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On keeping a dream diary: creative problem solving techniques

I had a dream like is when I was 10 or 11 in Beamish Dormitory at Boarding Prep School. I was set upon by two musketeers and killed. I returned to the same dream the next night behind them and ‘got them’ first. I guess I had learnt how to cope with some set of shifting boy, gang, friendships.

I’m not at home and was woken two often last night: doors banging, couple chatting above my head, dog barking and a fax machine going off. This woke me in the middle of a recurring dream that related to a database of over 100 videos I am reviewing.

Currently I have a database, in columns and rows in Word.

It is hard to read. I need a simple way to see, share and add to this.

My dreams gave me ‘Top Trumps’.

A quick Google shows why this works: a screen grab, some basic facts on a single sheet (or card). I could even order a bespoke pack.

On keeping a dream diary: creative problem solving techniques

I had a dream like is when I was 10 or 11 in Beamish Dormitory at Boarding Prep School. I was set upon by two musketeers and killed. I returned to the same dream the next night behind them and ‘got them’ first. I guess I had learnt how to cope with some set of shifting boy, gang, friendships.

I’m not at home and was woken two often last night: doors banging, couple chatting above my head, dog barking and a fax machine going off. This woke me in the middle of a recurring dream that related to a database of over 100 videos I am reviewing.

Currently I have a database, in columns and rows in Word.

It is hard to read. I need a simple way to see, share and add to this.

My dreams gave me ‘Top Trumps’.

A quick Google shows why this works: a screen grab, some basic facts on a single sheet (or card). I could even order a bespoke pack.

Who are you? Does an Enneagram test help or confuse?

27th July 2011

Enneagram Test Results type score summary

Fives are basically on some level estranged from the rest of the world, consequently, their mind is usually their best friend.

They like to analyze things and make sense of them (that is their anchor), this makes them great inventors and philosophers. The immense inner world of fives can cause them to lose touch or interest in reality.

Sevens are optimistic thrill seekers that see life as an adventure.

They are always thinking of new possibilies and adventures. This constant zest for life is often just escapism. Once things lose there fun they are no longer interested, so many projects go unfinished. Essentially, they avoid the difficulties of life because they fear being overwhelmed by them.

Fours are all about being unique and creating their own distinct culture.

They experience the highs and lows of life more intensely than other types. This makes them great creative forces (artists, writers, filmmakers). Fours often feel like misplaced children, and they long for a sense of real family.

Ones are idealistic perfectionists.

They are rooted in morals and ethics. They live with an overbearing internal critic that never rests. They can be very judgemental and don’t understand how most people can be such slackers. Other people don’t understand why they are so uptight.

Threes derive self worth from success in the external world.

They are highly skilled at adapting themselves in whatever way necessary to achieve success.

This external success driven image often comes at a price of having a personal identity and they may lose site of who they really are.

Twos are defined by their empathy of other people.

They are uniquely gifted at tuning in on the feelings of others. This makes them great networkers. They feed on their connection to others, love of friends and family. However being too caught up with other people can drain them, and cause them to lose track of their own personal well being.

Sixes are defined by anxiety.

They are gifted in their ability to see the dark and light sides of life (and of people and situations around them). This insight into possible outcomes makes them useful planners. However since they are never sure what will prevail they are always on edge and cling to predictable structures/systems for peace of mind.

Eights are natural leaders.

They are straight forward, direct, large personalities, that are unlikely to back down to adversity. They have a talent for motivating others. They have a strong sense of justice and are often protectors of the weak. However, they also have short fuses and can become domineering tyrants.

Nines are open minded optimists.

They are able to see everyones point of view, and have a natural desire for making peace. Consequently, they are effective mediators. They often live by the ‘go along to get along’ creed. However their openess to other people can cause them to lose site of themselves and their own happiness. Traditionally, the personality type you score highest on is considered your Enneagram type, so you are a:

(In truth, you are a combination of all the personality types so examine all your scores.)

And there is a difference between WHO you are and HOW you behave, especially if you behaviour has been modified by NINE years of boarding prep and public school, a virtually all male university college (Balliol College, Oxford in the 1980s).

And Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that I have used to undo and reknit who I am and want to be.

What can you share?

I come from a family where the person who goes to work is not the person at home, where lives are distinct.

Or were meant to be.

Goodbye to all that

After a year for me, nine months for Helen and Subby, we say goodbye, jointly, to the Business Development & External Affairs Department of the Open University Business School.

Like Robert Graves who was writing about his experiences through the First World War and temporary marriage before his departure for Majorca I had my battles and relationships none of which I plan to share online.

Are you in Kirton Adaptor-Innovation terms an ‘adaptor’ or an ‘innovator?’

Adaption-Innovation

There are two styles of decision making. (Kirton, 1976, 1977, 1980)

  • Adaptors ’stretch’ existing agreed definitions. They proceed within the established mores. Dominates management.
  • Innovators ’reconstruct’ the problem, they separate it, emerging with much less expected and probably less acceptable solutions.

‘They are less concerned with ‘doing things better’ than with ‘doing things differently’.

Across a population, Kirton and others have tens of thousands of people to go on from completed inventories to go on, there is a Normal curve of distribution (Kirton, 1977)

I am an innovator and somewhat out on the far edge of the scale. Does this render me and people I have met who are ’innovators’ unemployable? With certain teams, in certain organisations we are incompatible unless you want us there to act as a catalyst, consultant or communicator.

Any problem goes through a series of stages:

  • Perception of the problem
  • Analysis of the problem
  • Analysis of the solution
  • Agreement to change
  • Delegation
  • Implementation for most was two/three years after the problem became apparent, whilst a few were tackled with the bare minimum of analysis. Objections were often only overcome (then collectively forgotten) as a result of some crisis. Rejection was often based on WHO was putting the idea forward.

Cf. P111

Disregard of convention when in pursuit of their own ideas has the effect of isolating innovators in a similar way to Roger’s (1957) creative loners.

32-item inventory, theoretical range of 32-160 and a mean of 96.
Cultural innovativeness see Indian Women p114
Solutions sought within the structure by adaptors so nothing changes.

‘Tolerance of the innovator is thinnest when adaptors feel under pressure from the need for imminent radical change.’ Kirton (2011:115)

It is unlikely (as well as undesirable), that any organization is so monolithic in its structure and in the ’demands’ on its personnel that it produces a total conformity of personality types. P115

How an innovator or adaptor can be an agent of change where all around have a cognitive style alien to his own. Kirton (2011:117)

Reference

Kirton. M.J. (1984) Long Range Planning 17, 2, 137-43 in Henry.J. Creative Management & Development 3rd ed. pp109 (2011) Ch8 Adaptors and Innovators: why new initiatives get blocked. M.J.Kirton
Kirton.M.J.(1977) Manual of the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory.
Rogers.C.R. (1957) Towards a theory of creativity. In H.H, Andersen. Creativity and its cultivation. Harper.

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

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.

Analogical Thinking in Business, Organisations and Mangement Styles

 

 

 

Fig. 1. The School of Communication Arts (1986 intake)

(My idea on how to promote 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.

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

ACTIVITY 4.1

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?

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

ACTIVITY 4.2

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.

ACTIVITY 4.3

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).

Self-organisation

‘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

Activity 4.9 WHAT METAPHOR WOULD YOU OFFER FOR MANAGEMENT IN THE 21st CENTURY?

 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.

FURTHER READING

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

FROM MY OU STUDENT BLOG

‘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.

REFERENCE

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

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)

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