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No escape from H807 or B822!

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Thinking I might relax with a Christmas read I quickly realise that the Steve Jobs biography has a good deal to teach on innovation (H807) and tackling business problems (B822). The inclination is to take notes as I go along; I have the hardback book rather than a Kindle version. Has anyone else read it? Perhaps if you too got it for Christmas we could form our own discussion group?
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B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 17:26

B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts

Especially actions that DISCOURAGE speculation/creativity Henry (2010:93)

Curiosity

Charles Handy (1991) Creativity in Mangement, Radio 1, B822

Forgiveness

Charles Handy (1991)

Love

Charles Handy (1991)

A sense of direction

Schon, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practioner

Some ‘Set Breakers’ Henry (2010:96)

1. Develop broad background experience and many interests

2. Find and challenge your own blind spots

3. Explore many different perspectives

4. Challenge yourself

5. Develop good browsing facilities

6. Change techniques or different mental modes

7. Seek out people with other points of view

8. In a group

Relevance bias

 

1. Dry Run

2. Quota of alternatives

3. Inverse optional question

4. Checklist of transformations

5. Reverse the problem

6. Boundary relaxation

7. What difference?

8. Get several people to try it

9. Deep questioning

10. Challenge

11. Fresh eye

6.4 Value of Play

1. Play is key to learning activity

2. The objects of play are both objective and subjective

3. The ability of play helps create the sense of independence.

4. Play offers a protected area of illusion

5. Plays is a way of managing unfulfilled need.

6. Play can lead to a particular state of mind.

7. Play breaks down outside certain emotional limits.

8. Shared play builds relationships

A. Choice of Setting

B. Choice of team members

C. Climate to aim for

D. Don’t demystify

E. Management of coping mechanisms

F. An aid to team building

 

McCaskey (1988)

· Problem finding (experience)

· Map building

· Janusian Thinking

· Controlling and not controlling

· Using domain and direction

· Planning rather than goal-directed planning

· Humour that oils

· Charisma

· Using ad hoc structures such as task force and project teams

· Using a core group embedded in a network of contracts and information

· ‘Turbulence management’

N.B. Creativity needs space vs. time pressure, interruption

· Create Space

6.8 involve others

The more participants you have, the more ideas you get.

‘Successfully creative people are often deeply committed to a particular domain, that has strong internal significance to them, and they focus very firmly on particular goals’. (e.g. Tessa Ross, Lionel Wigram, William Hague)

'Passion and persistence can motivate sustained work; attract the loyalty of helpers; create awareness of you and your project in people who have relevant resources; and reassure those who need to take risks on your behalf.’ Henry (2010:114)

CATWOE p115

  • Blind chance
  • Wide-ranging exploration
  • The prepared mind
  • Individualised Action

6.12 Manage the Process Henry (2010:1113)

· Get the parameters right

· Record

· Sustain pace and energy

· Develop trust

· Keep the experience positive

· Plan

· Do – analyse either side and separately

· What?

· Why?

Learn from experience of others

  • Experiment

REFERENCE

Adams, J.L. (1987) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty; New York; Columbia University Press.

Austin, J.H. (1978) Chase, Chance and Creativity: The Lucky Art of Novelty: New York: Columbia University Press.

McCaskey, M.B. (1988) ‘The challenge of managing ambiguity’, in Pondy, L.R, Boland, R.J and Thomas, H (eds) Managing Ambiguity and Change, new York, pp 2-11

Schon, A.A. (1983) The Reflective Practioner: How Professionals think in Action, London: Temple Smith

Wetherall, A. and Nunamaker, J (1999) Getting Results from Electronic Meetings

Winnicott, D.W (1972) Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth (1983) Davis, M and Wallbridge, D (1983) Boundary and Space: An Introduction to the Work of D.W. Winnicott. Harmondsorth.

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Peter Cook - Rock n Roll Punk Creative Inspirational Consultant Conference Speaker Moderator

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 24 Dec 2011, 08:35

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'One of our colleagues regularly uses popular music in the successful management development sessions he runs, drawing on this rich seam of popular culture for memorable metaphors and thinking tools. Shared music making also features in his creativity, team development and problem-solving sessions'. Henry et al. (2010:89)

I came across this in the B822 Block 2 Resources book 'Managing Problems Creatively'.

I'm certain this refers to Peter Cook, the OU Business School MBA Alumnus I interviewed outside Dingwalls at Camden Lock at the end of October. You can follow him in various places. I like his attack and conviction and how it makes what could be inordinately dull, memorable and fun.

His interview.

REFERENCE

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

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B822 BK 2 C2 Problems and challenges

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 19 Aug 2012, 21:33

Problem, opportunity, challenge, issue, concern ...

I've been professionally lodged in calling everything a problem to be solved. I may think this through and stick to this concept. I was introduced to the Creative Brief at JWT, London in the mid 1980s. Through Design & Art Direction (D&AD) workshops, then a year, full-time at the School of Communication Arts the 'problem' as the preferred, indeed the only term, was reinforced.

The advertising Creative Brief goes:

What is the problem?

What is the opportunity?

Who are you speaking to?

What do you want to say?

How do you want them to react to this message?

What else do you need to know?

I have seen no reason to change this, indeed some 135+ video productions later, information films, training films, change management, product launch, lecture, you name it ... the same set of questions, answered on a SINGLE SIDE of A4 governs the initial client meetings. If we cannot get it onto a single sheet, then we haven't the focus to deliver a clear response. Back to the drawing board.

It works.

From the agreed Creative Brief I then write a synopsis or two, the ideas are shared and I go off and prepare a treatment or two; I offer alternatives. Then, with agreement on the treatment, based always on how well it lives up to the brief, I go off and write a script. Sometimes the script is visualisation and dialogue (voice over, interviews transcripts even dramatisation), usually very little needs to be changed at this stage; the script is a direct expression of what was agreed in the treatment. We then produce (shoot, post-produce) and review the end result. Once again, a fail-safe process that only sees the product improved upon at each stage.

It works.

So why is this page of this chapter an Epiphany?

I guess, because I know that some clients struggle with the term 'problem'. I stubbornly refuse to accept an alternative and argue my case. Yet apparently there is a case. Or is there? VanGundy (1988) rightly suggests that

p18 'Each of these different terms expresses its own metaphor for what is involved and suggests its own slightly different ways of working'. Henry et al. (2010:18)

To be a problem there needs to be a 'gap' between what is desired and the current position. VanGundy (1988:04)

Why would I change what has always worked?

When I bring with my argument decades of experience from the most successful, persuasive and memorable communicators of all? This 'Creative Brief is an industry standard.

My view is that if there isn't a problem, there is no need to do x, y or z. Anything less than 'problem' diminishes the nature and ambition of the communications challenge (here I argue that internal and external communications, PR, marketing and advertising, are all on the same spectrum: you are trying to persuade people).

Think of problems and solutions as part of an extended hierarchy.

We then get into 'Gap Analysis'

p19 'The imperative that drives creative people can transform the theoretical 'what could be' into a more powerfully motivating 'what should be'.

Then drift away from the challenge when the 'problem' is no longer (in my view of things) considered a communications issue.

p24 The problem exists in the overlap between ourselves and the situation ... this means that solutions can often be as much a mater of changing ourselves as changing the external situation'.

  1. Change the situation
  2. Change yourself
  3. Get out
  4. Learn to live with it

As an external supplier, a communications problem fixer, then only point 1 can apply, which becomes an argument for the extensive use of external suppliers. Think about it, do you want someone to address the problem/challenge you take to them, or shilly-shally about, making do, dodging it or making themselves absent?

p26 'Play' - the dynamic gap between vision and reality.

Activity 2.1 (p16)

Frustration over having an audio-cassette to listen to. By sharing the problems it was resolved.

Cause: keeping up with the technology

Ans: A problem shared is a problem halved. Ease of relationships.

p17 'A densely interconnected part of a huge web of issues and concerns that change and develop over time and may transform radically in appearance depending on your viewpoint'.

Spend a few minutes identifying some of the features of this story that might perhaps generalise to other situations and that:

  • helped to generate the challenge
  • helped to overcome it.

Solving 'problems' however, is not as clear-cut as a specific problem relate to communications.

I need more of VanGundy. Is he free from the OU Library? Or even an not too expensive download as an eBook to the Kindle and iPad. Despite admonitions to spend less time reading and more time addressing the practical side of Block 2, I feel I have to read on, to investigate an issue (oops, problem, I mean) that has bugged me for more than 25 years.

REFERENCE

Henry, J., Mayle, D., Bell, R., Carlisle, Y. Managing Problems Creatively (3rd edn) 2010. The Open University.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of structured problem solving (2nd edn), New York: Van Nostran Reinhold.

 

 


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B822 Block 2 Managing Problems Creatively

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The degree to which this block is practical Shocks; I am so used to reading and exploring thoughts and ideas. I may have got the bulk of this block's reading out of the way in 24 hours. It helps to be in a beautify cottage away from the routine and distractions of home; we're in Long Compton for a week, on the edge of the Cotswolds, where the children we born and where we lived for four years. I am rested: a pitch black night and so quiet it numbs.

For MAODE modules H807, H809 and H800 I offered up the week's activities per post. For B822 I may offer eight posts covering the 8 chapters with a selection of the activities that take my fancy. The big issue will be to select a real problem to tackle using these 'creative' tools (most of which feel like familiar territory having been part of the 'creative problem solving' community most of my career.

Meanwhile I have the little matter of a 50th Wedding Anniversary: an academic affair as she was a Sommerville language scholar and he a Balliol and Pembroke Philosopher and this as a good reason to celebrate their survival.

Amongst giants? I try not to say anything stupid.

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Does the learning never end?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014, 15:22

I introduce an 85 year old to an iPad, he wants one for what he can read, spots Engestrom's 'From Knots to Networking' and he doesn't look back.

Here he is taking a tutorial on Hegel some 50 years ago.

How the iPad works is less interesting than the subject matter. He takes to his first touch screen with little introduction.

He set up 'The School for Leaders' in Poland some 20 years ago and thinks he can use Engestrom's ideas; I bought this and a few other elearning related books.

Googling his name he stumblesupon a gallery of pictures of himself he'd never known had been taken and decides he wants at least one of these for his biography so calls his son over as the book is due to be published in the New Year.

Dr. Zbigniew Pelczynski makes for an interesting father in law; he's not the only academic in the house, art history, philosophy and politics are always part of the conversation between meals, walks and picking through bundles of papers and journals that sit in stacks around the house.

As my daughter is thinking about A Levels that includes History and Philosophy she is invited to sit with her grandfather so they retire to another room and listening in to bits of  it I overhear what by all accounts becomes her first tutorial. He has such a gentle touch, listening, showing interest in how she is schooled, what she knows, how she is taught.

I press on through Book 2 B822 and reach chapter 6. Through-out I think how I might apply the ideas.

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B822 TMA01 Away!

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You'd think I'd know this as I submit my first Tutor Marked Assignment of my fourth module towards a Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE), but when you think you have finished you haven't.

I would give NINE hours to the following:

a) Edit (to the parameters of the word count)

b) Referencing (everything)

c) Narrative flow, which can muck up (a) and (b)

Actually, my first edit had me bin the thing and start again, I'd written it like a letter to a Great Aunt, more of a blog post than the required report.

It has taken 12 or so of these, including EMAs, to feel comfortable with leaving things out, not simply writing succinctly, but dropping ideas that are weak or appear to be repetitive. My inclination is to leave nothing out.

An interesting exercise which will segue into the next two assignment and an exam in April. I feel I have a 'road map'.

Yes, a Christmas Break, but I'll use it first to catch up (I'm a week behind), then to get ahead.

On point c) it helps enormously to reference notes as you go along. Repeatedly I found I could search a quote or author in my own blog, which I use as an e-portfolio, and the correct reference was ready to be cut and pasted into the assignment.

On point a) I have been known to read the assignment out, record it, then listen to the play back. This can be painful as you find there are entire chunks of stuff in the wrong place, or an exercise you'd love to include is redundant. This pain slowly recedes as you feel convinced you have done the right thing by the assignment.

Mark prediction? New tutor, new topic? I never know, but somewhere between low 60s and high 70s.

On verra

Meanwhile, I've got bags to pack, a car to have a new battery fitted, then to load, then off.

 

 

 

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B822 TMA01 Another 4.00 am start

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 19 Dec 2011, 06:25

 

Orchards.JPG

 

See below for my explanation regarding the orchard, an idea I develop as a metaphor in relation to tertiary education.

I have a Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) to complete

These early mornings are me, I feel like an undergrad with an essay crisis. But I'm not, and there is no crisis.

I'm on the home straight

The word count at 5,000 is way over but I'm confident that if I treat the entire thing like an exercise in Tweeting that I can make all the same points, and more while being succinct.

I will resort to bullet points

How easy is that to mark?

The frustration for someone who shares so much of his thinking is that I won't share the TMA. I may post notes, mind-maps, charts and images along the way but I'm not about to give others the chance to commit plagiarism, which I understand is a major problem.

Creativity, Innovation and Change (B822) has the potential, for me, of letting me figure out how to apply what I have gained from the Masters in Open and Distance Education (MAODE) in an innovative way i.e. how do you get ideas through. My context might be tertiary education, but could also be corporate learning, skills or training where there are bigger budgets, tighter briefs and close measurement of effectiveness.

As often is the case with these TMAs it frustrates me that I cannot demonstrate a fraction of what I have read, watched or listened to. That the block may have had 30 activities, but I can perhaps share four of these. I guess the tutor has to conclude that I could not express my thoughts, with the evidence provided, had I not done the work?

I'd prefer to submit an essay every week, or take part in an activity with the group every week, to know that through interaction I am being nudged along the right path.

Other reasons to get this out of the way: we pack to go on holiday tomorrow and last night I had to be rescued by the AA ten miles from home sad The battery has to be replaced. This, fortuitously, happens before we leave, I wouldn't like to be stuck in a motorway service station with kids, dog and clobber. Thumbs up to the AA who got to us in twenty minutes and fixed the problem in ten.

An orchard is my metaphor for the Open University

I started with a tree, which seemed apt as in 'The Tree of Knowledge' but from a business organisational stance I needed a metaphor that could translate. Metaphors do not have to be overly scrutinised to have the desired effect, but if an individual tree is a module then an orchard is a qualification and the fruit on these trees are the products that students pick. Each season a new presentation. Taking this thinking into the real world I have been spending time at a local Orchard in East Sussex that has had to diversify over the last twenty years and has done so successfully.

What do you think?

a) about the value of metaphor (big in H800)

b) about the metaphor I have chosen about the institution we all love?

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Am I the only person who can write a TMA in the early hours of the morning?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 17 Dec 2011, 12:23
I ask because I was up is morning at 4.00 am and will do the same tomorrow and Monday. I don't suppose I should be asking if anyone will be around. For now I'm making the most of crisp sunshine on the South Downs; I'm not averse to being asleep by 8.00 or 9.00pm.
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2012 New Year's Resolutions anyone?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 07:22

I always think of these ahead of the festive season so I'm prepared come January 1st. The other thing, is you can give it a bit of a go now without any feeling of obligation to make a true run of it.

Swimming and swim teaching & coaching

I will swim, not 3 times a week, but once at least. I will also return to coaching after a 9 month break: I flourished in the role and the swimmers I taught and coached did well too.

Complete B822, my fifth of six modules towards the Masters in Open & Distance Education.

I'd like to graduate in 2012 but the timing of my final 30 credit module may take me into 2013: doing two in parallel for 4 months looks foolish.

As ever, blog.

Even a picture and 30 words, but something every day. This now occurs here, at www.mymindbursts.com and in blip.foto under mindbursts.

Is 250,000 page views attainable in 2012!?

and to what end other than meeting the challenge of posting something of worth and being a 'blogger's friend'.

Four months later (End of April 2012):

  • I can report that I am coaching for between 2 and 4 hours a week and signed up to the club as a Masters so swimming with them Saturday mornings and typically twice during the week).
  • The last TMA for B822 went in, the mark wasn't great, 54, but I'm through to the exam which is next week.
  • This blog hit 180,000 views yesterday and had 1000 views in one day earlier last week. Another 70,000 views in 11 Months? Pushing it, especially as from May to August I won't be on a module.

 

 

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Is this how to go about GAP Analysis?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 07:16

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GAP analysis. Who am I? What is the company? Where's the gap? How do you fix it?



20111214-230645.jpg

Getting there via Block 1 of 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' which entails a book, several papers, a couple of videos, a podcast and dozens of activities.

For revision purposes I come up with the phrase 'eat dead mice' in an attempt to remember the importance of 'closing the gap'.

  • Recognise the Bxistence of a gap
  • Make others Aware of the gap
  • Aim to Decrease the gap
  • Measure the gap
  • Close the gap
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Fit or misfit? How are you placed where you work with regard to innovation, creativity and change

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 06:58

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  • The self and the organisation (i to ii)
  • Many 'selves' (individuals) as part of the organisation (iii)
  • The fit (iv)

All goes quiet as the first Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) of B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' looms. It's a report not an essay (this is an MBA module) that uses various tools that I employ to understand who I am, various methods to see the organisation in terms of its 'creativity' and concludes with where and if I am a fit or a misfit.

As well as SIX tables, TWO inventories and several charts (like the one above) I will also include photographs.

It may make my assignment look like a Year 9 Homework assignment but none of these affects the word count while making my point.

(Marked 79)

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What's better the online tutorial or face to face?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011, 12:56

We're asked to consider this as part of the MAODE; it may even be a component of the EMA in H800, yet after three modules I had not experienced a face to face anything - the MAODE (Masters in Open and Distance Education) is entirely (stubbornly?) online.


It has been with trepidation and fascination that I find myself attending group tutorials or seminars, booking in for a Residential School and having to face an exam.

These are part of an elective, a 30 point module that forms part of the OU Business School MBA (Master of Business Administration).


I can say with complete conviction that there is no competition, though evidentially different, both the online and face-to-face tutorial meet the same objectives, albeit with significant differences. Both should be experienced before you pass judgement.


There are pros and cons to each.

Two face-to-face tutorials of two and a half hours each had me in a group of first 16, then 11. We listened a bit but interacted a good deal. I took notes but am still writing them up. Online you talk with you fingertips; I have met up with fewer at a time, six or less on Elluminate, more asynchronously in a forum. There have been threaded discussions of 100+ posts running to 16,000 words or more.


On the other hand, travelling to a tutorial 63 miles from home last week I lost a good piece of the day, caught in a traffic accident going in and a worse one on the M25 coming back. Then again I've had tutor group forums that have been badly attended by both the tutor and fellow students.

Research (Richardson, 2005-2011) shows that satisfaction rates for online or face-to-face tutorials are now matched: electing for or receiving one or the other, from the OU at least, students are just as satisfied.

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B822 Emotional Intelligence

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What's the point in thinking of myself as a creative ideas person if I am too 'sensitive' to handle rejection and too much of an ideas person to get a few ideas finished rather than many ideas begun? The module Creativity, Innovation and Change' (B822) is knocking me into shape. It's a management course. The first block runs questionnaires and inventories on you and where you work to establish where there's a fit or whether there's a mismatch. I am also reminded of the many teams I have formed or belonged to that have worked, literally generating ideas for a BT Think tank for example, finding the 'innovator' and 'entrepreneur' to get behind an idea and raising first £28,000 and then £100,000 for that project. Often the fit looks crude, even cliched, between the ideas person, the innovator sales/prefect director type and the entrepreneur who may hold it all together as a fledgling business.
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"Is a Myers Briggs type a given or can the person through cognitive behavioural therapy, for example, change?"

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I enjoyed this response. As well as posting quesions here or in your Tutor Forum I wonder if Quora will sometimes provide the answer?

If you could ask the 7m who listen to the BBC Radio Today Programme what kind of response would you get? We find out every week when people do exactly this.

Why ask one person, when you can ask millions?

Bailey MacLeod: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an indication of preferences. The idea is that everyone has a preferred way of doing something, for example writing with your left hand. You can still write with your other hand, but you prefer the left (unless, of course, you don't have another hand, but I digress). We all have to adapt to situations that require us to behave in ways we might not prefer. It is possible to adapt by trying new behaviors or ways of thinking, being, and feeling, but you may not really enjoy every minute of it. There are some theories that some people have a preferred type but have not been given the chance during their development to really explore or tap into this side of them, which leaves these behaviors unknown or underdeveloped. When people get into new situations that allow them to explore a more preferred, yet unknown, aspect of themselves they can flourish. Bottom line, your MBTI typology is not set in stone, you just have to find a way to adapt.

To see the question page with all answers, visit: http://www.quora.com/l/wLItV891xT Thanks, The Quora Team

(I'm not convinced that left-handedness is a choice at all. Is it not genetic?)

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B822 Reflection

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Working efficiently does not mean filling every day with work. Compartmentalising work, play and study time became crucial. I now get more done by containing it to set times. I'm getting out, working and studying better when I do and feeling far less stressed. Yet to get sleep patterns in order; I sense a need for exercise which for me means regular swimming.
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B822 Bk1 C4 Analogical Thinking in Business, Organisations and Mangement Styles

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 18:17

 

Analogical thinking, from Churchill's 'iron curtain' to the invention of Velcro.

(Indeed neurologists believe there is a gene that causes human beings to think in metaphors and that it is exactly this that allows us to invent, in fact  creativity in the face of adversity still rings true today, though we are not  facing a Sabre-toothed tiger at the entrance to the cave, or changing climate  with the onset of the ice age.)

Analogy - transfer of an idea from one domain to another.

Metaphor - resemblance or flavour. A way of making the strange familiar p.85. Or the hard to comprehend (trees, ecosystems, architecture, traffic lights).

Morgan (1986)

Kinds of metaphor:

·         Mechanistic

·         Ecological

·         Social

·         Cognitive

·         Systematic

Metaphors as labels:

Manager as captain or conductor.

Morgan (1986, 1997)

·         Machine

·         Organism

·         Culture

·         Brain

·         Political System

·         Psychic prison

·         Flux

·         Transformation

·         Instrument of domination

ACTIVITY 4.1

1) Pick three metaphors (a, b, c) for organisations, for instance the organisation as machine, organism or political system.

2) List the characteristics you associate with each.

3) Try and relate each characteristic to a feature in an organisation that you know.

4) What features of organisations do these characteristics highlight, and what do they conceal?

A) As an orchestra, ABB, 1999. A corporate cliché I have seen applied to Abbey National and others. Visually it may have resonance, though the cost of featuring musicians, let alone playing a piece where used is prohibitive to all but the largest organisations. The characteristics are of complementary divisions 'playing the same tune' with woodwind, strings and brass, for example representing the different businesses. With a single conductor it may better fit the largely privately owned enterprise, say a Richard Branson and Virgin, or a Russian Oligarch, though no longer News International and the Murdochs. The features perhaps work for News International with newspapers and TV interests, even having a go with MySpace being largely media, whilst Branson is more the empirical Napoleonic conqueror of anything going?

B) As a strawberry plant, i.e. a federal organisation that has grown organically rather than by acquisition, perhaps like a clearing bank? Perhaps like a franchise such as Kall-Kwik. Or a retail chain, appropriately, such as Body Shop. The characteristics I think of are independently managed businesses that sell the same range of products, with common branding and sales materials, though with some localisation. This works well in relation to the plant performing differently on a variety of local soils/climates i.e. the same organism but in different settings/opportunities to flourish or not.

An empire

C) As an empire, where a holding company or private equity group has gone on the acquisition trail buying up businesses for the opportunity, rather than as sets of businesses that complement each other, so take over, create economies of scale in management and Head Office functions. The characteristics here feel as if it should be military with no good outcome, ala 'Wall Street', though there are or nave been more benevolent, squid give groups or holdings companies in the past such as the long gone Ferguson Industrial Holdings PLC, or perhaps Unipart Group of Companies (UGC). This suggests a dictator at the top, though the leaders can be benevolent even if a tall pyramid is the business structure.

If the organisation doesn't fit the metaphor, it is too simplistic a metaphor!  

The metaphor can intone a favourable or negative bias. For example, if asked in research to describe the organisation you work for as a car do you want it to be a Citroen 2CV, or a VW Golf, a Rolls-Royce or Ford Escort, a 1980s Ford Cortina or a Triumph Stag?

A business that is a machine I the digital age is surely going to get left behind through its rigid bureaucracies and hierarchies, a predilection for quantitative measures (ROI and KPIs) too?

(My concpetion of the School of Communication Arts. Which one am I?)

In the past I used successfully the idea of 'nurturing' to represent first a school (Arts College) and then my own services to graduate recruiters.

In 2011 it seems archaic to think of teachers or tutors in this way, people who are moderators, coaches or facilitators. (The ecological metaphor is used with a cartoon not dissimilar to my own p.88 not shown here for copyright reasons, to represent people as seedlings or potted plants).

From Table 4.1 metaphors of businesses in relation to:

  • Character
  • Flair
  • Structure
  • Climate
  • Style
  • Authority
  •  Form
  •  Control
  • Decisions
  • Strategy
  • Adaptability
  • Orientation
  • Approach
  • Procedure
  • Attitude

ACTIVITY 4.2

Take expressions of the above for a 'Machine like business, as 0 on a scale and

'Organic' as 10, then decide where:

a) you place your own organisation and b) yourself.

ACTIVITY 4.3

I'll do this one offline.

Other metaphors might include:

  • Brain
  • Knowledge
  • Learning

Network (Morgan, 1993) business as a spider-plant.

Federal (Handy, 1989) business as shamrock

Chaos and complexity.

Brains and cities.

Supporting 'patterns of transformation that emerge spontaneously in complex adaptive systems'. (Henry 2006:95)

Complex adaptive systems: termites, flock movements,  (anecdote of the aeroplane simulator managed by parts of an audience that  collectively cancels out the oddball, incompetent, inattentive or would-be plane-crashing individuals) p96 (Berreby, 1998:45 and Clark, 1997:75).

Self-organisation

'people do not need to be told what to do: they are intelligent agents continuously learning and modifying their behaviour on the basis if feedback'. Handy (2010:97)

See DVD 2, Video 3

N.B. The metaphors chosen tend to reflect the chooser's values. (Henry 2006:98)

Activity 4.4

What metaphor would you use to describe your organisation?

Activity 4.5

Describe the process of management as you experience it.

  • Warlike
  • Sporting
  • Spiritual

Activity 4.6

A metaphor to describe my management style.

Activity 4.7

Note metaphors to describe daily management styles.

Activity 4.8

Take a current task, associate with it an appropriate metaphor then give it  another that is far removed from the first.

Organisational paradigms p.104

Functionalist paradigm - world as an objective reality.

Kolb (1984) drawing on Pepper (1942)

Four ways of thinking about the world:

  1. Mechanistic
  2. Realist
  3. Organicist
  4. Pragmatic

And thinking styles:

  • Assimilator
  • Converger
  • Diverger
  • Accommodator

Table 4.2 Organisational metaphors and paradigms

Activity 4.9 WHAT METAPHOR WOULD YOU OFFER FOR MANAGEMENT IN THE 21st CENTURY?

 I've experienced many, including from the table:

·         Chaos/postmodern/play

 I know of:

·         System/participatory/co-create

 I like the sound of:

·         Drama/interpretive/enact

For the 21st Century I like the model of the modern ideas lab in which innovative ideas are trialled, developed then kicked out with a chunk of financing to thrive however turns out best! 

This is the sink or swim analogy.  

But after suitable teaching/coaching. Or perhaps a metaphor of procreation, raising and nurturing a child then letting them go? So organic or animal (or in particular mammalian or human).

Stacy (1996) and danger of controls, procedures and Pre-specified objectives.

FURTHER READING

Morgan, G. 'Paradigms, metaphors and puzzle-solving', C9 in Henry (1999a)

FROM MY OU STUDENT BLOG

'Consider this medium as like talking with your fingers - half-way between spoken conversation and written discourse.' (Hawkridge, Morgan and Jeffs, 1997,  quoted in Salmon 2005)

Salmon, G (2005) E-moderating. The Key to teaching and learning online.

REFERENCE

Berreby, D (1998) 'Complexity theory: fact-free science or business tool?

Strategy and Business, No. 10, pp. 40-50.

Clark, A (1997) Being there. Cambridge, MA. MIT

Henry, J & the MBA Course Team (2006, 2010) B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'  Book 1 'Creativity, Cognition and Development'. The Open University Business School

Morgan, G. (1986 2nd 1997) Images of Organisation 

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How as an OU MAODE student the way I learn has been turned on its head

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 06:25
A year ago, maybe 18 months ago, courtesy of this student blog platform and forums in H808, H807 and H800, how I approached 'academic knowledge acquisition' if I may put it like that, was turned upside down. Being a blogger is part of it, disclosure or exposure comes into it (with discretion). Rather than study in isolation, assembling a rare, carefully constructed essay potentially only for the eyes of my tutor, tutor group or assignment assessors, I found value in sharing both my ignorance and my knowledge. There is no better way, I have found to come to love a concept that I hated, than to share my struggle and be sent in a variety of different directions, still sharing my incomprehension where it existed. Indeed I do find that the less I like the look of something when it first confronts me the more likely I am to become evangelical about it: take Engestrom's 'activity systems', I see them everywhere having (in this blog) started out as a skeptic. So, excuse my ignorance, that's why I'm here.
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B822 wk1 Notes Creative People and Places

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 06:24

B822 WK 1 CREATIVITY (pp13-29)

Notes

Chapter 1 Creativity

Guildford (1959)

  • Originality
  • Flexibility
  • Idea fluency
  • Problem sensitivity
  • Redefinition skills

Perkins (1981)

  • Intrinsic motivation
  • A personal aesthetic
  • Sensitivity to form
  • A capacity for objectivity
  • The ability to take risks
  • Mental mobility
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Problem FINDING skills

i.e. The art of problem-finding.

Kirton (1994) -an innovative approach to solving a problem by reframing the problem and coming up with something new. - an adaptive approach, building on what has gone before.

MENTAL SKILL

Thinking in metaphors. Don't we all, it's a human condition, a mutation of a gene (Ramanchandran 2011) De Bono (1984)

Is creativity a transferable skill? Can it be taught?

The year I spent at the School of Communication Arts would suggest that it can.

1.4 EXPERIENCE, KNOWLEDGE AND MOTIVATION (pp21) CHANCE FAVOURS THE PREPARED MIND

How many hours had the Beatles put in playing together in Hamburg?

How many hours was Mozart made to practice by his father?

Think of the Renaissance studios were boys shadowed great artists mastering fine skills as a result of putting in the hours. Even sports people, think of or watch the extraordinary power and dolphin-like swimmers as they flip-turn.

Genius (and creativity) is the product of nurture, hard work, endurance and context.

The sophisticated 'chunking' of knowledge? I can relate to this from trunks, post-office boxes and really useful boxes of research, even using relational database tools such as FileMaker Pro. Look at JKRowling when she discusses writing Harry Potter with all her folders and files on characterisation, places and events.

Edward Land took three years to develop the Polaroid camera (Westley and Mintzberg, 1991).

What about Eddison, Dyson or Steve Jobs? Obsessive and relentless?

Weisberg (1986) talks of ten years, something picked up by Malcolm Bradbury in 'The Tipping Point' based on research done at the Berlin Conservatoire on violinists: 10,000 hours (ten years) delivers a concert soloist; 8,000 lands you in an orchestra while at 4,000 you'll be lucky to teach. i.e creative competencies are a matter of expert recognition.

P22 Amabile (1983, 1998) talks of the need for intrinsic motivation, to love what you do.

P22 Perseverance A capacity for risk taking 'Find the inventors and do not get in their way' they say at 3M, reportedly.

P22 CLIMATE And the need to work in an exploratory way.

P23 Do I feel safe and valued? VS Total Quality

’Creativity ... tends to emerge naturally where people are motivated and in a climate that encourages exploration, rather than rewarding exhibition'.

P23 It can be uncomfortable from time to time. Away from the individual to communities of practice.

P24 What are the systems that nurture and sustain creative endeavour?

ACTIVITY 1.5  Compare your organisation as a competitor. Answer a set of six questions:

Towards the self-regulation of complex systems.

P25  Like Wikipedia.

Creativity is more likely in organisations that are neither too stable and ordered (for example bureaucracies) nor totally disordered, the suggestion is that creativity is likely is more likely to emerge at 'the edge of chaos'.

1.6 CHANGING CONCEPTIONS

Table 1.4 on the changing meaning of creativity is telling.

TABLE 1.5 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CREATIVE PERSON

  • Positivity (opportunistic and tolerant)
  • Playfulness (mental flexibility, risk taker)
  • Passion (motivation, commitment)
  • Persistence (experience, problem-sensitivity)
  • And Persuasion (creativity invariably involves interesting others in your ideas).

1.7 REVIEW

  • Personality
  • Mental flexibility
  • Experience
  • Motivation
  • Organisational climate
  • Context

REFERENCE

Amabile (1983, 1988)

De Bono (1984)

Guildford (1959)

Kirton (1994)

Perkins (1981)

Ramanchandran (2011)

Westley and Mintzberg (1991)

Weisberg (1986)

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B822 psychometric teats And building your team

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In Book 1, Section 5 we have done a psychometric test. I shared the results almost as a dare: 'would you employ this person! ' The scales were in some places as low as they could go, in others as high as they could go. Did I have to do something to be in the middle range across the board? Would this then achieve what school tried to do to me in my youth? Luckily my non-conformity, like traits in anyone are seen as an asset; the important thing in a team that aims to change, innovate and create, is to have such variety and play to people's strengths while plugging their weaknesses. What, however, do you do if you are surrounded by a type? Can they innovate in a monastery? Can any 'class' or group find itself recruiting to a type to the detriment of the whole? The effort of supporting variety pays off as people play-off each other.
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How we approach problems

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 29 Nov 2011, 06:30
People have strong tendencies to approach problems, communicate and make decisions in particular ways; this makes them more suited to some organisational roles than others. Henry (2010) But is how we 'approach problems' ever brought up in interview?
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B822 What makes a leader?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 11:15

I am being disingenuous.

Having read 'What makes a leader?' Daniel Goleman in 'Creative Management and Development' Jane Henry (2006) I have some ideas.

Leaders I can think of, in business, in the creative industries, what is it about:

  • John Hegarty
  • Martin Sorrell

Rational? Cool? And then there's personal experience, of being led, or leading.

In the mean time, what does it take?  And from a different mould:

  • Seb Coe
  • Boris Johnson

Vision, ideas, conviction, charisma, purpose ...

You don't learn to draw by reading a book, nor riding a bike or leading a team; you must do and learn from the experience, successes and mistakes.

WHAT DOES THE READING TELL ME?

An art not a science. All have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Goleman (2006:120)

And effective performance. Table 9.1

  • Self-awareness Moods, emotions and drives and their effect on others.
  • Self-regulation To think before acting.
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skill
  • Finding common ground
  • Purely technical skills
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Emotional intelligence

Goleman (2006:121) by far the most important.

BUT how nurtured likely to matter, that ability to control emotions rather than respond to them.

What makes a highly effective leader?

SELF-AWARE

Initiative Strategic Vision A thirst for constructive criticism A self-depreciating sense of humour Play to strengths. But most important of all Emotional intelligence.

SELF-REGULATE VS Impulsive behaviour.

Self-regulation that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings (2006:126)

Creating an environment of trust.

MOTIVATION

Motivated to achieve. Passion for the work itself Keep track of scores. Committed to the organisation

EMPATHY

Thoughtfully considering the employees feelings. Coaching and feedback.

SOCIAL SKILL and rapport

N.B. emotional intelligence can be taught.

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B822 Reflection

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 23:51

It is intriguing and of value to be covering learning processes from a different angle; there is some overlap.

The MAODE of course offers greater depth, how we learn is its modus operandi.

The weakness of someone else's conception of learning processes offered in relative isolation is apparent. I am surprised that Engestrom gets no mention as 'activity systems' were developed and used in business settings.

Several such models need to be be offered together:

a) to expose a model for what they are, a conception of reality

b) one person's take, their simplification of something complex.

Tangently Deguid and John Seeley Brown are brought in so I could search my own blog for 23 points where I have read them before, my knowledge, like coral, growing and firming up in the process. 'Metaphor' and 'analogy' are discussed, though the only resource offered leaves me befuddled as the concepts are written up in academic business-speak.

I'd like a far broader reading list; rather than three or four chapters offered in the resources book I'd like to see the reassuring long and personal list of the authors, linked by URL to papers that are readily available online. I can see myself Googling authors to see what they have published most recently.

I feel the case is made for external agencies as I don't see too many of the techniques occurring in large organisations.

As our authors say people quickly acquire the mindset of the organisation they work for, this becomes the default position for solving problems.

Certain functions from advertising to consultancy, web, PR and design are best bought in under competitive tender.

Whilst the case is made for intuition over objective analysis I don't see the 'hunch' outside the privately run business or agency as a means to get an idea through.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter may talk of the 'Hollywood' approach to projects, but I don't see the flexibility or process that has pots of money to invest on ideas that are pitched 'Hollywood' style.

I find, at times, I feel as if I am defacing the script from 'Good Morning Vietnam' in which an army communications paladin theorises about what makes a joke in a services radio show whereas the Robin Williams character is intuitively, on a hunch, inventive, engaging and witty. As he is in 'Dead Poets Society'.

Is creativity therefore meant to educate an organisation, department or person on how to improvise?

And surely such opportunities are only possible where systems, seniority or shortness of contract offers.

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Writing is an act of converting tacit knowledge into articulable knowledge 

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 10:03

'Externalisation is a process of articulating tacit knowledge into explicit concepts. It is a quintessential knowledge- creation process in that tacit knowledge becomes explicit, taking the shapes of metaphors, analogies, concepts, hypotheses, or models. When we attempt to conceptualise an image, we express its essence mostly in language - writing is an act of converting tacit knowledge into articulable knowledge'. (Emig, 1983).

REFERENCE

Emig, J (1983) The Web of Meaning. Upper Montclair. N.J.

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B822 BLK 1 WK 1 Creativity - Can it be defined or contained?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 22 Feb 2014, 14:57

Though cryptic this means something to me and will jog the memories of my 12 or so fellow OU students on 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

The reference to 'Chizsentmehighly' refers to Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi and Chapter 1 of the Course Resource Book ' A Systems Perspective on Creativity'. Henry refers to the course Chair, Professor Jane Henry who also features in the 28 minute audio programme that I have now listened to FOUR times. (In surveys I come out extremely low on my ability with or liking of 'auditory' learning; give me a visual and some words, please).

In a subgroup and then in the form we discussed the meaning of 'creativity' (ostensibly in the buisness context). We found we needed to qualify it, to set parameters and have goals or outcomes. Are you, for example, creative if your ideas are in your head? Or if they are 'random acts of weirdness?'

We were made to think about use of models too, there are a couple in the Block 1 reading. The important thing I have learnt is to recognise that a model is one person's simplification of the complex. You may never get onto their wavelength, and if you do, recognise its failings. Figure 1.1 in the Csikszentmihalyi chapter is an example. Csikszentmihalyi (1999) Having studied Engestrom I prefer his Activity Systems. Tersa Amabaile in 'How to Kill Creativity' has a more easily understood Venn Diagram with 'Creativity' at the centre of Expertise, Creative Thinking Skills and Motivation.  (Amabile, 1998)

Context is important. Although I've put Apollo 13 here, we actually discussed some other example of ingenuity in a moment of crisis. This on the basis that creativity is often forthcoming at times of crisis (indeed one of the 'business guru's Jane Henry interviews charts innovation and creativity and puts in the need for pressure as delivery of a project is reached). The other examples remind me of the eclectic mix of backgrounds of my fellow students from whom some rich examples were given: the Army, Air Traffic Control, Manufacturing electronic lighting systems in Finland, TV, the NHS, Marketing, a County Council and so on.

Gwok Kann, Jackson Pollock, Greyson Perry and Travey Emin got a mention, as did Steve Jobs, James Dyson and Bill Gates. We got into pigeomn-holing people as 'innovative' or 'adaptive' and were warned of a 'two box thinking' (that we can quickly confine oursevels to a limiting debate).

Something similar was achieved by a Game where in groups we were given a set of nine cards: 7 with letters on them, one with a symbol and one blank. We were told to come up with a three letter anagram that would be readily understood by others. We did QE2, KPI and then by tearing the 'Pi' symbol in half and making it into an 'I' 'CIA'. In this instance we got into a conversation about how we set ourselves parameters, that we automatically follow rules and make assumptions even when there is no need to do so. We could have turned the cards over and written any letters we liked. The game had not come with a rule book.

Clearly I'll be adding to this, letting the tutorial act as a catalyst on the books, CDs and other online resources, as well as discussions in our tutor group.

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