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My first ever OU exam in 2 hours

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 5 May 2012, 06:50

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My first and only ever exam too as 'normal' MAODE modules don't require them relying instead on asignments.

I wish I was this keyed up before tackling an assignment, that feeling that I can now sit down and write actively, with a smile on my face, for three hours.

A lesson I may take forward, putting far more into the preparation of an essay so that I write fluidly rather than assembling stuff.

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Creative Problem Solving : Role Storming

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Aug 2012, 21:39

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Griggs (1985) idea generation as someone else.

Easier to be silly in character (see Superheroes)

1) start with conventional brainstorming to sift ideas.

2) individual or joint role play to develop it further.

Our subgroup we busy having a go with finger paints while our fellow participants went off with balloons and masks. One of this number then spent much of the afternoon, even after the session, with two balloons stuffed up the front of his jumper. (We're an all male group).

The night before someone had played another participant's wife in a 'Human Sculpture'. You get used to the idea of this, yet another person had been 'The Army, or MOD' while yet another had been an 'ego' as distinct from the person.

This is the point of role play. Feels very Ibsenesque. Or Brecht. Theatre of the absurd.

REFERENCE

Griggs, R.E. (1985) 'A Storm of Ideas', reported in Training, 22, 66 (November)

Based on: VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Nostrand. Technique 4.48, p. 163

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B822 Techniques Library : Working with Dreams & Keeping a Dream Diary

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:16

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There is a health warning with these activities as they could bring up deeply personal memories, emotions, feelings and responses.

I offer a different kind of health warning having persevered with this over the last few weeks: be prepared to wake up several times a night wondering 'what on earth was that all about?'

Having got my head to alert me to dreams and bring me into a state of semi-consciousness I am now able to remember anything (so far) between one and three dreams every night. I haven't the time, energy or circumstances to deal with any of them. To do one justice I would give each two hours, this is a combination of getting the detail down then working through a set of 27 questions to analyse what it means directly to you, your circumstances, the problem or problems, feelings, anxieties and so on.

I'm still recalling a dream from two nights ago! Vivid not for where I was , what I was doing or who I was with, but how it in the way you get from watching a movie I came away feeling x, y & z from the protagonist.

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B822 Techniques Library : Working with dreams! (Video Database)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 May 2012, 17:43

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I had a dream like is when I was 10 or 11 in Beamish Dormitory at Boarding Prep School. I was set upon by two musketeers and killed. I returned to the same dream the next night behind them and 'got them' first. I guess I had learnt how to cope with some set of shifting boy, gang, friendships.

I'm not at home and was woken two often last night: doors banging, couple chatting above my head, dog barking and a fax machine going off. This woke me in the middle of a recurring dream that related to a database of over 100 videos I am reviewing.

Currently I have a database, in columns and rows in Word.

It is hard to read. I need a simple way to see, share and add to this.

My dreams gave me 'Top Trumps'.

A quick Google shows why this works: a screen grab, some basic facts on a single sheet (or card). I could even order a bespoke pack.

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B822 Techniques Library : Random Stimuli (Dali Champagne)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:04

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B822 Techniques Library : Random Stimuli of Various Kinds

1) Identify what it is you want ideas for.

2) Grab an idea from a paper, from looking out of the window, or by throwing dice. (In our case the facilitator had a collection of odd items for this purpose).

3) Connect this idea back to the issue, if necessary using Free Association or Excursion.

4) If it doesn't work try something else.

Could pick a fixed or specific element of the problem and do the same.

* Select grammatically appropriate stimuli: noun+verb, adjective+noun, but make bizarre combinations (which is how David Bowie often wrote song lyrics).

* Deliberately do something different, or speak to someone new or travel home in a different way.

* Allow the idea to incubate while going about your normal day.

CASE STUDY

We took a business problem and defined this in a way that was clear.

WRITTEN UP ON FLIP CHART

Various items were picked out from a selection brought to the workshop by the tutor for this purpose. He picked out a small, smiling lobster ornament as the stimuli and passed it around.  We then played collective word association writing our word onto a PostIt note that the facilitator then put onto a set of double doors.

Once we had around 70 ideas and we had fairly exhausted our thoughts we stopped.

The role of the facilitator was to ensure that everyone offered ideas, that no one dominated. Collectively we put the words into groups and labelled these groups.

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We took ONE theme and put it on a triple A1 sheet of paper.

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We drew, collectively, a mind map still trying to generate ideas.

Finally, from these ideas the person whose problem it had been was invited to see if any answers had been offered.

The solution that was of most interest was indeed something that would not otherwise been thought of.

REFERENCE

Whiting (1958), Taylor (1962), de Bono (1970), Rickards (1974) and VanGundy

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B822 Techniques Library : Drawing

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:01

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B822 Techniques Library : Drawing

Tried on Day Two of Residential School

Finger painting

My turn to bring a problem to the sub-group and to use 'drawing', which in this case was finger painting. I took an non-work problem, of lack of swimming teachers for a planned swimming session expressed as blobs of various colours.

* Needed to let go more before hand to conjure up an abstract image of the problem.

* Became too left brain by explaining rather than simply expressing. I should have suspended judgement more. Could have associated with words.

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The painted response removed a gate/fence, turned sad faces into sun's and put a fish in the water with the swimmers. The perceived problem of swimming teaches locked away became a trip to the beach (good if you. Can plan in advance).

A table used for validation was successful, cross-referencing multiple pool related features to see what this offered in the way of an answer.

* There are other ways to use images to prompt comments.

* Could have created a rich picture (even hired a cartoonist or artist to do this).

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To cluster or aggregate the ideas this chart was used (akin to those mileage charts in the back of an atlas). Objects/themes could then be matched and mis-matched for possible combinations and insights.

'For many of us drawing a picture is closer to how our thoughts grow naturally'.

REFERENCE

Adapted from: Miller, W.C. (1987) The Creative Edge: Fostering Innovation Where You Work, Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley, pp. 91-5

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B822 Techniques Library: Visual Brainstorm

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:24

 

The Perfect Essay(as described to me by my Geography A'Level Teacher, D.Rhodes, 1979)

After McKim, 1980.

Defer judgment. Don't be critical of others.

Aim for quantity. e.g. 30 thumb-nail sketches in 60 minutes

 PHASES

  • Idea Generation
  • Evaluation phase
  • Display your ideas
  • Offer constructive comment
  • Try different tactics
  • Compare sketches
  • Make written notes

How many of my early essays turned out.

REFERENCE

Adapted from McKim, R.H. (1980) Experiences in Visual Thinking, Belmont, C.A. PWS Publishers (Wadsworth Inc.) pp. 125-7

 

How many of my essays turned out even as an undergraduate: journalism. Heavy on the main idea but light on facts. 

 

No introduction, no conclusion. What a shame.

Skewed. How those with a political stance write.

Short, but beautifully formed. More of a blog post than an essay.

A bunch of ideas that show potential, though none of them are relevant to the question. Sounds like me. I do get distraced. I like variety.

The seasonal distraction. Could be Easter or Summer, Halloween or Guy Faulkes. Something in the news or on your mind. It has nothing to do with the assignment. With a TMA deadline and a job interview coinciding I re-wrote the TMA coming out of the interview and just scraped a pass. Enthusiastic, full of ideas but no referencing.

Anyone like to offer some more:

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B822 Techniques Library: Who are you?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012, 07:33

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Performing as Dracula in the 'Dracula Spectacula' at the People's Theatre, Newcastle December 1979

Who are you?

Is the problem deeper than 'making things work better' ? Are there issues regarding your 'identity' or 'life strategy' ? (Techniques Library, 2010)

Who am I?

or from a team perspective 'who are we?'

Write as many answers as you can.

When you run out ... keep going.

Put down anything that occurs to you, play word association, until 'something emergers'.

Working with a partner

Sit opposte a partner and give each other five to fifteen minutes each before the other takes up the 'call'.

The listener does no more: no comments, nods, smiles, frowns, just attentive listening.

(Sounds like a form a therapy to me, whether cogntive behavioural therapy or even psychiatry).

The listener can review but DON'T GIVE ADVICE.

Life Review

St Ignatius Loyola suggested looking back on your life from your deathbed.

Imagine your infancy

Imagine being five

Imagine being:

  • 12
  • 25
  • 40
  • 65

Imagine being very, very old

Imagine your death

Imagine being reborn

Return

REFERENCE

Adapted from Vaughan, F.E. (1979) Awakening Intuition, New York, Anchor, pp. 1987-9

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B822 Techniques Library: Visualing a goal

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 9 Jan 2012, 19:57

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The power of your wish makes the wish come true.

From Gawain (1982)

1) Set your goal.

Start on something easy, achieve it, and develop confidence in the techniques.

2) Create a clear idea or picture

Think of it in the present tense as something that already exists

3) Focus on it often

Integrate it into your life by thinking about it often.

4) Give it positive energy

Use affirmations. Suspend any doubts or disbelief. (This sounds like Zen. Did Steve Jobs get any of this on his trips to India in the 1970s?)

5) Continue 'til you have achieved your goal

6) Appreciate it when you get there

REFERENCE

Adapted from: Gawain, S 91982) Creative Visualization, New York, Bantam Boks, pp. 16-18

 

 

 

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B822 Techniques Library: Using 'Crazy' Ideas

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012, 07:15

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Ken Dodd

Ideas that could get you fired if suggested or are lauigh out loud funny; so there's a risk. (Techniques Library 2010)

Developed by Rickards (1974) as 'Wildest Idea' and de Bono (1982) as 'Intermediate impossible'.

Why beneficial?

  • They break down assumptions.
  • The humour can energise a group and trigger more ideas (inlcuding some unthought of that might work)

Use these techniques:

  • Brainstroming
  • Free Association
  • Excusrsion

Treat it seriously to see where it takes you

Don't get stuck on a non-starter (but aren't they all implicitally a non-starter if they are going to get you fired or ar laughable?)

REFERENCE

Rickards, T. (1974) Problem-solving Through Creative Analysis, Essex, UK, Gower Press.

de Bono, E. (1982) Later Thinkking for Management, Pelican Books.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed. Van Nostranran Reinhold. Technique 4.61. p. 202


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B822 BK2 Technique Library 'Other People's Viewpoints'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012, 05:07

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  • List three or four key people or roles
  • Allocated these to different groups
  • Get the groups to present their ideas

REF: de bono

REFERENCE

Henry, J. and Martin J.N.T. (1997) Creative Problem-Solving Guide, B882 Residential School Booklet, The Open University.

 

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B877 Techniques Library

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 31 Dec 2011, 18:02

The alternatives:

I've suggested lunch, my next is the long walk.

150 problem solving techniques yet the meal and the walk are not included, yet there are still two of the very best ways to get to know someone, to hold their attention or to give them a chance to speak.

Steve Jobs did the walk, my father did the meal deal, weekend and the walk all rolled into one getting people out if London to the Lakes for the weekend.

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B822 Techniques Library: Eating Out (the business lunch)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:39

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Or is each one an apple?

The 'Techniques Library' is a collection of some 150 activities or games that elicit from a person, or group (as small or as large as you like) answers to business problems, or at least ideas (potentially innovative or off-the-wall). Forty or so of these hold some appeal so I am picking my way through them; missing is the the meal, two or more people gathered for what I might describe as a 'continental' dining experience i.e. where you indulge for a couple of hours, mixing socialising with work, finding the middle ground.

Two observations:

1) As soon as you do one of the 'techniques' your starting point shifts

2) Whatever you do next comes a) with the outcomes of that activity and b) with the experience of the strengths and weaknesses of what you did.

I am reminded of the concept of 'Hilbert Space' that I became familiar with in 2000 when working for one of the most creative web agencies of the era (BAFTA, Cannes, IVCA top awards). Hilbert Space imagines a vortex full of holes; you exist in this space wearing a blindfold and holding a bag of marbles; to progress you role a marble forward, when it roles down a hole you listen out for the shin king noise, shuffle off in that direction, pause, then role another marble: this is how you find your direction, it is progression that is iterative and not in a straight line.

What about dinner?

Why has this been left out? The Business lunch is not about feeding your face at the office's expense, it is in part the experience of the meal, its pleasures and challenges, but also about the conversation and how the longer meal is conducive to so many of the things these exercises set out to achieve: shared points of view, listening, sharing, disagreeing in a non-combatitive manner and potentially leaving the table with some ideas sketched-out on a napkin (or the table-cloth). Other bonds are created, insights too on a person's tastes (literally).

Our problem in the UK (I have lived and worked in France) is that 'we eat to live, whereas the French live to eat'. We had luncheon vouchers to use and went out every day for a proper meal, we might take a work problem with us, we might not (I know setting where no business talk was permitted before the coffee). The dining room table became a meeting room.

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B822 BK2 Technique Library Metaplan

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:33

I knew a Metaplan moderator well and become familiar with the texhnique which he taught in moderated groups all across Europe (in several langauges).

  • Cards of various shapes and sizes
  • A logical process

REFERENCE

Schnelle, E. (1979) The Metaplan Method: Communcation Tools for Planning and Learning Groups.

Business Week (1976) Industrial Edition, N0, 2436, 14 June 1976, p. 90G

'The Providence Plan' (1994) http:qqq.brown.edu/Departments/Taubman_Center/plan.ecap_ch2.html

 

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B822 Techniques Library : Selling

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 22:04

B822 Techniques Library ‘Factors in ‘Selling’ ideas

Context

  • Timing
  • Audience
  • Idea champion

Content

Use simple language

Use a clear statement of the need for the idea. Describe the problem your idea will solve and explain why it needs to be solved.

  • Present both pros and cons
  • Provide evidence
  • Stress key points
  • Anticipate questions
  • Be persistent

Based on: VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Norstrand Reinhold. Technique p. 285

 

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