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B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change AUDIO PACK

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 17:56

I am listening through a 28 minute audio on creativity, innovation and change.

This is part of the OU MBA programme, but for me an elective 30 credits as part of the Masters in Open in Distance Education having already taken H807, H808 and H800.

I need a transcript.

I would skim read it, then listen once.

Instead, on the third listening I find I am writing a transcript, bullet points becoming sentences, sentences becoming paragraphs, those interviewed gaining a picture from Google Images and a resume from the institute where they are currently based.

Where the interviews intercut, I am taking them back to FOUR single interviews.

I am deconstructing, as if I had conducted the interviews myself.

(Two hours later I have a fourth listen. Why? Because I believe that the effort made to extract learning from these audio tracks will pay dividends. The ideas will begin to mean something)

(24 hours later I have the Media Book that supports the audio. Not the transcript that I desire, but notes from the Course Chair Jane Henry. I am struck both by what I HAVE picked up from the audio, as well as arguments/opinions that totally escaped me, that I'll have to seek out simply to be sure that these things were ever said. As I am currently on Jury Service I am struck how we as humans are, indeed have to be, selective regarding what we see and hear. We cannot take it all in. Context is everything. We are not a sponge, at best a Gouda cheese).

Creativity. Innovation and Change

Charles Handy (born 1932) is an Irish author/philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management. Among the ideas he has advanced are the ...

Two major things:

1.Globalisation: organisations have got bigger to be there and smaller to be human

2.From things to knowledge/ideas.

People are identifiable people with names who have to be cossetted.

Reorganise into projects and teams so that people know each other.

  • Importance of informal contacts.
  • People reach out to people.
  • Inside and outside organisations.
  • Groups are there to deliver something.
  • Informal cells made official.
  • Managers can say what is wanted at the end of the project, but not how to get there.
  • Creativity will blossom.

People will have to reinvent themselves.

  • People want to feel they are giving their lives, or a bit of it, to something that matters.
  • What is it that people need?
  • Businesses that grow out of frustrations (Michael Young, Richard Branson)

Prof. Rossabeth Moss Kanter

Professor Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments.

Interviewed for the Open University's module B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' Module she talks for the need for:

  • Less bureaucracy
  • Emphasis on team work
  • On sharing leadership
  • Emphasis on customer responsive decisions … working on feedback directly from customers.

To be like leaders of volunteers.

  • I’m the leader here’s my vision, so that you can bring to it the best that you can do.
  • A sense of mission.
  • Motivated by the chance to learn.
  • Or if you have to leave.
  • An enhanced reputation.
  • You’ll get recognition.
  • People being owners of the business, to share in the value they create.

The ladders aren’t there anymore.

What’s my profession? What’s my skill set.

__________________________________________________

The Hollywood model

  • Where you get the best producers and directors, and some investors and actors. These sets of projects can be in the same company … if the company is providing.

______________________________________________________

For me this is a concept that rings most true having contemplated how to assemble a team of people with different skills, indeed, why a variety of skills are necessary and that these should be distinguishable and come from the contrebutions of several people. Currently, social media, is vested in one person, whereas it should be shared across several skill sets. The creative teams in advertising are made up of a copywriter and art director, in a web agency we had an editor, designer and programmer. In each case a producer is required too.

_________________________________________________________________

  • Employment relationships are shorter term. Employees have to recommit each year.
  • Engaging the minds and hearts of the people.

Prof. Charles Hampden Turner. The Judge Institute, University of Cambridge.

Charles Hampden-Turner (a dilemma enthusiast), they talk these days not so much of country stereotypes as the need to understand individuals. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from the Harvard Business School and was the recipient of the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award, as well as the Columbia University Prize for the Study of the Corporation.

Networks and accelerating returns.

  • A critical moment when the network becomes incredibly valuable.
  • The concept of the employee society is going to die.
  • A buffalo and being hunted down by Indians again ?!
  • Vs. being fad proan.
  • Think in terms of paradox.
  • Time and motion studies.
    But it ran to its own limits.

____________________________________________

Professor Henry Mintzberg, OC, OQ, FRSC (born in Montreal, 1939) is an internationally renowned academic and author on business and ...

  • People who are truly empowered don’t need to be empowered by managers. It doesn’t bring about more creative organisations.
  • Learning organisations as they have a healthy culture.
  • Build cultures that support maverick, a ‘why not?’ culture that a ‘Why?’ culture.

(See more about organisational configurations)

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What does it take to flourish in a team?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 09:25

What does it take to flourish in a team?

Flourishing in teams West M,A., Sacramento, C.A, In 'Creative Management and Development. Henry, J (2011) pp25-44

Or 'how to develop team innovative teams'

New ways of doing things.

SEE FULL QUOTE

(West and Farr, 1990)

Initial creativity leads to innovation.

Innovation is dependent on: (Oldham and Cummings 1980)

For innovation to occur need to consider:

  • Team task
  • Group composition
  • Organisational context
  • Team processes
  • Skill variety
  • Challenge
  • Task identity
  • Task feedback
  • Autonomy

(Hackman and Oldman, 1980)

Innovative people are:

  • Creative Implementers
  • Think in novel ways
  • Think globally (see the wood for the trees)
  • Intellectual and see things in different ways
  • Analytic abilities
  • Practical & contextual abilities
  • Abilities to persuade others
  • And show openness (Barrick et al., 1998)
  • + they have confidence in their abilities.

Self-disciplined High degree of drive and motivation Concerned with achieving excellence (Mumford and Gustafson, 1998)

Innovative people have a high need for freedom, control and discretion in the workplace and appear to find bureaucratic limitations or the exercise of control by managers frustrating. (Barron and Harrington, 1981; West, 1987; West and Rushton, 1989)

1) Ensure the team task is intrinsically motivating

2) Ensure a high level of extrinsic demands as the task develops, so hands off to start but pressure mounting towards the end.

3) Select a team of innovative people

4) Select people with diverse skills and backgrounds

5) Provide organisational rewards for innovation

6) Create a learning and development climate in the organisation

7) Develop a climate for innovation in the organisation

8) Establish team norms for innovation

9) Encourage reflexivity in teams

10) Ensure there is clarity of leadership in the team and that the leadership style is appropriate for encouraging innovation.

11) Manage conflict constructively and encourage minorities to dissent within teams.

12) Don't just bond ... Bridge.

CONCLUSIONS

The 'whole' task, its entirety. Brainstorming away from the everyday. Later pressures. Fully integrated team working

REFERENCE

Barrack, M,R; Stewart, G,L; Neubert,M,J; Mount,M,K (1998) relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. journal of applied psychology 83 , 377-91

Barron, F.B and Harrington, D.M  (1981) Creativity, Intelligence and Personality in M.R. Rosenweig and L.W.Porter (eds) Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439-76.

Hackman, J, R and Oldman G,R (1980) Work Redesign. Reading, MA.

Mumford M,D and Gustafson, S,B (1998) Creativity Syndrome: Integration, application and innovation. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 27-43

Oldman, G, R and Cummings, A (1996) Employee Creativity: personal and contextual factors at work. academy of management journal, 39 (3), 607-34

West, M.A (1987) Role Innovation in the World of Work. British Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 305-15.

West, M,A and Farr, J,L (1990) Innovation at work. In M.A.West and J.L.Farr (eds) innovation and creativity at work: Psychological and Organisational Strategies, Chichester, England.

West, M.A and Rushton, R. (1989) Mismatches in work role transitions. Journal of occupational Psychology, 62 271-86

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B822 leadership. Have you got it?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Dec 2012, 00:06

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 SKILLS and rapport

N.B. emotional intelligence can be taught.

REFERENCE

Goleman, D (1998) What makes a leader? Harvard Business Review, November, 93-102

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B822 block 2 Week 12 NEO Five Factor Inventory

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 30 Nov 2011, 21:52

Unplugged from the regimented study planners of MAODE I find because I have a box of books and a file of inline resources I can dip in where I like.

Caught up in discussion about MBTI types I stumbled across this:

Student Inventory Questionnaire

And did it, only to find it forms part of block 2 and comes into play at the Residential Schools in January. I don't expect to change much un the intervening time (whatever life throws st me).

Openness

Your score on Openness to Experience is high, indicating you enjoy novelty, variety, and change. You are curious, imaginative, and creative. High scorers on this scale use fantasy as a way of creating a richer, more interesting world.

Artistic Interests.

High scorers on this scale love beauty, both in art and in nature.

Emotionality.

Persons high on Emotionality have good access to and awareness of their own feelings.

Adventurousness.

High scorers on adventurousness are eager to try new activities, travel to foreign lands, and experience different things. They find familiarity and routine boring, and will take a new route home just because it is different.

Intellect.

Intellect and artistic interests are the two most important, central aspects of openness to experience.

High scorers on Intellect love to play with ideas.

They are open-minded to new and unusual ideas, and like to debate intellectual issues. They enjoy riddles, puzzles, and brain teasers.

Intellect is an intellectual style, not an intellectual ability, although high scorers on Intellect score slightly higher than low-Intellect individuals on standardized intelligence tests.

Your level of intellect is high.

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B822 All Change!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Dec 2011, 12:57

A few paragraphs into my first course book after a year of having everything online and I am once again drawn to reflect on the pace, scale and scope of technological advance on the one hand, while people don't change one jot, even to the degree that toppled dictators are shot in the back of the head (scenes my 13 year old son guiltily admitted to following on YouTube without the slightest concern for what my generation would have called a snuff movie and have censored all images, still and moving).

40 years ago: 'No mobile phones, no satellite television, no bio-engineered plants, Cloned animals, Micro-surgery or precision missiles that can hit a ventilation shaft from thousands of miles away'. Henry 2010:13

Just 10 years ago and there is no Facebook nor Google, no YouTube either.

It's getting to the stage when the speed of change is so swift that looking back only 4 years feels like a glimpse of another era without Twitter or iPads. I went from following the Japanese tsunami on various satellite channels, BBC24, CNN the Japanese NHK, to watching it from Smartphone content uploaded to YouTube.

Didn't people once fear that travelling at over 30 mph in a train they would disintegrate ?

Personally I feel that my mind risks disintegration trying to keep up with the rate of change, my mind fed by Zite and Stumbleupon, the spherical probably the latest thing to capture my attention and sustain my interest for longer than a week.

1970-2010

Growing up in the 1970s I often bemoaned the fact, and into the 1980s, that compared to my Grandfather (born 1896, died 1993), that 'not much had happened' OK, I had no desire to wish two world wars on us, but I didn't think colour TV, Stylophones and Space Hoppers were significant (A man or five on the moon was an achievement of course).

By comparison what had 1870-1910 seen?

Age 14 my Grandfather started work as the Office Boy, they had telephones, cars had appeared and were already hogging the roads, Airoplanes  were up and Bleriot had crossed the English Channel .There was no QWERTY keyboards, but movies were stretching to a second reel. 

The forty year stretch 1910 to 1950 saw the establishment of motor vehicles, Airoplanes and telephones,  cinema burgeoned and radio was everywhere with TV in  the wings.

REFERENCE

Ask via Google Yahoo by way of Google

Henry, J (2010) Creativity, cognition and Development. Book 1: 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

Wikipedia via Google 

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eht egnahc uoy yaw ees flesruoy 

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011, 17:01

eht egnahc uoy yaw ees flesruoy by Kathryn D. Cramer, Ph.D. and Hank Wasiak

Change the Way You See Yourself is offered by Alan's Cre8ng

Challenges (http://www.cre8ng.com/CC/) which in turn forms part of a collection of resources in 'Creativity, Innovation and Change.' (B822)

The opportunity exists, with a week still to go, to consider the differences between an MA module with the Institute of Educational Technology and a MBA module with the Open University Business School. 

A 2 1/2 hour tutorial in the first week of November is new; there is no set tutorial time in the MAODE.

Other than a few shared emails my only ever interaction with the tutor was as part of a tutor group live using Elluminate or in asynchronous forum threads. 

The international mix is more apparent too with a strong contingent from 'Continental Europe'.

'Change the Way You See Yourself' asks you to get others to consider your strengths and weaknesses.  

The exercise Alan Robert Black Ph.D then asks you to do in this instance (he has a decade of activities in his collection) is, from Monday through to Friday consider thing that would take a day, week, month, quarter or year or then on Saturday reflect on these and set out to 'change yourself'.

This is an exercise that Benjamin Franklin followed we are told.

This draws on Alan Black's work where he used a list of 52 traits of highly creative people (20 from Paul Torrance's TTCT work over 50 years and 32 from a study he did of traits of highly creative people in 1980 as part of his doctorate when he collected 400 different traits from reading articles by 147 different authors, consultants, researcher, professors who focused on creativity and creative thinking development).

This then an era when creativity was considered to be a trait or condition of some people, rather than an innate part of human nature. Is it not the case that we consider all people to be creative?

Alan Black has updated this resource each year from 1998 to 2010 (where he offers exercises for the first quarter only). This is one of 26 links offered to B822 students, with Dyson, ICI, Edward de Bono and a daily quote from Frank Zappa in here too.

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B822 WK 1 Creativity, Cognition & Development (Activities 1.1 to 1.4)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 17:52

CHAPTER 1 CREATIVITY (pp13-30)

 

What a fool. I always thought of business as boring.

I was a creative, an actor or performer, a writer or director, a visualiser. Yet beyond the antics of the undergraduate each of these can only happen in the context of a business: they have to be financed.   Perhaps for too long I toyed unsuccessfully with the idea of being alone in a space with paints or pens (actually a MAC and a Wacom board).


I take notes, pen onto paper, while reading from an iPad. I will get home and find a box of books and will then read from paper and take notes on the iPad. My inclination is to have TWO tablets, one in my left hand to read (a Kindle if it will take the PDFs) the iPad under my right hand so that I can type in notes as I go along.


MY NOTES:

 


* developments so fast that they are unpredictable.

* expect the unexpected (Handy, 1991)

* increasing competition

* increasing pace of change

* need to add value through continual innovation

* globalisation

* creativity, knowledge & innovation over capital, labour & land

*growth in value of intangible assets

*

I can see that B822 complements H807 'Innovations in E-learning'.

In truth this already is closer to what I perceived H807 would be as there is substantial use of audio and video.


Table 1.0 Innovations with major impact on human history
I want to return to this, add to it and include images.

Plenty will be available under Creative Commons and Google Images.


ACTIVITY 1.1 How would I define creativity?
Innovative problem solving (business, technical, communications, aesthetic) with the outcome a product or artefact that is unique and possibly challenging or controversial.
WHAT ASSOCIATIONS DOES CREATIVITY HAVE FOR YOU?
The arts and media, from TV to film and music, theatre, art, books, ceramics and sculpture to creativity in commerce with advertising and architecture. Even putting up a pedestrian bridge can be a creative endeavour. Or making a sandcastle.
WRITE DOWN WORDS AND PHRASES THAT IT SUGGESTS TO YOU
illustration  Design Copywriting Inventiveness Innovative Clever Head turning Memorable Unique Controversial Skilled
ALSO THINK OF:
Problem solving (appropriate) New Novelty is relative Lasting impact
ACTIVITY 2.1
WHAT DO YO THINK CAUSES CREATIVITY, AND WHERE DO NEW IDEAS COME FROM?
In adverting a creative team, a copywriter and art doctor sit together to come up with ideas to sell a product based on a Creative Brief that answers the question 'what is the problem?' in this respect creativity is about solving problems, indeed movie producers and directors define film making as solving problems. Greyson Perry, the ceramicist, argues that 'creativity is mistakes', indeed creativity needs to be a challenge and a risk if the requisite innovation is to occur. For me creativity therefore comes from the desire to overcome a problem, which applies as much to composing a new song, writing copy or a book, designing a new machine, simplifying source code, drawing a sel-portrait, even making a meal with left-overs from the cupboard.
Creativity can be taught and engendered in everyone. The 'genius' is rarely born with a god-given gift, often a parent has pushed them to acquire and practice skills from a very early age. The successful 'creative' may well put in far more hours than Others, even possess a keener, more urgent desire and curiosity. 
1950s an ability  1960s mental flexibility 1970s relevant experience 1980s intrinsic motivation 1990s work culture
(Engestrom's ideas of activity systems are worth bringing in here).
ACTIVITY 1.3
Think about two or three people fro the worlds of: Science: Prof. Brian Cox - his ability to communicate the complex in a clear and memorable way. Art:  Stephen Appleby - transvestite cartoonist. Caravagio, but perhaps not the Pre-Raphaelites. Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali and Picaso. Music: Bjork - weird and wonderful, Gary Neuman, David Bowie ...  Business: Dyson - from the cyclone vacuum cleaner to the air-blade. Sport: George Best - I don't even follow football but at times his skill looks inventive, playful and in control. Some skiers and skaters. Literature: Haruki Murakami - he has a voice of his own. Henry Miller, Will Self ...  And any others: The Saatchis for their advertising in the 1980s; Terry Gilliam and the Monty Python Team. Fashion: Jean-Paul Gaultier - how he dresses, what he design. Architects such as Richard Rogers and Zaha Hadid.
QQ. What do I think is creative about them or what they produce?
It can be outrageous, it works, it solves a problem, it leaves a lasting impression. They may be extrovert, outrageous self-publicists or introvert, even quite 'normal' like James Dyson, Terrance Conran or John Hegarty (Bartle Bogle, Hegarty). They persevere, they are confident or know no better than to be themselves writ large. They learnt their trade from the bottom up and stuck with it.
ACTIVITY 1.4
Think of someone creative people you know, and from work: a friend, relative or child. 
What sort of people are they and how do they do thing?
They are observers and can be set apart. They can be egotistical and rubbish at time keeping and the everyday and mundane. They think a lot. They draw upon multiple references. They are highly intelligent. They may be troubled souls in conflict with themselves and the world. They care about their craft skills. Are they performers of sorts seeking cognition as well as reward for what they do? They are the first to do it? They are focused and goal driven.
But the truth, in a business setting might be quite different, with the 'creative' in this setting the good listener and team player?
REFERENCE


Handy, C. (1991) 'The Age of Unreason' in Henry (1991)


Henry, J., Mayles, D., Bell, R., et al (2010) Book 1, Creativity, Cognition and Development.

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B822 WK Zero - 10 days Creativity and change from Newcastle-upon-Tyne to Kobe, Japan

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 04:18
I tried to describe what it is like to be about to embark on 150 hours of studying (or is it more?) with three assignments (and an exam?)
There is a buzz.
Like people in the lobby of a theatre ahead of a show.
I think of the Kathryn Tickell concert the other night, outside the auditorium at The Stables;
I think of my first RSC Shakespeare at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle. I still have the programme featuring Derek Jacobi, in Hamlet I think, so ... 1978?
But we are no audience, we are the Players.
Perhaps it would be better to think of us as members of a newly formed orchestra about to meet Sir Simon Rattle.
Ten days 'til the doors open; some have popped in to say hello then gone off to prepare for then sit an exam.
Many now add in brackets where they are:
Hamburg, Bratislava,   San Jose, Costa Rica, Kobe, Japan, Frankfurt, Newcastle, Kent, Bristol, For a module on creativity an international mix, with the widest variety of backgrounds, should result in fireworks. Meanwhile for the 1998 paper 'How to kill creativity' (Amabile) alone I feel the my working life exposed, enhanced and potentially 'enabled'. Decades ago I hung to the belief that I would learn by doing and three times set up fledgling production companies, too often these were conduits for my 'talent' yet I see that all of us needed to be gaining intrinsic value, indeed the most success came with non-commercial short films where this spirit had to be fostered.
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OU MBA B822 Blogger to Follow

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Oct 2011, 04:30
http://ona76.wordpress.com/2010/11/
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B822 - Orientation ahead of D-Day

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:41

My fourth module and some 12 days before we officially start.

I neither hang back, nor do I wade in; I appreciate that the person who finally makes it on 1st November may feel left out or left behind.

I leave nothing in the cafe area where no fewer than two course tutors have introduced themselves. Elsewhere I am one of four to have made it to the door.

There will be books, though thus far I am downloading PDFs are reading them off the iPad.

In order to take motes it strikes me that a second tablet would be an advantage so that I can have two screens. Two hinged like a book?

I sense a different tone, a sense that there is a team present to supervise our first moves rather than a single tutor.

The print-like lay-out of the texts lifts the words away from the VLE too, subtle yet recognisable differences. Already the reading impresses: I could spend the next ten years giving the many creative techniques a go and not get to the end.

This is something that has impressed me with each OU module that I have done, you could never want for something to do, ample to fill 12-15 hours a week, yet room to spend 20 or more hours if you wished.

On a totally different matter I agreed to complete and submit my old Swimming Club's Swim21 application, something that I had done for the last three years. In this way I can at least keep my interest in swim coaching alive even if I am no longer poolside (for now).

And then in my inimitable way I go to the Harvard Business Review, as invited, to download 'How to Kill Creativity' only to spot 'The Rise of the E-lance' instead which takes a 1998 look at the opportunities then arising for the freelance in an IT rich world.

I download this into iBooks only to find a 2011 PDF on Webinars of most immediate interest, afterall I am this week an next seeing people about putting on Webinars for us. Some self-discipline is required, getting the required reeading done first during time I set aside to do so, rather than last.

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B822 WK ZERO Day -12 Action Stations eCrayons at hand

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:36

Let's say I'm going to blog this one by the day; not at all hard to do.

I am an habitual diary-writer with a 37 year track record. Can I, however, make this more of a tool and less of a toy, this is after all a module from the Business School and according to discussions (in the 'Open University Business & Law School') 'transformative' (alumni rave about it) i.e. more reflection and less indulgent 'stream of consciousness' monologue spoken through my QWERTY fingertips?

I stumbled into the module pages as an alert on my Student Home pages indicated that a message had been posted.

It looked ominously playful with each sentence a different Rainbow red, orange, purple or blue.

That's a first!

The Course Chair likes his e-crayon set.

(He did kindly resist using multiple fonts, though, research has shown that making something physically difficult to read improves retention of the information expressed because the mind has to work at extracting meaning).

To course notes

I ALWAYS make the a space of my own by cutting out and posting elsewhere the bits that matter to me: here is how my six months will be spent; two months each of:

  1. an introduction to the module concepts that focuses on the individual level of creativity, cognition, style and development.
  2. team-based and individual approaches to creative problem management.
  3. ways of developing organisational innovation and climate.

A box of resources, books and maybe a DVD awaits me at home (I away from home during the week) Let the FUN commence!

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Too busy to blog (again)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:31

 

IMG_0316.JPG

Fig. 1. Display of the Olympic Village, ExCel, Custom House, London Docklands. Part of a display for the 3,500 Gamesmakers who are being recruited over the next months to support the Olympics next summer.

Not blogging is for me a loss as I have always used a diary (1974-1999) and then a blog (1999-to present day) to provide a record or archive of what is hitting my head every day.

This provides, during times of reflection, the opportunity to think over events. (With a diary I might not look back at a page for a decade, but at least it was there).

I have little doubt that this is because I am between modules. Creativity, Innovation and Change (B822) kicks off in November.

Many colleagues keep a 'daily log or notebook'. I used to, but found I'd fill them too quickly. I favour IT to assist, sort, store. I will 'forget about' something in the knowledge that I can draw it from my electronic 'brain'; this of course assume that the content has made it that far. So a blog is a repository. The problem is which blog? These have a habit of splitting into multiple folders.

Nor is this blog the place for Social Media and Online Communications (my role at the Open University Business and Law School). Though at times there is considerable overlap with all that I have learnt in the Masters in Open and Distance Education. (Modules H800, H809 and H807 completed).

Nor is it the place for my potential adventures with the London Olympics 2012, which had me (like a number of OU Colleagues) attending a 'Gamesmaker' presentation and interview yesterday. I have been lined up for the Press Office, potentially to contribute to the Knowledge & Information desk which will draw in educational value from the events to share with future Olympics, otherwise either in the Olympic Village editing/writing a regular newsletter, or at one of the venues 'door-stepping' athletes and getting their words to the media centre.

My summer 'vacation' 2012

A part solution to the failure to post a blog is:

1) I took notes (directly into an iPad for the most part, so no need to transfer/transcribe)

2) I took pictures (sometimes with the iPad, now with an iPhone, such grabs of presentation slides that I immediately upload to Picasa Web. These in turn would be best placed in a photo friendly blog in WordPress, FlickR or Tumblr, though currently they are saved into locked galleries online).

3) I keep a daily log/notes of my day, aggregating content of interest from RSS Feeds (LinkedIn groups and Blogs) as well as Google Alerts. This has always remained offline. I need to get it into FileMaker Pro so that is it more searchable.

The above to provide a catalyst for developing further any one of these topics at a later date (if at all), but usually easy enough to discover if blogged (private view), or put into a relational database software package such as FileMaker Pro.

I therefore have a record of events, meetings, presentations and so on, which include:

MONDAY PR and the words of students and alumni from discussions and requests to our growing groups in LinkedIn.

TUESDAY Interviews with Alumni (three of the 1996 graduation group reflecting on their experiences of the MBA and what they have done since). Brief a TV production company.

TUESDAY Creation of a blog for Open University Business Network. Kathryn Tickell at the Stables (or was that last week ?!)

WEDNESDAY Using Camtasia, Audacity, a MAC and the Institute of Educational Technology 'Podcasting Suit' to produce a video-version (animation/movie) of a presentation I gave on Social Media in Higher Education which I wish to induct academics (or their teams) to use to compress 45 minutes lectures into scripted pieces that are more 'Web Friendly'.

WEDNESDAY Tweet inaugrual lecture of Professor Cherie Booth and the acceptance speech of Leslee Griffiths BA.

THURSDAY Personas and Mental Mapping (an OU technique to understanding and predicting visitor behaviours when using online materials)

THURSDAY Communications, Leadership and Influence (a presentation by the new Director of Communications). I took from this the need to make the time and effort to empathise with colleagues with whom I work.

THURSDAY Open University Businesss Network (a series of quarterly breaksfast briefings for local business people that started on Thursday)

THURSDAY Edit of interview visiting fellow from Ghana

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Serendipity, Creativity, Innovation and Change (B822)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 07:12

With another 60 credits to achieve the MA in Open & Distance Learning I learnt I could 'stretch my legs' and pull in some points from other fields of study.

B822 is a Faculty of Business and Law School module; its fans, I have learnt are many and vocal.

My fear is the return to books and studying after a too brief interlude; it doesn't half muck up your weekends, what is more it has taken me entirely away from something else that I do (or did): writing fiction.

My fear too is that I am at the Faculty where the module was written and from where it is taught so there is little distance for me with this piece of distance learning.

However, that Muse 'Serendipity' just came to my rescue (during an interlude from sleep where I was busily asking myself 'should I' or 'shouldn't' I?

I stumbled upon the blog of Barbara Wilson, which happens to be my late grandmother's name, she happens to be an OU Lecturer in Creativity and Leadership (living in France) and her latest blog is about a paper from one of the authors of B822 which I promptly download and put into iBooks.

Being playful and smart?

The relations of adult playfulness with psychometric and self-estimated intellegicne and academic performance.

It doesn't take much for me to feel the familiar comfort of reading, contemplating the application of ideas and taking notes. In one respect I spent a year, full-time, studying this at the 'School of Communication Arts'. Let's see.

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H800 51 Wk11 Why this is like talking with your fingers

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Dec 2011, 06:03

As it is a bank holiday and the first in many years that I recall being sunny, I find I am getting online for an hour or two at dawn to do some stiudent work and write this. Then I walk the dog along the River Ouse or up on the South Downs and the day is mine/ours.

Painting the porch sad

Then nodding off in the sun with a course book or two, a couple in print, a 2011 publication from John Seely Brown on the Kindle.

How, when and why blogs and threads work or fail is the topic of conversation.

I used to treat forums and assignments, optional or otherwise, as the weekly essay - something I had to do whether or not I engaged with others. I would also take part on a whim, responding to some entries, and happily letting the conversation drift off topic. Length was no object either. I lurked in other tutor forums too, making the time to follow how what ought ostensibly to be the same conversations could be very different indeed - some very active, some dead.

A year on I am more strategic.

I would like to be sharing the learning process, contributing to the conversations whether I can help or not, whether I am seeking answers or asking questions. The Cafe and General area serves a purpose to take 'over spill' though it functioned best in H808 where a moderator management the supplementary activities.

Gilly Salmon's 'E-moderating' has a good deal to say on this.

It is worth owning,. not simply to read cover to cover, but to have as a reference. I may not like the term 'e-moderator', but 'moderator' is, however diminishing or disparaging to a Dphil, the main function here. It could be carried out by a postgrad student, even an animated undergrad.

What matters is engagement.

Someone may need to act as the 'eyes & ears' for the group until it is established. Introductions have to be made, conversations started and moved along ... if anyone is rude, they should be quietly put in their place; if anyone is being like a door-mouse, they need support.

'The essential role of the e-moderator is promoting human interaction and communication through the modelling, conveying and building of knowledge and skills'. (Salmon, 2005:4)

There isn't a structure, no more than there is in a car or coffee bar.

The structure comes about from the people and activity in it. This is shaped entirely by the behaviour of the participants. 1) They have to turn up 2) Someone has to have something to say 3) Some of us need to be going around like a host, 'making polite conversation', 'networking', even introducing people. It IS a social gathering.

Tutor is a better term. It is valid.

Indeed the beauty of working online is that you can recreate the essence of an 'Oxbridge Tutorial', that privilege one-to-one, or one to two or three, that is the weekly essay read out and discussed.

Discussion is the key.

The tutor DOES NOT need to be a subject matter expert. See my interview with Oxford Senior Lecturer Dr Zbigniew Pelczynski.

Whilst the tutor cannot keep waving pixie dust over a group that simply does not gel they ought to try, especlally in the first weeks and especially with students new to this set up.

Why I participate in some forums and not others.

Often because someone else has started the ball rolling, and often. I will be the first if I have a need to get through the week's work and no one else has made a start. I may fret about covering all bases giving my response too much thought ... and therefore resulting in something overly long. Not easy to adhere to but I try to set parameters; 250 words typical, 500 words an absolute max after that think about offering it as an attachment.

It can be like chosing a restaurant!

You want to go where there's some buzz already, though not so much that you feel you will never be able to join in the conversation.

The reality is different.

This is an asynchronous beast. If I come in late I may read every post with care before I respond, which can result in a long response. People should feel just as comfortable simply answering the question, ignoring others at first .. or just reading the last couple of posts and responding to them.

It is tempting to respond to someone in a DIFFERENT tutor group if they say something strong; you're not supposed to do so! I might quote them in my own group. There have been times when lifting the thread of catalyst that got them going in another group will do the same in your own.

How my input is affected by the way the forum is structured.

At Harvard they use as system called 'Rotisserie' in some asynchronous threads/forums which, like playing pass the parcel (or pass the microphone) require people to take it in turns to say something. No harm there! No all the time, but for ice-breakers and specific, important threads it may work very well. Everyone has something worth saying, our differing perspectives are a vital part of the experience.

I'd like these threads to be presented very differently, as cards placed around a table. This sounds like a step towards a Virtual World. I just don't 'see' conversations as lists or 'toilet roll scrolls' from top to bottom, rather they should be in a circle at least, in a spiral at best.

It matters that activities have been designed that get people engaged without the need for a tutor all the time.

'Structured, paced and carefully constructed e-tivities reduce the amount of e-moderator time, and impact directly on satisfactory learning outcomes, adding value to the investment in learning technologies'. (Salmon, 2002a)

Do I behave differently in face-to-face tutorials?

I'm the student who says they understand but the tutor will see that on my face it says 'I still haven't a clue'. I will stop asking questions. Here I will ask more often, then start asking elsewhere, within h800, even beyond the Masters in Open and Distance Education. I'm still asking people how to visualise the learning process in threads, forums and blogs away from here.

Face-to-face people don't need to put up their hand to ask a question, you can read the person, you can tell if they are anxious to join in at some point. You don't need 'rotisserie' as people do take it in turns. Someone will act as the chair, even is there isn't one nominated. Think of us like the Village Elders taking it in turn to reflect on an issue.

Seeing that someone else has already made an effort to answer the week's questions I decide I can and should make the effort to do the same. It is easier to reply to the questions and ONE response than the question and 16 responses! i.e. I like to be second, or third to comment, rather than first or last. No good if everyone is hanging back. Perhaps between us we should nominate someone to go first each week!!!

'Online learning calls for the training and development of new kinds of online teachers - to carry out roles not yet widely understood'. (Salmon. 2005:10)

REFERENCE

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

AND FINALLY, I relate to this, also from Gilly Salmon's book:

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

 

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How positive leadership spreads like a Mexican Wave

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 8 Dec 2012, 00:01

How a ‘contagion of positive emotions’ from and of the right leader or teacher will greatly enhance the learning experience and project outcomes.

The problem is, you need to be there to get the vibe. I dare say parenting therefore has a huge impact on the developing child - nurtured or knackered?

But what does this say about the role of distance learning?

A bit, not a lot. Tutorials from time to time may pay dividends. We should stop being such e-learning purists and meet face to face when and where we can … at least online, if not in the flesh.

And before I go anywhere, thanks to someone for the link to this which I received in my daily maelstrom of Linked In forum threads, emails, comments and what not.

Advances in neuroscience may help us understand the internal mechanisms that enable some people to be effective leaders, and some not. Boyatzis (2011)

The leadership role is moving away from a “results-orientation” towards a relationship orientation. Boyatzis (2011)

People who feel inspired and supported give their best, are open to new ideas and have a more social orientation to others. Boyatzis (2011)

The difference between resonant and dissonance in relationships was tested, for example the difference between an inspired and engaging leader, compared to one who makes demands and sets goals.

While undergoing an MRI scan people were asked to recall specific experiences with resonant leaders and with dissonant leaders. When thinking about ‘resonant’ leaders there was significant activation of 14 regions of interest in the brain while with dissonant leaders there was significant activation of 6 and but deactivation in 11 regions. i.e. people are turned off by certain kinds of leadership. Boyatzis (2011)

The conclusion is that being concerned about one’s relationships may enable others to perform better and more innovatively– and lead to better results i.e. be an inspired, motivating leader, not a dictatorial or demanding one.

How therefore if running a course online does the course chair or a tutor engender these kind of feelings in their students?

The other lesson from this is to appreciate how quickly impressions of others get formed or the neural mechanisms involved.

First impressions count

They impact on how one person responds to another for some time to come. We are emotional beings, however much we’d like to control our behaviour.

The other idea is of ‘emotional contagion’ or ‘emotional arousal’ being picked up in the neural systems activate endocrine systems; that imitation and mimicry are important i.e. you cannot lead at arm’s-length – you have to be there, as must be your team, and by implication, where learning is involved, you students. Boyatzis (2011)

What you pick up in the presence of others is:

  • the context of an observed action or setting
  • the action
  • the intention of the other living being.

‘A sympathetic hemo-dynamic that creates the same ability for us to relate to another’s emotions and intention’ (Decety & Michalaks, 2010).

There are three implications of these observations Boyatzis (2011):

  1. the speed of activation
  2. the sequence of activation
  3. the endocrine/neural system interactions.

Our emotions are determining cognitive interpretation more than previously admitted.

Our unconscious emotional states arouse emotions in those with whom we interact before we or they know it. And it spreads from these interactions to others.

Research has suggested that negative emotions are stronger than positive emotions which may serve evolutionary functions but, paradoxically, it may limit learning. Boyatzis (2011)

i.e. where the teacher shows leadership that engenders a positive response the learning experience is increased (think of the fictional character played by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, think of Randy Pausch the late Carnegie Mellon Professor of Virtual reality) … whereas negative emotions.

From a student’s point of view if you have a teacher you do NOT like (or no one likes) this will have overly significant NEGATIVE impact on your learning experience.

So it matters WHO and HOW you are taught, not simply an interest or passion for a subject.

‘A contagion of positive emotions seems to arouse the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which stimulates adult neurogenesis (i.e. growth of new neurons) (Erickson et. al., 1998), a sense of well being, better immune system functioning, and cognitive, emotional, and perceptual openness’ (McEwen, 1998; Janig and Habler, 1999; Boyatzis, Jack, Cesaro, Passarelli, & Khawaja, 2010).

The sustainability of leadership effectiveness is directly a function of a person’s ability to adapt and activate neural plasticity. Boyatzis (2011)

The SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System) and PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System ) are both needed for human functioning.

They each have an impact on neural plasticity.

Arousal affects the growth of the size and shape of our brain. Neurogenesis allows the human to build new neurons. The endocrines aroused in the PNS allow the immune system to function at its best to help preserve existing tissue (Dickerson and Kemeny, 2004).

I FOUND THIS PROFOUND

Leaders bear the primary responsibility for knowing what they are feeling and therefore, managing the ‘contagion’ that they infect in others.

(Is a disease metaphor and its negative connotations the appropriate metaphor to use here?)

It requires a heightened emotional self-awareness.

This means having techniques to notice the feelings, label what they are and then signal yourself that you should do something to change your mood and state.

Merely saying to yourself that you will “put on a happy face” does not hide the fast and unconscious transmission of your real feelings to others around you.

Leaders should be coaches in helping to motivate and inspire those around them (Boyatzis, Smith & Blaize, 2006).

But not any old form of coaching will help.

Coaching others with compassion, that is, toward the Positive Emotional Attractor, appears to activate neural systems that help a person open themselves to new possibilities– to learn and adapt. Meanwhile, the more typical coaching of others to change in imposed ways (i.e., trying to get them to conform to the views of the boss) may create an arousal of the SNS and puts the person in a defensive posture. This moves a person toward the Negative Emotional Attractor and to being more closed to possibilities.

What does say about parenting?

The role or the patriarch or matriarch in the family? And whilst your father may be an inspiring leader at the office, what if he is a nit-picking bore and a negative grudge when he comes home?

REFERENCE

Boyatzis, R. (2011) Neuroscience and Leadership: The Promise of Insights Leadership | January / February 2011

Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M. and Blaize, N. (2006) “Developing sustainable leaders through coaching and compassion, Academy of Management Journal on Learning and Education. 5(1): 8-24.

Boyatzis, R. E., Jack, A., Cesaro, R., Passarelli, A. & Khawaja, M. (2010). Coaching with Compassion: An fMRI Study of Coaching to the Positive or Negative Emotional Attractor. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Montreal.

Decety, J. & Michalska, K.J. (2010). Neurodevelopmental change in circuits underlying empathy and sympathy from childhood to adulthood. Developmental Science. 13: 6, 886-899.

Dickerson, S.S. & Kemeny, M.E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological Bulletin.130(3): 355-391.

Janig, W. & Habler, H-J. (1999). Organization of the autonomic nervous system: Structure and function. In O. Appendzeller (ed.). Handbook of Clinical Neurology: The Autonomic Nervous System: Part I: Normal Function, 74: 1-52.

McEwen, B. S. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine. 338: 171-179.

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