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B822 Techniques Library: Using 'Crazy' Ideas

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

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Ken Dodd

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

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

Why beneficial?

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

Use these techniques:

  • Brainstroming
  • Free Association
  • Excusrsion

Treat it seriously to see where it takes you

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

REFERENCE

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

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

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


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Super-selection creates a monoculture that does not benefit society

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 28 May 2012, 17:34

Tim Blackman, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Open University: in response to the article by Baroness Blacktone in the THE: says,

It's interesting that selection has always been a hot topic in secondary education but widely accepted in tertiary education. Just as selective schools are our 'best' schools because of very little to do with the teaching but a lot to do with who they keep out, we should start to question just what makes a 'top' university.

What do you think? My take is as follows:

Life is messy; selection based on consistency of performance suits a type, not simply by background but by character. We gain when everyone is able whatever route they take to satisfy their desire to learn, indeed there may be greater appreciation and gratitude of the worth of education for those who haven't gone through via the conveyor- belt of privilege. The caveat is to respect those who not only don't want to study: they like to learn by doing, but who seek out to learn in a way that suits them and their circumstances. Flexibility has been the watch-word for this group until now; 'personalised' learning that turns an education into a carefully tailored and personally adjusted garment is the next step.

The thing that binds the extraordinary diversity of students at the Open University is 'the desire to learn', something that I find most humbling in those who have been imprisoned for their crimes and find salvation in learning, invariably through the OU, others, 'prisoners' of circumstance, can equally find the OU offers a way out and on, if not up and into parts of society that had shunned them because they not dine things in the right order and at the preferred time. Increasingly, in this century, courtesy of personalised learning through mobile devices the OU model of flexibility and 'distance' or e-learning could be picked up at secondary, even primary levels, something that is perhaps being demonstrated by the Khan Institute in North America, indeed happens anyway vicariously through learning in social networks or in online games.

The shift towards increasingly personalised, flexible, online and even mobile learning can only be achieved by self-selection; in the case of learning this becomes the point where the individual's desire to learn is 'activated' never mind the advantages or 'disadvantages' of their prior life opportunities. The 'system' will improve and benefit more by valuing this moment and therefore nurturing those who make it to a course or through a qualification via what is currently thought to be a 'different route'. To which I might add that 'who you are' at and during a short or extended period of learning matters more than the grades you were able to achieve in your youth, 'privileged' or otherwise. For many OU students the opportunity to learn, whoever and whenever they make a start, can with the nurturing and supportive environment and 'personality' of the OU result in countless extraordinary stories of lives being enhanced, turned around, given meaning, value and even status.

A final thought, I had this 'converyor belt of privilege': boarding prep school, public school, Balliol College, Oxford yet my love and respect for learning has only come from the Open University; I am a better person for it.

Might I also suggest that this perceived selection process leads to expectation that someone with such an education (not their choice but their parents') is then possibly obliged, like it or not, to continue into the Foreign Office, MOD, Banking, Law or Accountancy instead of developing a sense of how they are instead of what others want them to be?

REFERENCE

Tim Blackman, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Open University: in response to the article by Baroness Blacktone in the THE:http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=418423

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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.

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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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What we can learn from Steve Jobs

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:47

 

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Getting to the end of the 600 page biography I struggle to draw a conclusion. Perhaps he was Janus like, always looking in two directions, impish, black and white, loved it or hated it. Able to bend. Loyal (at least to his wife), even to certain friends. Selective then. He was in love with the way his mind worked.

He has been instrumental in changing the world and I feel better for having followed his products, if not his crede.

My iBook died in 2011; I have to replace it. Do I need a laptop if I have an iPad though? My inclination is to have something large and powerful enough to cut movies. The 'Full Monty' a 90 minute piece, to translate scripts I've written even developed as photo journals and start bringing some of the scenes to life.

The Steve Jobs Discussion Group on LinkedIn

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Steve-Jobs-Walter-Isaacson-discussion-4236153?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr

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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

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Or is each one an apple?

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

Two observations:

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

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

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

What about dinner?

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

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

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B822 BK2 Technique Library Metaplan

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

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

  • Cards of various shapes and sizes
  • A logical process

REFERENCE

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

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

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

 

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To think differently, live differently

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:28

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Reading the Steve Jobs biography, without taking notes (a sin, but it is the holidays), while also studying B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' I am increasingly inclined to ditch all techniques in favour of 'being yourself'. This is how Steve Jobs lived; he was himself, often without compromise, therefore difficult, particular and obsessive.

Some advertising creative types are laughable because of the way they go about things yet the simple act of behaving differently over an extended period of time is bound to create in that plastic mind a slightly different mind set. All it takes for an ad to stand out is for it to be different; to be effective it has to have relevance and resonance.

Having taken no notes at all on Steve Jobs I'll be obliged to read it again, notepad or iPad by my side.

If you thought there were rules or ways of doing things then this will throw your mind. Most of us can't be Steve Jobs, to realise his dreams someone has to put the ideas into action.

Had Steve Jobs done a Myers Briggs Type inventory what would he have been?

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B822 BK2 Technique Library 'Fresh Eye' and Networking

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:17

Don't get stuck in a specific way of doing things.

Get people with no idea of what the problem is about to take a look.

Encourage or permit niave ideas.

Makes me think of Clancy in 'Being There'.

Use the WWW. (Ask in Linkedin, Quora etcsmile

More from VanGundy (1988)

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B822 BK2 Technique Library 'Five Ws and H'

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 07:11

A prompt to thinking.

'I keep six honest, serving-men

(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.

 

Kipling (1902)

 

As aide memories back of an envelope, think out loud, journalism, PR ... but somewaht limiting to the facts, so you need t oexpand.

 

REFERENCE

 

Kipling, R. (1902) 'The Elephant's Child', in Just So Stories

 

 

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B822 Techniques Library : Selling

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

B822 Techniques Library ‘Factors in ‘Selling’ ideas

Context

  • Timing
  • Audience
  • Idea champion

Content

Use simple language

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

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

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

 

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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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B822 Techniques Library: KEEPING A DREAM DIARY

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 06:59

You can't keep this up; you become habitualised  to recording your dreams and you find yourself losing sleep waking up t write them down. They can be revealing.

See also ‘Working with dreams and images

Motivate yourself to remember your dreams

When you stir into consciousness lie quietly until the dream is recalled.

Make a record, a note at least. (Not sure about drawing it)

Keep a tape recorder by the bed L

(If you have someone else in bed with you this is impractical)

If you wake up remembering a dream jot down the basics before they disappear for ever then try this set of questions to extract your personal meaning:

I don't recall where I got is from but suspect as I am introduced to her work as part of B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change' that it is Patricia Garfield (1976).

I have recorded and analysed so many dreams that for a period I kept a dream diary and when I started to blog in 1999 many dreams went into a domain which I have now mislaid sad Meanwhile, search 'dream' here or 'dream' in my mind bursts will produce a handful of dreams I am prepared to share that I have analysed to death. But does it move me on? Sometimes stopping to think is a mistake, it results in over thinking, even procrastination, often disatisfaction with your lot.

It is part of the 'Technique Library'. We are invited to 'Keep a dream diary'.

1: Who are you in the dream?

2: Who are you with in the dream?

3: What details stand out?

4: What do you feel about these details?

5: What are the various actions in the dream?

6: How are you acting and behaving in this dream?

7: What relation does this dream have to your personality?

8: What does the dream want from you?

9: What are the various feelings in this dream?

10: What relation does this dream have to what is happening right now in your life?

11: Why did you need this dream?

12: Why have you had this dream right now?

13: What relation does this dream have to something in your future?

14: What questions arise because of this dream work?

15: Who or what is the adversary in the dream?

16: What is being wounded in this dream?

17: What is being healed in this dream?

18: What or who is the helping or healing force in this dream?

19: Who or what is your companion in this dream?

20: Who are your helpers and guides in life as well as in your dreams?

21: What symbols in this dream are important to you?

22: What actions might this dream be suggesting you consider?

23: What can happen if you work actively with this dream?

24: What is being accepted in this dream?

25: What choices can you make because of having this dream?

26: What questions does this dream ask of you?

27: Why are you not dealing with this situation?

28: What do you want to ask your dream spirits?

REFERENCE

McKim, R.H. (1980) Experiences in Visual Thinking, Belmont, CA. PWS Publishers (Wadsworth Inc.), pp. 101-3

Garfield, P. (1976) Creative Dreaming, New York, Ballantine, Chapter 8, 'How to keep your dream diary'.

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B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts

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

B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts

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

Curiosity

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

Forgiveness

Charles Handy (1991)

Love

Charles Handy (1991)

A sense of direction

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

Some ‘Set Breakers’ Henry (2010:96)

1. Develop broad background experience and many interests

2. Find and challenge your own blind spots

3. Explore many different perspectives

4. Challenge yourself

5. Develop good browsing facilities

6. Change techniques or different mental modes

7. Seek out people with other points of view

8. In a group

Relevance bias

 

1. Dry Run

2. Quota of alternatives

3. Inverse optional question

4. Checklist of transformations

5. Reverse the problem

6. Boundary relaxation

7. What difference?

8. Get several people to try it

9. Deep questioning

10. Challenge

11. Fresh eye

6.4 Value of Play

1. Play is key to learning activity

2. The objects of play are both objective and subjective

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

4. Play offers a protected area of illusion

5. Plays is a way of managing unfulfilled need.

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

7. Play breaks down outside certain emotional limits.

8. Shared play builds relationships

A. Choice of Setting

B. Choice of team members

C. Climate to aim for

D. Don’t demystify

E. Management of coping mechanisms

F. An aid to team building

 

McCaskey (1988)

· Problem finding (experience)

· Map building

· Janusian Thinking

· Controlling and not controlling

· Using domain and direction

· Planning rather than goal-directed planning

· Humour that oils

· Charisma

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

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

· ‘Turbulence management’

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

· Create Space

6.8 involve others

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

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

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

CATWOE p115

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

6.12 Manage the Process Henry (2010:1113)

· Get the parameters right

· Record

· Sustain pace and energy

· Develop trust

· Keep the experience positive

· Plan

· Do – analyse either side and separately

· What?

· Why?

Learn from experience of others

  • Experiment

REFERENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

His interview.

REFERENCE

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

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B822 BK 2 C4 Perspectives and Frameworks

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 5 May 2014, 06:21

'The way in which a problem (and our attempts to manage it) is perceived and described will inevitably constrain our thinking and action with respect to it.' (Henry et al. 2010:47)

N.B. Preferred personal style, experience, the culture you work in and the type of situation you are facing.

Activity 4.1. Free Association ideas. Gordon (1961)

Fig. 4.1. The Buffalo Creative problem-solving method

Synectics. Vincent Nolan (1989) The Innovator's Handbook.

Open up a problem, don't define it.

N.B. How well you chose to overcome the challenges it raises.

REF: Friend and Hickling.

'Simply using an electronic medium does not remove non-rational factors, nor the need for skilful communication or facilitation'. (2010:57)

  • Precepts
  • Techniques
  • Method
  • Framework

'If a technique is a separate dish, and a method is a menu for a complete meal, then a 'framework' is the broad concept behind a given menu - the difference between creating a menu for a 'fast-food snack' a 'family celebration', or a 'slimmer's lunch', a 'romantic dinner', or whatever'. (2010:59)

Problem solving as:

  • Answering
  • Searching
  • Cultivation
  • Mapping
  • Debate
  • Reperception

Binary Judgements for actions. Nolan (1989)

REFERENCE

Friend, J and Hickling, A (1997) Planning under Pressure (2nd edn)(Oxford: Buterworth-Heinemann.

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

Isaksen, S.G. and Treffinger, D.J. (1985) Creative Problem Solving: The Basic Course, Buffalo: Bearly LTD.

Nolan, V (1989) The Innovators' Handbook

 

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B822 BK 2 C2 Problems and challenges

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

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

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

The advertising Creative Brief goes:

What is the problem?

What is the opportunity?

Who are you speaking to?

What do you want to say?

How do you want them to react to this message?

What else do you need to know?

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

It works.

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

It works.

So why is this page of this chapter an Epiphany?

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

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

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

Why would I change what has always worked?

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

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

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

We then get into 'Gap Analysis'

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

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

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

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

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

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

Activity 2.1 (p16)

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

Cause: keeping up with the technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

REFERENCE

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

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

 

 


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Does the learning never end?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


There are pros and cons to each.

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


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

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

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The Girl at the Lion d'Or

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 13:34

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Having enjoyed 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks I not only went on to read many other Faulks' novels, I also went on to read much of Pat Barker too (for the First World War setting), and Ernest Hemmingway. Indeed, written at the time, HGWells take you to a similar place.

I find myself reading 'The Girl at the Lion D'Or'.

As is too often the case I realise half way through I have read it before; I should know the characters and recall the events and outcome: I don't. In fact, I am compelled as much to read it for the story as to satisfy this nagging feeling I know something dreadful or beautiful is about to happen. We get a little of each. And some wonderful interludes, as if Faulk's wove in some short stories that weren't going to endure as novels. (There's a nifty idea).

I want to talk about this lovely story, how Anne comes from Paris to work at the Hotel Lion D'Or. Who and what she is touches many lives, she is a catalyst for misbehaviour, action and change.

But I can't help but reflect on how I read, or skim read. I simply do not take it in, or rather, my mind leaves it on the surface, like a conversation overheard on a train. My mind, my kind of mind at least, or how it has formed, through a combination of genetics and experience, treats all readying as frippery. The consequence of this is that when I have academic reading to do it takes a huge effort to get anything at all to stick.

Reading on its own is pointless.

Historically I took notes long hand of everything I read. Historically, at school and university this would become an essay, the essay would be discussed in a small tutor group, filed, then looked at again months later for an exam. This kept that knowledge for the required period. Today I take notes through a QWERTY keyboard and upload. I am toying with adding pen to paper again. Then what? So long as I return to the notes and develop them the topic may become a living thing. Best of all, for me at least, are the vibrant tutor groups, or some online forums where I can find them. I need to wrestle with a topic, to agree and disagree, to read more, to seek out my own heroes and villains from further references. Then, and only over a period of months, if not years, do I make any sense of it, do I feel a sense of conviction about what I have picked up, understood or misunderstood.

I'm coming to apperciate why 'scholarship' takes time.

I don't take notes when reading a novel; perhaps this allows me to enjoy the second or third reading. You discover new things, you pick up the detail, nuances that weren't apparent the first time round. You may even get a better sense of the author's voice and purpose.

Can anyone recommend a good read?

I feel a novel a week inbetween OU reading and employment would be a good tonic for my mental well being. I beleive I work and think better too, but escaping from it all regularly.

You can immerse yourself in a subject and drown.

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Prof: Evan Davis. His Inaugural Lecture

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 25 Nov 2011, 13:39

Although I was unable to attend the inaugural lecture 'Reflections on the UK Economy' of the Visiting Professor of the Public Understanding of Business, known to everyone else as Evan Davis, I have been able to catch up with it all and the following discussion online.

The talk/lecture was introduced by the OU Vice Chancellor Martin Bean

We learn so much that was news to me regarding Evan Davis.

The Today Programme

The Dragon's Den

Made in Britain

I know about.

I'd never registered that The Today Programme has an audience of 7m every morning, nor that that there is something to view on 'The Bottom Line' Radio Programme when it goes out to million on the BBC World Service.

His skill, which is apparent on many of his shows, and from this talk, we are told by the OU Vice Chancellor is that Evan combines his 'expert knowledge with expertise.

He was raised in Surrey, his father a Professor of Technology at the University. He studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford followed by an MA in Public Administration, Harvard.

He then went to the Institute for Fiscal Studies

Then as an economics correspondent at the BBC.

Many accolades and awards followed.

His skill is to make complex technical issues easily understood.

'Where brain meets charm' is the way the Vice Chancellor, Martin Bean, put it.

The Evan Davies Lecture

Or was it a talk? (is this how a good lecture should be?)

It's an interesting time as the Higher Education sector goes through change. He then repeated a sentiment he expressed on 'The Bottom Line' the previous Thursday, that it 'feels like an 1989': 'A bonfire of the vanities as we re-assess', he said.

I left the country in 1989 and worked in France. I missed it. I had work, I knew people in England who did no.

Listen to the people who change their minds or speak their minds.

Don't listen to anyone who expresses certainty; there isn't any.

Supply and Demand

  • Basis of Keynesian Economics
  • He refered to Paul Krugemnan, Peddling economies is a source for Evan's key thesis.
  • At one point he questioned why nobody, he included, didn't 'lift the bonnet on the Financial Sector' to see what was going on.

The conclusion, to continue with the Top Gear, Man of Action, everything revolves around the car on the drive analogy, was that everything was running smoothly. Too smoothly? It was doing 110mph up the M1 and no one cared to flag it down.

In contrast, my late father a Non-executive director of Barclays Bank in the North East, had for a long time predicted doom and gloom in the housing market. 'The bubble will burst, it can't go on'. I'm sure he was amongst like-minded people at Barclays who rode the storm better than the likes of Northern Rock. That said, he had plenty invested in Northern Rock too. Is this the trick, to cover yourself both ways, don't expose yourself? To juggle, as Evan Davis goes on to say, 'austerity' and 'growth'.

The metaphor of the babysitting club

  • Give or receive baby siting.

The Keynsian solution:

  • Conjure up some demand.

It's a baby sitting and gardening club.

A bit more complex than Keynes, we have a supply problem as well.

There are too many people in some bits of the economy.

We moved towards up market goods, manufacturing and sectors around IP such as pharmaceuticals we became clever at what we do.

All the little things we were making were doing well in the second quarter of 2008, such as the Brompton bike.

The services, financial, legal and accounting ...

The UK is second biggest supplier of such services in the world.

E.g. The Shard.

  • Safety messages in nine languages
  • Run by Hong Kong hotel chain
  • Owners will be foreign billionaires.

Picking up many little contracts, such as divorce cases when the super wealth fall out with each other.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

  • Creative industries
  • Universities

We export more foreign doctors than Germany.

An interesting point, but if they spoke English in German hospitals might that be the differentiator not the expertise? German engineers are better than British, possibly by dint of the apprenticeship system and engineers being trained on the job, the title having some cache too.

  • Upmarket manufacturing
  • Aerospace and defence

'We've gone too far and need to make a shift back'.

Bog standard manufacture is what developing countries have always done, we have moved on, we have 're-orientated'.

This is is his conclusion, that no matter the pain we need to retreat, to get back to a more basic level of manufacturing. But is Dyson going to bring the manufacture of the Dyson vacuum cleaner back to Malmesbury? I think not.

Paradigm shift with the crash.

Why would  lift the bonnet on financial services?

  • Regional problems.
  • The supply shift we need, but it's a difficult task.
  • Simon Renlewis article vs. George Osborne.
  • We need to borrow more until the recovery takes hold ... But.
  • Build up the tradeable side of our economy.

So what kind of policies?

  • The role of universities in export
  • The global finance sector not looking at the UK's medium sized business.

METAPHOR

  • Subsidise gardeners to become babysitters.
  • No point in paying people to dig holes to fill them in again.
  • Austerity vs. Growth.

QQ1

From Surrey Technologies

The UK Government has just provided £10m to the UK aeroscpace industry while the French have given their aerospace industry a boost of 500m Euros. Does the UK lack ambition?

(An interesting question as 'Ambiton' was the theme of 'the Bottom Line' two weeks later)

If you can't raise it privately, why should the tax payer ...

Hard for companies in the UK to raise money.

Got to be very measured about it.

QQ2 Peter Cook

Does the Public Sector need to get smaller?

The non- tradable sector (hairdressers, what about Vidal Sasoon and the creative sector?) But no response

QQ3

Is the economy is too important to leave to the economists.

Economists

Have had a tough three years for credibility.

Much of it useless or disappointing.

Lawyers as Chancellors.

N.B. People need to announce themselves.

QQ4 Doom and gloom on the BBC kills my sales to sports cars.

Casual effect ... The BBC by and large do their job.

The BBC have a single narrative, so may be up or down for a period.

QQ5 Can we do to make the country more entrepreneurial?

Cultural change, Dragon's Den reflects and contributes. The more who do it, the ore will do it. Infrastructure say of Silicon Valley.

QQ6 David Backham, buying up toxic assets. Why? Spend on infrastructure? VAT

Bank of England buying bonds ... Should we be spending more on infrastructure. But conjuring up such projects isn't as easy, say the A11. Already got cross-rail, Olympics done.

QQ7 Question, low carbon economy and how will in help.

Not in the short term, but will as prices balance. Invest where we feel.

QQ8 Stuart Forrester, from german engineers, MA at OU.

A bit of either, Japanese showed us how to run a car plant. All comers welcome. And let us have our own. It is a global world, so cannot retreat.

A point to finish on.

The innate abilities of the British Public. Never going to be a smooth path.

Always going to go too far and tack back.

SAILING METAPHOR

Don't need to berate ourselves ... Self-criticism, various false price signals, shift resources ... We're a medium rank developed nation.

 

 

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Mammuth at the Open Film Club and the Lewes Film Club

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 3 Nov 2012, 21:39

The production company is called 'No Money', sadly, the obvious lack of a budget to do the film got in the way. They could have done with it to finish the film; the third act is rushed/truncated.

The story though is both simple and compelling: a guy retires, needs the paperwork from former employers 30 odd years in his past. Serge, nickname Mamuth, played by an obese, but loveable Gerade Depardue sets off to get the affidavits he requires. He meets some odd people, in some odd ways.

It could have turned into a series of sketches : the men all crying in the hotel restaurant, Miss Ming his niece, the metal detector, the 'Thelma and Louise' moment for his wife and he friend.

It inspires me: low budget films can be made. Hollywood should do a remake NOT with Depardue, but perhaps Kurt Russell or even Jack Nicholson, with a cameo from Lady Gaga and Elizabeth Taylor (especially as she's dead).

The print was fare easier to view and the subtitles to read at Lewes. The Lewes Film Club in the All Saints Church is more intimate. There were more belly-laughs, with some people drifting into periods of chortles and constant giggles. There are a series of moments that tickly you, especially his first day of retirement (which is perhaps how the idea started out?)

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