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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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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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Happy Christmas fellow OU Student Bloggers!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 25 Dec 2011, 06:06

My second Christmas with the OU.

I can't believe I posted something last year, but you never know: this becomes something of a habit, and for me studying at 5.00am is normal.

DSC02830.JPG

This could well be the first year in the last ten when a child hasn't been up by now! (They are 13 and 15). My son, unusually for him, was up at around 12.30am but realised his mistake and went back to sleep. Mrs Santa Claus had paid a visit by then but I don't recall hearing the midnight munching of chocolate money.

There are some wonderful traditions I've read about here.

I particularly like the idea of putting on new pyjamas on Christmas Eve (present no.1) and also having a 'table present' (the last present). As a child's request we're having a roast ham and for the first time in four years my daughter will have some poached fish (cod) having been vegetarian. I don't think she'll stretch to red meat, or even chicken (just yet). We've not asked for an explanation for this change, but delighted to have something else to offer her.

Happy holidays folks, I've got a Residential School from the 11th Jan and TMA2 in early February so I'll be here most mornings sad

Yes, that is a computer nudging into the frame there.

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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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B822 Block 2 Managing Problems Creatively

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

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

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

Amongst giants? I try not to say anything stupid.

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Does the learning never end?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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B822 TMA01 Away!

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

I would give NINE hours to the following:

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

b) Referencing (everything)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On verra

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

 

 

 

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B822 TMA01 Another 4.00 am start

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

 

Orchards.JPG

 

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

I have a Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA) to complete

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

I'm on the home straight

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

I will resort to bullet points

How easy is that to mark?

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

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

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

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

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

An orchard is my metaphor for the Open University

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

What do you think?

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

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

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By the River Ouse, Southease, East Sussex

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

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

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

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

Swimming and swim teaching & coaching

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

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

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

As ever, blog.

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

Is 250,000 page views attainable in 2012!?

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

Four months later (End of April 2012):

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

 

 

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Why do people publish their TMAs?

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I can understand having pride in your work, especially if you receive a good Mark but people should surely see the enormous temptation it causes others to cheat. Plagiarism is a constant problem, yet easily spotted by software that searches out content to see if what you submit is someone else's work. I post ideas, I share my notes (sometimes cryptic) I may discuss ideas for essay plans but I would never post a TMA or EMA which strikes me as akin to leaving the keys in the car and just hoping no one will take it.
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Is this how to go about GAP Analysis?

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Marked 79)

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Rare Exports

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 18 Dec 2011, 08:00

 

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Another delight at the Open Film Club and a change from middle aged women having affairs (Tilda Swinton, then Kristen Scott-Thomas).

A fairy tale with a modern setting in the outback of Finland. A delightful, sometimes scary, certainly bizare, sometimes freaky collection of character actors set off by the most engaging child actors.

Yes, 'Tim Burton' eat your heart out. A bit of Terry Gilliam too.

(135672)

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Threaded Forum 'Live' to Webinars

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Pretty much the same thing? Gathering people simultaneously to communicate live, semi - synchronous at best.
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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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Nearly home: Lewes Station

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Marks

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Would consistency of marks in the 80s convince readers of the value of reading these pages or does the sound of everything from 40s to 80s sound more appealing? Marks aren't shared or published; should they be? An 83 suggests a distinction is possible while a 43 in a previous module suggests I am prepared to take risks.
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What's better the online tutorial or face to face?

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

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


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

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


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


There are pros and cons to each.

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


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

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

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B822 Emotional Intelligence

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