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On being an OU bore

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 3 Jun 2014, 11:25

Seven modules later and in four years I believe I have had ONE face to face conversation with a fellow student. A couple of weekends ago I sat with a friend who creates learning content for a national museum: I realise know what a bore I became as over two hours I fear I turned every conversation back onto learning in general and e-learning in particular. 

Finding like-minds online is one thing; having them in front of me is another. 

I've noticed something awkward too - a couple of friends with whom I share all sorts through Facebook who I see around town; in the past we'd greet eachother, catchup on personal and family news, even have a coffee - now we grunt, mention something we caught online and move on. As if by knowing so much more about our goings on that small talk is pointless, and more intimate chat now redundant and likely to be repetitive.

Returning to 'like-minds' and the value, even craving to 'let it all out' - this is where there is significant value in the residential school. It matters to have the opportunity to put your enthusiams and problems with a module in words and to see and feel the response from others.

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Stories and Metaphor 12th January 2012

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012, 06:16

From the B822 Techniques Library we learn that we relate to stories; the parallels to our own lives provide meaning.

I'd say that to be successful audiences must feel empathy with any story, whether for entertainment or to get attention in a business context.

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Bill Naylor takes this well attended session.

He starts with the story of a Merchant

(I thought we were going to get the 'Merchant of Venice'. It felt like something from 14th century Italy, like a piece from Bocacio's Decameron).

The story concerned a merchant, his beautiful daughter and a money lender. Unable to pay back the loan the money lender suggests a deal, his daughter in marriage and the debt will be dropped. To help the merchant he offers to put two stones in a bag, one white, one black to be picked out by the daughter. It is agreed. The daughter happens to see the money lender putting two black stones in the bag. What does she do?

We offer our solutions, though none get the Merchant off the hook and save the daughter.

  1. Take none
  2. Take both
  3. Pick a pebble.

CHEAT

  • Herself by picking up a white pebble and hiding it in her hand.

Transpose the rules

Actually she dropped the black pebble and said they'd know which one it was.

To create strategic clarity

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"Stories stick in your mind like mental velcro." Naylor (2011)

  • They create strategic clarity
  • They create a connection
  • They embed values
  • They compel or inspire to take action
  • They are revealing
  • Stories connect us to a purpose and improve our performance

Quotes Henry V on the eve of The Battle of Agincourt

E.g. Chairman of the board.

STORYTELLING AT WORK

  • An icebreaker
  • Induction
  • Communications
  • Learning. (Boje 1991)
  • Strategy
  • Action

A story usedby De Bono about Columbus

Egg on its end. Breaks the tip so that it would stand on its end. Once done anyone can do it.

  • Story of a young character on his first day having a word with a gruff character on the train in.
  • The story of the fat man in the bath in relation to consumer law and returned products, in this case a bath that had sat for 5 months. Bill at a builder's merchants.
  • Splintered toilet seat. The lady had a history of such issues.
  • The thin man in the shower. Covered in soap he couldn't turn it off.

SPECTRUM

  • Little s
  • Anecdotes
  • Examples
  • Rcounts
  • Big S
  • Movies
  • Epics

IMAGE

VS. The uncanny valley of business story telling ... Plummets.

ELEMENTS

  • Characters
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Resolution

MYTHICAL THEMES

  • Creation
  • Struggle for self-discovery and identity
  • Battles, warriors, heroes (building of the M62)
  • Jack Welch 'neutron bomb' Manager of the Century. 'Winning' Topping and tailing'
  • Finance the top, ditch the bottom. (not unlike Steve Jobs)
  • Love, self-sacrifice, dedication
  • Wisdom and maturity

Three Huberts on a hill, three rivals.

Owns a race horse, only half, which half? The rear end as it eats less.

WHERE USED

  • Induction
  • Formal and informal settings
  • Before an event
  • Teaming courses
  • Newsletters
  • Customer meetings
  • Social events
  • Team building sessions

Left brain right brain

(Simplistic and superseded?)

HOW STORIES WORK

  • Auditory types NLP
  • Absorbed playfulness (winnicott, 1972)
  • An excursion from the problem.
  • Stimulate new ideas
  • Convey hidden messages (do you tell them or leave them to dwell on it)
  • Enable uncurious learning

De Bono's 'Thinking Hats'

  • Unsconscious
  • Feta on the verge of sleep (best for learning)
  • Relaxed awareness (best for learning)

... Achieved through story telling, with learning supported by light music.

CAVEAT

  • Stuck in the metaphor
  • Persuasiveness of advertising

WORKSHOP

  • Participants write the first line of a story that others complete. John Brucker on metaphor.
  • Write an essay 10 mins
  • Draw a mind map of the story

Write a statement in 3 sentences of 5,7 and 5 syllables. (Japanese Haiku poetry form)

E.g. sales director or purchasing director, what is best for the company and what is best for me.

DEVELOP

  • In pairs use why?
  • Write a sentence on the problem
  • Boundary examination
  • Options for for As.

Jack welch

'My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener who provided water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course I had to pull up a few weeds as well'. Jack Welch.

COMPONENTS OF THE METAPHPOR

  • Topic :  the original concept
  • Vehicle
  • Ground
  • Tension
  • Zolta Kovecses Metaphor: a practical introduction.
  • John Brooker, yesand.biz

Joke

  • Set up, and punch.
  • Friend broken up with wife. With his best friend. Going to miss the friend.

SHOULD I QUIT MY JOB ?

  • Metaphor: swimming Linguistic: Am I too far from the shore.
  • With a systematic framework.

Mind Maps

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Rich Pictures

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FURTHER LINKS:

http://www.imagethink.net/

 

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B822 Residential School

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 7 Mar 2012, 16:01

Group Fair Presentation

Elective 1


Getting to know each other
Offering something / wanting something
Group hum
Activities rushed

(people use their old picture of themselves before they look old)

"to socialise what's happening, exercise emotional intelligence, organise."

Networking

22 in a space for 100 

Divide by Facebook, active or very active.
Divide by part of the country (mostly midlands)
Divide by small or large,private or public companies.
Advice for TMA
Stick to your plan
Stick to the question
What gets you credit

MOSTLY small 1-25 people.  MUST do this and bring LinkedIn groups to the real world. TMA may use networking online to group solve a problem.

Elective 2


Vet and perceptions
Did I see the monkey or am I making the stuff up?
Zimmerman M 1989 The nervous system and the context e.g. David McAndless. individuals are different.
13 or B
Emotional biases
Hot states
Cold states "eddies and currents that steer us.”. Ben

How do you destroy the illusion?

Memory
Personality
Motivation
Anticipation
Culture
Learning

The implication for creativity?


If you have different motivations you will see different tings.

Tagged with significance.
2002. A picture is worth a thousand lies.

"Humans are very good at knitting patterns from very little information." Ben 2011

Assumptions - light from the sun
Anchoring - last four digits of phone number and how many doctors are there in London.

Ley lines and Stonehenge and the same between Woolworths stores in the North East.

Same same but different. Thialand.
If everything's the same creativity is stifled. BEN
Ability to reflect.
Acquire - Analyse - Act


Pulled apart by:


Perceptions
Assumptions
Me
Fundamental attribution
Confirmation bias
Focused on those in white at shirts bouncing a ball. Made it into a competition.
Definition Chaos
Physical state and nature or arousal Affects decision making e.g. Skiing.
MBA for grown ups.
We all have mini-models of how the world works.

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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 Techniques Library : Human Sculpture & Timeline

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

 

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

The Human Sculpture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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B822 Techniques Library : Random Stimuli (Dali Champagne)

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:04

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B822 Techniques Library : Random Stimuli of Various Kinds

1) Identify what it is you want ideas for.

2) Grab an idea from a paper, from looking out of the window, or by throwing dice. (In our case the facilitator had a collection of odd items for this purpose).

3) Connect this idea back to the issue, if necessary using Free Association or Excursion.

4) If it doesn't work try something else.

Could pick a fixed or specific element of the problem and do the same.

* Select grammatically appropriate stimuli: noun+verb, adjective+noun, but make bizarre combinations (which is how David Bowie often wrote song lyrics).

* Deliberately do something different, or speak to someone new or travel home in a different way.

* Allow the idea to incubate while going about your normal day.

CASE STUDY

We took a business problem and defined this in a way that was clear.

WRITTEN UP ON FLIP CHART

Various items were picked out from a selection brought to the workshop by the tutor for this purpose. He picked out a small, smiling lobster ornament as the stimuli and passed it around.  We then played collective word association writing our word onto a PostIt note that the facilitator then put onto a set of double doors.

Once we had around 70 ideas and we had fairly exhausted our thoughts we stopped.

The role of the facilitator was to ensure that everyone offered ideas, that no one dominated. Collectively we put the words into groups and labelled these groups.

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We took ONE theme and put it on a triple A1 sheet of paper.

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We drew, collectively, a mind map still trying to generate ideas.

Finally, from these ideas the person whose problem it had been was invited to see if any answers had been offered.

The solution that was of most interest was indeed something that would not otherwise been thought of.

REFERENCE

Whiting (1958), Taylor (1962), de Bono (1970), Rickards (1974) and VanGundy

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B822 Techniques Library : Drawing

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 19 Apr 2012, 09:01

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B822 Techniques Library : Drawing

Tried on Day Two of Residential School

Finger painting

My turn to bring a problem to the sub-group and to use 'drawing', which in this case was finger painting. I took an non-work problem, of lack of swimming teachers for a planned swimming session expressed as blobs of various colours.

* Needed to let go more before hand to conjure up an abstract image of the problem.

* Became too left brain by explaining rather than simply expressing. I should have suspended judgement more. Could have associated with words.

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The painted response removed a gate/fence, turned sad faces into sun's and put a fish in the water with the swimmers. The perceived problem of swimming teaches locked away became a trip to the beach (good if you. Can plan in advance).

A table used for validation was successful, cross-referencing multiple pool related features to see what this offered in the way of an answer.

* There are other ways to use images to prompt comments.

* Could have created a rich picture (even hired a cartoonist or artist to do this).

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To cluster or aggregate the ideas this chart was used (akin to those mileage charts in the back of an atlas). Objects/themes could then be matched and mis-matched for possible combinations and insights.

'For many of us drawing a picture is closer to how our thoughts grow naturally'.

REFERENCE

Adapted from: Miller, W.C. (1987) The Creative Edge: Fostering Innovation Where You Work, Reading, MA, Addison-Wesley, pp. 91-5

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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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