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B822 Residential School : profound

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 flipcharts, post-it notes, finger-paintings and slides. This will take a week to prepare as posts.

The detail of the day is here too, all typed up with pictures of flipcharts, post it notes, finger-paintings and slides.

20120112-233042.jpg

‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ : Residential School : day two : 14 hours 25 minutes !

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 tried 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.

 

B822 Techniques Library: Super Heroes

OMG THOR

Thor by Image by xploitme (creative commons)

I like this technique as an ice-breaker, its fun element and its potential to crack a few problems open and offer a solution or two.

This is a fantasy based version of ‘Rolestorming’ and comes from Grossman and Catlin (1985).

Simple. You pretend to be a ficticious super hero and use their super hero characteristics to trigger ideas. There is the Marvel model, but I rather like the more down to earth traits of the characters in ‘Being Human’ or ‘Misfits’.

Come prepared with:

A set of super heroes their characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. Is there a set of Top Trump cards that does this?

Bring along some props. (This is starting to sound like one of those ‘Murder Mystery’ Games.

Once in character and having introduced yourself in this role we set the narrative going.

  • A good warming up exercise.
  • Implicit is the ability to break the normal bounds/chains.
  • Wish fulfilment can be revealing
  • It will generate ideas.

Not perhaps for a financial or employment review session, but could be used for soft and social issues, from planning a social event to solving a communications problem that requires some creative input.

REFERENCE

Grossman, S. and Catling, K (1985) Super Heroes, presentatiopn at the 31st Annual Creative Problem Solving Institute, Buffalo, N.Y. The Creative Education Foundation.

VanGundy (1988) Techniques of Structured Problem Solving, 2nd ed., Van Nostrand Reinhold. Technique 4.56, pp. 180-2

B822 Techniques Library: Time Line

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

Time Line Software

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

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

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

There’s clip on YouTube (JJ27VV) Corporate Showreel

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

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

REFERENCE

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

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

Creative Problem Solving Techniques Library ‘Working with dreams and imagery’

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

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

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

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

How well do you know them?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to work with a dream or metaphorical image:

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

Appreciating, reflecting, looking forward and emerging

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

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

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

20 LIFE LESSONS FROM STEVE JOBS

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

REFERENCE

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

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

Curiosity, Forgiveness, Love … everyday attributes of the innovative organisation?

B822 BK 2 C6 Precepts

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

Curiosity Charles Handy (1991) Creativity in Management, Radio 1, B822
Forgiveness Charles Handy (1991)
Love Charles Handy (1991)
A sense of direction Schon, D.A. (1983) The Reflective Practitioner

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.

Emotional Intelligence – have you got any?

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.

Complexity and the unconscious ‘Analytical, computer mentalities are leading us to ignore innovation’.

‘Complexity and the unconscious’

Change in complex systems is inherently unpredictable.

Notes from Audio 2 and the supporting Media Book in produced and presented by Jane Henry (2010).

An element of randomness makes a system more robust.

Prof. Brian Goodwin, Schumacher College

Emergent properties, you can only know a lot about the interactions.

Prof. Ralph Stacy, University of Hertfordshire.


An invitation to take seriously our inability to predict long term outcomes.

In business, metaphor of relationship in complex adaptive processes of interactions and responses.
Looking at the patterns, not individuals, and that intentions are forever emerging in conversations. Notion of using a prescription from a case study that has worked in one place because of its whole context doesn’t work in another.

A systems properties to evolve only if characterised by a critical degree of diversity.

Prof. Richard Pascale, Change guru, Templeton College, Oxford.

Equilibrium, forced or unintended, due to long tenured staff or stuck with a deified product (IBM and mainframes) can be problematic.

Trying to operate on the edge of chaos gives a company the capacity to deal with deviance.

Operate with an element of variety to cope with the unexpected. Self-organisation emerges spontaneously. You cannot control or direct a living system.

Prof. Brian Goodwin


Ecosystems, communities and economies are unpredictable.

Prof. Guy Claxton, psychologist, University of Bristol Managing our minds.

Implicit learning is good at spotting patterns where there is a good deal of complexity.

We can think too much, it is deleterious.

N.B. In complex, novel and ambiguous situations our unconscious information processor has a greater capacity to perceive and understand the complex patterns involved than the conscious mind. The situation is that information is incomplete, uncertain, ambiguous, complex and novel so intuitive, and slower exploratory thinking is likely to be more productive.

Analytical, computer mentalities are leading us to ignore innovation.

Don’t respond immediately to what a person has said; give it space, a sense of corporate exploration.

It is impossible to create a plan and retain control.

REFERENCE

Henry, J (2010) B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change. CDA 1-5 Audio Pack Track 2 Complexity and the Unconscious.

B822 Creativity, Innovation and Change (AUDIO PACK)

I am listening through a 28 minute audio on creativity, innovation and change.

This is part of the OU MBA programme, but for me an elective 30 credits as part of the Masters in Open in Distance Education having already taken H807, H808 and H800.

I need a transcript.

I would skim read it, then listen once.

Instead, on the third listening I find I am writing a transcript, bullet points becoming sentences, sentences becoming paragraphs, those interviewed gaining a picture from Google Images and a resume from the institute where they are currently based.

Where the interviews intercut, I am taking them back to FOUR single interviews.

I am deconstructing, as if I had conducted the interviews myself.

(Two hours later I have a fourth listen. Why? Because I believe that the effort made to extract learning from these audio tracks will pay dividends. The ideas will begin to mean something)

(24 hours later I have the Media Book that supports the audio. Not the transcript that I desire, but notes from the Course Chair Jane Henry. I am struck both by what I HAVE picked up from the audio, as well as arguments/opinions that totally escaped me, that I’ll have to seek out simply to be sure that these things were ever said. As I am currently on Jury Service I am struck how we as humans are, indeed have to be, selective regarding what we see and hear. We cannot take it all in. Context is everything. We are not a sponge, at best a Gouda cheese).

Creativity. Innovation and Change

Charles Handy (born 1932) is an Irish author/philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management. Among the ideas he has advanced are the

Two major things:

1.Globalisation: organisations have got bigger to be there and smaller to be human

2.From things to knowledge/ideas.

People are identifiable people with names who have to be cossetted.

Reorganise into projects and teams so that people know each other.

  • Importance of informal contacts.
  • People reach out to people.
  • Inside and outside organisations.
  • Groups are there to deliver something.
  • Informal cells made official.
  • Managers can say what is wanted at the end of the project, but not how to get there.
  • Creativity will blossom.

People will have to reinvent themselves.

  • People want to feel they are giving their lives, or a bit of it, to something that matters.
  • What is it that people need?
  • Businesses that grow out of frustrations (Michael Young, Richard Branson)

Prof. Rossabeth Moss Kanter

Professor Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments.

Interviewed for the Open University’s module B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ Module she talks for the need for:

  • Less bureaucracy
  • Emphasis on team work
  • On sharing leadership
  • Emphasis on customer responsive decisions … working on feedback directly from customers.

To be like leaders of volunteers.

  • I’m the leader here’s my vision, so that you can bring to it the best that you can do.
  • A sense of mission.
  • Motivated by the chance to learn.
  • Or if you have to leave.
  • An enhanced reputation.
  • You’ll get recognition.
  • People being owners of the business, to share in the value they create.

The ladders aren’t there anymore.

What’s my profession? What’s my skill set.

__________________________________________________

The Hollywood model

  • Where you get the best producers and directors, and some investors and actors. These sets of projects can be in the same company … if the company is providing.

______________________________________________________

For me this is a concept that rings most true having contemplated how to assemble a team of people with different skills, indeed, why a variety of skills are necessary and that these should be distinguishable and come from the contrebutions of several people. Currently, social media, is vested in one person, whereas it should be shared across several skill sets. The creative teams in advertising are made up of a copywriter and art director, in a web agency we had an editor, designer and programmer. In each case a producer is required too.

_________________________________________________________________

  • Employment relationships are shorter term. Employees have to recommit each year.
  • Engaging the minds and hearts of the people.

Prof. Charles Hampden Turner. The Judge Institute, University of Cambridge.

Charles HampdenTurner (a dilemma enthusiast), they talk these days not so much of country stereotypes as the need to understand individuals. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from the Harvard Business School and was the recipient of the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award, as well as the Columbia University Prize for the Study of the Corporation.

Networks and accelerating returns.

  • A critical moment when the network becomes incredibly valuable.
  • The concept of the employee society is going to die.
  • A buffalo and being hunted down by Indians again ?!
  • Vs. being fad proan.
  • Think in terms of paradox.
  • Time and motion studies.
    But it ran to its own limits.

____________________________________________

Professor Henry Mintzberg, OC, OQ, FRSC (born in Montreal, 1939) is an internationally renowned academic and author on business and

  • People who are truly empowered don’t need to be empowered by managers. It doesn’t bring about more creative organisations.
  • Learning organisations as they have a healthy culture.
  • Build cultures that support maverick, a ‘why not?’ culture that a ‘Why?’ culture.

(See more about organisational configurations)

Creativity, Innovation and Change

I am listening through a 28 minute audio on creativity, innovation and change.

This is part of the OU MBA programme, but for me an elective 30 credits as part of the Masters in Open in Distance Education having already taken H807, H808 and H800.

I need a transcript.

I would skim read it, then listen once.

Instead, on the third listening I find I am writing a transcript, bullet points becoming sentences, sentences becoming paragraphs, those interviewed gaining a picture from Google Images and a resume from the institute where they are currently based.

Where the interviews intercut, I am taking them back to FOUR single interviews.

I am deconstructing, as if I had conducted the interviews myself.

(Two hours later I have a fourth listen. Why? Because I believe that the effort made to extract learning from these audio tracks will pay dividends. The ideas will begin to mean something)

(24 hours later I have the Media Book that supports the audio. Not the transcript that I desire, but notes from the Course Chair Jane Henry. I am struck both by what I HAVE picked up from the audio, as well as arguments/opinions that totally escaped me, that I’ll have to seek out simply to be sure that these things were ever said. As I am currently on Jury Service I am struck how we as humans are, indeed have to be, selective regarding what we see and hear. We cannot take it all in. Context is everything. We are not a sponge, at best a Gouda cheese).

Creativity. Innovation and Change

Charles Handy (born 1932) is an Irish author/philosopher specialising in organisational behaviour and management. Among the ideas he has advanced are the

Two major things:

1. Globalisation: organisations have got bigger to be there and smaller to be human

2. From things to knowledge/ideas.

People are identifiable people with names who have to be cossetted.

Reorganise into projects and teams so that people know each other.

  • Importance of informal contacts.
  • People reach out to people.
  • Inside and outside organisations.
  • Groups are there to deliver something.
  • Informal cells made official.
  • Managers can say what is wanted at the end of the project, but not how to get there.
  • Creativity will blossom.

People will have to reinvent themselves.

  • People want to feel they are giving their lives, or a bit of it, to something that matters.
  • What is it that people need?
  • Businesses that grow out of frustrations (Michael Young, Richard Branson)

Prof. Rossabeth Moss Kanter

Professor Kanter holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle Professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation, and leadership for change. Her strategic and practical insights have guided leaders of large and small organizations worldwide for over 25 years, through teaching, writing, and direct consultation to major corporations and governments.

Interviewed for the Open University’s module B822 ‘Creativity, Innovation and Change’ Module she talks for the need for:

  • Less bureaucracy
  • Emphasis on team work
  • On sharing leadership
  • Emphasis on customer responsive decisions … working on feedback directly from customers.

To be like leaders of volunteers.

  • I’m the leader here’s my vision, so that you can bring to it the best that you can do.
  • A sense of mission.
  • Motivated by the chance to learn.
  • Or if you have to leave.
  • An enhanced reputation.
  • You’ll get recognition.
  • People being owners of the business, to share in the value they create.

The ladders aren’t there anymore.

What’s my profession? What’s my skill set.

__________________________________________________

The Hollywood model

  • Where you get the best producers and directors, and some investors and actors. These sets of projects can be in the same company … if the company is providing.

______________________________________________________

For me this is a concept that rings most true having contemplated how to assemble a team of people with different skills, indeed, why a variety of skills are necessary and that these should be distinguishable and come from the contrebutions of several people. Currently, social media, is vested in one person, whereas it should be shared across several skill sets. The creative teams in advertising are made up of a copywriter and art director, in a web agency we had an editor, designer and programmer. In each case a producer is required too.

_________________________________________________________________

  • Employment relationships are shorter term. Employees have to recommit each year.
  • Engaging the minds and hearts of the people.

Prof. Charles Hampden Turner. The Judge Institute, University of Cambridge.

Charles HampdenTurner (a dilemma enthusiast), they talk these days not so much of country stereotypes as the need to understand individuals. He received his masters and doctorate degrees from the Harvard Business School and was the recipient of the Douglas McGregor Memorial Award, as well as the Columbia University Prize for the Study of the Corporation.

Networks and accelerating returns.

  • A critical moment when the network becomes incredibly valuable.
  • The concept of the employee society is going to die.
  • A buffalo and being hunted down by Indians again ?!
  • Vs. being fad proan.
  • Think in terms of paradox.
  • Time and motion studies.
    But it ran to its own limits.

____________________________________________

Professor Henry Mintzberg, OC, OQ, FRSC (born in Montreal, 1939) is an internationally renowned academic and author on business and

  • People who are truly empowered don’t need to be empowered by managers. It doesn’t bring about more creative organisations.
  • Learning organisations as they have a healthy culture.
  • Build cultures that support maverick, a ‘why not?’ culture that a ‘Why?’ culture.

(See more about organisational configurations)

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