OU blog

Personal Blogs

Design Museum

Reflecting on the exam process

Visible to anyone in the world

The MAODE has no exams, it is all done through assignments. The MBA module I am doing, 'Creativity, Innovation & Change' has three two TMAs and ECA and an exam. The exam is the clincher.

An exam obliges you to do things in a very different way. You not only have to be able to tap into your memory banks, but you need to be able to drill deep enough for substance and then wrap this around the exam questions.

With a TMA all you have to do is wrap what you can pick out of the course books, notes and resources (on the basis that you have read the materials and know where it all is).

Surely as a form of assessment the exam is a crucial form of judging how mauch a person has taken in? Whether they have engaged extensively, iteratively and collaboratively with their student cohort and tutor during the module or whether they have confined themselves to a room with the resources and picked their way through them (or a bit of both).

In addition to the exam and assignment I rather like the idea of the viva, though I have never faced one. This suits my mind set and probably my way of learning, I like to hear what I have to say and respond to others. And I write the way I think, as stream of consciousness.

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 12 Apr 2012, 20:10)
Share post
Design Museum

Annagrams help in exams

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 10 Apr 2012, 12:49

I like to go into an exam with a handful of anagrams, a couple per paper or theme. I've had them 27 letter long, and have pegged 27 facts against these.

I use visualization as well to walk through the house 'seeing' themes and issues.

I use this http://wordsmith.org/anagram/index.html


Gives me:

  • Creativity
  • Organisational Structure
  • Cognition
  • Analogical Thinking
  • Developmental Organisations
  • Individual Style
  • Perception

Better still 'SPICES' gives me the 'characteristics of a creative organisation':

empowered Staff

integrated Procedures

Idea development

open Climate

External partnerships

flexible Structures

All of these become part of a 'mind dump' I do in the first 5 minutes just to get my head in the right place.

I've got less than two weeks to come up with a few more of these then practice them relentlessly.


For example gives me the 12 precepts of creative problem solving:

  • Value of playfulness
  • Adopt a set to break sets it is there already,
  • Nurture it
  • Broad picture, local detail
  • Explore the givens
  • Connect and be receptive
  • Know what you really want
  • Cycle often and close late
  • Love the looseness
  • Involve other people
  • Manage the process
  • Build up, don't break down

Where I come unstuck here is for the question to include all 12 precepts and say pick ONE to discuss for 45 minutes, whereas all I can deliver is a few minutes in each.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum


Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 08:24


This works for me.

I enjoy the sun, I read, I think, I absorb, I take notes ... and fall asleep.

When I drift into consciousness I will think myself into a topic, recall an anagram or mnemonic I have made up, then pick up my notes and press on.

Does it work? It can.

You have to make and take the time.


Recoverable memories don't sit for long on the surface of the brain, they need to be embedded. Myelination needs to take place.

P.S. You also have to hope the dog doesn't get bored or get into a fight.

Share post
Design Museum

Pegging to remember a set of facts

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 07:14

On having come up with he anagram 'Van Beck Climb' to remember the 12 precepts of 'Creative Problem Solving' (COS) (see below in this blog) I found I kept forgetting what each letter refered to I therefore visualised entering the house and in turn:

Seeing a set of hockey sticks to represent 'value of play ', while sitting on the stairs there is an adopted girl with a broken chess set to represent 'adopt the set to break sets'. Further up on the wall there really is a framed drawing of my wife 'nurturing ' the children to represent 'nurture the givens' while I imagine a far larger painting on the landing to represent 'broad picture, local detail'.

There are many doors to 'explore' and people with whom I should 'connect and be receptive to' while I must 'know what I really want'.

In a large lounge there are many people. To meet them all I am on a bike so 'cycle often and close late' however my clothes are 'loose' and i fall off so need to 'involve people', there being so many I 'manage the process' and finally 'build up to knock down'. Or some such.

Having got this straight I then hope to add detail, make sense of it all and have a few authors such as Handy and Schon to quote.

Will I get a question on this?

Do I need to? Even sime of it i'd certain to come up as these precepts are vital to the creative problem solving techniques as taught.

Looking at one exam question it said take ONE precept and write about it sad

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 07:13)
Share post
Design Museum


Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Apr 2012, 07:27

These are absent from the Masters is Open & Distsnce Education (MAODE).

This in part is what attracted me to these modules. However, the current elective I opted for (B822) has an exam. The game has changed. This is far more than an assignment that can be molded and grown over weeks, assessed pre-emptively, even shared with others then submitted. Glacier.JPG


An exam requires the construction of a glacier, through the drip, drip, drip of content.

From this glacier (in my case) three substantial blocks must drop into the ocean, as they melt I must mold them so that the tip above the surface is a landscape I can recreate intimately.

From this landscape, during the examination process, I recreate, as required, a bespoke response to each question.

Share post
Design Museum

Exam techniques for B822 'Creativity, Innovation & Change'

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 1 Apr 2012, 07:53

Stage One

I've punched my way through the three main course books which are named blocks 1, 2 and 3 and could just as well be expressed as some 60 + activities over the 20 or so weeks.

Unusually for me and influenced by seeing what others do (an advantage of a face to face tutorials) I too have 'defaced' my course books with highlighter pens, biro and notes. (A school career in which text books were bought and resold/recycled meant that unitl recently I kept books in a pristine condition. I wonder of being able to diddle about with electronic versions has encouraged me to do this?)

From this I will extract through notes what I consider to be key points and people.

This isn't second guessing the exam questions so much as covering topics that I believe I understand and can write about adequatetly.

This isn't the time to fill in significant gaps unless I feel there are any.

Tapping into the content benefits from some techniques that served me well decades ago and I know discover are taught to revision clases: anagrams and mnemonics.

I once had dozens of these, one in particular, a sentence that gave the key letter into some 27 facts on Elizabethan history which swirls around my head to this day three decades later.

I am learning another to get me through OU MBA Module exam B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

We were introduced to 12 precepts in relation to running a creative problem solving exercise or workshop. These I feel are crucial. Unlike a chronology of events in history or the order of the planets from the sun, there is no order to these precepts which makes devising an anagram or mnemonic all the easier. All the easier too now that there is readily availiable software to help.

AEBVBLNICKCM doesn't look promising

I began with 'an early bird values breakfast' which would give me

  • Adopt a set to break sets
  • Explore the 'givens'
  • Broad picture, local detail
  • Value Play
  • Build up, don't break down

Then I Googled an anagram tool which gave me all the letters in VAN BECK CLIMB

  1. Value play
  2. Adopt a set to break sets
  3. Nurture : it is already there
  4. Broad picture, local detail
  5. Explore the givens
  6. Connect and be receptive
  7. Know what you really want
  8. Cycle often and close late
  9. Live with looseness
  10. Involve others
  11. Manage the process
  12. Build up and break down

All I have to do is test my ability to

  • A) match all 12 letters to the phrases above
  • B) know what these phrases mean
  • C) use this as a 'brain dump' to help answer the question, rather than shoe-horning the above into a question.
  • D) Repeat the above in a variety of ways, perhaps 8 - 12 times evenly across all 3 blocks

If techniques on remembering stuff for exams interests you do ask; I have a variety of approaches up my sleeve (that fall short of having a piece of paper up your sleeve).

I was thinking of devising a list around the word


Seems a bit futile though. More ingenous, though cheating of course, would be to reprint the entire HIGHLAND SPRING label with a series of craftily hidden anagrams, mnemonics and other clues with the 'contents' a variety of authors and dates.


Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Covent Garden & Soho

Visible to anyone in the world
Familiar territory and old friends. All this B822 talk on creativity and innovation has me craving to be back in a 'creative' industry where the nodus operandi is having ideas. Speakeasy today, ealier this week 'The Edge', 'Channel Flip' and The School of Communication Arts. I have a morning spent with corporate eLearning specialist Epic to write up. They presented easy to use mobile learning content creation tool GoMo. Never before gave I felt the urge to photograph a urinal but those off The River Room, Millbank impressed.
Share post
Design Museum

The mortality of ideas (and incandescent light bulbs)

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 22:00


I've wanted to quote this for many years.

Winston Fletcher used this with images at an Advertising Association presentation at the CBI in October 1984.


When the client moans and sighs

Make his logo twice the size

If the client still proves refractory

Show a picture of the factory

Only in the gravest cases

Should you show the clients' faces

Found in 'Welcome to Optimism' after several false starts finding the right search terms for Google.

This is another way to look at it:




I was a trainee Rep at JWT.

My merry dance around the world of advertising continues with occasional afternoons mentoring at the School of Communication Arts which I attended in 1987.

I kept a daily diary at the time, most days a single sheet of A4 whether I felt like it or not.

This was Tuesday 9th October 1984.

It was a fortnightly or weekly IPA meeting that attracted graduate account managers from across the London advertising agencies. The diary entry reminds me who I was with, the ads we looked at, where I was and what I got up to. Plenty in fact to bring it all back in considerable detail.

The other quote or image I am looking for was a set of dimming light bulbs to illustrate the 'Mortality of ideas' something that threatens and crushes many a great project.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Resistance and an EMA

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Mar 2012, 08:23

The EMA is due on Monday.

Instead of writing the penultimate draft from the notes, earlier drafts, diagrams and pics I have assembled I am spinning through people's blogs. On the MAODE modules this served a purpose because there are always a handful of people who get into the blog thing on H800, H808, H807 and H809. However I have only ever come across TWO people doing any MBA module here and never anyone who is doing or has done B822 'Creativity, Innovation & Change'. All I need, or benefit from is the knowledge that I am in the same place they are or were ... or are reaching, to help clear the fog so that I can give the thing some certain shape. One trick, I've done this, is to write my TMA into this blog space ... never publish, but somehow I feel, momentarily, I have grabbed my space on the Church Hall platform and I have no choice but to talk through what I've got.

What have I got?

  • Five parts with a very clear sense of how many words per part are permitted and will work for what I think I know.
  • A couple of drafts which very unusually for me gives a total some 1000 words under rather than 10000 words over the required total.
  • A neat collection of course work references, quotes and diagrams.
  • Evidence in the form of photos, more diagrams, and comments on the topic from discussions that I seeded 'businessy' groups in Linkedin.
  • This stuff printed out and in digital form.
  • Two hours before I need to get off to the swimming club where I swim an early morning Masters session then teach for a few hours.


  • Focus on pulling stuff together for two hours.
  • Do the swim.
  • Then look at it afresh this afternoon.
  • This is a REPORT, so keep each part objective, and contained by the word count.
  • Stop fretting! A pass will do, but if I submit nothing a fail is inevitable sad
  • It MUST go on Sunday as I'm in London all day Monday.

(P.S. At some stage I'll be wandering around the Hockney at the RA if anyone wants to meet up)


Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 18 Mar 2012, 10:05)
Share post
Design Museum

Stories and Metaphor 12th January 2012

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012, 06:16

From the B822 Techniques Library we learn that we relate to stories; the parallels to our own lives provide meaning.

I'd say that to be successful audiences must feel empathy with any story, whether for entertainment or to get attention in a business context.


Bill Naylor takes this well attended session.

He starts with the story of a Merchant

(I thought we were going to get the 'Merchant of Venice'. It felt like something from 14th century Italy, like a piece from Bocacio's Decameron).

The story concerned a merchant, his beautiful daughter and a money lender. Unable to pay back the loan the money lender suggests a deal, his daughter in marriage and the debt will be dropped. To help the merchant he offers to put two stones in a bag, one white, one black to be picked out by the daughter. It is agreed. The daughter happens to see the money lender putting two black stones in the bag. What does she do?

We offer our solutions, though none get the Merchant off the hook and save the daughter.

  1. Take none
  2. Take both
  3. Pick a pebble.


  • Herself by picking up a white pebble and hiding it in her hand.

Transpose the rules

Actually she dropped the black pebble and said they'd know which one it was.

To create strategic clarity


"Stories stick in your mind like mental velcro." Naylor (2011)

  • They create strategic clarity
  • They create a connection
  • They embed values
  • They compel or inspire to take action
  • They are revealing
  • Stories connect us to a purpose and improve our performance

Quotes Henry V on the eve of The Battle of Agincourt

E.g. Chairman of the board.


  • An icebreaker
  • Induction
  • Communications
  • Learning. (Boje 1991)
  • Strategy
  • Action

A story usedby De Bono about Columbus

Egg on its end. Breaks the tip so that it would stand on its end. Once done anyone can do it.

  • Story of a young character on his first day having a word with a gruff character on the train in.
  • The story of the fat man in the bath in relation to consumer law and returned products, in this case a bath that had sat for 5 months. Bill at a builder's merchants.
  • Splintered toilet seat. The lady had a history of such issues.
  • The thin man in the shower. Covered in soap he couldn't turn it off.


  • Little s
  • Anecdotes
  • Examples
  • Rcounts
  • Big S
  • Movies
  • Epics


VS. The uncanny valley of business story telling ... Plummets.


  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Resolution


  • Creation
  • Struggle for self-discovery and identity
  • Battles, warriors, heroes (building of the M62)
  • Jack Welch 'neutron bomb' Manager of the Century. 'Winning' Topping and tailing'
  • Finance the top, ditch the bottom. (not unlike Steve Jobs)
  • Love, self-sacrifice, dedication
  • Wisdom and maturity

Three Huberts on a hill, three rivals.

Owns a race horse, only half, which half? The rear end as it eats less.


  • Induction
  • Formal and informal settings
  • Before an event
  • Teaming courses
  • Newsletters
  • Customer meetings
  • Social events
  • Team building sessions

Left brain right brain

(Simplistic and superseded?)


  • Auditory types NLP
  • Absorbed playfulness (winnicott, 1972)
  • An excursion from the problem.
  • Stimulate new ideas
  • Convey hidden messages (do you tell them or leave them to dwell on it)
  • Enable uncurious learning

De Bono's 'Thinking Hats'

  • Unsconscious
  • Feta on the verge of sleep (best for learning)
  • Relaxed awareness (best for learning)

... Achieved through story telling, with learning supported by light music.


  • Stuck in the metaphor
  • Persuasiveness of advertising


  • Participants write the first line of a story that others complete. John Brucker on metaphor.
  • Write an essay 10 mins
  • Draw a mind map of the story

Write a statement in 3 sentences of 5,7 and 5 syllables. (Japanese Haiku poetry form)

E.g. sales director or purchasing director, what is best for the company and what is best for me.


  • In pairs use why?
  • Write a sentence on the problem
  • Boundary examination
  • Options for for As.

Jack welch

'My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener who provided water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course I had to pull up a few weeds as well'. Jack Welch.


  • Topic :  the original concept
  • Vehicle
  • Ground
  • Tension
  • Zolta Kovecses Metaphor: a practical introduction.
  • John Brooker, yesand.biz


  • Set up, and punch.
  • Friend broken up with wife. With his best friend. Going to miss the friend.


  • Metaphor: swimming Linguistic: Am I too far from the shore.
  • With a systematic framework.

Mind Maps


Rich Pictures





Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Jameela Bi, Wednesday, 14 Mar 2012, 10:30)
Share post
Design Museum

B822 TMA 3

Visible to anyone in the world
I wrote my blog when I had a TMA for H807 to submit and my tutor came online to chastise me. I've got 450 of the 700 words required for Part One written; but i fancy a sleep.
Permalink 3 comments (latest comment by Susan Whelan, Tuesday, 13 Mar 2012, 13:10)
Share post
Design Museum

As soon as a new radical market emerges, hundreds of new entrants rush to colonize it.

Visible to anyone in the world

Before long, consolidation takes place and most of the early entrants disappear. A few survive. But even these early survivors usually are not the ones that end up conquering the new market. The true winners are those that undertake a series of actions that scales up the new market. How do they do that? Markides and Geroski (2004)

What's going on here? What examples can people think of?

High Street Computer Shops

Knowledge Shops

Quick Print Printers

Coffee Shops

Social Networks:

  • Friends Reunited
  • Tripod
  • MySpace

PDAs & Netbooks


Markides.C; Geroski, P. (2004) Strategy and Business, 35: 2-10

Share post
Design Museum

You are where you work

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:49

What makes a university campus such as Harvard or Oxford a hotbed for entrepreneurs? Is this recreated in closed networks online or at Residential School. How come some buildings induce mental stagnation and disaffection whilst others are a delight? Where (no company or organisation names) have you worked where the architecture, landscaping and office lay-out are conducive to innovation?


Serendipitous interactions, or what Tony Hseih calls 'spontaneous collisions' between people, are what spark ideas and facilitate relationships that lead to stronger ties and more ideas.

Have you worked for such a company?


Hsieh calls his people "culture magicians". Steve Jobs designed this into fabric of Pixar and Apple.

Share post
Design Museum

Breakthroughs, Activity Theory and Agency Creative Teams

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 9 Mar 2012, 06:20

'There's never been a breakthrough as a result of writing a memo, breakthroughs occur when two or more people, get inspired, have fun, think the unthinkable'. Lars Kolind, Oticon.(in Mayle 1998) 

If you're on the trail of the MAODE then look at Engestrom's 'Activity Theory' which shows in a chart how not only two people, but two entities interact and create a unique response.
Share post
Design Museum

B822 Block 3 Activity 3.5 Strategy & Vision

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:27

Although widely derided (usually for being out of touch and not reflecting the realities ‘on the ground’) many organisations persevere with mission statements and the like in order to express their sense of direction.

What gives your organisation a sense of direction?

Would you call this ‘strategy’? ‘vision’ or something else?

To what extend does it spring from within the organisation, and to what extend is it a response to the environment?

To what extent is it 'owned' by the workforce?

Is there any evidence of a tensions between the espoused values and actual behaviour?

Share post
Design Museum

B822 : Why is anything but incremental change often so difficult for the most successful organisations?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:12

What's your experience?

A gradual cultural shift or a new person at the top and overnight transformation?

Even with the most charismatic leader in charge, unless the company is privately owned, and depending very much on its size, I don't see how anything other than incremental change is feasible or given employment laws actionable.

Unless the business is a football club, or like a Film Producton Company moves from one project to another with a skeleton staff or perhaps a Government Department, but even here, with a new minister of a opposing political persuasion the inertia and scale of the department/organisation (as Cameron and his Cabinet are seeing) negates radical or swift change or your risk strike action and other forms of discontent.

How do Oxbridge Colleges survive?

Look at Balliol as it approaches its 750th year. It has been hosting the Institute of the Internet for a decade so it can't be thought of as backward looking. How much does the location and reputation count? Even, or especially the nature and value of the 'Quad?'

War and natural disaster forces change.

Economic down turn obliges organisations to cut back, to prune. In bad weather they hibernate? Is there a horticultural metaphor to work with? (With those Garden Festivals of the 1980s that was the route to regeneration).

Incremental change of the farming landscape?

Formal education survived concentration camps and the Burma railway. What does it take!

My inclination as a KAI Innovator is to seek immediate, overnight change.

The reality, and I have seen this in small organisations and large, public and private, even from the perspective of a Non-exec Chairman, that long term survival, especially over the lat few years, is the product of caution, indeed of being prepared for the worst while maintaining an brave if not positive and ambitious face. Where can apparent overnight change work? Pop 'acts' like David Bowie and Madonna, TV Series like Dr Who.

But this is the cover, the book remains the same?

Surely any organisation or brand can more easily make adjustments to its brand (yet these two will have been carefully planned far in advance for strategic effect).

Share post
Design Museum

B822 Residential School

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 16:01

Group Fair Presentation

Elective 1

Getting to know each other
Offering something / wanting something
Group hum
Activities rushed

(people use their old picture of themselves before they look old)

"to socialise what's happening, exercise emotional intelligence, organise."


22 in a space for 100 

Divide by Facebook, active or very active.
Divide by part of the country (mostly midlands)
Divide by small or large,private or public companies.
Advice for TMA
Stick to your plan
Stick to the question
What gets you credit

MOSTLY small 1-25 people.  MUST do this and bring LinkedIn groups to the real world. TMA may use networking online to group solve a problem.

Elective 2

Vet and perceptions
Did I see the monkey or am I making the stuff up?
Zimmerman M 1989 The nervous system and the context e.g. David McAndless. individuals are different.
13 or B
Emotional biases
Hot states
Cold states "eddies and currents that steer us.”. Ben

How do you destroy the illusion?


The implication for creativity?

If you have different motivations you will see different tings.

Tagged with significance.
2002. A picture is worth a thousand lies.

"Humans are very good at knitting patterns from very little information." Ben 2011

Assumptions - light from the sun
Anchoring - last four digits of phone number and how many doctors are there in London.

Ley lines and Stonehenge and the same between Woolworths stores in the North East.

Same same but different. Thialand.
If everything's the same creativity is stifled. BEN
Ability to reflect.
Acquire - Analyse - Act

Pulled apart by:

Fundamental attribution
Confirmation bias
Focused on those in white at shirts bouncing a ball. Made it into a competition.
Definition Chaos
Physical state and nature or arousal Affects decision making e.g. Skiing.
MBA for grown ups.
We all have mini-models of how the world works.

Permalink 1 comment (latest comment by Susan Whelan, Wednesday, 29 Feb 2012, 14:09)
Share post
Design Museum

B822 Residential School : Facilitating Creative Thinking

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 16:05

Facilitating creative thinking

Imagery and metaphor
Group Fair
7 workshops
5 electives
General precepts
Specific techniques
Overall methodologies

To tackle concerns that really matter to you.
Reflecting on practice and networking
Understand what can inhibit creativity in a group
Self aware of how your own thinking may help or hinder
Creative problem solving (CPS) solves problems but splitting the process into a series of stages.


Exploration of and definition of the problem.
Open up: explore different angles. Clarification. Ask why? Repeatedly. Or the nub of the problem expressed as. 'how can we ...'
QQ for clarification only. 
Individuals write up an expression of the problem (as provocatively as they like). The client chooses one.
QQ redefined the problems using  what if ...  or a strange way of looking at this ... or it could be likened to ... or I wish that ... Close down: select key problem
N.B. use your skill in judging which technique is most appropriate for the problem as presented.


Alternative ways of dealing with the problem.
Generate ideas and plans
Open up: consider alternative ideas
Close down: select preferred option


Work out the implementation of the way forward
Open up: plan supporting action
Close down: undertake action


Open up: monitor progress
Close down: adapt action
Seems rigid, in practice it is more relaxed and iterative (like a squad session plan, then more intuitive and tailored. The mind is not like the body, and the outcomes are far less easy to define compared to the need to 'go faster for longer'.
Getting off the 'mental tramlines'.
VS premature evaluation
To see something from various perspectives
To force the mind to go beyond its usual assumptions

Share post
Design Museum

Are you in KAI terms an 'adapter' or an 'innovator?'

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 12:50


There are two styles of decision making. (Kirton, 1976, 1977, 1980)

Adaptors ’stretch’ existing agreed definitions. They proceed within the established mores. Dominates management.

Innovators ’reconstruct’ the problem, they separate it, emerging with much less expected and probably less acceptable solutions.

'They are less concerned with 'doing things better' than with 'doing things differently'.

Across a population, Kirton and others have tens of thousands of people to go on from completed inventories to go on, there is a Normal curve of distribution (Kirton, 1977)

I am an innovator and somewhat out on the far edge of the scale. Does this render me and people I have met who are ’innovators’ unemployable? With certain teams, in certain orgsnisations we are incompatible unless you want us there to act as a catalyst, consultant or communicator.

Any problem goes through a series of stages:


  • Perception of the problem
  • Analysis of the problem
  • Analysis of the solution
  • Agreement to change
  • Delegation
  • Implementation for most was two/three years after the problem became apparent, whilst a few were tackled with the bare minimum of analysis. Objections were often only overcome (then collectively forgotten) as a result of some crisis. Rejection was often based on WHO was putting the idea forward.

Cf. P111

Disregard of convention when in pursuit of their own ideas has the effect of isolating innovators in a similar way to Roger's (1957) creative loners.

32-item inventory, theoretical range of 32-160 and a mean of 96.
Cultural innovativeness see Indian Women p114
Solutions sought within the structure by adaptors so nothing changes.

'Tolerance of the innovator is thinnest when adaptors feel under pressure from the need for imminent radical change.' Kirton (2011:115)

It is unlikely (as well as undesirable), that any organization is so monolithic in its structure and in the ’demands’ on its personnel that it produces a total conformity of personality types. P115

How an innovator or adaptor can be an agent of change where all around have a cognitive style alien to his own. Kirton (2011:117)


Kirton. M.J. (1984) Long Range Planning 17, 2, 137-43 in Henry.J. Creative Management & Development 3rd ed. pp109 (2011) Ch8 Adaptors and Innovators: why new initiatives get blocked. M.J.Kirton
Kirton.M.J.(1977) Manual of the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory.
Rogers.C.R. (1957) Towards a theory of creativity. In H.H, Andersen. Creativity and its cuktivation. Harper.

Share post
Design Museum

B822 Applied creative think for a creative industry

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 07:44
5.00am reading Book 3 Creativity, Innovation & the Organisation.

8.30am Doctor, My colestrol is too high. I have to take simvastatin and chane my diet.

9.00am Opticians

9.15am Barber

9.48 am Train to London

11.30am Picasso Exhibtion, Tate

1.00pm School of Communication Arts

5.20pm Leave having spent between 30-50 minutes with each six creative teams (art director and copywriter).

7.17pm Train Home.

10.00pm writing it up.
Share post
Design Museum

What does it take for an organisation to foster innovation?

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 19:18

I've got it down to five words, reduced from several week's reading:

  • Recognition
  • Realised
  • Rewarded
  • Routine
  • Retention

Those who come up with ideas are recognised for their input and achievement.

Their ideas are realised; they go into production or become reality.

Resistance to the idea and to change is overcome.

They receive reward which might be a bonus, or shares or promotion beyond a handshake and some time at the top table.

It is everyday, routine, part of the culture of the place not a bolt on fad like TQM and Quality Circles of the 1990s.

People stay in, they are retained because of the above and so go on to innovate again rather than for themselves or the competition.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

B822 Book 3 Activity 5.3 Total Quality Management

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 17:38

Is Total Quality Management a liberating force for the people who work with it or is it intrinsically exploitative and if so why?

I've experienced huge successes and outright failure using TQM.

The success was in an organisation where the CEO was the champion, and though a UK company they embraced all the collegiate and collective brotherhood ethos that was a blend of US and Japan. It was a way of life, a permanent culture shift in which people were recognised for relevant achievements, rewarded, retained and given further responsibility.

In contrast, the other organisation were ticking boxes, the CEO was a distant, Eton educated Grenadier Guard who I never saw 'at the workface' it was an effort to find examples worth turning into short films (my job) and it was apparent that some were a fudge. It was being used by middle managers to secure their place at the expense of others.

Share post
Design Museum

B822 : Book 3 : Creative Swiping pp74-75

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 8 Mar 2012, 15:23

Over the course of a single working day, keep an eye out for examples of good practice wherever you may find them.

During a commute, reading a newspaper, magazine or journal, observing 'things' (tangible products) in action or experiencing some service delivery. 

How could any of these be adapted to suit your organisation?

Try and discover a good idea that could be adapted to suit your organisation from the experiences of as many of the following as you can:

A member of your family (at work or school or wherever)
A friend
A colleague
A supplier
A competitor
A customer

  • Tesco customer suggestions and response board
  • Free content on Facebook; pay for the piece of paper.
  • OMU plasticated wall for planning
  • Electronic sign in at Doctor's Surgery
  • Barcode entry to Gamesmaker Training
  • Rotating three lanes at swimming club so each in turn gets the attention of the coach.
  • Self-service check-out at WHSmith, Victoria Yo Sushi conveyor-belt food servings
  • Social Media Marketing eLearning from MMC learning

What has anyone else come across?

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

Online vs face to face

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 17:41

I try to concentrate during a face to face tutorial but as a MAODE student who isn't supposed to ever meet anyone I constantly feel that doing this elective offers some vital insights and contrasts.

Face to face is very like the online equivalent ( or should that be the other way around? ) the 2 hours 30 I have spent today could have been an Elluminate Session, with breakout rooms combined with lots said in the Tutor Group Forum.

The advantage online, certainly with the forums, is to have everyone's thoughts and ideas as notes.

Permalink Add your comment
Share post
Design Museum

B822 : Book 3 : Notes

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 17:08

B822 Book 3

The best possible way to take on board all the design considerations is to involve all the affected parties right from the outset vs. institutionalised redesign.


Keep teams small  
Tolerate Failure  
Motivate the champions  
Stay close to the customer  
Share the wealth  
Don't kill the project

Mitchell (1989)

In Book 3 P45 Innovation in Practice

"Find the inventors and don't get in their way'. Theodore Rosevelt. Mitchell (1989.181)

"The public does not know what we can do .. Any amount of market research would not have told Sony what to do." Akio Morita (1988:188)


Mitchell, R. "Masters of innovation: how 3m keeps its products coming". 10th April 1989, Business Week. Also in Henry,J and Walker,D (eds) 1991b

Morita, A (1988) Made in Japan. Glasgow. Fontana  Nurturing and involving people.  Pfeffer (1994) p57 BK 3, Competitive Advantage through people. California Management Review. 36, 2 Winter. Also in Henry, J and Mayle, D (eds) 2002


Share post

This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.

Total visits to this blog: 11774969