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Showing posts from February, 2012

Innovate to a Preferred Future

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A lot of people are writing and speaking about innovation these days.  I hesitated to join in but it’s been on my mind lately too so why not see if I can add to the conversation.  Wikipedia (Feb. 25, 2012) starts its article on this topic with “Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas”.  When I read about the enormous problems facing us today and into the future, I see a rising need for more innovative thinking.  The worlds problems seem overwhelming with automated work, fuel costs and scarcity, war, public and private debt loads, education systems in need of redesign, governments buried in red tape and complexity, and the list goes on.  Small thinking isn’t going to help us solve these problems but innovation can.  The environment for learning matters tremendously as the authors of A New Culture of Learning suggest “when play happens within a medium for learning—much like a culture in a petri dish—it creates a contex…

Lifelong Professional Learning is Essential

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What does it really mean to call oneself a "professional"? For me, there's an implication that a professional is working in a field that is knowledge intensive and requires regular ongoing practice to become and remain highly accomplished and valuable to their clients. Wikipedia’s entry for Professional includes:Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practicing professionallyExcellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to professionIn our rapidly changing world, professionals should expect to be regularly honing and upgrading their skills and knowledge so as to remain relevant and current in their chosen field.  Notice the reference to “practicing professionally”.  To practice involves the individual or professional in this context, taking some action on their part “to improve, to learn, to solve problems, to enhance or refine skills, to maintain skills”.  Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers claims that “researchers have settled on what they believ…

What Motivates You

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I committed to writing a weekly blog post back in December 2009 and haven’t missed one yet.  Some weeks, actually many, I get to the weekend and have no idea what to write about.  My wife Shelley and will kick blog titles around while drinking our morning coffees (she blogs weekly as well over here) until something resonates.  She came up with the idea to write about motivation today and I scooped it (she’s a sharing person).mo·ti·va·tion /moh-tuh-vey-shuhn / noun1. the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to act in a certain way. Synonyms: motive, inspiration, inducement, cause, impetus.2. the state or condition of being motivated: We know that these students have strong motivation to learn.Blogging for me is an outlet for my ideas.  My blog posts do not attract a lot of comments but my blog averages around 350-400 visitors from around the world with 1000-1400 page views per week.  This audience or readership definitely motivates me to write.  Having an audien…

The Limits of Complexity

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I am increasingly aware of the complexity of “the system”.  Think about your place in the world and then consider the layers and walls around you that have been built up over time in “the system”.  Those of us that work for “the education system” would view things differently then say a plumber, electrician, or politician might.  Regardless, we all encounter complexity whether we choose to or not.  I’m primarily thinking about organizational complexity here.  Organizations tend to naturally become complex over time.  They become very difficult to work within, to accomplish things through, and become very expensive to operate.“Few things can doom a “system” faster than excessive complexity, which then collapses into chaos.”, Is America in Danger of Collapsing (Feb. 5, 2012)I probably read to broadly, too many obscure articles and books, but I see a pattern emerging: complexity is making our systems unsustainable.  Think of the costs of health care, education, law enforcement, roads and…