation right now.
[00:43:10.680]We do have some really great work.
[00:43:11.780]We're a University of Nebraska-wide institute,
[00:43:15.020]so we work with our med center, our urban campus in Omaha,
[00:43:18.030]our Lincoln campus, our Kearney campus,
[00:43:19.800]which is in the middle of the state,
[00:43:21.160]and all of our extension, our non-tenure leading,
[00:43:23.650]or tenure leading faculty that live across our state.
[00:43:29.200]We actually have a lab at the med center.
[00:43:31.290]It's a brain biology lab, and they are funded by Toyota,
[00:43:35.880]and they have one of the simulator vehicles.
[00:43:38.070]I got to drive it.
[00:43:39.210]Like wow, this is so cool.
[00:43:41.244]It's kind of a weird feeling,
[00:43:43.400]but they are actually trying to use sensors,
[00:43:46.540]like your Fitbit, et cetera, then to detect your health.
[00:43:49.850]And so thinking about if I'm diabetic
[00:43:52.530]and I'm gonna go into a diabetic reaction,
[00:43:54.640]I shouldn't be driving.
[00:43:55.990]Like I shouldn't be getting into that vehicle.
[00:43:58.300]And so thinking about it from that mode,
[00:44:01.210]but all the way to pods of health.
[00:44:03.260]And so rather than thinking of it
[00:44:05.040]as just a transportation vehicle,
[00:44:07.360]how could I get my vitals read?
[00:44:10.360]How could I just relax, or listen to music,
[00:44:12.870]or be more productive, because is there a way
[00:44:15.400]for these to become pods of health, rather than just a car?
[00:44:18.620]But of course then along with that,
[00:44:20.210]you have a lot of the ethical challenges.
[00:44:22.730]There's a lot of data, a lot of personal health data.
[00:44:24.900]Who's that going to?
[00:44:25.810]Where is that going?
[00:44:26.643]Who owns it?
[00:44:28.110]Can that be used against you?
[00:44:29.910]I think you also have issues of freedom, a little bit.
[00:44:33.770]Most of us are very used to driving our own vehicles.
[00:44:36.370]We drive a long way, and there is not
[00:44:38.240]a lot of public transportation,
[00:44:39.570]so my commute to work every day is an hour and 15
[00:44:42.810]on a good day from my driveway to the university.
[00:44:48.060]But most of that's rural highway,
[00:44:49.290]so there's a lot of coverage.
[00:44:50.970]Now would I rather have a car that drives me there,
[00:44:54.350]and I can be more productive,
[00:44:55.450]or would I rather drive myself?
[00:44:57.250]I think those are some of the questions.
[00:44:59.310]But we do have some grand challenges.
[00:45:01.460]I think like Chuck was saying,
[00:45:02.560]that there's multiple solutions, too.
[00:45:05.670]I will say Japan actually is testing out driverless vehicles
[00:45:09.790]in their rural sector, and we actually did get an email,
[00:45:12.100]what's the future of rural Japan one day?
[00:45:14.210]So I mean, people are curious about this
[00:45:15.870]and trying different things and different solutions.
[00:45:19.300]I think our rural landscapes can be an interesting area
[00:45:21.990]to collaborate on some of these questions,
[00:45:24.140]and they're important issues.
[00:45:28.811]My question about methodology.
[00:45:30.699](mumbling) and that resulted in (mumbling).
[00:45:40.958]This is really the social innovation
[00:45:43.175]you think (mumbling) transformational model
[00:45:46.493](mumbling) social innovation.
[00:45:50.026]You called it a strategic methodology,
[00:45:51.477]and that actually gave us some of our most important
[00:45:53.781](mumbling) organizations across the country.
[00:45:58.113]I'm curious to what extent you're using
[00:45:59.990]those kinds of (mumbling) methodologies,
[00:46:02.680]and working on the innovative organizational space
[00:46:06.083]in rural areas, or part of your domain.
[00:46:10.060]Well I think this futuring and strategic foresight
[00:46:12.080]is part of that, and there are various methodologies
[00:46:14.380]like you're describing.
[00:46:15.780]But it's really tailored to fit
[00:46:17.390]whatever the questions are, the groups are.
[00:46:20.180]A lot of the ways we've worked with this
[00:46:22.020]is through those partnerships like you're talking about.
[00:46:24.370]Like what does it need to look like moving forward,
[00:46:26.760]and how do we use strategic foresight and futuring
[00:46:29.357]as a tool, but also as a point of discussion
[00:46:32.670]to kinda discover some new solutions?
[00:46:35.730]One of the big ways, we haven't necessarily incorporated
[00:46:38.630]strategic foresight and futuring into it,
[00:46:40.420]but we do have, or have had
[00:46:42.230]a robust competitive awards program.
[00:46:45.220]And so we've funded a lot of research and engagement grants,
[00:46:48.500]and teaching and engagement grants.
[00:46:50.490]How do we do this in rural a little bit differently,
[00:46:52.990]and engage not only our faculty within that,
[00:46:55.660]but their networks as well?
[00:46:57.800]Students, nonprofit organizations,
[00:47:00.760]other community-based leaders and organizations
[00:47:03.020]through that process.
[00:47:04.880]Actually, really looking at a future
[00:47:07.123]that is created by the communities,
[00:47:09.300]the students and the faculty together.
[00:47:12.870]I might add on the whole, how do we foster creativity
[00:47:17.350]in rural communities?
[00:47:18.418]We have a delightful colleague
[00:47:21.170]at the University of Nebraska, Dr. Shane Farritor.
[00:47:23.740]Formerly at MIT, but he is a (mumbling) Nebraska boy
[00:47:26.730]who's now back in our college of engineering,
[00:47:29.150]who really is on a mission to develop maker spaces
[00:47:33.770]in rural communities, and using local libraries,
[00:47:37.240]using the old shop at the school
[00:47:41.780]to create those spaces in rural communities.
[00:47:44.930]Where we think of 3D printers,
[00:47:47.800]but laser cutters of various kinds,
[00:47:50.980]and even just art gallery, art studio spaces
[00:47:56.210]for creative types to feel that there is a place in my town
[00:48:01.610]where I can come and do stuff.
[00:48:06.290]It's growing in popularity.
[00:48:08.083]There's an interesting movement actually, across the state,
[00:48:10.870]and this has been done around the country,
[00:48:13.160]but we think Nebraska's a bit of a leader in that space.
[00:48:18.110]Anyway, a constant process of trying to encourage that,
[00:48:21.680]how do we go from where we are to where we'd like to be?
[00:48:26.260]Well first, thank you
[00:48:27.093]for a really hopeful and inspiring talk.
[00:48:30.140]Great to hear.
[00:48:31.690]I'm a professor here in a (mumbling).
[00:48:40.850]Before I came here, I studied here (mumbling).
[00:48:46.277]And you may or may not know about him,
[00:48:47.700]but he wasn't the president's first choice to be secretary,
[00:48:52.020]but he got the job in the interview,
[00:48:53.460]and he got it because basically,
[00:48:55.680]he wanted to be the secretary of rural America,
[00:48:58.150]and essentially wanted to make
[00:48:59.340]the Department of Agriculture (mumbling).
[00:49:01.540]He also wanted to solve certain problems.
[00:49:03.824]One is, he just felt that there was so much,
[00:49:05.280]as a former governor of Iowa,
[00:49:07.570]there was so much that needed to be done
[00:49:09.380]to help rural America.
[00:49:10.870]From broadband, to (mumbling),
[00:49:14.520]and the Department of Agriculture
[00:49:15.740]had the resources to do that.
[00:49:17.791]I want to focus on the second problem he wanted to solve,
[00:49:20.310]which was also to make rural America
[00:49:22.920]a little more democratic.
[00:49:24.515](mumbling) democratic overall, but maybe a little bit more.
[00:49:31.055]I think that the president bought it,
[00:49:33.587]so he had the president's full backing,
[00:49:35.660]and he spent eight years, he was there the entire time.
[00:49:39.339]You've met him, you know he's a tireless guy.
[00:49:41.410]He spent all his time and effort there
[00:49:43.420]with the belief that if he were to make
[00:49:45.560]rural America better and show that he could do that
[00:49:47.700]as a Democrat, there'd be some movement (mumbling)
[00:49:49.965]towards that Democratic Party.
[00:49:51.950]I think if you got him on a stage,
[00:49:54.190]he couldn't be more proud about what we accomplished,
[00:49:57.290]but couldn't be more discouraged (mumbling).
[00:50:03.557]He would talk to people about that.
[00:50:05.120]He would talk to people about it in election cycles,
[00:50:07.300]saying please vote (mumbling) now president,
[00:50:11.060]trade, corporation, all these things
[00:50:13.020]are gonna hurt the rural economy.
[00:50:16.120]They said we know, but we just can't (mumbling).
[00:50:21.335]I wonder if you could reflect on that,
[00:50:23.460]in terms of the positive, hopeful tone of your work,
[00:50:26.503]but what seems to be a very sort of, (mumbling) negative.
[00:50:36.250]Yeah, so okay, interest of Fulcram.
[00:50:37.443]I mean, I'm an old Bob Kerrey.
[00:50:39.550]Actually, I was a Republican appointee
[00:50:42.090]in his administration as governor.
[00:50:47.471]And then I have consistently missed
[00:50:51.830]every election since that time in terms of my selections.
[00:50:58.703]I'm probably not a good analyst,
[00:51:00.580]but I have thought and worried about it.
[00:51:04.220]I honestly, it doesn't make rational sense
[00:51:08.470]that rural people vote the way they do in many cases
[00:51:11.970]and particularly agricultural people.
[00:51:15.690]It is sort of a cultural thing,
[00:51:18.500]but here's what makes me hopeful.
[00:51:22.480]I spend a good bit of time with students.
[00:51:28.243]We are not a teaching function of the university,
[00:51:31.080]but we have the opportunity to engage with students
[00:51:34.360]who either come to us or are sent to us to job shadow,
[00:51:38.880]or just to come talk about what might my life look like?
[00:51:43.550]I'll tell you, as I meet with these really high-ambition,
[00:51:53.780]who obviously have a rural interest
[00:51:57.090]or they wouldn't be coming and talking to us,
[00:51:58.720]and in fact that they are very interested
[00:52:01.000]in going and starting businesses, building families,
[00:52:04.770]et cetera, in rural communities.
[00:52:08.950]What encourages me is the number of them who say
[00:52:11.410]part of my life plan is public service.
[00:52:15.310]In some cases, I want to run for office,
[00:52:19.120]I want to be a direct player.
[00:52:21.290]But even at slightly lower levels of ambition,
[00:52:26.430]I want to be in a community where I can be involved
[00:52:29.740]in leadership in the community where my values,
[00:52:32.930]my notion of community, will make a difference.
[00:52:37.210]I'll tell you, these kids really believe
[00:52:41.250]in the fundamental principles,
[00:52:44.570]the idealistic principles of our nation in a way that,
[00:52:48.737]and I suppose every generation that's come along,
[00:52:51.600]you could take some subset of them and say,
[00:52:53.850]yeah, well that's what they are.
[00:52:55.440]It encourages me with the number of them
[00:53:00.100]that look at the way we're functioning today, so polarized,
[00:53:05.380]when it would be so easy to say, you know what?
[00:53:07.721]I'm just gonna hide somewhere, and I can't deal with this,
[00:53:11.887]and I don't like all the,
[00:53:13.440]who are instead saying, no, I'm gonna engage
[00:53:17.800]and try to make more practical sense of this.
[00:53:21.310]Return some civility to our discourse
[00:53:24.700]around political issues.
[00:53:27.920]That to me, is encouraging.
[00:53:29.400]Now and I will also say the number of them
[00:53:32.020]that are not gonna registrate independence,
[00:53:34.290]and are sorta saying, I can't, it's not making sense to me
[00:53:40.680]on either side of this divide,
[00:53:43.320]I want to rethink the way politics work,
[00:53:46.245]makes me encouraged.
[00:53:47.760]It's not a great answer, but it's the way
[00:53:49.850]I'm kinda seein' the world today,
[00:53:51.800]and it's what I'm relying on (laughs),
[00:53:54.490]to have a more livable future.
[00:53:57.273]I guess personally, I would say,
[00:53:58.360]I don't think any politician should try to lobby
[00:54:00.980]for where people should land on the political spectrum.
[00:54:04.600]I think that part of what we cherish in the United States
[00:54:10.260]is our freedom to choose and decide for ourselves.
[00:54:13.860]I don't know if anyone here is military.
[00:54:15.840]Active, or no longer.
[00:54:19.420]Yeah, well a great deal of our military
[00:54:22.340]come from rural areas.
[00:54:24.020]I can't remember the exact percentage, but--
[00:54:26.170]It was one of Bill's messages.
[00:54:28.810]I heard him speak, and he talked a lot about that.
[00:54:31.400]I think that, you know, I have a great uncle
[00:54:36.040]that served in World War II.
[00:54:37.940]I have a lot of relatives that have served (mumbling).
[00:54:39.980]I think to preserve that freedom,
[00:54:42.500]to vote however you want to vote is incredibly important.
[00:54:44.880]And the fact that we can go do that
[00:54:47.084]is part of what makes our country so amazing.
[00:54:51.650]I will also say that we did have a good laugh
[00:54:54.730]after the election.
[00:54:57.780]Not because how the election played out,
[00:55:00.620]but because of the stereotypes that came out
[00:55:02.610]after that election.
[00:55:04.298]Just in our office alone, everybody in our little team
[00:55:09.880]lives in a rural community.
[00:55:12.280]But I would have to say we all defy the stereotypes
[00:55:14.650]that came out, as well.
[00:55:16.360]We all are college graduates.
[00:55:18.860]Many of us with advanced degrees.
[00:55:21.580]None of us, there wasn't like,
[00:55:23.580]everybody voted for this person,
[00:55:25.970]or everybody voted for that person.
[00:55:28.379]And a lot of our families are from those rural communities
[00:55:32.100]that were so talked about in the media.
[00:55:35.640]A lot of the people in those communities
[00:55:37.370]were divided on their votes, as well.
[00:55:39.610]I think that's an important point that often gets missed.
[00:55:42.950]I think what got missed in the election
[00:55:44.720]is that a lot of our polling organizations haven't listened.
[00:55:48.920]They've been polling the same people for so long,
[00:55:51.340]they forgot there was anybody else out there.
[00:55:54.180]So I think for us to lend a voice to rural,
[00:55:56.990]which is part of our mission and work
[00:55:59.170]at the Rural Futures Institute, is very important.
[00:56:02.440]But I think it's also realizing that
[00:56:05.110]this is an urban rural issue,
[00:56:06.870]and everybody's voice is important,
[00:56:08.540]and everybody's voice needs to be heard.
[00:56:11.089]That might be in elections, so for me personally,
[00:56:14.150]I was a registered Democrat (mumbling)
[00:56:16.570]first caucus in Nebraska, which was a complete disaster.
[00:56:21.374](laughs) It just was.
[00:56:22.890]We had never done it before.
[00:56:24.150]And now I'm a registered Independent
[00:56:26.250]because I just prefer to vote the way
[00:56:28.210]I want to vote on anything and anybody.
[00:56:31.130]I think we see a lot more of that happening
[00:56:33.180]because people are frustrated honestly, with both parties.
[00:56:41.260]I just have a specific question about
[00:56:44.894]this scenario in New York State, where I'm from.
[00:56:48.577]I'm from New York City, but my family moved to
[00:56:51.176]very rural upstate New York for my high school years,
[00:56:54.720]so I had the interesting experience of going to
[00:56:57.473]a very rural, very small school.
[00:57:00.005]Yes, you did.
[00:57:00.838]There is very much a divide ideal
[00:57:04.990]between urban and rural in New York State,
[00:57:07.280]which I'm not sure if you're very familiar with,
[00:57:09.337]but my question is really, because of this divide,
[00:57:13.620]and (mumbling) tourism, is there seems to be a relationship
[00:57:19.790]very much built in animosity of tourists from New York City
[00:57:23.160]coming to rural upstate New York.
[00:57:25.886]There's also some questions about water--
[00:57:29.964]The main source of the water
[00:57:31.185](mumbling) type of reservoir in rural upstate New York.
[00:57:35.120]There's a lot of animosity around the issues.
[00:57:39.210]One of the (mumbling)
[00:57:43.344]the schools, and a major strategic plan
[00:57:47.410]of this municipal finance community consolidate the schools.
[00:57:53.310]I guess I'm just wondering, given these sorts of tensions,
[00:57:58.670]and the possibility that these schools will consolidate,
[00:58:01.630]'cause I'm talking about a population
[00:58:04.670]of maybe 100 in the school--
[00:58:08.157]What could be a specific recommendation
[00:58:11.337]for this community to revitalize?
[00:58:15.770]Well I think, you know, we'd need to dive into that
[00:58:17.980]a little bit more, but I think this is part of why
[00:58:21.660]we're taking on this conversation,
[00:58:23.690]and really partnering with places like Tufts, right?
[00:58:27.170]What are some opportunities and solutions in this space,
[00:58:30.400]and knowing that it can't just be about a strategic plan,
[00:58:32.770]but it has to be about the people that are living there,
[00:58:35.507]and that are (mumbling).
[00:58:37.590]In fact, we had some of this conversation
[00:58:39.030]this morning, right?
[00:58:40.580]It's not perfect anymore, whether it's rural or urban,
[00:58:43.140]and there are differences and challenges
[00:58:44.790]between each locality, wherever you go.
[00:58:48.260]But how do we bring it together
[00:58:49.830]and really work with the community, and some healing?
[00:58:52.720]Sometimes that needs to happen,
[00:58:54.040]but also, finding the opportunities that exist
[00:58:57.082]where it's a win-win.
[00:58:58.780]Tim and I talked about this,
[00:58:59.920]this morning in our Podcast interview.
[00:59:02.040]Getting different stakeholders to the table.
[00:59:03.910]Oftentimes we're missing some very important voices.
[00:59:07.080]But creating a grand sort of scenario for everybody,
[00:59:11.810]not just one or two players who are gonna win,
[00:59:14.080]and somebody else that's gonna lose,
[00:59:16.530]but rather, co-create that future together.
[00:59:18.530]I know that's a simplistic answer to a challenging question,
[00:59:21.900]but I think we could explore that in more detail with you.
[00:59:26.630]What happens is this.
[00:59:28.607]Let me touch two points that you made.
[00:59:31.210]One around the tourism deal.
[00:59:36.310]It's so tempting to say, okay,
[00:59:40.920]so you smart guys up here, you figure out how we fix that.
[00:59:46.130]Where I see it actually being fixed are folks,
[00:59:50.520]Stan, I can't say his last name, at Greybull, Wyoming,
[00:59:52.940]a rancher who, with the reintroduction of the wolves.
[00:59:57.870]Now you talk about a divisive situation culturally,
[01:00:02.227]and many other ways.
[01:00:03.910]Stan, instead of just taking up arms and saying,
[01:00:07.610]I'll just shoot anybody,
[01:00:08.858]instead invites over decades leaders
[01:00:14.490]from the Audubon Society, from Nature Conservancy,
[01:00:18.270]you name it, and came out and built a dialogue
[01:00:21.160]in the little community of Greybull, Wyoming,
[01:00:23.620]around here's why we as ranchers are concerned about this.
[01:00:28.297]And by the way, we also accept there's maybe some good.
[01:00:32.180]Anyway, it created a very productive dialogue.
[01:00:35.840]Here's a guy who hadn't gone to Tufts
[01:00:38.870]to learn how to cross all these barriers,
[01:00:42.210]but did one of the most beautiful jobs of diplomacy.
[01:00:45.170]Calamus Outfitters in Nebraska,
[01:00:47.640]that bring actually people from all kinds of urban areas now
[01:00:52.680]out to the sandhills of Nebraska
[01:00:54.440]to float in water tanks down the Calamus River.
[01:00:59.610]They have done a remarkable job,
[01:01:01.620]and by the way, a profitable job,
[01:01:04.060]of bringing people not like them into their community.
[01:01:08.356]Again, is there still a certain amount of this?
[01:01:11.980]Yeah, but you know, it's when people get to know each other
[01:01:16.910]on a personal basis that you start crossing those barriers
[01:01:21.630]and building smoother waters going out.
[01:01:25.030]On the school side, when I left the ranch in 1983,
[01:01:29.860]my dad gave me two pieces of advice.
[01:01:31.730]Number one, remember that two and two
[01:01:33.620]must always come out four,
[01:01:35.080]and number two, don't be stupid.
[01:01:38.500]I've tried to follow that.
[01:01:40.360]So when we think about school consolidation,
[01:01:43.080]it's two and two has to come out four
[01:01:47.920]in being able to deliver education to those students.
[01:01:53.310]Now, once we say that, however,
[01:01:56.050]we see relatively small communities that are saying,
[01:02:00.060]okay, we're not okay, which is saying,
[01:02:02.930]okay, we're gonna shrink the education opportunity
[01:02:05.670]for our kids just because we live in a rural area.
[01:02:09.440]They are taking advantage of connectivity.
[01:02:12.670]They are taking advantage of some very creative notions
[01:02:16.010]of bringing education resources to their community.
[01:02:19.350]And I mean, Cozed, Nebraska there's a young woman
[01:02:22.440]taking cello lessons from Julliard.
[01:02:26.650]It doesn't just happen.
[01:02:28.500]Again, it's all about people in leadership roles saying,
[01:02:32.060]yeah, but let's rethink this.
[01:02:34.830]And so creativity becomes an issue.
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