Entering the Shift Age with David Houle

By Jeff Cobb.  Last Updated on November 16, 2022

David Houle photo

Want to know what the future holds?

A driving force of the Learning Revolution is the fact that change is happening with greater speed, scale, and scope than ever before. As a result, those with clear insights into where the world is headed next are bound to have an edge. Fortunately, the guest for this episode of Learning Revolution is someone who can help listeners get a bead on the future.

David Houle is a futurist,  thinker, speaker, and author of the new bestseller Entering the Shift Age. In addition, he is an old friend and colleague, co-author of one of my previous books (Shift Ed), and the person I look to for insights into “what’s next.”

But wait! There’s more – David is also the son of Cy Houle, one of the true luminaries in the adult lifelong learning field. In the interview, we talk about David’s father, about how David pursues his craft, and of course, about his vision of the future as we enter the Shift Age. You won’t want to miss this one, folks.

Listen in, and don’t forget to share this episode with your tweeps.

Listen to the Podcast

Listen in below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | iTunes

Get the Show Notes

01:58 – Introduction of David Houle, futurist, thinker, speaker, and author of Entering the Shift Age.

02:40 – How did David end up being a futurist and how does he go about figuring out what the future holds?

Entering the Shift Age - Cover Photo

3:18 – David sees being a futurist as “being a catalyst to get people, businesses, institutions, and the world to think about the future and then to facilitate a conversation about it.’

03:35 – David talks about living life slightly ahead of the curve, e.g. living in a VW van, backpacking around the world, leaving CBS to start up MTV, Nickolodean, CNN Headline News, being on the cutting edge of online learning.

04:40 – David offers a quote that has gotten him through the parts of life where people “shot arrows in my back.”

In the revelation of any truth there are three stages. In the first it is ridiculed. In the second it is resisted. In the third it is considered self-evident. – Arthur Schopenhauer

05:10 – As far as how he does it, he focuses any place he sees resistance. The resistance he was seeing to healthcare change, for example, led him to write The New Health Age.

05:40 – When younger he read the works of all the great futurists. Ones he particularly values are Alvin Toffler, Marshall McLuhan, and Buckminster Fuller. He feels he stands on their shoulders to peer into a new century.

06:00 – David describes himself as an “intellectual grazer.” He reads widely and voraciously. Looks for patterns, develops awareness.

07:05 – Discussion of the turning point in human evolution. David highlights and discusses the three fundamental forces of the Shift Age: Flow to Global, Flow to Individual, Accelerating Electronic Connectedness.

09:05 – “Global stage of human evolution” is in many ways the simplest, shortest description of the Shift Age

10:25 – David sees a whole new “consciousness” emerging over the next 10 to 15 years.

David discusses the concept of “Flows” at TEDx Pittsburgh

10:30 – How does he see the roles of education and lifelong learning? Who will the winners and losers be in the Shift Age?

11:30 – David notes that his father, Cy Houle, wrote in 1972 that lifelong learning would be the central concept of education going forward. That seems obvious now, but it wasn’t at all then. (Ah, so dad was a futurist too!)

12:15 – David talks about how much has changed – and yet how little has changed in universities and other educational institutions.

13:10 – David thinks higher education is the next big bubble in the U.S. economy. The winners in the new age of lifelong learning will be older institutions that adapt quickly and newer, more dynamic organizations and individuals who are starting out without the baggage (aka Learning Revolutionaries!)

14:40 – Discussion of moving from a knowledge society to a learning society. If you are not continually engaging in learning, you are falling behind.

15:50 – How has his father’s thinking and work influenced David? David talks specifically about The Inquiring Mind, and the idea of creating structures to help adults apply their innate curiosity.

17:20 – David feels there has been an innate lack of curiosity about the future until recently.

18:18 – David quotes Bob Dylan” “Those not busy being born are busy dying.” That’s the essence of lifelong learning.

18:40 – David offers his predictions for the future. Some of the areas David covers are the ways in which governments, as they are currently structured, are creating barriers and also the ascendancy of women (a topic he also covers in one of the eBooks generated from Entering the Shift Age). He also discuses a “new consciousness.” Listen in for more.

24:37 – Where to find David? Just Google “David Houle” or search for him on Amazon or:

I also encourage you to check out my post on the agile publishing model that David used to write and publish Entering the Shift Age.

As always, if you like the Learning Revolution podcast, I’d be sincerely grateful if you would a rating and/or brief review on iTunes and tell others about the podcast. Thanks!

Podcast: Play in new window | Download | iTunes

The theme music for Learning Revolution is The Information Age by Anthony Fiumano, available on the Podsafe Music Network.

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