Ep 04 - Francois Taddei - Learning Evolvability

Brief intro

The show guest for episode 04 is Francois Taddei, whom I met in January of 2015, following a recommendation by my friend Mitch Altman. 

Over the last twelve years, François Taddei has served as the co-founder and director of CRI Paris (Centre for Research and Interdisciplinarity) which experiments and spreads new ways of learning, teaching, conducting research and mobilizing collective intelligence in life, learning and digital sciences.

François Taddei participates in various working groups on the future of research and education (« France 2025 », OECD report etc). He has been involved in scientific committees for the NIH, the INSERM and the Ministry of Research and served as an advisor to the French government, the European Union and the OECD that asked him to write a report on the future of education in the 21st century. 

François Taddei also heads the Evolutionary Systems Biology team at a unit of the French National Institute of Health & Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris-Descartes University’s Medical School. After a generalist scientific education, with majors in physics and biology at the École Polytechnique, he became a tenured higher civil servant at the French Ministry of Agriculture, before earning a PhD in genetics, studying the rate of evolution with Miroslav Radman. After postdoctoral training with John Maynard-Smith, for the last 12 years, his research team has been studying innovation and degeneracy in biological systems. This work has produced many publications in generalist scientific journals and has been recognized by several awards (European Young Investigator award, Human Frontier Science Program award, INSERM Award for Fundamental Research, Liliane Bettencourt Life Science Award).


Show notes

3:10 - Life story, morning routine and why working education 

5:20 - Wowed by AI 

6:00 - Most gifted books

6:20 - On Failure and success 

7:00 - What is CRI? How dit it all start?

13:00 - Bell Labs, Cultures of creativity and Socrates

14:00 - Early struggles 

16:20 - CRI funding path

18:20 - CRI structure, stakeholders and programs

21:50 - Values and culture at CRI. Organising disciplines around questions. 

23:50 - On evaluating students. The gap between short-term needs and long-term change 

27:20 - On student competition and tomorrow’s problems

30:00 - On technology in classrooms

31:50 - Looking into the future of learning. The R&D for a Learning Society. 

36:00 - The results/impact of CRI so far

38:10 - The future of CRI and efforts to spread CRI ideas

41:50 - On the future of work.

45:20 - On IKIGAI and the role of parents/community in child education

47:10 - Valuable resources for educators

49:30 - A message for educators/researcher who want to jump out of the box

51:00 - If I were a teenager in today’s schools

52:00 - If I were the Minister of Education

53:10 - The BIG question mark for the world

54:30 - The dreaming exercise 

56:00 - How to get in touch



  1. Reinventing Discovery

  2. Cultures of Creativity

  3. De-schooling Society

  4. Reinventing Organizations

  5. WISE Book: Innovation in Education

  6. Learning from extremes

  7. CRI Publications



  1. Socrates

  2. Aristotle

  3. Mitch Altman

  4. Michael Moore


Links / Resources

  1. CRI Paris Website

  2. Advanced Chess

  3. Vigyan Ashram

  4. OECD Education

  5. Bell Labs

  6. Todai Robot

  7. Where to invade next

  8. Leaders of Learning

  9. 3 Idiots