Episode 1: Higher ed tech futurist Bryan Alexander intersects leadership, connectivity, globalization





Bryan Alexander is a futurist focused on how technology transforms education, specifically higher education. In this episode Bryan, who is homesteader in rural Vermont, describes megatrends, such as globalization, that are impacting societal and business sectors as well as several scenarios for the future of higher ed. He and Dr. Connie ask listeners to consider not only what they need, but what they want for the future of our country in terms of education, healthcare and rural areas. In his words of wisdom, Bryan encourages practice of visualizing a future that is not based on the present or immediate past.


“For me a futurist is somebody who helps people think about the future more strategically and with greater imagination. And this matters because, well we’re all heading into the future, but also it matters because I think it’s very difficult for us to really think about ways the future can be different, especially in ways that are practical and matter to our lives or families, and our jobs, and our immediate political world. So, I think futurists are really essential guides to living in the near, medium, and far future.“
Bryan Alexander
Higher Education Futurist

About Bryan


Bryan Alexander is an internationally known futurist, researcher, writer, speaker, consultant and teacher, working in the field of how technology transforms education.

He is the founder of the Future of Education Observatory, a writing and media production hub, and of Bryan Alexander Consulting, LLC, through which he consults throughout higher education in the United States and the world. Before BAC Bryan taught literature, writing, multimedia, and information technology studies at Centenary College of Louisiana, then worked with the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE), a non-profit working to help small colleges and universities best integrate digital technologies. He completed his English language and literature PhD at the University of Michigan in 1997, with a dissertation on doppelgangers in Romantic-era fiction and poetry.

Latest Articles

Here’s How Higher Education Dies
The Atlantic
June 5, 2018

How to Be an Ed Tech Futurist
Campus Technology
January 25, 2018


Show Notes

Hi, and welcome to the Rural Futures podcast. This is Dr. Connie, your host, and joining me today in our conversation is Bryan Alexander. Bryan is a futurist specializing in how higher education and technology are changing. He writes, speaks, and consults widely, while living in Vermont. Bryan, that’s a little bit about you, tell our audience a little bit more about you, give them a snapshot of Bryan Alexander.

Well, greetings, and thank you very much for having me here, I really appreciate it. I’m coming to this rural podcast from rural Vermont. We live on top of one of the Green Mountains, about half off the grid, and we have a very, very deep connection to rural life. As homesteaders we have raised goats, chickens, turkeys, all kinds of animals. We heat entirely by firewood,  most of which we log ourselves. Meanwhile, at the same time, we have a thin and dodgy internet connection through which I do most of my work, we have a Tesla Powerwall to backup when the electricity fails. We try in short to bridge the 19th and the 21st centuries at the same time.

I think that’s such a perfect spot in which a futurist and his family lives and creates an amazing life combining that sustainability and what you love, with building the future at the same time. Okay so Bryan, you are a futurist, and I know people on the show know I’m a futurist, but I think for them to understand what a futurist is and the value it brings would be amazing, so tell us, what is a futurist? And why is a futurist so valuable in this day and age?

For me a futurist is somebody who helps people think about the future more strategically and with greater imagination. And this matters because, well we’re all heading into the future, but also it matters because I think it’s very difficult for us to really think about ways the future can be different, especially in ways that are practical and matter to our lives or families, and our jobs, and our immediate political world. So, I think futurists are really essential guides to living in the near, medium, and far future.

I love that, essential guides, I think that’s such a strong and powerful statement about what futurists bring to the table. Now you have a specialty around education technology, so tell our audience a little bit more about what you do in that sphere of futuring.

Sure, well the sphere is the future of education, that’s primarily higher education, although I do work in K12 as well as corporate learning, and also informal learning, and I have a strong emphasis on technology. That’s where I think an awful lot of changes are happening, and there’s a great deal of potential right there to do this work. I do a lot of consulting, so I travel to places, I do this online, I do research on spec, I do a lot of speeches, and workshops, mostly in the US but also in Europe and east Asia. I make a lot of stuff, I make books, I write articles, I do a weekly video conference discussion about the future of education. I have a podcast about ready to launch, I interview people, I am interviewed, so I like to make, I guess instead of stuff I should say media, of all kind.

And you have a prolific website, a prolific online presence, and you’re doing that all from a rural community, which of course at the Rural Futures Institute we appreciate, and would love to see your connectivity expanded just to continue to support this endeavor.

Yes, well, as part of my work I travel a great deal, so that gives me exposure to a wide range of internet connectivity. So just last week I was driving across the midwest and northeast, had to pull over at a rest stop to do a video conference, so I ended up propping up my phone in one corner of a semi-abandoned Burger King, and my laptop on another table, and jerry rigged this. Meanwhile I can, the next day, drive to a place where I can get 100 meg down, it’s quite variable. I just want to emphasize that point about the web presence for a second; I find many, many consultants in general, not just in the futures world, tend not to have a web presence.

They tend to run pretty dark. My practice is quite the opposite. I believe in conversation, so I like to throw stuff out there, through social media as well as in person, to try and provoke discussions and conversations. I try to host and facilitate those discussions. I think that combination of openness and conversation is a terrific way to move forward. It’s risky in some ways, but I think it’s really an appropriately 21st century way to look ahead to the 21st century.

As a fellow futurist I totally agree, and I appreciate your presence because I learn a lot from what your posting and the thoughts that you’re putting together, from all these different data points, phenomenon, different types of futuring tactics and tools that you’re using, and I think this really speaks to you as a leader. I’d love for you to describe to us a little bit more about you as a leader, and your philosophies around leadership.

Well, I think leadership has really changed in our generation, and that’s something that we’re still trying to grapple with. Because a lot of the older practices, a lot of the older habits still persist, and you can see this in politics, you can see this in pop culture. Some of the changes are very interesting, for example, we have the capacity to be more network centric in our leadership, and less hierarchical, and that can be challenging in all kinds of ways. Hierarchies famously exist to defend hierarchies, and it’s difficult to break out of that. And network centric thinking, or horizontally organized thinking, can flop miserably. So I think we’re still learning how to make that work. And it’s tricky, there’s new ways of learning that way, and there are ways of inspiring people and sharing vision through networks. For example, you think about the idea of the personal learning network as a way of learning. Now, to assemble a PLN, you have to deploy a whole bunch of skills, aptitudes, and habits that many people weren’t trained in. It can be something as basic as pruning your Twitter feed. At the same time we have to figure out ways of doing this globally. It’s a truism to say that we are increasingly globalized society, but it’s the truth.

Just to jump in there a little bit, one of the quotes I wrote about you in our pre-conversation prior to this episode was that leadership has not taken globalization into account, and I hear you talking about that right now, and I’d love for you to expand on exactly what you’re saying. There are people that want to go hyper local and that’s working in many ways, but it’s because we’re in a global society, so talk a little bit more about leadership and globalization, and that evolution that you see happening.

Well I mean this in the broadest sense, that humans are more interconnected than we ever have been before, for better or for worse, and it shows up across a full range of human endeavor. Our conversation right now is gonna be accessible potentially to more people than it would have been 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. It means that when a disease spreads it can spread more quickly through a larger population than it used to be, historically. It means that politics, and media, pop culture, sports, cross national boundaries much more rapidly, more frequently, and we really haven’t fully taken that into account, we often think of ourselves in strictly national terms, or at best regional terms, and that takes a bit of practice, I think, a bit of attitude, a bit of habit forming so that we can get used to saying, alright, my words may be heard in Kazakhstan, in Australia, in Ecuador, and maybe I should shape them accordingly, and think about those different contexts. There’s a self awareness where you have to think of yourself as being a member of a certain nation, or a certain region, or even smaller than that, a state, or a province, and that’s a little trickier. And you get so many incentives not to do that. You can hear voices from your locality and really adhere to them. I think in rural areas this is especially true, because we are less densely populated, we value those voices a little more highly, I think, it’s harder to disappear into a crowd when you’re in the countryside. And I think also because of our relatively poor infrastructure, it’s harder for us to get used to conversations with people around the world. And I think that’s something that we really, in the countryside, we need to work on, both in our practice, but also in our infrastructure.

Well, and speaking of that, I mean, obviously technology is a huge part of this conversation in enabling people to do exactly what you’re saying, like how do we all emerge, and act and have different habits, and really opportunities in a connected world. Another change that you talk about is this gigantic force of demographic shift. How do you see that influencing the future of both rural, urban, and also globalization.

Well geographic shifts are fascinating, because through most of the world, we have this phenomenon that we are aging, we are living longer, we are having fewer kids, and this is relatively new in human history. There are very few societies that have done this, especially at scale, and we’re still struggling to figure out what this means, and how we respond, and you can think of these responses that are really, really diverse. For example, you can think about Japan, which is pushing very, very hard for robot development, so they can have more workers, and more caregivers, because they’re running low on workers and caregivers, and they look at automation as a solution.

Absolutely, one of my favorite emails is one of our partners, the Japan Society asking, hey Dr. Connie, what is the future of rural Japan? Because we don’t know, and our government has now made it a national priority.

Well, and it’s a huge issue to think about, because the rural world, is in many ways, emptying out. One of the biggest trends of our time is this huge, oceanic shift of the human race out of the countryside into cities, see this around the world. You see this in Africa, you see it in China, you see it in the US, and it becomes self perpetuating because as more people pile into cities and suburbs that’s where more and more of the action is, that’s where more of the jobs are, that’s where more of the excitement is, it draws still more people from the countryside, and in response the countryside looks emptier and then that just accelerates. Meanwhile, there are other forces driving this too. We have more automation in agriculture, we have more large scale agriculture, so that part of the countryside is no longer demanding large numbers of people. We have change in family size, so we’re not spawning 10 kids per couple, but more like two or fewer, so it may be that the countryside’s future is to be very quiet and empty. You think about the part of Saudi Arabia called the Empty Quarter, that might be a model for us. Now there’s an alternative, which is if we had decent infrastructure, if we had that set up, many people could, what used to say, telecommute, or do work from home. I mean if you can work in a cubicle, if you can work from anywhere, why not be in the countryside where you can enjoy all the benefits of country living rather than in the suburb or city?

Yeah, I agree, I don’t think we’ve fully explored or tapped into the potential of the 21st century model of work that really does include telecommuting and technology.

There’s a terrific futurist named Bruce Sterling who writes nonfiction and fiction. He has this resonant phrase that I keep coming back to. Someone asked him, well what do you see as the future? And he said, for me, I can’t do his accent, he has a great Texas accent, to me the future is old people in big cities afraid of the sky.

Oh wow, that’s really interesting, yeah. Perspective and phrase.

It’s got three things in it, you’ve got the demographics of aging, you have the shift to the cities, and you have climate change. People argue with this phrase a lot, they push it around, but it just resonates. And then, okay, let’s move on from the cities, let’s move our point of view to the countryside, and you’re gonna have very few people, is that something we want? Is that something that a country can risk having? And we have to really treat that seriously. We can’t get nostalgic, we can’t think, ah, if only people appreciated the countryside, they’re not doing it.

That’s right.

We have to now think this as existential moment.

And I think that is where the discipline of futuring and strategic foresight comes in. So how do we more deliberately create the future we want, rather than just continuing on in the same path we have been with that mindset that we don’t control what happens? And that might be partially true, but the other truth is we are not really having these bold conversations that need to be had in so many ways to address this from a systems level, not just one topic or the other. And I think futurists can really bring that to the table.

I agree, in part because these are frightening conversations, but also as I mentioned before, it’s difficult for us to think of a future in ways that really break out.

One of the challenges we wrestle with at the Rural Futures Institute is answering these questions of why rural? Why now? It’s been our theme for this year, how would you tell someone, or describe to them, especially because our population is very urbanized, and decision makers live in mostly urban areas, why should our country invest in infrastructure and rural when the population there is in decline?

I think there are a lot of great reasons. And one of them is simply economic benefit. There’s a project in China right now where the Chinese government goes out into central China, which is very rural, and goes to villages that are obviously very rural, and poses to them a deal. If the village will try its best to form internet based businesses, then the Chinese government will wire them up to high speed broadband. It’s a real smart deal, because the villagers get the benefit of internet connectivity, and the rest of China gets the benefit of having this boost to their business development. And the businesses can be anything. They can be selling flowers online, they can be services online, you think of this as an enormous untapped business opportunity, for really growing an overall economy, I mean how many businesses, how many consumers are out there? There’s a Pew study which said 40% of Americans over 65 are not connected to the internet, 40% in 2018. Now you think about that, if you’re still in economic terms, you think, my gosh, what a population that could be buying stuff on Amazon, or selling things, or offering services, and so just the economic market is one. A second is the cultural argument.That we can use the internet, especially broadband, to grow our culture. We know this as ways we can consume culture, more and more, everything from YouTube videos, Netflix streaming, to podcasts, to reading Wikipedia, but also to producing culture, that we can shoot video and upload it to YouTube, where we can write stories and make stories of all kinds, and share them with just about any platform. So if we can connect more people, we can further deepen and grow our culture, and that benefits everybody. A third reason, and this is my line of work, is education, we have such capacity for teaching and learning online, it’s truly extraordinary. I mean, in many ways, the business of education is pretty fragile right now.

That’s right, we know that, here at the University of Nebraska, it’s absolutely true. We’re going through a huge shift in higher education and I think that’s where the futurist perspective, and futuring and strategic foresight are so critical for organizations, industries, like higher education and others right now, and I know you’ve talked about this tipping point of online versus face to face, when do you see that happening?

I’m not sure at this point, so just for listeners, there’s this interesting question, at what point

will the number of learners taking classes online roughly equal the number of learners taking classes face to face? I know Creighton Christiansen predicted this would happen around this year, it hasn’t quite hit there but we’re closing in on it, and at some point soon we’re gonna hit that point, and I think that’ll be an interesting milestone. It’ll clarify a lot of developments for a lot of people. So we’ve seen some institutions where the online branch teaches more students than the face to face branch. And in fact I’ve worked with several institutions where the online branch makes more money than the face to face one, and now subvents and supports the face to face one, which is quite a 21st century moment. I mean, it’s possible that we will look at education kind of the way we look at movies. Where if you want to watch a movie you have tons of options from where you’re sitting right now. Phone, from your TV, and you can get a pretty nice experience, so if you’re gonna go to a movie theater, you need to have something special to haul you out there, and that’s why you have, depending on the theater, you have stadium style seating, you have more food, you have a bar, you have places like Alamo Draft House where you can go off and have fun previews, and have food served to you and all that, I think a lot of businesses are doing that, where they’re trying to figure out ways to compete with what we can get online.

Absolutely, it’s an experience economy, in so many ways with that.

Yes, you go to a campus, bricks and mortar institution, what’s gonna make that different? So that’s what education has to work on.

So looking ahead five years, thinking about education specifically, higher education, what do you see evolving and changing? In addition to this sort of experiential economy emerging even in higher education?

Looking ahead five years, there are a few trends that I think are pretty predictable, not too controversial, and one of them is, to come back to an earlier point, demographics. In the US we’re following many other countries and we’re getting older, and we’re also seeing shifts within the US as the northeast and midwest are aging much more rapidly, and losing children, and so we’re seeing institutions in the midwest and the northeast marketing more and more to the Rocky Mountain central area, to Texas, Arizona, and trying to find where they still grow 18 year olds. And so I think we’ll see that continue, in education that means, among other things, trying to reach out more and more to adult learners, but also trying to more aggressively recruit other students, recruiting more and more international students, and that’s been a success until last year. I think higher education institutions in the US are gonna aggressively recruit. It’s not just in the US, many, many nations are seeing themselves now as being part of an international higher education market. So you’re seeing European institutions marketing, I’ve seen European universities marketing themselves to American high school students, with a pretty clear message. They’ll say come to our interesting cities, and we won’t give you student loans, pretty convincing.  

Yeah, I would say so, I mean I think that’s one of the great conversations, and challenging conversations we have in higher education right now, so, if you choose to go to college and pursue higher education, the student loan debt conversation is a big part of that, but then also that means people will have to go where there are jobs, and that means it’s gonna be hard for them to start a business, and specifically in rural communities in our case, we can’t expect all that to work. So re-envisioning this whole network of how people learn, start businesses, work for other companies or businesses, has really been changing, and it’s really interesting to watch right now as all these areas such as healthcare, education, retail, are experiencing this exponential shift at the same time.

Well healthcare’s an interesting piece of this, because the American healthcare sector is very, very large, economically, and socially, and it’s growing larger and larger, and again, as we continue to age that just means statistically we’re gonna consume more healthcare, and also the R and D of our medical sector, which is tremendous, is gonna produce more market options for healing people, and it adds an interesting kink to the evolving pattern. Because we now have this tendency of more and more young people are born and grow up in cities and in suburbs, and they’re more and more likely to go to higher education in cities, and then they’re more saddled with debt, which about two thirds of them are, they’re more and more likely to want to stay in cities so they can find a job, enable them to pay off that debt. But meanwhile, in the countryside, as we age more rapidly, healthcare becomes more and more important, and in fact when I go across the country and I go to small towns, small cities, it’s interesting to see how the healthcare sector, architecturally, looks kind of like the way churches used to. A looming hospital, which becomes central to the community, the drug stores are no longer pharmaceutical dispensaries but they’re full grocery stores. They’re like general stores right now. So maybe these young folks in their 20s, early 30s, will be lured out to the countryside simply for the opportunity to work in the medical sector. And I mean the full gamut of allied health, I mean home healthcare aids, I mean surgeons, I mean people doing medical informatics, medical administration, radiology, EMTs, the whole healthcare sector is actually very, very large, so maybe that is one way forward for the rural world is center ourselves less on agriculture and more on healthcare.

Yeah, I work with a lot of rural hospitals and part of that discussion is how do those hospitals really become more engaged within the community? Because they are an epicenter for those rural communities in so many ways in terms of not just providing for people that are sick or hurt or injured, but also wellness has become more of a factor, they are, in many ways, the economic driver of those communities, so how do we make sure that they stay viable in a time when they’re having to shift their business models, but also really look at the opportunities ahead in terms of being able to really help these rural communities thrive in a different way, and I think technology is just a huge part of that. We’ve talked about DIY dentistry, home birth, et cetera, I know you’ve mentioned that in other conversations, and that’s going on all over, we have a medical center here in Nebraska that’s just doing amazing things with virtual reality and all types of technology, so it’s very exciting to see those trends, but also the opportunities that are coming with them, even though we have to recognize there are challenges.


Well I know you’ve built about 40 scenarios for higher education through the work you’ve done, and one of the things that you and I both really have explored is this whole issue of non traditional learners through this lens of higher education as well. So thinking about, right now recruitment’s still focused on high school students, largely, for all these institutions, very few, I mean there are some, but so few have decided, you know what? We have a lot of non traditional students that also benefit from higher education, or continuing education, but they can’t come to a campus. This whole piece of online and real time learning, all the different types of technologies available, specifically in rural. I just published a paper where I talked a lot about this. In the evolution of rural healthcare, the importance of teaching people in place, where they are, not expecting them to move, but rather let’s value who’s already there and give them some new opportunities.

For those listeners who haven’t seen this, in healthcare there’s a long tradition at this Finnish University, and I was walking through their medical school, and they were showing me their simulation wing where they had devoted an entire wing of their university to simulation. It’s kind of a no brainer, it’s better to have medical students work on simulations than on live human beings. You might think of say, the Resusci Anne doll where people learn how to do CPR. So I walk through this corridor and I looked into a room where they had a robot that simulated a woman in childbirth, in the next room they had a kind of multi purpose room where you could see patients going through multiple procedures, there was another room which was a ward, which had a mix of human actors and robots, it was tremendous stuff. And then the last room we went to blew me away, because it was a living room, a meticulously tricked out living room, with a carpet, a TV in the corner, a sofa, I said, well wait a minute, have I gone in the wrong building? They said, no, no, no, one of our biggest demands is home healthcare.

That’s absolutely right, it is where it is at right now.

Literally where it’s at.

Yes, if it blew you away, it had to be awesome.

(laughing together)

It was so surreal, I thought that I had walked into a movie set, and the idea is, well what do you do with students who grew up in a major city, lived in the city, learned the city ways, and now they’re gonna be sent to central Finland, which is as rural as it gets, to help people in their homes? And so it was a really great idea to do that, so I think care in place, learning in place is something that we’re really, really going to be doing more of. When it comes to education, I think, in many ways, we have to think about this in some more imaginative and more effective ways. So if we have a learner who’s in rural Nebraska, and we want them to learn, we have to really think hard about how we do digital learning, so we have to figure out where synchronous technologies, like video conferencing, really work. How to do asynchronous learning, how to create a sense of learning community online, how to do that better, where a lot of online learning is really not community based, it’s more instructor, student, and pile of stuff. So beginning to recreate that.

I would love to see rural places be one of the first areas to use holograms, in these sorts of places, so it doesn’t just have to happen in Silicon Valley, it could really happen in our rural communities.

It really should, and it shouldn’t, I mean, in many ways, one of the great uses of virtual reality, or holograms, or any visualization is helping learners visualize something they just can’t get to. And that happens across the disciplines, for example, people in classical studies. Building visualizations of ancient Rome, because it’s gone, and also because most people can’t fly to Rome, and check out ruins right now. In sciences, people do visualizations of say proteins. So imagine, again, this hypothetical learner in the middle of rural Nebraska has the chance through VR say to glimpse Cairo, or a human skeleton from the inside, or the solar system from the outside, again, when you describe it, it sounds blindingly obvious, yes, we have to do this, but we have to do this, and it takes some work to do.

Well and I think it’s one of those things that could help stop, or at least slow down, this exodus from rural into our more urban centers, because there is the perception that there’s more opportunity in urban, and I think to some extent that’s true, but I think the other part of it is we need to think a little bolder, and bigger, to say how do we create that community? How do we create access? How do we recreate rural in a way that’s a 21st century model that people can use?


Well Bryan I’d love to know some parting words of wisdom that you could share with our audience.

A few things, one is to focus on imagining a future that can be different. I find this to be very, very challenging, for various reasons we tend to think about the future as an extension of the immediate past. For all of our vaunted love of disruption, we really see that as an exception, and tend to think of the future as being version seven of version six and five that we’ve just experienced, and it’s really important to think about the ways it can be gradually and even exceptionally different. And this is a mental habit that I recommend that science fiction is a good way of spurring that habit, in fact I really think if you’re not reading science fiction you’re not really ready for the 21st century.

I agree, I think that’s a great point.

Second thing is to connect with people. I don’t mean in a kind of Hallmark card cheesy way, I mean to take advantage of these technologies and reach out and connect with people so that you can learn from them. The future right now is such a vast and dynamic, complex system that it’s very difficult for any one person to get a handle on it. Really need the points of view of different people, and I think using the technology well is a really great benefit, and we really need to do that, and it’s not just a consumption angle, we have this inherited mid-20th century habit of sucking down media. Really, more importantly with 21st century media, as literally interactive. I think we really, really need to do that. So that’s a second bit of recommendation. Third is I think really to focus on, and advocate for, the rural world. We’re not really on the cultural radar. We don’t have much of a presence in pop culture, and we really need to, I think, push for ourselves, because right now we’re on the back foot, we’re not the most important sector anymore, and we have to really, I think, experiment with what we do, and we have to make our voices heard.

Yeah, I just think that’s so incredibly important. One of the things the Rural Futures Institute has been working on is really elevating the voice of rural, because you’re so spot on, it’s very lost, I think in the media world today, but also when it is out there it’s portrayed in a pretty stereotypical, negative way, and so elevating that conversation to really demonstrate the value of rural, but all the amazing, cutting edge innovation happening in rural is something we’re hoping to do, and we’re so excited that you’ve spent this time with us, during the show, to help us do that. I know you do that in your work, and we appreciate and value what you’re doing,

so as people are looking to creating the future, they’re getting help from people like you to do that in a very positive way. Well Bryan, thank you so much for this conversation today, I know people are gonna be curious and interested in finding you, so where can our listeners find you?

Well, you can find me pretty much everywhere, I’m very, very active online, I publish almost everything I do to the open web. The best central location is the Future of Education Observatory, just go to FutureOfEducation.us, you’ll find an introduction there, as well as links from there to my blog, to my other social media platforms, and my weekly video conference, that’s one way. You can find me on Patreon, where I have supporters there who help keep me going, Patreon.com/BryanAlexander. And naturally I’m on Twitter all the time, just my handle just BryanAlexander, B-R-Y-A-N, Alexander.

Excellent, I know our listeners will want to check that out, I’m a huge fan, and will continue to be, and we so appreciate all the insights, and futures perspectives that you shared today, thank you.

Well it’s my pleasure, thank you for the opportunity, and thank you for the great conversation.

Thanks for listening to the Rural Futures podcast with Dr. Connie, subscribe where you listen so you don’t miss an episode, and reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at RuralFutures to let us know what questions you have and who you think we should bring on the show. Next up, Dr. Connie talks with Microsoft General Manager Shelley McKinley, about rural connectivity and leadership in a world of exponential change. We are really on the brink of this fourth industrial revolution, we need to take action now, one of the number one things going forward is we have to ensure that we’ve got a good, diverse, and inclusive set of people around the world that are working together to really try to tackle some of these humongous challenges we have in front of us in things like the environment, and things like accessibility, and things like human rights.