Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Time to Shift Learning

I received an email recently from LinkedIn Learning offering me a free course on creating infographics using PowerPoint.  So, I decided to give it a go.  I surprised myself by learning new techniques for working with icons, shapes, graphics files, layouts, charts, among others, in PowerPoint.  Did you know that you can merge shapes using union, combine, fragment, intersect, subtract to create new or modified shapes.  One example was to use a lightening bolt shape to ‘cut’ (subtract) from a few letters in the word (a shape) “MIGRAINE”.  It emphasized the pain this represents.  Cool hey.

Since I currently have flexible time available to me, I allowed this free course to prompt me to sign up for 1-month of free LinkedIn Learning! I have wanted to learn Lean and Six Sigma processes for some time so I dove into these topics first.  I was granted my Lean Foundations certificate today.  I will be going deeper into some aspects of this as my interests lead me.

I’m reading a book, recommended by my friend Steven titled Factfulness: Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world – and why things are better than you think.  We are bombarded through the news media, social media, and by friends and family about how bad things are in our world.  According to the authors, most people around the world (they have lots of evidence) are less capable than a chimpanzee of choosing correct answers about world trends and statistics!  We learn and accept incorrect information and perceptions about reality, all the time.  I would like to be more knowledgeable and able to speak more intelligently about reality, especially in these “troubling” times.  This requires ongoing learning.

It’s interesting how when I start to learn in one domain, I get pulled into other seemingly unrelated domains.  For example, I started reading a book on Six Sigma (public library e-book), then added Factfulness (Kindle), then Blockchain (public library e-book), and finally a collection of books on Lean related practices (Kindle).  I’m also learning about Lean Canvas as a way to write business plans – this through blog posts and articles, also free.  I’m now switching amongst these topics depending on what I want to progress with next.  It still amazes me that these books are obtained digitally and instantly.  This in itself would not have been possible without Lean practices being applied to reengineer the supply chain!

Learning is essentially free, other than us investing our time.  YouTube videos of how to assemble, repair, accomplish, ____ (fill in the blank) are free.  Information is often free as are training courses.  Even if you choose to pay for learning materials, as I did for a couple of books, they are substantially less costly when obtained digitally.  Digital continues to change the game for learning and so many other aspects of our lives!

I don’t know exactly where my learning journey will take me but my goal is to gain new and useful knowledge that I can apply both professionally and personally.  I am putting into practice a Lean principle or Kaizen specifically, to continuously improve myself.


  1. Brian, you are truly a lifelong learner! Ever since I have known you - almost 20 years now, you have always been motivated to learn. Now that everything is free, I wouldn’t be surprised if you become the wisest person on earth. Now time, that’s the limiting factor. Dave S

    1. Hey Dave. Thank-you for your kind words. Our learning intersected quite a bit. I fondly remember our 'road trip' presentations to schools during the 1-1 laptop initiative way back in the mid 2000's. We learned a lot and had fun hey.