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What makes a leader (especially a ‘creative’ leader)

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.

WHAT DOES THE READING TELL ME?

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?

SELF-AWARE

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.

MOTIVATION

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

EMPATHY

Thoughtfully considering the employees feelings. Coaching and feedback.

SOCIAL SKILL and rapport

N.B. emotional intelligence can be taught.

The role emotional intelligence plays in our working lives

Two articles have shaken me since starting ‘Creativity, innovation and change’ B822′ an elective in the OU’s MBA and for me one choice out of some 60 I believe as I head towards an MA in Open and Distance Education (and perhaps the MBA, or another MA in history, or fine art, or the history of art). I learn like others jam on their guitar or watch football; my mind is my playing field.

The first article was the first article, ‘How to kill creativity’ Tracey Amabile (1987), notes and blogged already shared. It summed up how organisations, or rather people running organisations, should get it right.

The second article is ‘What makes a leader?’ a disingenuous title as from my perspective it spells out not only why some people fail to manage in a business context, but could be rendering themselves unemployable. On a personal level reading this happens to time with an internal ‘performance assessment’; as I am new to working for any organisation with much over 40 people in it, often far smaller and for most of my career self-employed, freelance or running my own 2/3 person business, these assessments put the frighteners on me. Clearly, however, they are a valued and common practice. No detail here, but an inkling from my personal conclusion, indeed what enabled me to address the issues raised, was the Goleman paper on ’emotional intelligence’, as it is his premise that this is what leaders, even good managers or competent, employable staff (in some extremes and incidents) lack.

The notes must have been important as they went onto paper rather than directly into electronic form.

Serendipity puts Goleman’s book on the subject into my hands. ‘Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ’. Or, more importantly, why it can matter far more than qualifications, from which we need to take, that just because you have an MBA does not qualify you to manage people in a team or lead a company? Is this how the one-man-band consultant is created? They are bereft of emotional intelligence? My late father was bereft of emotion, yet he built a family business into an international PLC running over 60 businesses around the globe turning over £156m+ and employing ‘x’ people. An employee (articled clerk, associate then partner of a tiny firm of solicitors: he was Senior Partner age 27 and then the CEO of this business he then grew. He told me he was unemployable or should that be ‘incapable of being an employee?’ I wonder if Goleman would differentiate between someone who is emotionally cold and someone who can control an emotional response? My late father lacked emotional control, yet was so ‘contained’ that in business matters at least he could be clinical in his decision making. As he is long gone and the PLC defunct I feel I am on safe ground to be analytical, indeed his story and the rise and fall of FIH could be a salutary tale.

Notes on ‘what makes a leader?’ to follow, in the mean time I have the book to read. From the book cover blurb I read ’emotional intelligence includes self-awareness and impulse control, persistence, zeal and motivation, empathy and social deftness’.

More worryingly, and I have to consider how much I care to share, he adds, ’emotional lessons a child learns actually sculpt the brain’s circuitry’. This resonates having taken cognitive behavioural therapy to seek ways to make adjustments to what I am or what I became in childhood. Are leaders made or born?

Goleman asks what makes an effective leader

What makes a highly effective leader?

SELF-AWARE

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.

MOTIVATION

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

EMPATHY

Thoughtfully considering the employees feelings. Coaching and feedback.

SOCIAL SKILLS and rapport

N.B. emotional intelligence can be taught.

REFERENCE Goleman, D (1998) What makes a leader? Harvard Business Review, November, 93-102

What does it take to flourish in a team?

What does it take to flourish in a team?

Flourishing in teams West M,A., Sacramento, C.A, In ‘Creative Management and Development. Henry, J (2011) pp25-44

Or ‘how to develop team innovative teams’

New ways of doing things.

SEE FULL QUOTE

(West and Farr, 1990) Initial creativity leads to innovation. Innovation is dependent on: (Oldham and Cummings 1980)

For innovation to occur need to consider:

  • Team task Group composition Organisational context Team processes
  • Skill variety Challenge Task identity Task feedback
  • & Autonomy (Hackman and Oldman, 1980)

Innovative people are:

  • Creative Implementers
  • Think in novel ways
  • Think globally (see the wood for the trees)
  • Intellectual and see things in different ways Analytic abilities
  • Practical contextual abilities to persuade others
  • And show openness (Barrick et al., 1998)
  • + they have confidence in their abilities.

Self-disciplined High degree of drive and motivation Concerned with achieving excellence (Mumford and Gustafson, 1998)

Innovative people have a high need for freedom, control and discretion in the workplace and appear to find bureaucratic limitations or the exercise of control by managers frustrating. (Barron and Harrington, 1981; West, 1987; West and Rushton, 1989)

1) Ensure the team task is intrinsically motivating

2) Ensure a high level of extrinsic demands as the task develops, so hands off to start but pressure mounting towards the end.

3) Select a team of innovative people

4) Select people with diverse skills and backgrounds

5) Provide organisational rewards for innovation

6) Create a learning and development climate in the organisation

7) Develop a climate for innovation in the organisation

8) Establish team norms for innovation

9) Encourage reflexivity in teams

10) Ensure there is clarity of leadership in the team and that the leadership style is appropriate for encouraging innovation.

11) Manage conflict constructively and encourage minorities to dissent within teams.

12) Don’t just bond … Bridge.

CONCLUSIONS THE ‘whole’ task, its entirety. Brainstorming away from the everyday. Later pressures. Fully integrated team working

REFERENCE

Barrack, M,R; Stewart, G,L; Neubert,M,J; Mount,M,K (1998) relating member ability and personality to work-team processes and team effectiveness. journal of applied psychology 83 , 377-91

Barron, F.B and Harrington, D.M (1981) Creativity, Intelligence and Personality in M.R. Rosenweig and L.W.Porter (eds) Annual Review of Psychology, 32, 439-76.

Hackman, J, R and Oldman G,R (1980) Work Redesign. Reading, MA.

Mumford M,D and Gustafson, S,B (1998) Creativity Syndrome: Integration, application and innovation. Psychological Bulletin, 103, 27-43

Oldman, G, R and Cummings, A (1996) Employee Creativity: personal and contextual factors at work. academy of management journal, 39 (3), 607-34

West, M.A (1987) Role Innovation in the World of Work. British Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 305-15.

West, M,A and Farr, J,L (1990) Innovation at work. In M.A.West and J.L.Farr (eds) innovation and creativity at work: Psychological and Organisational Strategies, Chichester, England.

West, M.A and Rushton, R. (1989) Mismatches in work role transitions. Journal of occupational Psychology, 62 271-86

Life Lessons with David Pelzer

Life Lessons with Dave Pelzer

I like this book for its simplicity and its length: it is very short. Five or six ideas are enough to keep in your head at any one time; I’m going to pick through the following, chant them, put them in a prayer, remind myself each day what I want to achieve.

1. Be resilient

2. Learn to fly

3. No one is perfect

4. Let go of your past

a. ‘You cannot move forward until you free yourself from the shackles of your past.’

5. Deal with everyday problems

a. ‘Settle your problems as promptly and as thoroughly as you are able.’

6. Rest your mind.

a. Get a good night’s sleep.

i. I go to bed early.

7. Let go, let rip daily.

a. I go down to the sea.

8. Purge your soul

a. I do so in a diary, often in Diaryland.

9. If you have been subjected to negative surroundings, use them to make you strive for something better.

a. I don’t want to be an absent father, not away all week or for weeks at a time, nor a divorcee.

10. Limit your response to negative settings and, if necessary, make a clean break.

a. I got out of TVL, I got out of X.

11. Overcome your guilt. Make amends and move on.

12. Don’t give yourself away in the vain hope of appeasing others.

13. To help yourself, be yourself.

14. Never go to bed upset.

15. Resolve matters before they envelop you. Compromise.

16. Hate no one. It is like a cancer.

17. Forgiveness cleanses.

18. When life’s not fair.

a. ‘Before you quit on yourself when life isn’t fair, exhaust all your options for making things happen.’

19. How badly do I want it?

a. Resolve to make things happen to you.

20. What have I accomplished?

a. Ask yourself what can you not accomplish when you truly commit to that one thing?

21. Know what you want and determine to make it happen.

22. What is truly important to me? (us)

23. Attempt the so-called ‘impossible’ until it becomes an everyday part of your life.

24. Don’t give your best away.

a. ‘We allow self-doubt, time, situations or whatever else to erode our dreams. We quit on ourselves. We carry regret, regret turns into frustration, frustration into anger, anger into sorrow. We’ve lost one of life’s most precious gifts: the excitement, the fear, the heart-pounding sensation of taking a step outside our protective womb.’

25. Go the distance.

a. ‘Part of the thrill of success is the journey of the struggle. If it were easy everyone would be doing it.’

26. Be happy.

a. The older we get, the more complacent, hopeless and despondent we become.

27. A consistent, positive attitude makes a world of difference.

28. There may not be a tomorrow to count on, so live the best life that you can today.

29. Start saying positive, rather than negative things abut myself (and everyone around me).

30. Focus. If you have no goal or the self-belief that you can accomplish them, you will end up going nowhere.

a. A little bit of adversity can help to realign you, make you humble and make you want it more.

31. Deflect negativity.

a. Flush it away and replace it with something positive (from a positive environment).

32. I wallow in my own abyss of doom and gloom.

33. Every day see the brighter side.

How phenomenology explains why people may still be adrift of the desired learning response.

Between formal and informal learning design styles

Highly prescriptive vs call up the information you need as you go along. So defined instructions vs figuring it out for themselves. Perhaps using tools to guide and inform. We were given the simplest of tasks, teaching students how to cross a busy road in safety.

I made a point about any group requiring leadership or a champion.

I made a point on Randy Pausch whose 3D lecture series included mixing up student groups who then had to vote on each other’s levels of collaboration in the group.

There was a discussion on informal peer assessment that I didn’t entirely follow, certainly my notes are somewhat cryptic. Hopefully the session was recorded so I can listen back.

It is the unexpected insights in a synchronous session that prove valuable, especially the asides in the break-out room.

Assemble the books and papers you plan to refer to ahead of writing.

This is a new one to me. I prefer to write what I want and deal with the referencing after rather than fitting the assignment to the books and papers.

Perhaps a combination of the two is required.

The learning plan you produce may not be followed closely given the myriad of ways people respond. Many are drawn in by the assessment but not all.

Can such divergent styles be accommodated?

As the Elluminate discussion progressed, four students, one tutor moderator, I did a doodle.

doodle

Having shared the idea I then corrected it.

From Wenger (1998:233)

‘There is an inherent uncertainty between design and its realization in practice, since practice is not the result of design but rather a response to it’.

Phenomenology explains why people may still be adrift of the desired response.

The notes reads ‘design as well as we can … ‘the students share the outcome. We set the learning, that is then displaced to or set in the context of each learner. We might have a learning objective, but students can and diverge from this’. (A good thing if you want diversity and originality)

As a learning designer you have to anticipate a variety of behaviours and plan for not too many being wildly divergent. This can be achieved by understanding the students.

People before technology every time – manage these relationships first

People.

Innovations are who and what we are as human kind. We will advance and trip over each other with each apparent theme or phase.

Web 2.0 or Web 3.0?

It makes no difference if you are unable to carry an audience, your public, your students. Whether they pay for it, or it is free. It comes down to the ability and enthusiasm of a group of people, sometimes the charisma of an individual.

I see learning environments rise and fall on the ability and availability of a single person, some systems flourish and expand – others wither.

Can one person duplicate and transmogrify into a dozen or more parts? Can others pick up on their enthusiasm and replicate it?

Often not.

The technology is not a panacea.

It makes of us a village, a community … then we must behave as if we are in a village or community, which in turn requires that we know how, when and where to contact people and who we are dealing with.

 

The right leader or teacher will greatly enhance the learning experience and project outcomes

How a ‘contagion of positive emotions’ from and of the right leader or teacher will greatly enhance the learning experience and project outcomes.

The problem is, you need to be there to get the vibe. I dare say parenting therefore has a huge impact on the developing child – nurtured or knackered?

But what does this say about the role of distance learning?

A bit, not a lot. Tutorials from time to time may pay dividends. We should stop being such e-learning purists and meet face to face when and where we can … at least online, if not in the flesh.

And before I go anywhere, thanks to someone for the link to this which I received in my daily maelstrom of Linked In forum threads, emails, comments and what not.

Advances in neuroscience may help us understand the internal mechanisms that enable some people to be effective leaders, and some not. Boyatzis (2011)

The leadership role is moving away from a “results-orientation” towards a relationship orientation. Boyatzis (2011)

People who feel inspired and supported give their best, are open to new ideas and have a more social orientation to others. Boyatzis (2011)

The difference between resonant and dissonance in relationships was tested, for example the difference between an inspired and engaging leader, compared to one who makes demands and sets goals.

While undergoing an MRI scan people were asked to recall specific experiences with resonant leaders and with dissonant leaders. When thinking about ‘resonant’ leaders there was significant activation of 14 regions of interest in the brain while with dissonant leaders there was significant activation of 6 and but deactivation in 11 regions. i.e. people are turned off by certain kinds of leadership. Boyatzis (2011)

The conclusion is that being concerned about one’s relationships may enable others to perform better and more innovatively– and lead to better results i.e. be an inspired, motivating leader, not a dictatorial or demanding one.

How therefore if running a course online does the course chair or a tutor engender these kind of feelings in their students?

The other lesson from this is to appreciate how quickly impressions of others get formed or the neural mechanisms involved.

First impressions count

They impact on how one person responds to another for some time to come. We are emotional beings, however much we’d like to control our behaviour.

The other idea is of ‘emotional contagion’ or ‘emotional arousal’ being picked up in the neural systems activate endocrine systems; that imitation and mimicry are important i.e. you cannot lead at arm’s-length – you have to be there, as must be your team, and by implication, where learning is involved, you students. Boyatzis (2011)

What you pick up in the presence of others is:

  • the context of an observed action or setting
  • the action
  • the intention of the other living being.

‘A sympathetic hemo-dynamic that creates the same ability for us to relate to another’s emotions and intention’ (Decety & Michalaks, 2010).

There are three implications of these observations Boyatzis (2011):

  1. the speed of activation
  2. the sequence of activation
  3. the endocrine/neural system interactions.

Our emotions are determining cognitive interpretation more than previously admitted.

Our unconscious emotional states arouse emotions in those with whom we interact before we or they know it. And it spreads from these interactions to others.

Research has suggested that negative emotions are stronger than positive emotions which may serve evolutionary functions but, paradoxically, it may limit learning. Boyatzis (2011)

i.e. where the teacher shows leadership that engenders a positive response the learning experience is increased (think of the fictional character played by Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, think of Randy Pausch the late Carnegie Mellon Professor of Virtual reality) … whereas negative emotions.

From a student’s point of view if you have a teacher you do NOT like (or no one likes) this will have overly significant NEGATIVE impact on your learning experience.

So it matters WHO and HOW you are taught, not simply an interest or passion for a subject.

‘A contagion of positive emotions seems to arouse the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which stimulates adult neurogenesis (i.e., growth of new neurons) (Erickson et. al., 1998), a sense of well being, better immune system functioning, and cognitive, emotional, and perceptual openness’ (McEwen, 1998; Janig and Habler, 1999; Boyatzis, Jack, Cesaro, Passarelli, & Khawaja, 2010).

The sustainability of leadership effectiveness is directly a function of a person’s ability to adapt and activate neural plasticity. Boyatzis (2011)

The SNS (Sympathetic Nervous System) and PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System ) are both needed for human functioning.

They each have an impact on neural plasticity. Arousal affects the growth of the size and shape of our brain. Neurogenesis allows the human to build new neurons. The endocrines aroused in the PNS allow the immune system to function at its best to help preserve existing tissue (Dickerson and Kemeny, 2004).

I FOUND THIS PROFOUND

Leaders bear the primary responsibility for knowing what they are feeling and therefore, managing the ‘contagion’ that they infect in others.

(Is a disease metaphor and its negative connotations the appropriate metaphor to use here?)

It requires a heightened emotional self-awareness.

This means having techniques to notice the feelings, label what they are and then signal yourself that you should do something to change your mood and state.

Merely saying to yourself that you will “put on a happy face” does not hide the fast and unconscious transmission of your real feelings to others around you.

Leaders should be coaches in helping to motivate and inspire those around them (Boyatzis, Smith & Blaize, 2006).

But not any old form of coaching will help.

Coaching others with compassion, that is, toward the Positive Emotional Attractor, appears to activate neural systems that help a person open themselves to new possibilities– to learn and adapt. Meanwhile, the more typical coaching of others to change in imposed ways (i.e., trying to get them to conform to the views of the boss) may create an arousal of the SNS and puts the person in a defensive posture. This moves a person toward the Negative Emotional Attractor and to being more closed to possibilities.

REFERENCE

Boyatzis, R. (2011) Neuroscience and Leadership: The Promise of Insights Leadership | January / February 2011

Boyatzis, R.E., Smith, M. and Blaize, N. (2006) “Developing sustainable leaders through coaching and compassion, Academy of Management Journal on Learning and Education. 5(1): 8-24.

Boyatzis, R. E., Jack, A., Cesaro, R., Passarelli, A. & Khawaja, M. (2010). Coaching with Compassion: An fMRI Study of Coaching to the Positive or Negative Emotional Attractor. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Montreal.

Decety, J. & Michalska, K.J. (2010). Neurodevelopmental change in circuits underlying empathy and sympathy from childhood to adulthood. Developmental Science. 13: 6, 886-899.

Dickerson, S.S. & Kemeny, M.E. (2004). Acute stressors and cortisol responses: A theoretical integration and synthesis of laboratory research. Psychological Bulletin.130(3): 355-391.

Janig, W. & Habler, H-J. (1999). Organization of the autonomic nervous system: Structure and function. In O. Appendzeller (ed.). Handbook of Clinical Neurology: The Autonomic Nervous System: Part I: Normal Function, 74: 1-52.

McEwen, B. S. (1998). Protective and damaging effects of stress mediators. New England Journal of Medicine. 338: 171-179.

Snack from the eLearning Smorgasbord of Learning Technologies 2011

Olympia is like the interior of some vast World War II Normandy Gun Emplacement – all exposed blocks of concrete, exposed pipes, clattering stairwells and distant skylights.

The catering is marginally better than that at Conference League game of football.

The layout of stands (or should I call them stalls) reminds me of an East European Department store in the early 1990s.

On registration you are handed a fat catalogue worthy of IKEA, sadly your journey around the show is anything like as smooth or as comprehensive – more like shuffling through a multi-story car-park full of baldy parked 4x4s.

The lecture ‘theatres’ are open plan and back to back; they conflict for attention. The combination of two speakers at it, never mind music from surrounding stands, obliges a ‘sit-forward and concentrate’ mentality. Imagine two noisy street shows in action simultaneously on the cobles of Covent Garden.

Stalls, not stands, was the behaviour too of some selling their services, with leaflets thrust into your hands and conversations started that you didn’t want whether eye contact was made or not); the inclination is to make a blunt response; the danger is that you soon find yourselves burdened with the equivalent of every Sunday newspaper in one go.

There was a hint of desperation about some of it.

None of this is conducive to enjoyment or appropriate for a showcase of e-learning technology 2011.

Despite this I’m preparing to return for a second day.

_______________________________________

I attended with a producer from E-Learning Productions. I go wearing three hats: producer of content, learning manager wannabe and Open University MA student in his ‘second year’ of Open and Distance Education – starting H800 around now (I think the virtual gates to the module open on the 27th).

The quality of the Learning Technologies presentations (with one exception) and the stands that we chose, rather than chose us, was impressive.

Much of it rings true, reinforcing our views on where we feel the market is going, this was especially the case with the Video Arts presentation ‘Video learning: anywhere, anytime and just in time.’

Blog entries below indicate where and why I think video will take over from print; this was demonstrated by Video Arts.


Drawing on a back catalogue of high quality, humour and drama-based learning Video Arts have created a digital platform that allows users to pick ‘n mix clips to assemble a learning programme of their own.

These ‘chunks’ of ‘stuff’ make a bespoke learning programme.

I question how ‘right way, wrong way’ illustrated with humour always works, wondering if the humour and the performance is recalled, but the message lost. Which is why I’d expect all learning to be measured for effectiveness, the brutal answers of success or failure being the test of a good learning programme.

Emerging challenges in learning: proving the business value answered any concerns or interest I might have in gauging effectiveness.

Though competing with presentation immediately behind in Theatre 2, Jeff Berk delivered an insightful, packed, brutally stark means to measure the effectiveness of training.

Jeff’s background as an auditor showed, but my creative head said that whatever ways or means of communicating ideas, of sharing knowledge and experience, of teaching, of learning, that I may devise or select ‘off-the-shelf’ or from one of these ‘stalls,’ www.Knowledgeadvisors.com will tell me if it worked or not, if not why not, if so where so, and what to change and how.

An invaluable service that must form the part of any learning and training programme budget.

The thread of the presentation, that felt like an attempt to run through the contents of Wikipedia in 30 minutes, was that Training Managers should ‘replace the smile sheet, with the smart sheet.’

I buy that.

Jeff spoke of ‘improving human capital performance.’

I like the idea of ‘sensitivity analysis’ and ‘action metrics’ helping the learning consultant in a business discussion identifying actual rather than perceived problems to get a fix.

I take away too the idea of ‘Scrap Learning’ and ‘Pointers for Change,’ as well as ‘Actionable Metrics,’ a ‘dashboard of summarised information for senior managers.

Had I been to Learning Technologies the week before rather than a week before a job interview I wonder if the outcome would have been different?

This stuff matters, and now I know it.

Jeffrey Berk is quotable; it is corporate speak at its best. ‘Leverage methodology into the spirit of the technology,’ he said.

There’s a White Paper ‘Standard Reports of the Future’ that you can request by email Jeff the COO of Knowledge Advisors on jberk@knowledgeadvisors.com.

Leadership for the 21st Century and how to achieve it was a dreary, ill-considered Slide Show read out by a presenter who I sensed hadn’t seen the slides until the moment they appeared on the wall behind him. He read, verbatim from notes, his head buried in the lectern.

No introduction, just started reading as if someone had put 50p in a Juke Box.

The best demonstration of how to present badly I have ever witnessed and after two minutes I was desperate to escape.

Mercifully what was billed as 30 minute presentation barely lasted 10.

The clichéd jigsaw piece analogy, the lengthy self-quoting of the long dead American who devised the programmed smacked of an attempt to sell 1970s fashioned Moon Boots at a desert oasis.

Fusion Learning have a theatre-cum-stand.

They compete successfully with the hubbub and take the idea of the market stall to its obvious corporate conclusion. It would be unfair to say that Steve Dineen was selling product out the back of a lorry, but the simple lay-out of stand as platform, replete with headset and microphone suggested something of this ilk. Though no visitor to a street market is going to be sitting in front of a laptop, watching an interactive presentation and receiving a back massage.

Quotes can be scattered around a presentation like baubles on an over-decorated Christmas tree, but this one from Einstein worked in this context.

‘Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.’ Albert Einstein.

Fusion Universal take an idea that is a decade old and do it better.

How to animation on Microsoft Product delivered via a searchable ‘just in time format.’

For example, I can’t get my head around the plethora of choices regarding headers and footers in the new word package. Type, search, click and I get a voiced animation of how to do it. A decade ago I bought this kind of thing on a CD-ROM for £75, today I take out an annual subscription, select from a multitude of bite-size ‘info drops’ and may even contribute my own ‘how to ‘ clips should I think I have a fix, a better fix, or an alternative fix or just fancy myself as a presenter, voice over artists and director/writer of video-based assets.

Like Steve, I too change into ‘soft shoes’ when faced with being on my feet all day.

Had I a budget this alone would have had me signing up to their services.

He wore sheepskin moccasins. I think if all delegates left their shoes at registration and padded around in slippers or socks it would be conducive to a far more chilled atmosphere.

walk around the lanes in Brighton and you will come across many of the organisations presenting here; Epic, Kineo, Edvantage and Brightwave are four that come to mind. Perhaps these organisations should band together to bring customers to them on the Brighton Seafront; or does Wired Sussex does this already? __________________________________________________________________________________

Naomi Norman introduced Epic beginning with a reminder of their impactful, PR coup, the annual e-learning debate in the Oxford Union.

This is a non-Oxford event, despite the implied cache, that uses the debating chamber ahead of the academic year.

It attracts interest, not least to Epic’s LinkedIn E-learning forum that I find a constant stream of intelligent, current thinking, or as Naomi put it, ‘good, memorable, engaging interactions.’

 

The presentation in relation to mobile learning is succinctly expressed as:

‘Learning in the moment, Learning across space and learning across time.’

We saw highly simplified 2d animations that mixed a bit of silent movie text and Captain Pugwash paper-cut outs to give gobbets of information on First Aid. More at http://www.firstaid.co.k (free download).

Also some of the 20 hours of materials, 4 hours of it video, for Collins for whom Epic have turned an entire two years GCSE Maths Curriculum into a smart phone App.

My colleague and I debated some of the more confusing visuals for this course on the way home and reckoned our children would only engage with the content if they had to, and would probably try to cram it all in the day before an exam. i.e. parents become tutors and facilitators, somehow having to cajole some interest in engagement early on, with rewards for completion of modules.

The idea that a book will teach a 13 year old something, let alone a game like platform, ignores the fact that in isolation this kind of self-directed learning doesn’t happen without the outside influence of schools, parents and most especially peer pressure.

Marcus Boyes clicked through a mobile learning website developed by Epic.

It was a convincing demonstration of how rapidly a complex task that may have taken many months, can be compressed into a few weeks, leaving content creators to compose. I liken it to an conductor having an assembled brass band with players who can play and instruments that work, rather than finding you have to first make the instruments and then learn how to play them.

Go compose.

Far from farting about (as he put it) I found Marcus informed, engaged, practical and agile. He is the perfect tech savvy person, passionate about what he does and mindful of the need to make things easy. I want to go home and ‘make an App’ myself. In fact, with a shelf of 4,000 charts, 400 photos and about 10,000 words the Skieasy Books I took to Collins in 1991 may yet find their way into publication.

I can see virtue in going straight to Mobile application.

If it works in this format then you’ve got something write, as Einstein desires, you’ve made it simple. Then you get all the gains of being mobile, engaging the learning any moment in the day when they have downtime.

There’s a White Paper. Stand 54. Or from Epic’s website.Or from me now that I’vedownloaded it.

Go register. They’re worth it.

And this App for LinkedIn from EIPC looks useful.

I like these papers, but sometimes question their academic validity.

A white paper pre-supposes peer review and scrutiny in an academic setting. Has this happened? I let my OU colleagues take a view. If published in a reputable journal I’d buy it.

Go see.

Much more on Video Arts to follow.


Who are you? Belbin Team roles

Belbin Team Roles

So who are you?

Shaper

• Highly motivated with a lot of nervous energy and a great need for achievement.

• Like to challenge lead and push others to action, can be headstrong and emotional in response to disappointment or frustration.

• Generally make good managers because they generate action and thrive on pressure.

Plant

Innovators and inventors – can be highly creative. Often enjoy working on their own away from other members of the team.

• Tend to be introvert and react strongly to criticism and praise. Great for generating new proposals and to solve complex problems.

Co-ordinator

• Ability to pull a group together to work towards a shared goal.

• Mature, trusting, and confident they delegate readily. They stay calm under pressure.

• Quick to spot an individual’s talents and use them to pursue group objectives.

• Co-ordinators are useful to have in charge of a team with their diverse skills and personal characteristics.

Monitor/ Evaluator

• Serious-minded, prudent individuals.

• Slow deciders who prefer to think things over – usually highly critical thinking ability.

• Usually make shrewd judgements by taking into account all the factors.

• Important when analysing problems and evaluating ideas and suggestions. Resource investigator

• Good communicators both with other members of the group and with external organisations.

• Natural negotiators, adept at exploring new opportunities.

• Adept at finding out what resources are available and what can be done.

• Relaxed personalities with strong inquisitive sense and a readiness to see the possibilities of anything new.

• Very good for finding resources and heading negotiations. Implementer

• Well organised, enjoy routine and have a practical common-sense and self discipline.

• Systematic approach to tackling problems • Reliable and hardworking.

• Will do what needs to be done whether or not they will enjoy the task. Team worker

• Supportive members of the team.

• Flexible and adaptable to different situations and people.

• Perceptive and diplomatic.

• Good listeners

• Avoid conflict

• Good at allowing everyone in the group to contribute.

Completer-Finisher

• Have a great capacity for follow-through and attention to detail, and seldom start what they cannot finish.

• Dislike carelessness

• Reluctant to delegate, they prefer to tackle tasks themselves.

• Good at tasks that involve close concentration and a close degree of accuracy.

Specialist

• Pride themselves on acquiring technical skills and specialist knowledge.

• Priorities are to maintain professional standards and advance their own subject.

• Very committed.

• Important in providing the technical expertise and are usually called upon to make decisions involving in depth experience and expertise.

REFERENCE

Belbin, M. (2004) Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (Butterworth Heinemann, 2nd ed.,)

Who are you?

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