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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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I am love

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Tilda Swinton in this Italian film is convincing as a Russian who marries into a wealthy it Italian family. A film produced to the highest production standards: music of a Michael Nyman like urgency, cinematography that loved what it saw, editing that adjusted pace and angle with extraordinary care. There is food you want to eat, italian mountains you want to visit. Too crafted? Not at all. Contrived? Not one bit. A creditable view on the lives of the very wealthy.
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"Is a Myers Briggs type a given or can the person through cognitive behavioural therapy, for example, change?"

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I enjoyed this response. As well as posting quesions here or in your Tutor Forum I wonder if Quora will sometimes provide the answer?

If you could ask the 7m who listen to the BBC Radio Today Programme what kind of response would you get? We find out every week when people do exactly this.

Why ask one person, when you can ask millions?

Bailey MacLeod: Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is an indication of preferences. The idea is that everyone has a preferred way of doing something, for example writing with your left hand. You can still write with your other hand, but you prefer the left (unless, of course, you don't have another hand, but I digress). We all have to adapt to situations that require us to behave in ways we might not prefer. It is possible to adapt by trying new behaviors or ways of thinking, being, and feeling, but you may not really enjoy every minute of it. There are some theories that some people have a preferred type but have not been given the chance during their development to really explore or tap into this side of them, which leaves these behaviors unknown or underdeveloped. When people get into new situations that allow them to explore a more preferred, yet unknown, aspect of themselves they can flourish. Bottom line, your MBTI typology is not set in stone, you just have to find a way to adapt.

To see the question page with all answers, visit: http://www.quora.com/l/wLItV891xT Thanks, The Quora Team

(I'm not convinced that left-handedness is a choice at all. Is it not genetic?)

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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


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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B822 Reflection

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Working efficiently does not mean filling every day with work. Compartmentalising work, play and study time became crucial. I now get more done by containing it to set times. I'm getting out, working and studying better when I do and feeling far less stressed. Yet to get sleep patterns in order; I sense a need for exercise which for me means regular swimming.
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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.


  • 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.


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


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


Is the economy is too important to leave to the 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.


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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B822 9.2 Conceptions of development

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 22 Nov 2011, 19:49
  • Team Forming  (Henry, 2006:189)
  • Forming and storming in which members establish their identities (Tuckman, 1965)
  • Establish group norms and practices.

'Only after people feel recognised and norms are agreed is the group likely to perform well.  (Henry, 2006:189)

A problem to solve:

  • Problem exploration
  • Idea generation
  • Implementation
  • Analyse the situation
  • Define the problem
  • Develop options
  • Select a strategy
  • Develop an action plan

Parallel and sequential activities required for new product development.

Personal development:

  • Piaget (1929) referred to often and read for the MAODE (Masters in Open and Distance Education, with the OU)
  • Erickson (1959)
  • Maslow (1962)
  • Kohlberg (1969)
  • Perry (1970)

Development of society, civilisations, agriculture, and industrial.

'It is possible to subdivide the onotogenetic and phylogenetic stages differently'. (Henry, 2006:190)

  • Ontogentic means: 'The origin and development of an individual organism from embryo to adult'.
  • Phylogenetic: 'Relating to or based on evolutionary development or history: a phylogenetic classification of species'

(See more: Henry on 'Creativity, Management and Well-Being').

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Why do some online forums fly while others never get off the ground?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 20 Nov 2011, 18:52
I was in a ListServ group in 2001 that worked, probably for the novelty factor. A decade later and on my fourth module in 22 months I expect all forums to work, most of the time.

What matters?

Plan for success. The learning design, the planning is crucial. There need to be certain cues, milestones, obligations and opportunities.

Have the right tutor. Training and experience is one thing, personality is another. As in real life they must have the educator's desire to support the right environment, whoever turns up and however it pans out.

Be a team player and whether you are completely new to this or an old hand, play your part.

Clock in regularly, and let people know you are around if only to say 'hi' - especially when you have nothing to say - say so! Tip: no one else can tell if you are or have been present.

Give it a go. Be prepared to make mistakes. Ask a fellow student, the responses you get here are always spot on.

Make friends.

(do a touch typing course! This is talking with your fingertips).

Use email, Skype and Google+ too.

Have a 'water -cooler' to chat in your tutor group away from the cut and thrust of course materials.
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Can blogging be taught?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 20 Mar 2012, 04:48

Can you teach someone to swim if they won't get in the water?

You can take a horse to the trough, but you can't make it drink?

What therefore will motivate, drive, persuade, cajole, convince or oblige a.n.other to blog?

I'm seeking advice and help here as I am on a mission to initiate and nurture 12 new bloggers over the next four months. It feels like cheating to go on a quest for those who blog already and call them mine but surely this is the crux of the matter. I can preach to the converted, until then my words will fall on deaf ears.

Invite people to enjoy a variety of successful bloggers to help them find their way? How many do I have listed here? 100+ but where's the attraction in a list, you need guidance.

Define a blog?

Academics I quote and review here say you can't. They are beyond simple definition, but 'electronic paper' where people spill words, images, video (though not coffee), where they aggregate other people's content, majestic lists, dumb notes, a writer's journal, an academic's draft papers, a student's e-portfolio.

Is there a role for a blog buddy or blog secretary?

I believe Richard Branson has a blog and Twitter double,i.e. He doesn't write a word of it himself. That would be cheating. I can't write 12 blogs for other people (even if I write/produce or create some 16+ of my own).

Stuffing in things you've already written is fine with me.

I call up content from a diary I started in my early teens as well as from 2,000 odd blog entries posted from 1999 to 2004 and the 1000 odd posted since early 2010.

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Your teeth are your pearls!

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Thursday, 17 Nov 2011, 17:37

'You leave a pile of ironing and every time you walk passed it you do it again', I heard in relation to a dirty pan being left to soak in a kitchen sink. 'A house that doesn't see the sun, sees the doctor'. I am advised half an hour later.

'Your teeth are your pearls', my grandfather would say, who though born in 1896 had all his own teeth when he died in 1992.

Are such sayings of value?

Do they work?

Do you have any favourites?

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The digital scholar Prof. Martin Weller recognises the value us amateurs bring

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'Amateurs' often create content which addresses subjects that academics may not and also in a manner which differs from traditional teaching', Weller (2011) reference Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar
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The e-learning professional expressed as a mind-map

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 13 Nov 2011, 11:14
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B822 Bk1 C4 Analogical Thinking in Business, Organisations and Mangement Styles

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 21 Feb 2014, 18:17


Analogical thinking, from Churchill's 'iron curtain' to the invention of Velcro.

(Indeed neurologists believe there is a gene that causes human beings to think in metaphors and that it is exactly this that allows us to invent, in fact  creativity in the face of adversity still rings true today, though we are not  facing a Sabre-toothed tiger at the entrance to the cave, or changing climate  with the onset of the ice age.)

Analogy - transfer of an idea from one domain to another.

Metaphor - resemblance or flavour. A way of making the strange familiar p.85. Or the hard to comprehend (trees, ecosystems, architecture, traffic lights).

Morgan (1986)

Kinds of metaphor:

·         Mechanistic

·         Ecological

·         Social

·         Cognitive

·         Systematic

Metaphors as labels:

Manager as captain or conductor.

Morgan (1986, 1997)

·         Machine

·         Organism

·         Culture

·         Brain

·         Political System

·         Psychic prison

·         Flux

·         Transformation

·         Instrument of domination


1) Pick three metaphors (a, b, c) for organisations, for instance the organisation as machine, organism or political system.

2) List the characteristics you associate with each.

3) Try and relate each characteristic to a feature in an organisation that you know.

4) What features of organisations do these characteristics highlight, and what do they conceal?

A) As an orchestra, ABB, 1999. A corporate cliché I have seen applied to Abbey National and others. Visually it may have resonance, though the cost of featuring musicians, let alone playing a piece where used is prohibitive to all but the largest organisations. The characteristics are of complementary divisions 'playing the same tune' with woodwind, strings and brass, for example representing the different businesses. With a single conductor it may better fit the largely privately owned enterprise, say a Richard Branson and Virgin, or a Russian Oligarch, though no longer News International and the Murdochs. The features perhaps work for News International with newspapers and TV interests, even having a go with MySpace being largely media, whilst Branson is more the empirical Napoleonic conqueror of anything going?

B) As a strawberry plant, i.e. a federal organisation that has grown organically rather than by acquisition, perhaps like a clearing bank? Perhaps like a franchise such as Kall-Kwik. Or a retail chain, appropriately, such as Body Shop. The characteristics I think of are independently managed businesses that sell the same range of products, with common branding and sales materials, though with some localisation. This works well in relation to the plant performing differently on a variety of local soils/climates i.e. the same organism but in different settings/opportunities to flourish or not.

An empire

C) As an empire, where a holding company or private equity group has gone on the acquisition trail buying up businesses for the opportunity, rather than as sets of businesses that complement each other, so take over, create economies of scale in management and Head Office functions. The characteristics here feel as if it should be military with no good outcome, ala 'Wall Street', though there are or nave been more benevolent, squid give groups or holdings companies in the past such as the long gone Ferguson Industrial Holdings PLC, or perhaps Unipart Group of Companies (UGC). This suggests a dictator at the top, though the leaders can be benevolent even if a tall pyramid is the business structure.

If the organisation doesn't fit the metaphor, it is too simplistic a metaphor!  

The metaphor can intone a favourable or negative bias. For example, if asked in research to describe the organisation you work for as a car do you want it to be a Citroen 2CV, or a VW Golf, a Rolls-Royce or Ford Escort, a 1980s Ford Cortina or a Triumph Stag?

A business that is a machine I the digital age is surely going to get left behind through its rigid bureaucracies and hierarchies, a predilection for quantitative measures (ROI and KPIs) too?

(My concpetion of the School of Communication Arts. Which one am I?)

In the past I used successfully the idea of 'nurturing' to represent first a school (Arts College) and then my own services to graduate recruiters.

In 2011 it seems archaic to think of teachers or tutors in this way, people who are moderators, coaches or facilitators. (The ecological metaphor is used with a cartoon not dissimilar to my own p.88 not shown here for copyright reasons, to represent people as seedlings or potted plants).

From Table 4.1 metaphors of businesses in relation to:

  • Character
  • Flair
  • Structure
  • Climate
  • Style
  • Authority
  •  Form
  •  Control
  • Decisions
  • Strategy
  • Adaptability
  • Orientation
  • Approach
  • Procedure
  • Attitude


Take expressions of the above for a 'Machine like business, as 0 on a scale and

'Organic' as 10, then decide where:

a) you place your own organisation and b) yourself.


I'll do this one offline.

Other metaphors might include:

  • Brain
  • Knowledge
  • Learning

Network (Morgan, 1993) business as a spider-plant.

Federal (Handy, 1989) business as shamrock

Chaos and complexity.

Brains and cities.

Supporting 'patterns of transformation that emerge spontaneously in complex adaptive systems'. (Henry 2006:95)

Complex adaptive systems: termites, flock movements,  (anecdote of the aeroplane simulator managed by parts of an audience that  collectively cancels out the oddball, incompetent, inattentive or would-be plane-crashing individuals) p96 (Berreby, 1998:45 and Clark, 1997:75).


'people do not need to be told what to do: they are intelligent agents continuously learning and modifying their behaviour on the basis if feedback'. Handy (2010:97)

See DVD 2, Video 3

N.B. The metaphors chosen tend to reflect the chooser's values. (Henry 2006:98)

Activity 4.4

What metaphor would you use to describe your organisation?

Activity 4.5

Describe the process of management as you experience it.

  • Warlike
  • Sporting
  • Spiritual

Activity 4.6

A metaphor to describe my management style.

Activity 4.7

Note metaphors to describe daily management styles.

Activity 4.8

Take a current task, associate with it an appropriate metaphor then give it  another that is far removed from the first.

Organisational paradigms p.104

Functionalist paradigm - world as an objective reality.

Kolb (1984) drawing on Pepper (1942)

Four ways of thinking about the world:

  1. Mechanistic
  2. Realist
  3. Organicist
  4. Pragmatic

And thinking styles:

  • Assimilator
  • Converger
  • Diverger
  • Accommodator

Table 4.2 Organisational metaphors and paradigms


 I've experienced many, including from the table:

·         Chaos/postmodern/play

 I know of:

·         System/participatory/co-create

 I like the sound of:

·         Drama/interpretive/enact

For the 21st Century I like the model of the modern ideas lab in which innovative ideas are trialled, developed then kicked out with a chunk of financing to thrive however turns out best! 

This is the sink or swim analogy.  

But after suitable teaching/coaching. Or perhaps a metaphor of procreation, raising and nurturing a child then letting them go? So organic or animal (or in particular mammalian or human).

Stacy (1996) and danger of controls, procedures and Pre-specified objectives.


Morgan, G. 'Paradigms, metaphors and puzzle-solving', C9 in Henry (1999a)


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

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


Berreby, D (1998) 'Complexity theory: fact-free science or business tool?

Strategy and Business, No. 10, pp. 40-50.

Clark, A (1997) Being there. Cambridge, MA. MIT

Henry, J & the MBA Course Team (2006, 2010) B822 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'  Book 1 'Creativity, Cognition and Development'. The Open University Business School

Morgan, G. (1986 2nd 1997) Images of Organisation 

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How as an OU MAODE student the way I learn has been turned on its head

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 06:25
A year ago, maybe 18 months ago, courtesy of this student blog platform and forums in H808, H807 and H800, how I approached 'academic knowledge acquisition' if I may put it like that, was turned upside down. Being a blogger is part of it, disclosure or exposure comes into it (with discretion). Rather than study in isolation, assembling a rare, carefully constructed essay potentially only for the eyes of my tutor, tutor group or assignment assessors, I found value in sharing both my ignorance and my knowledge. There is no better way, I have found to come to love a concept that I hated, than to share my struggle and be sent in a variety of different directions, still sharing my incomprehension where it existed. Indeed I do find that the less I like the look of something when it first confronts me the more likely I am to become evangelical about it: take Engestrom's 'activity systems', I see them everywhere having (in this blog) started out as a skeptic. So, excuse my ignorance, that's why I'm here.
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B822 wk1 Notes Creative People and Places

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Wednesday, 18 Apr 2012, 06:24

B822 WK 1 CREATIVITY (pp13-29)


Chapter 1 Creativity

Guildford (1959)

  • Originality
  • Flexibility
  • Idea fluency
  • Problem sensitivity
  • Redefinition skills

Perkins (1981)

  • Intrinsic motivation
  • A personal aesthetic
  • Sensitivity to form
  • A capacity for objectivity
  • The ability to take risks
  • Mental mobility
  • Tolerance for ambiguity
  • Problem FINDING skills

i.e. The art of problem-finding.

Kirton (1994) -an innovative approach to solving a problem by reframing the problem and coming up with something new. - an adaptive approach, building on what has gone before.


Thinking in metaphors. Don't we all, it's a human condition, a mutation of a gene (Ramanchandran 2011) De Bono (1984)

Is creativity a transferable skill? Can it be taught?

The year I spent at the School of Communication Arts would suggest that it can.


How many hours had the Beatles put in playing together in Hamburg?

How many hours was Mozart made to practice by his father?

Think of the Renaissance studios were boys shadowed great artists mastering fine skills as a result of putting in the hours. Even sports people, think of or watch the extraordinary power and dolphin-like swimmers as they flip-turn.

Genius (and creativity) is the product of nurture, hard work, endurance and context.

The sophisticated 'chunking' of knowledge? I can relate to this from trunks, post-office boxes and really useful boxes of research, even using relational database tools such as FileMaker Pro. Look at JKRowling when she discusses writing Harry Potter with all her folders and files on characterisation, places and events.

Edward Land took three years to develop the Polaroid camera (Westley and Mintzberg, 1991).

What about Eddison, Dyson or Steve Jobs? Obsessive and relentless?

Weisberg (1986) talks of ten years, something picked up by Malcolm Bradbury in 'The Tipping Point' based on research done at the Berlin Conservatoire on violinists: 10,000 hours (ten years) delivers a concert soloist; 8,000 lands you in an orchestra while at 4,000 you'll be lucky to teach. i.e creative competencies are a matter of expert recognition.

P22 Amabile (1983, 1998) talks of the need for intrinsic motivation, to love what you do.

P22 Perseverance A capacity for risk taking 'Find the inventors and do not get in their way' they say at 3M, reportedly.

P22 CLIMATE And the need to work in an exploratory way.

P23 Do I feel safe and valued? VS Total Quality

’Creativity ... tends to emerge naturally where people are motivated and in a climate that encourages exploration, rather than rewarding exhibition'.

P23 It can be uncomfortable from time to time. Away from the individual to communities of practice.

P24 What are the systems that nurture and sustain creative endeavour?

ACTIVITY 1.5  Compare your organisation as a competitor. Answer a set of six questions:

Towards the self-regulation of complex systems.

P25  Like Wikipedia.

Creativity is more likely in organisations that are neither too stable and ordered (for example bureaucracies) nor totally disordered, the suggestion is that creativity is likely is more likely to emerge at 'the edge of chaos'.


Table 1.4 on the changing meaning of creativity is telling.


  • Positivity (opportunistic and tolerant)
  • Playfulness (mental flexibility, risk taker)
  • Passion (motivation, commitment)
  • Persistence (experience, problem-sensitivity)
  • And Persuasion (creativity invariably involves interesting others in your ideas).


  • Personality
  • Mental flexibility
  • Experience
  • Motivation
  • Organisational climate
  • Context


Amabile (1983, 1988)

De Bono (1984)

Guildford (1959)

Kirton (1994)

Perkins (1981)

Ramanchandran (2011)

Westley and Mintzberg (1991)

Weisberg (1986)

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Blog as e-portfolio

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I'm not going to impose on folk the many pages I have here that are tagged and titled like any other but left 'closed'. These pages are notes, sometime quotes or excerpts referenced for potential use. I use the blog as an e-portfolio having decided long ago that this space works perfectly adequately for the purpose having tried e-portfolios 'off the shelf'.
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B822 psychometric teats And building your team

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In Book 1, Section 5 we have done a psychometric test. I shared the results almost as a dare: 'would you employ this person! ' The scales were in some places as low as they could go, in others as high as they could go. Did I have to do something to be in the middle range across the board? Would this then achieve what school tried to do to me in my youth? Luckily my non-conformity, like traits in anyone are seen as an asset; the important thing in a team that aims to change, innovate and create, is to have such variety and play to people's strengths while plugging their weaknesses. What, however, do you do if you are surrounded by a type? Can they innovate in a monastery? Can any 'class' or group find itself recruiting to a type to the detriment of the whole? The effort of supporting variety pays off as people play-off each other.
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How we approach problems

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 29 Nov 2011, 06:30
People have strong tendencies to approach problems, communicate and make decisions in particular ways; this makes them more suited to some organisational roles than others. Henry (2010) But is how we 'approach problems' ever brought up in interview?
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B822 What makes a leader?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 17 Apr 2012, 11:15

I am being disingenuous.

Having read 'What makes a leader?' Daniel Goleman in 'Creative Management and Development' Jane Henry (2006) I have some ideas.

Leaders I can think of, in business, in the creative industries, what is it about:

  • John Hegarty
  • Martin Sorrell

Rational? Cool? And then there's personal experience, of being led, or leading.

In the mean time, what does it take?  And from a different mould:

  • Seb Coe
  • Boris Johnson

Vision, ideas, conviction, charisma, purpose ...

You don't learn to draw by reading a book, nor riding a bike or leading a team; you must do and learn from the experience, successes and mistakes.


An art not a science. All have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Goleman (2006:120)

And effective performance. Table 9.1

  • Self-awareness Moods, emotions and drives and their effect on others.
  • Self-regulation To think before acting.
  • Motivation
  • Empathy
  • Social skill
  • Finding common ground
  • Purely technical skills
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Emotional intelligence

Goleman (2006:121) by far the most important.

BUT how nurtured likely to matter, that ability to control emotions rather than respond to them.

What makes a highly effective leader?


Initiative Strategic Vision A thirst for constructive criticism A self-depreciating sense of humour Play to strengths. But most important of all Emotional intelligence.

SELF-REGULATE VS Impulsive behaviour.

Self-regulation that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings (2006:126)

Creating an environment of trust.


Motivated to achieve. Passion for the work itself Keep track of scores. Committed to the organisation


Thoughtfully considering the employees feelings. Coaching and feedback.

SOCIAL SKILL and rapport

N.B. emotional intelligence can be taught.

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B822 Reflection

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Nov 2012, 23:51

It is intriguing and of value to be covering learning processes from a different angle; there is some overlap.

The MAODE of course offers greater depth, how we learn is its modus operandi.

The weakness of someone else's conception of learning processes offered in relative isolation is apparent. I am surprised that Engestrom gets no mention as 'activity systems' were developed and used in business settings.

Several such models need to be be offered together:

a) to expose a model for what they are, a conception of reality

b) one person's take, their simplification of something complex.

Tangently Deguid and John Seeley Brown are brought in so I could search my own blog for 23 points where I have read them before, my knowledge, like coral, growing and firming up in the process. 'Metaphor' and 'analogy' are discussed, though the only resource offered leaves me befuddled as the concepts are written up in academic business-speak.

I'd like a far broader reading list; rather than three or four chapters offered in the resources book I'd like to see the reassuring long and personal list of the authors, linked by URL to papers that are readily available online. I can see myself Googling authors to see what they have published most recently.

I feel the case is made for external agencies as I don't see too many of the techniques occurring in large organisations.

As our authors say people quickly acquire the mindset of the organisation they work for, this becomes the default position for solving problems.

Certain functions from advertising to consultancy, web, PR and design are best bought in under competitive tender.

Whilst the case is made for intuition over objective analysis I don't see the 'hunch' outside the privately run business or agency as a means to get an idea through.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter may talk of the 'Hollywood' approach to projects, but I don't see the flexibility or process that has pots of money to invest on ideas that are pitched 'Hollywood' style.

I find, at times, I feel as if I am defacing the script from 'Good Morning Vietnam' in which an army communications paladin theorises about what makes a joke in a services radio show whereas the Robin Williams character is intuitively, on a hunch, inventive, engaging and witty. As he is in 'Dead Poets Society'.

Is creativity therefore meant to educate an organisation, department or person on how to improvise?

And surely such opportunities are only possible where systems, seniority or shortness of contract offers.

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Writing is an act of converting tacit knowledge into articulable knowledge 

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 4 May 2014, 10:03

'Externalisation is a process of articulating tacit knowledge into explicit concepts. It is a quintessential knowledge- creation process in that tacit knowledge becomes explicit, taking the shapes of metaphors, analogies, concepts, hypotheses, or models. When we attempt to conceptualise an image, we express its essence mostly in language - writing is an act of converting tacit knowledge into articulable knowledge'. (Emig, 1983).


Emig, J (1983) The Web of Meaning. Upper Montclair. N.J.

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B822 BLK 1 WK 1 Creativity - Can it be defined or contained?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Saturday, 22 Feb 2014, 14:57

Though cryptic this means something to me and will jog the memories of my 12 or so fellow OU students on 'Creativity, Innovation and Change'.

The reference to 'Chizsentmehighly' refers to Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi and Chapter 1 of the Course Resource Book ' A Systems Perspective on Creativity'. Henry refers to the course Chair, Professor Jane Henry who also features in the 28 minute audio programme that I have now listened to FOUR times. (In surveys I come out extremely low on my ability with or liking of 'auditory' learning; give me a visual and some words, please).

In a subgroup and then in the form we discussed the meaning of 'creativity' (ostensibly in the buisness context). We found we needed to qualify it, to set parameters and have goals or outcomes. Are you, for example, creative if your ideas are in your head? Or if they are 'random acts of weirdness?'

We were made to think about use of models too, there are a couple in the Block 1 reading. The important thing I have learnt is to recognise that a model is one person's simplification of the complex. You may never get onto their wavelength, and if you do, recognise its failings. Figure 1.1 in the Csikszentmihalyi chapter is an example. Csikszentmihalyi (1999) Having studied Engestrom I prefer his Activity Systems. Tersa Amabaile in 'How to Kill Creativity' has a more easily understood Venn Diagram with 'Creativity' at the centre of Expertise, Creative Thinking Skills and Motivation.  (Amabile, 1998)

Context is important. Although I've put Apollo 13 here, we actually discussed some other example of ingenuity in a moment of crisis. This on the basis that creativity is often forthcoming at times of crisis (indeed one of the 'business guru's Jane Henry interviews charts innovation and creativity and puts in the need for pressure as delivery of a project is reached). The other examples remind me of the eclectic mix of backgrounds of my fellow students from whom some rich examples were given: the Army, Air Traffic Control, Manufacturing electronic lighting systems in Finland, TV, the NHS, Marketing, a County Council and so on.

Gwok Kann, Jackson Pollock, Greyson Perry and Travey Emin got a mention, as did Steve Jobs, James Dyson and Bill Gates. We got into pigeomn-holing people as 'innovative' or 'adaptive' and were warned of a 'two box thinking' (that we can quickly confine oursevels to a limiting debate).

Something similar was achieved by a Game where in groups we were given a set of nine cards: 7 with letters on them, one with a symbol and one blank. We were told to come up with a three letter anagram that would be readily understood by others. We did QE2, KPI and then by tearing the 'Pi' symbol in half and making it into an 'I' 'CIA'. In this instance we got into a conversation about how we set ourselves parameters, that we automatically follow rules and make assumptions even when there is no need to do so. We could have turned the cards over and written any letters we liked. The game had not come with a rule book.

Clearly I'll be adding to this, letting the tutorial act as a catalyst on the books, CDs and other online resources, as well as discussions in our tutor group.

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Lewes Bonfire Night, Southover Bonfire Society

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 8 Nov 2011, 15:59


Bonfire Night, Lewes, East Sussex.

We do this all evening, seven bonfire societies, marching in costume through town.

Families and friends.

Cars banned from 5.00pm to 2.00am

A fish-eye lens without flash.


More @ http://www.lewesbonfires.wordpress.com


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