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36 hour catch-up

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 17:42

Never one in the last two years to get behind I am now playing 36 hour catch-up.

I got through six hours of reading overnight, there's a tutorial tomorrow that must count for something, then another 6 on Sunday. Maybe a few hours on the train on Monday and perhaps another 6 on Tuesday, even Wednesday.

Next weekend I'm coaching Saturday then in London for a day of Gamesmaker Training ahead of the Olympics.

Can an EMA be written in transit?

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B822 : Book 3 : Contextual Uncertainty

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 13:42

Do you share the view of a chaotic and uncertain future?

If both the content (course materials) and the means for interaction (social media) are available online for free where does that leave universities?

Why not get a job and study at the same time?

If the university 'infrastructure' is a software package too, what do you pay for?

Assessment and the qualification?

And whilst there are standards to meet to give out accredited qualifications who sets the price?

An accountancy course delivered entirely on Facebook for example, for free.

You pay for a qualificaton and only if you pass.

But what matters more, the piece of paper at the end or being able to apply the learning?

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B822 : Book 3 Activity 2.5 Radical Innovation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 14:01

Is there a large element of luck in radical innovation or is it directed by highly tuned intuition!

Is it the nature of radical innovations to be so far ahead of the market that market research can contribute nothing?

Can you think of an example from your experience that succeeded?

Can you think of another that failed?

With the benefit of hindsight could the success / failure be discerned at the time?

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B822 : Book 3 : Activity 2.4 Types of Innovation

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 13:50

Think of examples of innovative practice in your workplace and decide where they might fit on Pearson's matrix.

Pearsons%2520Matrix%2520SNIP.JPG

Which type of innovation seems most vital to your organisation?

NOT exploratory like a pharmaceutical company doing R&S, whether big or baby bio.

PROBABLY development engineering in which, like Microsoft bringing out a new operating system, a new module takes years to realise.

NOT finding new ways to use old stuff, like for the most part 3m. Then again, reversioning content for the web, especially for social media is exactly what is going on. Like at the free accountancy course on Facebook.

REFERENCE

Pearson. P48 Book 3 reference pearson a w 1991:22 managing innovation: an uncertainty reduction process.inHenry,J and Wakker, D. (eds) 1991b

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B822 Activity 1.5 Origins of Change

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 23 Feb 2012, 13:00

Think back to new products or services you have experienced.

What was the stimulus for their creation.

Intermitten wipers. A better and safer driving experience in light rain.

Stoppers on skis. I can remind having a strap around the ankle, which would snap or come lose. You'd fall over and the ski would vanish. Safer for people who used to be hit by skis ... though you still lose a ski a deep snow.

Contact lenses. Vanity. No more glasses to fog up. Sport (especially swimming). A market.

Amazon. Thought I was saving money by not shopping on the High Street at Christmas only to spend far too much online. The new way of doing things.

PayPal. Convenience of online payments. A need.

iPad. Online 24/7 sad Tried tablets before and failed, this works.

Kindle. Using 'The Swim Drills Book' and showing young swimmers images on the Kindle by the side of the pool. Reading The Isles by Norman Davies and able to carry it about. I'd like an A4 size version.

Sony Alpha digital camera body. It takes Minolta lenses I bought 25 years ago. Brilliant.

Brushes: iPad App used by David Hockney for 'painting'. It works. Brings painting and drawing up to date alongside wordprocessing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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B822 : Activity 1.2

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 23 Feb 2012, 12:45

Can you think of examples of suboptimization as a result of cost? Where concentrating on one local cost saving has ultimately resulted in a considerable cost saving elsewhere ?

I can't think of any, can you?

 

 

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B822 : Book 3 : Activity 1.1

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 16:41

Though some 16 days behind with the next block (or book) I feel on familiar ground having done H807: Innovations in e-learning; indeed the more I read, the more that B822 (Book 3) and H807 (Innovations in e-learning) appear extraordinarily complementary.

As so many are currently blogging about H807 (as required) I look forward to tracking the course from their notes, as well as mine from 2010.

I often said I would have liked to have done H807 again, in this way I can.

Repeating a theme I developed in H800 too of personal development planning (PDP) I see this NOT as repetition but rather as akin to a glider rising on a thermal, so although I am going over old ground, I am doing so at a greater height.

(Maybe I am now seeing too how a Masters Degree advances on the undergraduate degree and the PhD on the Masters).

According to Michael Kirton's Adaptor-Innovator

Theory 'Innovators do things differently' while 'Adaptors do things better'. Kirton (2003)

  • Boeing 737 as an example of adaptation (continuous change)  over innnovation (discontinuous chsnge) which understandably risk averse managers would avert.

B822 Book 2 Activity 1.1

Can you think of examples from your experience to illustrate each of the following cells?

Radical innovation :

Product (including services): iPod, Dyson (as presented to the public), QWERTY keyboard, Sony Walkman, Xylaphone, distance learning utilising TV and Radio (the OU), lynk digital phoning through the computer vs analogue phones.

Process: women doing men's work during the First World War, a country switching from driving on the left to the right (Sweden?),

Incremental improvement

Product (including services): Dyson (as developed), tyres, road surfaces, car phones to mobile phones, less sugar and salt in processed foods, the M25, eBooks,  Virtual Learning Environments.

Process: Kaizan, Women in the Army, Navy and Airforce, Going Green, the rise of facism (retrospectively incremental demise), sorting recyclables and landfill, 
31 entries here containing QWERTY fail to find this, which is my blogged late grandfather's memoir:

'One day J.G. had my father carry this ‘Blick’ up from the car; it was a German typewriter. J.G. tried to show me how to use this Blickenfurentstater. It was a portable affair with a wooden case. The top row of letters began ZXKGB so it came in before QWEERTY when they had to slow the action down on account of the metal keys getting jammed if you typed too fast. I did all the typing after that, up until the First War. We started out by doing the letters with carbon copies. During the war they got girls in for the first time doing that job'.

Wherein I'd say lie two innovations as responses to the problem of keys jamming and of, ironically, lack of manpower.

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B822 TMA2 Creative Problem Solving

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 13:18

Today’s Creative Problem Solving workshop went well.

Why?

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I planned, but didn’t over plan. I kept it simple, doing a combination of what I know, what I’ve done or had done to me, with an intuitive inclination to two straightforward exercises that I stumbled upon in the B822 Techniques Library: ‘Advantages, Limits and Unique Qualities’ is the first exercise in the book. This sounded like my people, something they’d be familiar with. That they could do. I had it down as an opening exercise, then rejigged it to the end of the cession to assess our plan of action. Then there was Help/Hinder, I’m glad to say a ‘pure OUBS’ exercise as if was devised by Jane Henry and John Martin in 1997 for the Creative Problem-solving Guide.

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It helps that

a) I am a professional (though part time) swimming coach.

b) As a director, often working with members of the public of client members of staff, I can give clear direction and put people at their ease

It matters enormously when you stand up in front of 10, 20 sometimes 60 young athletes that you know, to the minute what you want to do (and know why it has to be done). It matters to your assistant coaches too. This isn’t so different. I will be on my feet for 90 minutes (a senior squad group runs 2 hours, the junior swimmers an hour). A handwritten plan might suffice, often put into a day per page diary. This gets written up on a large whiteboard poolside. With swimmers this is very much for them to see bit by bit what is expected of them, but it also provides for the stressed-out coach with a million things on their mind with an immediate aide memoire. Swimmers perform to the second. At the top level we expect them to swim within the tinniest of tolerances, hitting during training a specific, personal time of Personal Best (PB) + a number of seconds. The expert amongst them do it.

I digress.

This was a different kind of class entirely. Adult swimmers, I could say. Not a group of unknowns though, with strangers I may have thrown them in a the deep end, but I knew with my colleagues that resting their legs in the water, a Jacuzzi perhaps or floating around in the shallow end would be enough. I was right, finger-painting, super-hero role play, or hypnosis would have been the equivalent of Mr Bean on the High Diving Board.

It would be egalitarian, whatever their position (we had directors, managers and officers). In this respect, I would have to take it carefully, advancing them into exercises and responding as they do. In practice each planned exercise came off and with care I kept people engaged in what I wanted them to do, even where I sensed they were feeling a little uncomfortable.

Laughter in the warm-up exercise helped.

WARM UP

It felt appropriate as someone they know to be a swimming coach to do a short ‘poolside’ swimming related practical. My initial thought had been ‘hot potato’ a version of what we did at Residential School and I see trotted out all the time, the throw the ball, say your name add an adjective pass it on. Exactly what I do with young swimmers as they join a squad for the first time and will soon be competing together. In this case, with one exception everyone knew each other very well. To begin to form a bond between strangers yes.

To teach sculling I get swimmers to place their hands on their face, look at the shape of their hands, then describe ‘infinity’ elbows in hands in front of them. They did a bit of this and I added floating off the bottom of the pool, making whirlpools and polishing a bald man’s head.

We did Samurai Mother-in-law, Tiger in a Tutorial. I felt a quick team go of Paper, Scissors, Stone would be a valuable intermediary step. I can see now that I have this set of steps I want them to take with me, and that I have to be the judge of how to place the ‘stones’. Here I am still looking for an easy buy in.

Team Game : Paper Scissors Stone

Two goes at this and we were ready for the next one.

Team Game : Samurai Mother-in-law, Tiger

The first of these drew laughter, the second fits of giggles. I don’t know what the scores were and didn’t want to start thinking about doing it often enough to find a winning team so swiftly moved on.

(More to follow once I have extracted the confidential or the controversial)

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B822 : Creative Problem Solving

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Tomorrow I run a creative problem solving exercise with 7 colleagues : perhaps i should make that 8. I have 90 minutes. Not an afternoon or a weekend. How much can i fit in? Or should that be how simple should I keep it? Using techniques I have taken part in or even done? Or do try something else? I have to facilitate but am also the most informed when it comes to the problem and its context so how do I remain detached and in charge?
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B822 Techniques Library: Human Sculpture

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 17 Jun 2012, 09:14

I can't help thinking about this one and visualising how a colleague feels: being pulled limb from limb, like one of those stretchy toys.

I am looking forward to applying the ideas to all manner of practical problems, at work, in the home and at the swimmign club. At work it will be about social media. At home it will be about gettin repairs done and an extension built. At the swimming club the messiest problem I can think of is 'flippers' how we want to use them as they are excellent to develop the long leg kick and particularly good for Butterfly, but the kids never put them away, flippers go missing and they are always left in a mess.

 

 

 

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When is a problem 'wicked' as opposed to 'tame' ?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:30

 

Fig 1. Creativity Problem Solving Precepts

Mindmap 7 From the OU MBA Module 'Creativity, Innovation & Change' (B822)

Discussed in Jonathan Vernon's Blog 'My Mind Bursts'

The term was coined in the late 1960s by someone born in 1919, (Ackoff) it isn't contemporary street speak, or even in Norman Mailer's words 'Beatnik'; rather, in this manifestation of the word it is the opposite of 'tame'.

(Ackoff might be 'messy problems' while I mean Rittell here)

Put it this way, a tame problem can be contained and tamed, like a lion in a cage.

  • Chess is a tame problem. Science problems are tame too.
  • But in the social sciences most issues are complex, hard to fix, shifting, and a lot of bother as they appear impossible to resolve and whatever you try impacts on the problem.

Like trying to catch water in a sieve?

  • It is vital for me to understand that a problem is 'wicked' before I try to tackle the thing with a creative problem solving technique. Not meaning to be flippant, but I don't figure out a chess move by finger painting - though a mind-map or brainstorming might help?
  • Or not?
  • I am hopeless at chess because it doesn't respond to my intuitive approach to everything.

Is the problem 'messy'?

  • Probably, if it requires finger painting, even Flipcharts and PostIt Notes.

Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber

Rittel and Webber's (1973) formulation of wicked problems specifies ten characteristics, perhaps best considered in the context of social policy planning.

According to Ritchey (2007) the ten characteristics are:

  • There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem (defining wicked problems is itself a wicked problem).
  • Wicked problems have no stopping rule.
  • Solutions to wicked problems are not true-or-false, but better or worse.
  • There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.
  • Every solution to a wicked problem is a "one-shot operation"; because there is no opportunity to learn by trial and error, every attempt counts significantly.
  • Wicked problems do not have an enumerable (or an exhaustively describable) set of potential solutions, nor is there a well-described set of permissible operations that may be incorporated into the plan.
  • Every wicked problem is essentially unique.
  • Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem.
  • The existence of a discrepancy representing a wicked problem can be explained in numerous ways. The choice of explanation determines the nature of the problem's resolution.
  • The planner has no right to be wrong (planners are liable for the consequences of the actions they generate).
  1. The solution depends on how the problem is framed and vice-versa (i.e. the problem definition depends on the solution)
  2. Stakeholders have radically different world views and different frames for understanding the problem.
  3. The constraints that the problem is subject to and the resources needed to solve it change over time.
  4. The problem is never solved definitively

ABOVE FROM WIKIPEDIA 9FEB12 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem

Messes and social messes

Russell L. Ackoff wrote about complex problems as messes: "Every problem interacts with other problems and is therefore part of a set of interrelated problems, a system of problems…. I choose to call such a system a mess." [19]

Extending Ackoff, Robert Horn says that "a Social Mess is a set of interrelated problems and other messes. Complexity—systems of systems—is among the factors that makes Social Messes so resistant to analysis and, more importantly, to resolution."

According to Horn, the defining characteristics of a social mess are:

Ackoff, Russell, "Systems, Messes, and Interactive Planning" Portions of Chapters I and 2 of Redesigning the Future. New York/London: Wiley, 1974.

  1. No unique “correct” view of the problem;
  2. Different views of the problem and contradictory solutions;
  3. Most problems are connected to other problems;
  4. Data are often uncertain or missing;
  5. Multiple value conflicts;
  6. Ideological and cultural constraints;
  7. Political constraints;
  8. Economic constraints;
  9. Often a-logical or illogical or multi-valued thinking;
  10. Numerous possible intervention points;
  11. Consequences difficult to imagine;
  12. Considerable uncertainty, ambiguity;
  13. Great resistance to change; and,
  14. Problem solver(s) out of contact with the problems and potential solutions.

 

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Like founding Rome, social media needs to be tackled in more than one way

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Romulus%2520and%2520Remus%2520SNIP.JPG

Romulus and Remus nursed by the roman capitoline wolf

You may know the story of Romulus & Remus, brought up by a she-wolf on the hills above the River Tiber, they were the founders of Rome, though only one would give the city their name.

One day, looking down at the Tiber the brother's decided to found a great city. They agreed to build a wall encircling a piece of promising land and to do so separately, starting opposite each other, at a distance and meeting in the middle. Romulus builds his wall low and makes quick progress laying out a great arc that heads towards his brother Remus. Remus builds as high as a man, his wall is tall, but progress away from the River is slow. Eventually the two Walls meet. Remus cannot contain his mirth at his brother's low wall and mockingly starts to jump over it back and forth. Unable to contain his anger Romulus picks up a shovel and knocks his brother across the head as he makes another leap.

Social media is like founding Rome; you can steadily drip, drip content and news like Romulus or you can build high and make an impact like Remus.

Both approaches have their merits, on the one hand having and maintaining a presence while on the other doing something 'big'. If only one person is faced with the task of 'building Rome' what should they do?

Already I see the need for two people and two roles, the first, the 'low wall' is the website that is a consistent presence, not simply static web pages, but blog-like where visitors contribute content and share what is there. The 'high wall' are the events, or highlights, from commissioned videos or iTunes, to live forums and Webinars.

Neither should be seen as exclusive to the Internet, like the wall that surrounds Rome, web presence should be seen as part of the real world integrated with open days and events, mail outs by post or email, PR and traditional advertising too.

P.S. I was told this story as a boy, probably age 10 or 11, probably my first Latin lesson with Mr Byers. The story stuck, an example of the power of narrative, the Latin did not, though I had to study the subject for another four or five years. Translating 'oderint' as 'they smelt' was my highlight.

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B822 TMA2

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Just because I'm enthusiastic about using Creative Problem Solving techniques to tackle a 'wicked' or 'messy' problem doesn't mean that others are about to play ball.
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Not so much a mind burst as a mind dump : B822 post Resi School and pre TMA2 Tutorial

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 24 Oct 2014, 07:49

I offer these cryptic notes from the post B882 Creativity, Innovations and Change OU Business School, 'Residential School' as an aide memoir and catalyst.

This sounds like an excuse for poor note taking, yet everyone will have their own view or sense of what occurred during the tutorial and more importantly what they took from it or felt about it.

Rather than being prescriptive then perhaps the following will jog your memory and help you think it through. In any case, I could justify it as a technique, 'stream of conscious' or free form writing: getting it on paper. (though these days everything is jotted down on an iPad).

Were this a Wiki it could be added to collectively.

(As a Belbin Team 'Plant' type I love the idea that a 'Finisher' in a group will come into a wiki and 'get the job done' while I dream, tinker and catalyse invention).

PART ONE

Be careful with the term 'framework' which here means metaphors as exploration for problem solving. Whereas methodologies are 'methods for problem solving' such as Buffalo Three Stage Model, Disney (complete method, not technique).

DISNEY (See Techniques Library)

This used three modes of thinking:

  1. The dreamer
  2. The realistic
  3. The critic.

Dilts (1945).

All three strategies are useful and complementary for a project.

(My successes have utilised three people in these three modes, I am generally the dreamer. Reflecting on this I do see how I can been try to be overly pragmatic and might stall a project and ultimately the projects worst critic ... and so I pull the plug. The trick has to be to find a way back and forth through all three traits, or as I have done in the past, be the dreamer, with a realist and critic part of the team).

Berne (1970) called these:

  • Child
  • Adult
  • Parent

You can role play alone, but best to have others take part so that the 'idea' is given legs.

The technique calls for a FOURTH player:

  • Neutral, Chair or facilitator.

You step from Neutral to Dream, Neutral to Realist, Neutral to Critic in turn.

Guerilla activities : Covert creative problem solving.

Can anyone add more to this?

My concern would be that if already outside your comfort zone it would be too easy to duck the issue; instead of using 'guerilla activities' strategically as the best choice of approach, that they would be used to avoid having to confront fears you may have over facilitating such an exercise with colleagues.

Might the answer be to dilute a mix of people with some outsiders, as catalysts or to tip the balance in favour of the exercise?

Even to diffuse any real or perceived problems?

Energiser games

These are in the Techniques Library or Book 2: 82, 86.

Tiger : Samurai : Mother-in-law

This activity, done in teams facing each other is the same as 'paper, scissors, stone' but with bigger, bolder actions. You 'Tut-tut’ and wag your finger as the mother in law. You 'growl' and get your claws out as a Tiger While you shout 'ha!' and take up the stance of a Samurai warrior brandishing his sword for Samurai.

This is an Ice-breaker which gets people on their feet, smiling, shaking of inhibitions and getting their energy levels up. It's one way to help get people into the right frame of mind for things like finger painting etc:

We shared some of the techniques used at Residential School: Hairy Balls

Actually pom-poms, though any item could be used to throw and catch from a beach ball to screwed-up newspaper.

I first came across this at Youth Theatre in my teens, then used it as a warm-up with video production teams and later with 'Mini Squad' our future elite swimmers, in the water to help them get each other's names in their heads, followed with 'hot potato' in which they are pushed further to retain the basic information while they get suitably warmed up.

The most relevance for this is with a group where people don't know each other already.

The next step at Resi School.

Qualify the person's name and remember both this and the person's name. Concentration game around the room

Q.Q. How to do the virtual version?

(Coming from the Masters in Open and Distance Education I should have an answer for this)

And another one:

Privately we thought if we were an animal, what kind of animal would we be?

We then put the word on a PostIt. One at a time we came forward and described ourselves while others based on this tried to guess what kind of animal we are.

This too went on a PostIt and from this we'd gain some understanding of who we are perceived to be.

Finally we put the two animals together.

How did this go? I should know.

I elected to be a Red Squirrel but only because I happened to be thinking about a certain Management Training Centre in the Lake District (actually the Eden Valley) where my late father lived where we had Red Squirrels. I should have related it to my current role or how I saw myself. Actually I had had 'dolphin' in my mind, which was as much about freedom and personality as my professional and personal interest in swimming.

It worked better with someone else who had described themselves as a leopard 'ready to pounce' as we had come up with a leopard or some such. The next step was to introduce two such 'animals' in 'character' to each other, for example what happens when a 'giraffe' type meets the 'panther' or of course the classic of a mouse meeting an elephant.

At Resi School we did 'Super Heroes' and it worked by people finding complementary powers.

This is good at the solution finding stage by asking people who, why and what.

Ask 'what solutions would your superhero bring to the table?' What have we got to lose? (if you are getting nowhere).

PART TWO

If you've got to tackle lots of incremental changes that are not delivering how do you reframe it and do something more visionary?

From E-Learning V

Our tutor gave a personal example of imagining Charing Cross Metropolitan Police Station as an aircraft carrier.

Sequence of diamonds to have the problem, diverge, then draw it together.

Based on 'systems thinking' Jane Henry and John Martin (2010)

Trying therefore to understand it holistically.

Something 'messy' is when you put stuff together e.g. Hospital, flyover and play park. P.43/44.

(I keep thinking of Engestrom's 'activity systems' and how these were used to think through messy problems in, for example, a live TV production company, or the relationship between a hospital and clinics).

Wicked or Messy problems. What are they?

Wicked: Rittel (1972)

Messes: Akoff (1979)

These have few boundaries

There are Complex systems or sub-problems Mason and Mitroff, 1981 pp.11-13 (p43, B2) All about 'unpacking challenged' 3.10 (pp 42/43)

PART THREE

TMA02 Ask yourself? Why am I dealing with this problem? Use a technique for messy or wicked problems. 3:10 unpacking problems

METHODOLOGIES

Some are techniques, others are complete methods. Eg. Buffalo.

It is an Iterative process

Use 'divergent thinking' first

Remember the 13 precepts as "rules for the environment'

Add Precepts List

Evaluate what did - compare precepts.

If precepts breached, why? What do next time?

Horse shoe and the car story

A company makes great horseshoes then along comes the car; its response is to make the very best horse-shoes. But sales are falling ... So you make increasingly better horseshoes.

You are trapped into doing the same thing.

When around you the world is changing, you need to do something different.

Kodak makes a similar story.

I bought a Kodak digital camera and easy share docking station around 2002.

Both lasted no longer than a novelty Christmas present, the definition on the camera too poor, depends ace on the docking station and frequent, expensive paper fails with the printer.

Other industries that are too stuck in a rut to change?

On reflection I can see that corporate video production companies could fail in the same way if they thought in terms only of video production, instead of seeing themselves as a communications business. I think of how 'Two Four' has, for example, morphed itself into broadcast TV while 'The Bank' went from a record label and music videos, to corporate video, events, commercials and 'experiential' projects.

1) Get as much as you can, so keep diverging.

I recall our Resi School tutor forever pushing, and stepping in wherever (at this stage) someone started to use business terminology (i.e. both converging and becoming glued to a mindset not of your own).

E.g. Don't close down ideas when brainstorming.

2) You want one idea to lead to another.

As soon as you close down you stop the flow of ideas.

E.g Brain writing. 30secs to put ideas/answers on a pad, then quickly pass it around. Interject a game ....

3) Then back to the brainstorm.

4) Do something different.

5) Then back to the brainstorm ...

Converge, Diverge, Statement of the problem.

N.B. One people fully understand what the problem is the following stages follow through quickly.

How you'd do it next time (better when it goes wrong)

Genuinely real problems (nothing trivial)

N.B. Do it in a real context to convince the tutor that you did it.

The Group

Ideally, a group of highly supportive group people at work.

Or virtual. Multiple intelligences. Personalities.

NLP.

Ambiguous problems Activity 6.6  (p107, B2)

Technique Choosing Activity 7.3  (p125, B2)

Facilitation Issues Activity 7.9 (p136, B2)

Non-analytical skills

Manage the context Hamburger or sh1t sandwich : pointing out what went well and reinforcing this to conclude.

How are you going to overcome the constraints of your organisation?

What is the PROBLEM?

The problem is defining the problem.

Problem solving does not mean finding a solution necessarily but finding the most suitable way of dealing with the issues.

Start-up

Exceedingly well educated, but preconditioned on how to solve a problem.

HOW

What people are wearing! Dress down Friday.

Different location (and time)

No hierarchy, include outsiders.

Morning, Afternoon or Evening.

Toolkit (bag of toys)

Party facilitator

Youth Leader (theatre) Swim Coach (pool)

NO IT games! (paid for and restrictive) Role reversal ... In my shoes (personas)

Facing the truth. Lose the passion.

HBS.

Gap analysis: where we are ...

Where we would like to be.

Steps BACK from the end putting in place the steps. Make in convergent, divergent.

Have a pack of colour discs. (To do Timeline)

Lay them out to diverge, then converge.

Physically walk it through.

(Human sculpture) ... Even as a person not the organisation.

TMAO2

Why is the group composed the way it is?

Pace Planning Dress down, especially military.

Don't think the technique will work

View the technique library as a recipe book.

Have back up techniques in your back pocket

See DVD for Facilitation.

Bring your pet to school day (Steve Jobs)

QQ what are you doing differently compared to 2011?

Insightful commentary on the decisions '5W and H' to structure TMA. If you cannot define the problem early on start by looking at the symptoms.

  • What to do with the dominant participant?
  • Judgemental people need the rational
  • Take them back to the process
  • Keep it positive
  • Don't let them close it down

KAI if 10/ 20 apart can cause problems.

REFERENCE

Ackoff, R.L. (1979) The Art of Problem-Solving, New York: Wiley

Berne, E. (1970) Games People Play, Harmondsworth, Penguin Book.

Dilts, R.L. (1994/95) Strategies of Genius, Vol 13, Capitola, Meta Publications

Henry, J & Martin J (2010) Book 2 Managing Problems Creatively

Mason, R.O. and Mitroff, II. (1981) Challenging Strategic Planning Assumptions, Chichester: Wiley

Rittel, H (1972) 'On the planning crisis: systems analysis of the "First and second generations"', Bediriftskonomen, No8. pp. 390-6

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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 Residential School

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:42

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I relate to this. How, when and where I am 'in the flow'.

How either stress or boredom can throw me.

In the flow: live TV production, live events, scriptwriting, presenting, directing, most location production work, singing (performing), editing, drawing, creative problem solving, networking and many written exams (+ observational and life-drawing)

Stress includes getting ahead of my experience and skills or finding out too late that expectations have changed whilst boredom results as much from having nothing to do, low levels of responsibility or no challenge. As well as an exam that I have not prepared for or forgetting lines in a play.

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B822 Techniques Library : Human Sculpture & Timeline

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 17:40

 

(These are not the original participants though it may be interesting to introduce a fun version of 'human sculpture' as a Christmas Entertainment. As a team creating a tableau from a movie or some such?)

The Human Sculpture

We were invited to offer a personal problem; it was made quite clear that we had to be comfortable with this. Without saying what the problem was and with the facilitator's help a 'human sculpture' was made to represent the problem. In this instance there were forces pulling him in two directions (partner and ego) with this person's current/former employer behind and his future employment/employer in front.

There were therefore FIVE participants who made up the 'sculpture'.

It was fascinating to have each factor comment on how they felt, even if this 'factor' was an entity, psyche or 'unknown' future.

This was recognised as a way to see the problem for what it is, for the problem owner to see it as others see it, to get the sentence that an entity, played out as a person, can have feelings.

I particularly liked the idea of being able to talk to the desired or possible outcome in a kind of role play.

The technique from the B822 Technique Library where you do something similar is with 'Timeline' placing people at points now and in the future. In a way I did this years ago to visualise a careers advice video using members of a Youth Theatre who had to be someone 1, 5 and 10 years along a career path based on different decisions they took at 14/16 regarding school, a job, training or university.

From the B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' Residential School

P.S. The image above might offer part of our conclusion, that all the factors should be brought into consideration. What is more, where the problem isn't too sensitive or the individual/participants want an aide memorie then a series of pictures could be taken.

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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 Residential School : Creative Problem Solving for business

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:26

There's a way to generate ideas: this is it.

I have doodles, images, stuff on the iPad and memories bursting to get out. All from the B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' Residential School I attended last week. To some it was a freak show or a circus; I felt right at home. I'd spent a year, full-time doing things like this at the School of Communication Arts.

1) Random Stimulus

It was a small, plaster lobster. It was smiling.

2) Play Word Association

We chucked words out

(Abiding by 'ground rules' in relation to anything goes, support etcsmile

3) Brainstorm

We took this further still. Ideas put in PostIts and stuck to some double-doors.

4) Cluster

We then, collectively, moved these ideas about until they formed a number of clusters. A cluster was then removed to another space where three A1 Flip Chart sheets of paper had been stuck together.

5) To make a mindmap. And here it is:

 

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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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How to use the adrenaline rush when faced with a written exam.

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 08:55

"These are the happiest 180 minutes you will spend this year", we are told. This is said in a dead pan, pragmatic, no nonsense, but reassuring way by B822 Residential School Tutor John Evans. I take the view that I can always learn something new, especially when I think I've got it sussed: I've had my exam successes in the past or I wouldn't have made it to Balliol to study Modern History. My system was a fluke, lacked strategy and on reflection was unduly onerous. There is no short cut but never in my various careers have I ever heard such sense, such practical advice which must work if you run with it. 1) Never go into an exam with less than three pens.

  • Rubber grip best.
  • Change pen for each answer.
  • None of us write continually for three hours any more.
  • The physiologically act of changing pens helps.
  • This aid the sense of relaxation; changing pens helps.

I haven't sat a written exam in nearly 30 years. I haven't written much out by hand for well over a decade either since I gave up a handwritten daily journal for a blog).

Cf. The MBA handbook. Read Sheila Cameron's advice.

EXPECT TO INCORPORATE SOME OF THE FOLLOWING

2) Memory Visualisation (very much b822)

3) 'Other kinds of thinking' OKT chapter 5 Planning

4) Give it 10-15 minutes.

5) Relax and it will happen

6) Get the three diagrams and fix them in your head to show how blocks 1, 2, 3.

EXERCISE:

Turn to your neighbour and see if you can think of 20 things that you remember so far about B822.

FIRST BIG INSIGHT

You tend to produce, rather than a photographic record of the contents page, but what resonated for you. Work with this. INSERT IMAGE 7) Mind-map like links between the blocks.

NOW CONVINCED

We are all very different; this difference and complexity defines how a team will work. Not everyone of course appreciates this expecting others to come to line, to remould themselves into a preferred 'type'. 8) Res school is the fourth part of the exam. INSert IMAGE (I was at an awkward angle in the hall with the presenter usually between me and the flip chart so I need to redraw this). 9) Blocks 1, 2, 3 drawn out on a sheet. Set out what resonates with me.

  • THEN what the course is telling me is the core subject matter. For example: NEO, culture, climate, use of metaphor. This is how to prepare and use a MIND DUMP.

10) B822 Library of Techniques There are 168 of these; which are you going to use or drop into the exam?

11) Identify the ones you have used and found useful. Two of three visual as well as the usual verbal or textual ones. Have some activity ones. Need 6-8 in your armoury. Visual, text, activity.  And distinguish between them.

12) CREATE A GRID Justify your criteria for choosing these techniques.

  • Ease of use/complexity
  • No.of people needed.
  • Range of use.
  • Integration potential (would you get the CEO to do finger painting)
  • Risk!
  • Extent of reversioning.
  • In a grid and marking out of 10 (use this for audit of video).

Technique 1

Technique 2

Technique 3

Technique 4

Technique 5

13) Get six postcards of Windsor. (relating it to the RES School at the Marriott Heathrow, though I would have get postcard of passenger planes given the constant presence of planes taking off or landing). Relate these to Langley/Windsor Use these to Trigger off your memory and visualisation. Carry these around and keep reminding yourself. Form a 'wireless connection' with the information on these cards.

14) Arrive 30 minutes before you are due.

Story of person who arrived a day late.  Exam locations are post code sorted. OU very organised and helpful. If you are away from home, elsewhere in the UK or even abroad, it can one arranged. OU students take exams in all kinds of extraordinary places.

15) Have some authors in mind; for B822 this is likely to include:

Amibale,

Hofstede

(the examiner sees that we have taken note of certain authors).

ID. No question about who you are. 180 minutes -15 5+50

16) BRAIN DUMP

  • Don't look at the exam paper.
  • As the first one you read will take your mind over.
  • You need to be able to think equally about all three.
  • Instead sketch out your brain dump, that you had planned, so that you get out of your head everything  that you will need.

Trying to answer three questions from a body of knowledge that you hold. See exam section of tutor group forum. 17) Unpack the question into its constituent parts.

  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion
  • Sign-post

18) Rough draft and score through afterwards Every other line. (have the space to put additions in later)

  • Underline for emphasis.
  • Use diagrams.

19) 10 minutes at end. CRUCIAL Your back memory tells you yet more that you may wish to add in.

20) Doing diagrams are good. Have a few and practice.

21) Snack, water. Resource can be cross referenced.

22) Good to show that you are applying current news (say FT)

23) Good example from your place of work.

CONCLUSION

Intuitively this is what I did decades ago, though in a wasteful and far less strategic way. The other thing I did was to invent great long mnemonics. The first letter would kick off a word, phrase or sentence that would collectively, sometimes running to over 20 facts or ideas, express all I knew or considered important say about Elizabethan history. One of these mnemonics is ringing in my head, eager to be remembered but just out of reach. This BRAIN DUMP BEFORE you read the questions is vital, just get this cue sheet written (though clearly in a way that doesn't suggest you have pulled it from your pocket).

Is it possible to leave an exam feeling euphoric? Yes.

How then to capture the essence of this for an assignment which should receive as much preparation, unfortunately the only parameters are getting it in on time and sticking to the word count. I like to write with adrenaline.

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B822 Residential School : day two : 14 hours 25 minutes !

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 7 Feb 2013, 08:49

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In the right context with the right people role play can be used to help see or experience a problem from a different perspective. Here however, Virginia Woolf and friends pull off a hoax and a treated as royal guests on one of His Majesty's battleships.

So many people describe this OU Business School module (B822 : Creativity, Management & Change) and the residential school I am currently attending as something that changed their lives; I've been waiting for that moment, or for a series of insights to congregate and like a celestial choir sing something special.

I was up at 5.00 am and writing (of course), taking a swim at 6.45 am in the pool here at the Heathrow Marriott, into an Elective at 8.00 am and the first Tutor Workshop at 9.00 am.

The second workshop kicked in after lunch at 1.30 pm then from 7.00 pm three more hour long electives in a row.

At no stage was I ever tired or bored, indeed I feel embarrassed even writing this, the very thought!?

Too much new, too important, too interesting, too interested. Like my second week at nursery school: amongst friends, secure, allowed and expected to have fun. Alert.

It was in the very last cessation today, during an hour of guided relaxation, shoes off lying on the conference room floor, lights out, soft music playing that  my unconscious gave me a two word tip and did its best to visualise the love my children have for me and I have for them. I'm still trying to see what love looks like: white, a slightly crumpled unopened rosebud the size and shape of chicory but made of paper, or tissue. I tried (in the semi-conscious dream-like state that I was in) to cup 'love' in my hands as if I was scooping up water but it proved illusive, like a cloud.

After we were brought out of our semi-unconscious state (I fell asleep momentarily three times) we were all asked to share what we experienced; I eventually chirped up with the word 'profound'.

The detail of the day is here too, all typed up with pictures (courtesy of iPad and iPhone) of flip-charts, post-it notes, finger-paintings and slides. This will take a week to prepare as posts.

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

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 5 Jun 2014, 05:25

The lack of control over where your head goes and what it reveals should understandably go with a note of considerable caution. There often is no such thing as an innocent dream. It sometimes throws me when what is apparent in the dream: its people, actions and events can once analysed tell you something you can't accept or dislike about yourself or others.

Context is everything.

What bothers you as you fall asleep?

What's on your mind?

A film you have just watched could very well fill your head; I'm still enjoying the afterglow of '500 days of summer': troubled because its truth but delighted in the outcome.

It is less the dream diary, but a diary that can help you put your subconscious to work.

Should you write up your troubled day, and should you care not only to bring work home with you but also take it to bed, then indeed, the issue that is strangling your budget, or losing you business friends could be resolved in a dream. Once you have that dream in the conscious arena you can even rework it like a TV producer changing the protagonists and outcomes.

I dreamt I was in a court of sorts (I can see it in my mind's eye but will neither describe it or attempt to draw it unless some detail needs bringing out).

I presume I was a prosecuting solicitor.

Two trials cut together one after the other (have dreams always been film literate?). The second case is a rape; he is 'cock sure' thankfully there is no murder involved. He deserves to receive the severest punishment. The previous case with a different barrister had gone off like a damp squib; perhaps it wasn't as serious a case but I felt the person had got off lightly and I blamed the barrister for not following my instructions suitably closely. In this second trial I have a word perfect summing up which I might expect this new barrister to follow. On the contrary, I find this person launch in more like a hack journalist/columnist than a prosecuting lawyer. I worry that the defendant will get off lightly; however, it soon dawns on me that this person is using my argument but not the script and like a stand-up comic (though with professionalism and the hint of a smile of confidence) they will deliver a knock-out blow: they have taken what I can provide and made it better.

Does this solve my problem?

It doesn't answer something specific. If the photocopier is broken and never gets fixed I don't think I'd turn to my 'dream spirits' for the answer.

Does it even suggest to you that this approach has legs?

Me, I'm the defence solicitor, not the barrister. I may not solve the 'problem' the defendant, though I make my contribution.

Nor have I had to resort to a set of 27 questions to reach this point (see below).

I do not imagine sitting with a bunch of colleagues interpreting their dreams would be appropriate or suitable; they ate too random, and so are we. But I do recommend this approach for personal problem resolution, but be warned, you may try to get your dreams to set out your next career move only to discover that in your heart you hate your job and sector and wish instead to teach English to Japanese school-girls.

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