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B822 Residential School : Facilitating Creative Thinking

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 16:05


Facilitating creative thinking


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

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


STAGE ONE

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


STAGE TWO

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


STAGE THREE

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


STAGE FOUR

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

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B822 : Book 3 : Notes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 17:08

B822 Book 3

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


3M

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


Mitchell (1989)


In Book 3 P45 Innovation in Practice


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


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

 

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


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

 

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B822 Activity 1.5 Origins of Change

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

Think back to new products or services you have experienced.

What was the stimulus for their creation.

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

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

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

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

PayPal. Convenience of online payments. A need.

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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B822 : Book 3 : Activity 1.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to Michael Kirton's Adaptor-Innovator

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

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

B822 Book 2 Activity 1.1

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

Radical innovation :

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

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

Incremental improvement

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

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

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

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

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B822 Techniques Library : Human Sculpture & Timeline

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

 

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

The Human Sculpture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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B822 Residential School : Creative Problem Solving for business

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

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

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

1) Random Stimulus

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

2) Play Word Association

We chucked words out

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

3) Brainstorm

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

4) Cluster

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Context is everything.

What bothers you as you fall asleep?

What's on your mind?

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

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

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

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

I presume I was a prosecuting solicitor.

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

Does this solve my problem?

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

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

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

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

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

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B822 Techniques Library: Time Line

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 9 Jan 2012, 19:53

Mark out a Time Line and begin at the 'time' the problem began.

The%252520History%252520of%252520Apple%252520Time%252520TOAST%252520SNIP%2525208%252520JAN%2525202012.JPG

Time Line Software

Developing a careers information video some years ago I did this exercise with 50 Youth Theatre students by placing out long lines of coloured discs on the floor. I bought these from a sports shop: I think they are used in P.E. Classes.

I could then help them go through periods of their life imagining where they would be and the steps, literally, that they'd have to take to achieve their goals.

This was in turn translated into a video production where we represented all young people (Year 9) with one character and had them move through time using the combination of a partially dismantled running machine and a green screen.

There's clip on YouTube (JJ27VV) Corporate Showreel

I agree that this approach makes it 'easier to get into a strongly 'associated' or 'merged' state'. That the idea is easy to grasp, not simply because we follow Dr Who or saw 'Back to the Future' or even read HGWells, but we all have, written or not, a personal journey that can be envisaged as a time line with a past, present and future: a beginning and an end.

We are told that this could be considered as a variant of other 'Neuro-linguistic Programming techniqes' 'aimed at helping you shift your perceptual position'. I don't see this yet but am referred to a technique I've thus far ignored called 'Disney technique'.

REFERENCE

James,T. and Woodsmall, W (1988) Time Line THerapy and the Basis of Personality. Capitola, Meta Publications INc.

Bodehamer, B.G. and Hall, L.M. (1997) Time-Lining: Patterns for Adventuring in 'Time', Bancyfelin, Anglo-American Book Company.

 

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

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

Other people's dreams are a bore.

So don't read this unless you too are interested in using dreams or guided imagery to interpet and solve issues.

I woke with two dreams and lost one; they are after all like the proverbial 'fart in the wind': difficult to hold on to.

As I think about the dream I can recall I've decided it reveals too much about my character ... and is irrelevant to problem solving at work!

CONCLUSION

If you want to use a technique that is like chasing guinea-pigs around the garden do so. I'd keep it to yourself though or at least work with the insights offered rather than the content, feelings, images and actions of the dream itself.

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

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 08:04

A dream in which people set value in 'winning' the right to be assessed only once they have undertaken a challenge or initiation in which they have to run into an 'arena' where a coach & horses (think Wild West) is speeding around the circuit and like a game of tag must stamp their fist/hand on the roof of the carriage.

For reasons unknown seemingly because it is the end of the 'season' (period, ers, term) or ere are no (or very few) people about (audience) as the driver of one of these carriages I can, and do slow right down.

To disavow you of the apparent risk or danger the pony and carriage might be somehing brought into the 'ring' (it was open air, dusty and improvised) by a clown or dwarf (though it wasn't) as, looking at it, you can reach its roof at shoulder height, in other words, this 'carriage' could only carry one person (such as a child) I may sit atop to 'drive', or lead it/run it around the circuit, even though it is carriage-like in look and behaviour I don't recall any horses or ponies, biut it is powered (electric car or internal combustion engine).

Having 'enrolled' or help or enable a number of people to achieve/ do this task and so 'join' or have this chance to be part of the 'scene/group/exercise or 'assessment' the suggestion is, to give a particular well-known 'somebody' a chance to 'register' for the first time. I should slow right - might even come to a stop and go off for a while. The character who then raps/taps his hand/fist on the top of the 'carriage' is a 'Bill Wyman' type.

Elsewhere in this blog I have a set of 27 or so probing questions that are designed for me, the dream 'owner' to extract meaning and value - as I perceive it. I will do this exercise and PERHAPS offer it as a separate document. However, as this will of necessity touch on facets of who I think I am, the personal not just the public me, and potentially my work set-up (people-and institution) I must of course be wary of such 'exposure' and 'disclosure'.

Importantly, for B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' this has or will prove to be an exercise that I can offer for my next TMA; what I don't expect are colleagues to start sharing their dreams with me because to do so is highly personal. The context, people forget when considering a dream and its interpretation is the inner workings of a person and their feelings which are often contorted and exaggerated and reflect the interplay between their conscious and subconscious, their genetic make-up, and their upbringing and personal history.

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B822 Techniques Library 'Working with dreams and imagery'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 5 Feb 2013, 06:05

There's a warning on this activity, that the techniques may draw up uncomfortable events from your past.

This also highlights a major problem with such techniques:they can throw up the unexpected.

I like to think I have ample experience 'working with dreams' ; I have used them to develop story-lines and ideas, even to some degree for personal cognisance so it felt like an obvious one to give a try.

Context is vital, picking the right activity or game for the people you are working with.

How well do you know them?

It also makes me realise that I'd like to be in a working environment with the kind of colleagues and friends where I could employ such techniques.

I feel like a big fail; there are two activities suggested for problem solving, or creativity, innovation and change: keeping a dream diary and this, which offers ways to explore a dream's meanings and to re-enter and work with this environment created by your subconscious.

There's plenty troubling me at the moment but I find repeatedly that holding onto a dream is like chasing autumn leaves in a stiff breeze.

Take this morning; just a few moments awake I recall I had been dreaming and that it had been a 'good one': vivid but apparently not memorable enough. I tried all the tips in the book to recover or return to the dream: you have to place yourself exactly as you were as you had the dream. I still can't get it; I feel like MacBeth clutching at the dagger; it is always just out of reach.

By way of example I have a snippet of a dream from a few days ago: returning to the campsite after some kind of trip or activity in the woods I find my tent has gone: everything has been removed, as if I had never been there. The plot is bare. Why should I be thinking this as I return to work after a two week break?

The 'activity' is then to work with and develop your feelings about this moment, been to re-enter the dream, not simply to see what happens next but to change or influence the outcome. This then MAY offer a solution or at least an understanding of your feelings so that you can deal with them.

How to work with a dream or metaphorical image:

  • Entering the dream
  • Studying the dream
  • Becoming the images
  • Integrating the viewpoints
  • Reworking the dream

Appreciating, reflecting, looking forward and emerging

P.S. I just returned to work and couldn't have entered a more friendly environment, my desk as I'd left it.

P.P.S. I realise why I am 'losing' my dreams: stress. I'm waking up with a jolt, some unpleasant thought in the back of my mind.

Steve Jobs was hugely influenced by Zen Buddhism; this I understand would play to the importance of intuition. Intuition alone is not enough; this for Jobs was also the product of intense effort to get his head around an issue; he immersed himself in it until, to paraphrase the historian E.H.Carr he could 'hear it speak'.

20 LIFE LESSONS FROM STEVE JOBS

http://mashable.com/2011/12/18/steve-jobs-20-life-lessons/

REFERENCE

Glouberman, D. (1989) Life Choices and Life Changes Through Imagework, London, Unwin, pp. 232-6

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs. Little Brown.

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If Steve Jobs had been around to revolutionise Tertiary education I wonder what he would have done?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 4 Jan 2012, 22:07

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Steve Jobs launching the iPod Nano

I can see that whilst the gift of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson is my gift of 2011 (on the last chapter), that I need it as a eBook.

I resisted making notes as I read 'because it's the holidays' yet now I am finding it repeatedly a nuisance to have missed a point or quote that under others circumstances I would have dutifully taken copious notes throughout. So here's one I couldn't afford to miss: From stand in CEO when Steve Jobs was ill in 2009 (but reflecting a Steve Jobs ethos)

'We are constantly focussing on innovation. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution'.

'We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allows us to innovate in a way that others cannot'.

'We have the self-honesty to admit when we're wrong and the courage to change'.

This is the kind of organisation I would like to work for. This is the kind of thinking needed for those studying B882 'Creativity Innovation and Change' and for H807 'Innovations in E-Learning'.

REFERENCE

Isaacson, W. (2011) Steve Jobs.

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B822 Techniques Library: Eating Out (the business lunch)

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

IMG_0701.JPG

Or is each one an apple?

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

Two observations:

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

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

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

What about dinner?

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

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

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B822 BK2 Technique Library Metaplan

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

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

  • Cards of various shapes and sizes
  • A logical process

REFERENCE

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

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

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

 

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B822 BK2 Technique Library for creative problem solving

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 16:38

B822 Technique Library

My mother has always had a large drawer in a sideboard full of board games: Risk, Monopoly, Twister, Cluedo and Othello, and at some stage Chartbuster, Kerplunk, Masterpiece, Mousetrap and others.

Having picked my way through the B822 Creativity Innovation and Change ‘Technique Library’ A5 folder I feel I am looking into this drawer.

IDEA ONE: VISUALISATION

We have a large ‘Really Useful Box’ full of board games too.

In order to appreciate the game, to know if you like or loathe it, to know who would or would not enjoy it, you have to get them out and have a play. Over time attitudes to a game change. People take on a persona, you expect a certain kind of performance out of them. I rarely win at Monopoly because I buy everything until I run out of money.

Returning to the idea of a collection of board games I would far prefer a colourful pack of A5 cards, on one face an image, perhaps a colourful, humorous Steven Appleby cartoon, on the other the ‘game’.

The B822 Techniques ‘Library’ of assembled cards, ideas, folder is ‘like a collection of board games’ you might find at your Mum’s, in a box in the garage, or stacked on a cloakroom shelf in a holiday cottage. You get them out when you are bored, or in this case, stuck for an idea.

Middle Farm sells many varieties of cider and perry.

There is no catalogue. You cannot taste a list of titles. You collect a tasting cup and try out a selection; you get stuck in. You can ask the experts behind the counter, when you have something to discuss.

The B822 Techniques ‘Library’ of assembled cards, ideas, folder is ‘like a cider distillery’ where, to get beyond the titles and cataloguing, especially the false preference given by alphabetical order, you have to ‘have a taste’ and come to your own opinion.

My approach, against the advice, has been to read through them all. I remain tempted to take them all out and glue them inside pieces of card on which I will do a doodle or stick an image.

My first selection, my inquisitive mind, likes the look of :

Analogies

A succinct definition is required: A form of logical inference or an instance of it, based on the assumption that if two things are known to be alike in some respects, then they must be alike in other respects. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/analogy)

There is an albatross airplane, this one in the USAF. It looks like a Puffin or a Dodo.

I would never liken a Jumbo jet to an albatross as the bird already has negative connotations. You cannot see it for its history. You shoot the thing and hang it around your neck.

A puffin or cormorant then.

Does anyone need to be told why a Jumbo jet and an albatross are not alike?

Filling in the blanks and sticking with the albatross I get the improbably sentence, ‘This problem makes me think of an albatross – that suggests to me that maybe we could try feathers (idea drawn from albatross)’. Sounds like a dead duck. Are there planes that were an albatross?

Perhaps Leonardo Da Vinci thought of a plane as a bird?

Were I to be introduce the concept of analogies to a group I would start with a blank sheet, seeking out people’s favourite analogies for everyday situations or problems and build from there. There’s a problem if you set in train a thought, here ornithological. Before you know it all the ideas are tits and boobies, eagles and dodos.

‘Try to find core verb phrase that captures the essential functional nature of what you are looking for’ (Martin & Bell, 2010). (There are no page numbers, so how do you reference it?)

If analogies taught the world to think, then promoted like this I would conclude that to use an analogy with its ‘analogues’ (sic) is akin to painting by numbers. It is present in such an unnecessarily analytical manner.

Definition: An analogue is: something analogous to something else (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/analogue)

How can a simple concept me made to sound like something carried out by an audit team from the local firm of accountants. It sounds painful rather than fun.

I have to look up (q.v) as in quo vid, or ‘which see’.

I track down the reference to Gordon by ‘going to see’ Synectics, a software version as ThoughtPath exists.

· Are you dealing with the person who owns the problem?

· Are they looking for a number of solutions

· Establish the team

If ‘analogies are often used very informally’ then an informal, rather than this proposed formal approach should be offered.

1. What is it you want ideas for?

2. Based on the verb phrases list items that it is like

3. Pick an interesting one

4. Describe the analogy

Gordon (1961) identified four types:

· Direct

· Symbolic

· Fantasy

· Personal

IDEA TWO: MIND-MAP

IDEA THREE: RELATIONAL DATABASE

I would put all these problems onto a wall chart. I’d put everything online into a blog that could be searched by tag (or key word), or load them into a relational database such as FilemakerPro.

Twenty years ago (perhaps fifteen?) I used a CD-ROM called 'Ideafisher' to help generate ideas. I treated it as the equivalent of a mental tickling stick, not a set of answers, but a potential catalyst that would open up my mind (sometimes too far).

 

REFERENCE

Gordon, W.J.J. (1961) Synectics, New York, Harper & Row.

VanGundy, A.B. (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed, Van Norstrand Reinhold. Techniques 4.01, 4.06, 4.57

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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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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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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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By the River Ouse, Southease, East Sussex

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DSC02787.JPG

Taking a break from a TMA deadline I find a combination of walking the dog and taking pictures just about enables escape; of course, I return to the desk with more ideas then I had when I left.

 

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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

IMG_0546.JPG

  • 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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With risk comes mistskes

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 9 Dec 2011, 15:23

Take use of Twitter for example as a PR tool. To traditional corporate marketeers advanced planning, then exact execution is paramount. Yet the immediacy of the tool and using an iPhone to compose responses (as I am now) is fraught with trips.

I was brought up to be ruthlessly intolerant of typos and spelling mistakes, yet today the message should be allowed to dominate and therefore excuse such errors. We are after all 'talking with our fingertips'. Not everyone sees it this way though. Indeed, research has shown (references her in this blog, go see) that a difficult read is a more memorable read: typos, spelling mistakes, silly fonts all help the interesting message to stick. Why? Because rather than being spoon fed the reader has to put in some effort.

Creative types, especially those who generate the ideas, need to work in an environment that because it seeks to innovate, adapt or change, mistakes are expected as an outcome of seeking to find a better way or product, otherwise organisations become moribund.
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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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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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