“To adapt to a constantly changing world”
As founder and director of the AXL Agency, a start-up which specialises in digital advice and management, Axelle Tessandier is a successful entrepreneur for whom sport is important. She talks about the challenges to be faced and the importance of education in our project for society.
Confronted by the digital revolution we are living through, you stress the importance of education and training. Why does this seem so vital?
AT: When we talk about education and digital technology, we tend to limit the subject to the tools. In my opinion, there is very much more involved. We need to understand how things are changing and be able to adapt to a constantly changing world, where things becoming obsolete and innovations are continuous. In career terms, this means accepting and managing the fact that we will almost certainly have different jobs throughout our career and that many of tomorrow’s jobs do not yet exist. This requires a society that is not afraid of uncertainty. I am a firm believer in the need to cultivate empathy, curiosity and resilience in our education system, because these are the essential strengths in this new century. In the face of progress in artificial intelligence, I think we need to re-focus on our humanity, on all the things which cannot be automated in the future.
Education in digital technology involves stepping back from all the data we are bombarded with today. For young people it is a sort of civic education. It is important to develop a critical faculty and think for oneself. It is also important not to deprive ourselves of talent. Nowadays about 45% of girls do scientific studies, but only a few of them go on to fill places in R & D and innovation. They need to feel that they have the right to integrate what is still a very masculine sector.
Digital technology is profoundly changing the way we work, learn and interact. What connections can we make between the potential of ITC, and sport, another arena for learning?
AT: Sport has many virtues. That may seem obvious, but doing sport can develop physical well-being, self-confidence and intuition. In France we still tend to intellectualise a lot of things to the detriment of intuition. This self-confidence shows itself in new relationships with other people. I found the show of popular enthusiasm after the World Cup this summer wonderful. It made one think about our shared values, doing one’s best and living together. The enthusiasm did not last long, and we need to understand why. Now there is talk of reducing sport funding, which is absolutely bewildering. Sport constitutes a link between personal well-being and going beyond oneself, that is to say, being part of a community. And, in fact, we do not use it enough; we dither about. It is as if we are constantly changing the treatment instead of thinking of changing the cause of the problem. I do not think we should separate the community from the personal, because they are very closely linked. Sport makes it possible to connect the brain and make it more intuitive. That is something that needs to be developed today, at a time of constant change, when we need to be able to anticipate the changes we feel.