We live in a modern world of technological advances, the education space being no exception. This is where Jaime Casap comes in. Jamie is the Global Education Evangelist at Google, Inc. Using the power and potential of the web and technology, he collaborates with school systems, educational organizations, and leaders focused on building innovation and iteration into education policies and practices. In this episode, Jamie talks about how he started in Google and how that has allowed him to enter the education space and helped him launch Google Apps for Education. He shares what his vision is for education in the future and the things that should be integrated now to achieve that. Jamie also talks about what’s waiting outside of the education space for students and how technology can impact that. He discusses the ways anyone can learn about anything and how to deal with information overload. Lastly, he gives an overview of what it’s like to work at Google, Inc.
We have Jaime Casap. He is the Chief Education Evangelist at Google. This is going to be fascinating.
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Building A New Era In Education Through Technology With Jaime Casap
I am here with Jaime Casap, who is the Chief Education Evangelist at Google. Jaime evangelizes the potential of digitalization as an enabling capability in pursuit of promoting inquiry-based learning models. He collaborates with school systems, educational organizations and leaders to focus on building innovation in our education policies and practices. It’s nice to have you here, Jaime.
Thanks for having me.
I was excited. I got to see you speak live here in Phoenix. You did such an amazing job. You tied into everything I’m interested in because of my work in curiosity and in education, it’s great. I started to research some of your talks and I had to laugh because I used to program my homework in BASIC. You’re telling me your background and having to write 5,000 lines to get a bird to fly across the Commodore computer I can relate to. Can you give a little background because it sounds like we have some similar things in terms of education and technology? Give me a background before you got to Google and what it’s like to work at Google?
That was only eight minutes that I had time to speak. I’m glad that I had made some impact. It’s always hard to speak for eight minutes. It takes me eight minutes to introduce myself. I’ll give you a quick background. I had been at Google now for several years. During my time at Google, I helped launch Google apps for education in the university space. We launched the ASU, we launch Google apps in the K-12, we launched Chromebooks in education. I’ve been part of the education effort at Google for the past several years, focused on the role that technology plays in education. My passion for education starts way back. It starts from where I come from. I’m born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Raised by a single mother on welfare and food stamps and education is the reason I get to talk to you.
I graduated high school, went to college, graduated from college, graduated from graduate school and I get to live this life because of education. As far as I’m concerned, education not only disrupts poverty, it changes the family’s destinies because it’s not the students that we deal with. The impact goes on for generations because I have my kids and now they’re doing well. That’s the impact that education has. We should all be interested in education. That’s where I started. I started in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. I worked for Governor Andrew Cuomo for a couple of years. I was at Accenture for a few years, working and doing consulting work with strategies around talent management and organizational development. I ended up at Google several years ago. I got the focus on education and what we can do with education because the opportunity is tremendous.
I saw that you deal with a lot of types of education that I focus on with soft skills. You were talking about the importance of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and all the things that we’re trying to teach people that got overlooked in the education system. It’s interesting that you’re doing that with Google in Arizona. I wasn’t aware that Google had a presence here in that a realm. Where is Google in Arizona?
It’s not. I work from home. I have a studio in Downtown Phoenix. I’ve been working from home for several years. We used to have an office back in 2006. That’s how it started. We are opening up an engineering office. I got recruited, I was working with Google and then during the big recession in 2008, they combined a bunch of offices and Phoenix was one of them. I stayed with Google. Phoenix was my favorite city in the country. I’ve lived in many cities and I’ve traveled to many others and Phoenix was my favorite city in the country and I wanted to stay here. My kids were here, lots of different reasons. I worked from my studio in downtown Phoenix.
You got my dream job. We have a lot of native New Yorkers here in Phoenix. You’re not missing the weather back there.Education not only disrupts poverty, but it also changes families’ destinies. Click To Tweet
I was there. It was cold.
You’ve done a lot of amazing work here in Phoenix. You created the Phoenix Coding Academy. Can you talk about that? What is that?
The Phoenix Coding Academy started with an idea. The idea was, how do we create a new type of high school? The superintendent, Kent Scribner at that time, he’s now the Superintendent in Fort Worth called me in for a meeting and said, “We got a budget to open up a new school. We want to open up a Google school.” I was like, “What does that mean?” He’s like, “We use Google apps, we use Chromebooks, we’ll paint the walls red, we’ll have a creative space.” I’m like, “We’re not doing that.” “What we’re doing instead?” I pitched him my idea that I’ve had at that point for a couple of years, which is to build a Computer Science high school where Computer Science is the language that students learn across all different subjects. That’s where it started. I joined the implementation team and it was ten of us. We worked on this idea and this concept for a couple of years.
We launched it in 2016. We’ve got about 400 kids in the school who are doing amazing work and it’s focused on Computer Science, programming and careers. More importantly, it’s focused on what you call the skills that are most critical, which is collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking in this Computer Science world. This is not a charter school and there’s nothing wrong with charter schools. This was not a private school and there’s nothing wrong with private schools but this is a regular high school inside the Phoenix Union School District. Part of my personal mission for this school is to prove that you can do a lot of the things that I talk about, a lot of things that those of us in progressive education talk about. We could do these things in our regular course of business in schools. We don’t have to go and invent anything new. We can inside our systems create this.
You had a book that tied into what you think should happen in education. It’s On Our Street: Our First Talk About Poverty, a book you co-authored with a psychologist. What you’re trying to do in education ties into a lot of stuff I research for my book on curiosity. I was looking at what kept us from being curious and I found four factors keep people from being curious. That was what my assessment measures. What I was looking at is, why are we not being curious? What is it out there that’s setting people back? It made me look at a lot of the TEDx Talks by Sir Ken Robinson and George Land doing his work with NASA. We want STEM. We want to have people have certain skills. They were saying we were educating people out of our creativity because we’re focusing so much on science and math and not enough on creativity. What do you say to that?
I hear both sides of the argument a lot. I don’t think it’s one thing or the other. For example, I hear people say that we need to teach kids how to be creative. We need to teach kids how to be curious. The reality is what we need to do is not kill creativity and curiosity from our kid. Let’s start there. I have a five-year-old and I got done with the school tour. We’re in the middle of picking a kindergarten for her. We were looking at 5 or 6 different schools and they have slightly different models. Every child was different, but what we’re looking for our child was a place where she can explore, where she can take that curiosity that she naturally has and grow with it so she can lead her learning. If you start there and she’s interested in space, then all of a sudden now we’re doing math, we’re doing space, we’re doing engineering and we’re doing some of those things. If she was interested in photography, then she would be doing that. Here’s the thing about STEM. It’s not a separate thing.
One of the things that often we deal with students is this idea that they’re not good at math. We failed at including math into everything. This is what I talked to my five-year-old about. Math is everything. The whole world is made of math. There’s nothing that you look at that doesn’t include math. It’s like being inside the Matrix. When you start with that, then math becomes part of anything, so math becomes part of photography, cooking and whatever brick lane. Whatever it is you end up being curious or interested in, math is part of that. Engineering isn’t so much about sitting at a computer and programming. Engineering is about taking a problem and then finding solutions and creating the steps to solve that problem so it’s computational thinking.
Computational thinking is in everything, baking, in building a car and whatever it is that you do. This idea of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics being the separate thing doesn’t make any sense to me when all those things are involved in whatever problem students are curious. I almost want to do the opposite. I want to stop talking about STEM and in every subject include the ideas of Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering as part of that discussion because there’s no separation between the real world and those subjects.
You make some good points. I love that your daughters are curious. By the way, I saw she was looking for the best bagel in New York. Did she ever find it?
A couple of months ago, I was reminded of this because I told this story at one of the schools that we are visiting. She was playing and doing something that was bath time. I said, “We’ve got to stop. We’ve got to go take a bath.” She’s like, “Why do I have to end?” I said, “All things end.” She said, “Not numbers.” She stopped me. That’s the point. You can include all this stuff into everything.
It makes sense to do that with kids. What about the Gen-Zers and older who didn’t get what your daughter’s getting now because they were missing all this? Maybe their curiosity got a little bit hurt and we’re trying to get them better with their soft skills. We’re trying to make more creative. What’s the solution to all of this?
As I heard on the side, I say this to my presentation sometimes. If you want to trigger me, call the things that I talk about soft skills. They’re not soft skills, they’re essential and critical. I hear soft skills, that’s the first thought I think about. Here’s the thing, it’s a mindset. It’s a shift. I have a YouTube channel that you can visit with a lot of my videos around career advice and life advice. I launched a video on this idea of busyness and how we always talk about when someone asks you how you’re doing, you say busy. The point of the video was that nobody cares and it’s the wrong approach. I have all these things out there.
One of the things that I talk about in one of my videos is that I’ve lived my whole life based on what a puppet said in the movie when I was twelve years old. That was when Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back said to Luke, “Do or do not. There is no try.” This idea you’re doing something or not doing something. How does that relate to what we’re talking about here? Everything is a choice. We have to get to a mental place where we realize that everything is a choice. When an adult says Generation Z, Generation X, it doesn’t matter, Boomer, whatever you want to call them. When they say, “I am not creative,” that has to shift to, “I’ve chosen not to be creative,” because we live in a world now where you can learn how to do anything. When I started this YouTube channel, I knew nothing about videography.
I’m a photographer by nature. I’m technically a professional photographer. I sold some of my photos but I knew nothing about videography. I can say, “I am not good at videography,” or I can say, “I need to learn how to be good at videography and teach myself.” In the last 9 or 10 months that I’ve watched this channel, I’ve learned two different software packages. I know everything that you need to know about filters and ND filters and variable filters and what the frame rates should be. I’ve chosen to learn. To me, it’s a mental state. It’s okay that you’re not creative. Either say you’ve chosen not to be creative or say I’m going to learn how to be creative.
I’m going to learn how to do X because you can learn how to do anything. To me, that’s the opportunity that we have in front of us is that there is nothing that you can’t learn. The brain is an amazing tool in the sense that you could fill it all day with information and it never gets full. It needs to rest. The next day you can wake up and do it all over again. There is no resting point for the brain. There’s nothing that you can’t learn how to do from a mental perspective. If I said I couldn’t dunk a basketball, that’s going to be true no matter how hard I learn anything. It’s not going to happen. The stuff that’s in your head, everything’s a voice deciding whether you want to be something or not be something.
Carol Dweck’s work was important in the open versus fixed mindset because a lot of it is how we say things and how we visualize what we’re capable of or what we’re not. If we close ourselves down, it’s a problem. When you’re looking at younger generations, it’s fascinating when you talked about how the younger generation doesn’t even know what the world looked like before computers. I know we talked about this when I was working as the MBA Program Chair at Forbes because we would talk about how do we train people?We need to teach kids how to be creative and curious, not kill creativity and curiosity from our kids. Click To Tweet
Are they more interested in bits and pieces of content? How can you give them a degree? You’re preparing them for a job that may not even exist yet and you’re trying to train them. There’s a lot of that type of thinking when we get into education because there’s so much that technology ties in. I teach for a technology school here in a couple of different schools in town and one was the technology-based school. One of the questions they asked in one of the classes is to explain what technology is. What isn’t technology? It’s easier to answer.
It depends on how you define technology. A car is a technology. A pen is a technology. You can go all the way back.
It’s a time that we’ve got generations learning different ways. We’ve got to think of how we’re going to teach them. Are we going to be doing more ala carte type of degrees in the future where you take a class here at this school and a different class there? Are we going to have degrees? Are we going to have certifications? What do you see the future of education in the next few years?
Part of it is having a consistent lifelong learning mindset. Having that model that you are always learning, always need to be learning. It doesn’t mean a certificate, a program or a degree. I took a month off in December. During that time, I learned how to run Final Cut Pro, which is a software package for me to edit video. Do I know how to do it? You watch my videos to see if I did it well. There is no certification, there is no badge, there’s no nothing. I just know how to do it. You watch the video and if I did it and I can watch my video and say, “I could do better than that and I can grow it.” You can see the progression of my videos on my YouTube Channel over time because I’m getting better at it. You can see that. It’s more about experimenting with learning, but at the same time experiencing it as well.
It’s not sitting there and looking so that you have 180 credit hours or whatever. At the end of it, someone can give you a certificate that says you know how to do X. That’s part of it. I talked to a lot of chamber business groups. I talked to a lot of chamber of commerce across the country. One of the things that I’m trying to warn them about, especially those that are Generation X and Boomers, is this idea that the model doesn’t exist anymore. Education is about preparing kids, there are students with the skills that they need for the jobs that they’re going to have. You’re the workforce and they’re going to come in and you hope they have the skills.
That one doesn’t exist anymore. There are two things. Number one, Generation Z are the kids that are between the ages of 8 and 18 or born around the year 2000. That’s a model that I use. Those students do not want to work for you at all. 70% of them want to do their own thing. Even if that was true when I was seventeen years old, it was harder for me to start my business. It was harder for me to get myself going because I needed inventory, a storefront, the cash register, employees, all these things that I needed. Now, any student with a laptop can start a business. We live in a long tail economy. What I talk to students about isn’t these are the skills you need for a job. I talk to them about build your own thing. Create your brand. Create your own identity, the skills that you have.
Those skills might fit in a company, it might fit in a nonprofit, or it might fit as you starting your own thing. That’s the world we live in now, which is you can create a niche of anything and you could go out sailing in Phoenix. If you start developing the eye for as you find things, you clean them up, you paint them, you do whatever, and then you put them on eBay and sell them for a 20% profit margin and make $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 from buying and reselling things on eBay. If you’re a designer, you can be on Fiverr and design logos and shirts or whatever for people. You could create your own shirt brand with your scene. We live in that world now. This idea of the workforce is waiting for these people to be educated so that they can work for you. That doesn’t exist anymore.
That is changing but then a lot of people say what the value of an education is? I was a pharmaceutical rep forever in the past and they wouldn’t even look at you without a degree. There’s some Gen X and older who still have that same mindset that there’s a certain value, that’s the value to them sometimes more than it is to the individual. Far out in the future, do you see that’s still going to be around for some amount of time in certain industries, don’t you think?
I have three kids. I have two of them in the college experience. I wanted them with a degree and she is an Editor at CNN. I have an eight-year-old who’s at ASU in the middle of it. My 27-year-old has a degree in film production that she graduated in 2016. She got promoted, but she didn’t get promoted because she has a degree. She got promoted because she’s good at what she does. She continues to educate herself as she continues to learn and she continues to get better. It’s a supply chain issue. Google doesn’t require a college if you’re going to work at Google. It so happens that everyone who graduates from Harvard, Stanford and Princeton wants to work at Google.
They have degrees but you don’t need it if you work at Google. You’re going to see more of that where the skills that you’re bringing. Imagine a company can do an assessment or you come in for an interview and they can assess you, they can determine your knowledge, your skills and your abilities and your potential and have a score for that. It doesn’t matter where you went to college, it doesn’t matter what score you got. It doesn’t matter what degree you have. How many people do you know, especially Boomers and Generation Xers, who are working in spaces that have nothing to do with what they got a degree in? That’s the world that I see where you have people continuously educating themselves, continuously learning and then being able to prove that.
On my project list that I’m trying to build is what does a future resume look like? The resume should be dead. The resume is the past, it’s a history book. What does a resume look like for potential? It shouldn’t be stock market-ish. If I hire you to come work for me, I shouldn’t look at your past performance to determine your future results. I want to know what your potential is. What are you bringing me? What does that look like? That’s what I’m trying to figure out. I have amazing collaboration skills. How do you determine that? What could you do with that?
A lot of the times, what you’re bringing in an organization might be your network. If I left Google and was out in the world, my education network is tremendous. Who can tap into that? Who can utilize that? It’s beyond your degree, it’s about what you’re bringing to the table. What’s your potential resume look like? This is what I think I could bring to your company. If the first thing on their resume is the highlight or the objective and it says, “Looking to work with a company where I can build my skills.” I delete. I don’t care what you want. What are you bringing me?
Resumes for me are much more attracted to the ones that have bulleted points of increased sales by X, Y, Z amount in this job. The actual things you did for the company. It’s better than not having something like that in some respects. It’s hard to quantify it until we can quantify it, at least you have something. I started to put Portfolium into the courses I taught. People could showcase maybe some of the like, “I was able to create this great video or this thing,” so you can see what they do. Does that appeal to you?
Take the sales thing again. If someone says, “I sold X number of things,” this means there’s much revenue and they come to my organization and they say, “I’m looking for a sales job.” “I want to see what you’ve done in the past. More importantly, I want to see what potential you have. What is it that you’ve done?” “I’m a sales rep. I sold rotary phones. I sold thousands and thousands of rotary phones. I made the rotary phone company $8 million.” What does that mean for my company? I want to know what your potential is, what you can bring. To me, you might be good at teaching people how to sell things or you might be good with the network that you have. One of the bullet points that I have never seen on a resume is I manage my personal network and I’ve had outstanding endorsements. That’s interesting to me. That’s what I want to see. Sifting the thought from what you’ve done in the past to what you can do in the future. I want people who are adaptable. I want people who always want to learn something. I want people that curiosity is great. That’s what I’m looking for. How do you quantify that? That’s what I’m trying to figure out.
It’s tough and I tried to quantify what kept people from being curious and that was challenging. I finally did. I found out that there were four things that kept people. I thought once you could find these four things, which were fear, assumptions, the voice in your head, technology and the environment, you can start to plan, to help build curiosity in people. For me, what I look for in an interview is are they asking questions? Are they noticing things? Do they know about my products? How important is it to you when you’re interviewing someone the questions they’re asking?
The questions that they’re asking is important but also how much they know about what I do. How much do they know about my business? I’ll ask questions around things that aren’t on the top three things that you know about. It’s important to see how much research they have. How curious are they about your organization? Is it another interview that they’re doing? All those things matter. At the same time, I don’t think we do a good job with probation periods like come in and what are the first six months of your time here look like? What does the first year look like? We both live in Phoenix. Look at Arizona State University. One of the brilliances of Michael Crow and his new American University standard is why we should restrict people from getting higher education when he believes anyone can learn.In the world we live in now, you can create your own niche. Click To Tweet
If that’s true, they should come to your school. If they can’t learn something, it’s your fault. You’re doing something wrong. You’re not giving them the skills that they need or you need to do more remedial things. It’s almost the same thing and it’s always true at work. If you hire someone and you have to fire them, it’s your fault. It’s not their fault. You did something wrong either in the recruitment process, in the hiring process, in the learning and development process, in whatever it is. Most people leave their jobs because they don’t like their manager, not because they can’t do a skill. Those things are important to think about as well.
As we’re preparing people for the future, you say that we’re no longer preparing kids for this world because jobs require higher sets of skills. You’re talking about the language or digitalization is what we need to be talking about in Computer Science. We need to have a better understanding of the language of Computer Science. How do we get that understanding?
The whole point of that is this idea that we often look at we all learn English. It didn’t mean that we were all going to go be novelists. It meant that we needed to know English to survive and thrive in the worlds that we were at. No matter what you do, you need to know English. What I’m arguing is that the same is true for Computer Science. When you break down machine learning, artificial intelligence, your laptop, your phone, Wi-Fi, whatever it is that you want to break down, it all boils down to the 1s and 0s of Computer Science. You have to know how those things are stacked. You have to know how they work. You have to know how they integrate with each other. Here’s an example, if I needed to get from Downtown Phoenix to Paradise Valley and I didn’t know that cars existed, what solution could I come up with? For me, understanding Computer Science is understanding the car and this is what cars can do and this is the ability that they have.
It’s more about understanding the toolset that you have available to you so that you can do amazing things. We’re at the beginning of this. Google announced a breakthrough in quantum computing and I’m not going to get into quantum computing here. It’s enough to say that they were able to get to an equation or a calculation that would take the world’s strongest supercomputer 10,000 hours to figure out this breakthrough that they have, now they can do it in 300 seconds. What are the possibilities of that? What is that going to look like? We’re talking Star Trek stuff here, so understanding computer science is the same thing as understanding what English is and how it works so that you can form a story or you can form solutions. If we need problem-solving, then you’re going to need to know how to use the tools that are available to you.
You have quoted the Stanford study that talks about 82% of elementary schools studied that couldn’t tell the difference between a sponsor site and a real new site. We have a lot of people who want to learn and they don’t know if they’re learning from a reputable site. Where do you learn all this? What do you rely on if you haven’t learned great critical thinking skills and you’re an adult and you want to understand computer science? You don’t maybe want to get a degree, but you want to catch up.
There are two different things that you’re talking about here. Number one is Computer Science is as a subject that involves things like computational thinking, problem-solving, and design principles. Those things you can learn, there are lots of reputable Computer Science types of programs including the Khan Academy where my kid learned how to code by watching, by going through it. Those are the things that you can do. The other thing that you’re talking about is digital skills. When I was in high school, I learned how to reference, say things, how to put them, and all of the things.
Our students needed the same thing with technology, with the information that they vet. How do they make sense of the information? Propaganda is not a new subject. It’s easier. What we need to do is make sure our students are developing the critical skills and digital skills to be able to vet through information, to make sense of information. Those are two different subjects. One is the access to information, what’s out there, and how do you know something’s real or not. You have the actual computer science skills that students should know how to do no matter what they decide to do with their careers.
You can learn about anything you want to learn if you Google it, you go on YouTube. Information overload is the problem. Are you dealing with that at Google? How do we handle all this content? It’s not the Matrix where you can put a little thing in your head and then you’re good to go. It’s time-consuming. Is there a more efficient way that we’re working on to get this information?
There are teams at Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and lots of places that are trying to figure out how to do that. How do you take the important information and make sense of it? Everyone has a different approach to doing that. For example, videography and learning how to shoot film, I can learn through YouTube. What I had set up for me for my criteria is when I have a question, let’s say how do use an ND filter? I will put that search on YouTube. What I will do is I’ll sort the results by views because I use the wisdom of the crowd’s approach, which is this video has 10 million views. That’s telling me that the video that has 10 million views might be better than the video that only has 1,000 views. That’s factor number one. Factor number two is when I start watching the video, the way the person explains it to me, I have to be able to make sense of it.
If they do a good job, then I can stick with that person and they probably have other content that I can learn from. Through this process over the last several months, I have 5 or 6 people that I learned from on YouTube. It’s a great win-win. I watched their videos, they get paid for posting those videos and everybody wins. Their content is good, more people watch it. The wisdom of crowds is important for me as criteria that I use for finding good information. That’s one factor. If there’s one video I watch that doesn’t make any sense to me, even if they have 10 million views, I won’t watch that. I’m looking for people who can talk to me at the level that I’m at and that have the wisdom of crowds results to them as well.
It’s going to be interesting to see what Google and all the other companies do to make this more efficient process. You speak all the time and you represent Google. Was it through Google that you spoke at the White House with the Obamas? I laughed by the way at your comment about you wanted to say Bubba Booey on the microphone. Howard must have appreciated that. Was that part of Google?
I live in this weird world where I do a lot of things for Google but I’m also in my own thing. Google doesn’t own my background, so Michelle Obama through different contacts, reached out to me because she wanted me to speak to 200 students that were growing up the way I grew up. That was the criteria. These are students who are juniors and seniors in high school who are talented, good, but might be living under conditions that were similar to the way I grew up. She asked me to come to speak at this event. This weird balance between I worked for Google, but they don’t own my back lining where I come from. That’s why I was asked. Most of the time, I’m speaking not because I’m representing Google, but because I’m representing my ideas and I happened to work at Google. It’s this weird balance.
With Google, you’re working with the school systems and educational organizations. What’s your focus?
My work at Google is mostly the work with the team. Internally, we have teams that are set up to work with school districts that are set up to work with universities. These teams use me as a subject matter expert and bring me to meetings. There might be an event they’re working with the superintendent of New York City public schools and they’re hosting an event to talk about the future of digitalization. My team will ask me to come to speak at that event or there’s a meeting where people want to learn more about the future of work so they’ll bring me to that meeting. That’s how I work more directly with organizations is through my team. At the same time, I like being involved in specific projects that I’m passionate about. The Phoenix Coding Academy is a great example. That has nothing to do with Google. Google never dropped a dime on that. It’s my time, my effort and I moved to that.
You guest lecture at Arizona State University where I graduated. What classes do you lecture in?
For a while, I was teaching a Public Policy class in the School of Public Affairs. I was teaching Introduction to Organizational Concepts and then I started guest lecturing. Part of my issue and building with the Coding Academy, I was teaching 10th-grade Communication Skills. Part of my problem is I travel a lot. It’s hard for me to be somewhere every Monday or every Thursday for X amount of hours. I try to go in and guest lecture different classes. I had a marketing professor reach out and say, “Can you come to talk to my class?” I’ll go and do a guest lecture for them. I travel so much, it’s more about dropping in every once in a while when I can.Innovation takes discipline. Click To Tweet
When we hear Google, things come to mind of what we think it would be like to work there. I think of the Owen Wilson movie with Vince Vaughn. They were making reference to it. Is that at all close to what it’s like?
I’ve been there for several years. When I got there, there were 4,000 people that were working there and it felt like a startup. I felt like we all went to Disneyland at the same time in one year. There’s a big picture of all of us standing on Main Street in Disneyland. A lot of the people that I started with and I got to know became my mentors and have left since then. It’s becoming more of a regular company. One of the reasons that I’m still there is because we’ve been for the most part, good with sticking to our principles that we set even at the beginning. It is more about asking questions and never accepting no as an answer and trying different things.
That cultural part of it makes sense to me. For the most part, Google lets me roam around and lets me do what I’m interested in doing. That’s a good thing. It’s a balancing act but at the same time, if you’re starting at Google, it might feel more like a traditional company. It depends on where and when you come in. In terms of all the perks, they have micro kitchens and the lunches and dinners are amazing. Cafeteria food is real chef food. They have a dress policy. One of the videos on my YouTube channel that I’m going to be making is this idea of dress code. I believe dress codes are a diversity issue. I’ll get deeper into that in one of my videos. Being able to wear what you want and being able to manage your own time, but it’s all wrapped around this disciplined structure.
People often think that working at Google or Google in general, is this open-ended creative place where people do whatever they want. That’s not true. We have our yearly objectives. We have every quarter we go in and figure out how we’re doing against those. Every organization inside Google does that. Every team does that. Every individual does that. We have a sophisticated performance review process. We have a sophisticated recruiting and interview process. Innovation takes discipline and I haven’t seen us do any shortcuts in those spaces. That’s a good thing.
You’re known for giving time to work on pet projects. Is that a formal thing? Did you have 10% of your day? I’ve heard all kinds of mixed ways of stating that. What’s the real format for that?
It used to be a formal thing that’s called 20% time. Every engineer had 20% of their time to work on what they wanted to. It was loose in terms of what does that mean? Does that mean a day a week? Does that mean four days a month? Does that mean taking a couple of weeks off every year to go focus on something specific? It depended on the project or the idea of the individual. There were projects created from 20% time and that got built into our everyday. It’s more like 120% than it is 20%. You might be interested and we still have 20% projects. Let’s say you are a sales guy that sells ads at Google but you are passionate about education. You want to be more involved in education. You can look for roles in the education team or you can look for what we have in our 20% projects. We don’t have the bandwidth or the team or the subject matter expertise. Someone will pick that project up and work on that project in their own time as part of the workday. It’s more integrated with what we do. It’s more like a cultural element as opposed to a formal program.
You are ahead of the game as far as developing curiosity. I’ve had a lot of people contact me to help their organizations improve their culture in terms of curiosity. A lot of them refer to what Google’s done with that project, whether it was formal or informal. It does what we’re trying to do. We’re worried about innovation. We’re worried about AI changing where people are placed in. Wouldn’t it be great to put people into jobs that they love and are engaged with? To do that, we’ve got to ask questions, we’ve got to explore. You are way ahead in that respect. I always wanted to visit Google. My son-in-law works at Apple and it feels like you’re at ASU when I’m at Apple, it’s like a campus feel. I assumed it’d be something similar there. It was interesting to watch you talk about what you’re doing.
I know you had some little time, but I could tell that I wanted to follow-up with you. I’m glad that you were able to come on to show to explore this in more detail because you talk about all the things that I’m passionate about whether you call them soft skills, I know you don’t like that word, but all discussed are important, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, all these things. I’m with you and this needs to be a big focus on education and in general in our population. I love that you’re getting that message out. A lot of people want to know more. You have a YouTube station where they can reach you. Can you tell them how the best way to find you are?
It’s my name. One of the great things about having a unique name is that there’s not a lot of Jaime Casaps out there. You can find me on LinkedIn. I’m active on Twitter at @JCasap or call as soon as possible, which is the way a customer service rep told me one time. I’m on YouTube. Its YouTube.com/JaimeCasap is what it’s on. That’s the channel. I’m trying to launch a video every week. It’s closer to two a month, but it’s getting some of these ideas out on video formats so you can reach more people and I’m doing that as well.
I want to make sure everybody finds you. Jaime, this was so much fun. I’m glad you were able to join me on the show. Thank you.
Thanks for having me.
I’d like to thank Jaime for being my guest. We get many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, you can find them on the site at DrDianeHamilton.com. We’re also on the AM/FM stations where we’re syndicated and we’re on all the podcast stations. They’re all listed at the site. If you’re listening to iTunes, iHeart, Roku, you name it, you can find our show there. I want to make sure that you realize that there are multiple platforms to find the show. I love what Jaime talks about when he’s in front of a group because he points out how everything’s disrupted in education. It’s completely different for younger generations than it is for what we had in my time and in his time. It’s a whole different way of educating people. That’s why I am fascinated by talking about curiosity and how it can tie into improving innovation, engagement and all the things that lead to productivity. What Jaime is talking about is that what we used to think of work doesn’t always do the same thing as it used to do because it’s a whole platform that we’re dealing with.
A whole new generation of learners and expectations and technologies changed how we want to learn and what we need to learn. For organizations who are trying to get away from status-quo thinking, this is huge because we’re dealing with a lot of companies doing things the way they’ve always done it, the way we taught in 1955 but we’re working with a generation and a workplace that’s got all this technology so it doesn’t go together. It’s important for organizations to look at what’s holding their people back from discovering, learning, and exploring. In my research, I found there are four things that hold people back. Those are Fear, Assumptions, this is the voice in your head, what you tell to yourself, Technology and Environment. The acronym for that is FATE.
What I do with the Curiosity Code Index is go to organizations and have them take the assessment so they can find out what’s stopping them from being curious. Once you know what stops you, you’re able to move forward. That’s a huge thing because all the assessments up until this point told you if you were curious or not, but then what? If you’re not, then what do you do? What is interesting is I’m involved in a research experiment with the large pharmaceutical company where they’re looking at giving the Curiosity Code Index to a group within the company and testing their results before and after to see the effect it has on providing input and being much more curious in the workplace.
We would expect some good results from that. Hopefully, that particular study will come out this 2020. My years of research were already published in peer-reviewed journals about how we created the Curiosity Code Index or I did and how it has changed how we think about measuring curiosity. If you’re thinking about your company needs to change how they think, how they train and you’re worried about status quo thinking is holding your company back. This is the time to work on building curiosity in the workplace. That’s what I do. If anybody’s interested in finding out more about the Curiosity Code Index or Cracking The Curiosity Code book, you can go to CuriosityCode.com or you can also go to my website at DrDianeHamilton.com. At the top, you can get to the curiosity information. If you’re a consultant or HR professional and you want to get certified, we’re certifying people to give the Curiosity Code Index and it’s simple. You could do it online and it’s a half-day and you get five hours of SHRM recertification credit. It’s great. I spoke about this 2019 at SHRM and it’s taking off with the organizations.
We’re working with some of the biggest companies out there with developing their curiosity and Curiosity Code Index is simple. It’s similar to taking an emotional intelligence or a DISC or a Myers-Briggs type of assessment. It’s ten minutes, you get a 26-page report, it’s a PDF similar to that type of report that you’d get. It covers 36 questions that you’ve answered and how these factors of fear, assumptions, technology and environment are holding you back and provides an action plan for you to move forward. I thought this was a good time to talk about this since Jaime had touched on a lot of the things that I deal with in curiosity behavior and education. If you’re interested in finding out more, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com. Thank you to Jaime for such a great show. I hope you enjoyed our show. Join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
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About Jaime Casap
Jaime Casap is the Chief Education Evangelist at Google. Jaime evangelizes the potential of digitalization as an enabling capability in pursuit of promoting inquiry-based learning models. Jaime collaborates with school systems, educational organizations, and leaders focused on building innovation into our education policies and practices.
In addition to his role at Google, Jaime serves as an advisor to dozens of organizations focused on learning, skill development, and the future of work. He is the coauthor of “Our First Talk About Poverty,” as a way to talk to children about poverty. Jaime helped launch the Phoenix Coding Academy, a public high school in Phoenix, AZ, focused on computer science as part of an inquiry-based learning model. He teaches a 10th grade communication classes at the school. He also guest lectures at Arizona State University.
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