Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We continue to learn from Lean...

Amit S. Mukherjee Author of The Spider's Strategy: Creating Networks to Avert Crisis, Create Change, and Really Get Ahead published an intriguing article titled, Lessons from the Early Days of Lean in the online version of Chief Learning Officer. Mukherjee makes the connection between Lean principles and highly connected and networked organizations, stressing that new skills (I suggest learning and innovating Edgility) are needed to compete in this ecosystem.

He states that, "We must help managers supplement planning and execution capabilities with new ones for sensing, responding and learning." These are lessons that many of us have learned from Toyota Production System (TPS) or Lean. Mukherjee asks the rhetorical question, "Sound like the changes that accompanied becoming lean?... It should."

I like the way Mukherjee connects the concepts of networks (Edge Power) and Lean principles to the importance of a culture of learning - something that has been well documented as a foundation of organizational excellence.

He also highlights the importance of connected learning, "Companies also must create the capabilities for all employees, as well as people in partner companies, to learn from each other.... Spreading knowledge quickly produces better responses, stabilizing network operations. So, the core issue is not how managers will interact with remote staff, but how all people who are not co-located will routinely interact, and not just under crisis conditions."

The culture that he describes is one where everyone works to increase their ability to learn and innovate. It demands that everyone increase their Edgility.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Vintage Winds

This weekend I had a chance to go hear a friend (Al Powell) play some surf music. They did a great job. If I was going to have a beach party - this is the local surf band that I would invite. Although not the best recording... here is an audioBoo that I recorded using my iphone.


Friday, September 18, 2009

$650 million in new grants

As many are aware Arne Duncan has announced the beginning of the Investing in Innovation Fund ($650 million in new grants for education). Details of the grant are still emerging and can be found at following US Department of Education website. Michael Horn (Author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns directed me to an article in eSchool News that included a preliminary list of requirements that included the following:
  • Boost student achievement, increase graduation rates, and retain teachers;
  • Be scalable
  • Offer sustainable innovation, not flash-in-th-pan ideas that will burn out, and
  • Attract some matching funds along with ED's grant dollars
I will be watching as more details emerge - I am hoping that these funds will provide opportunities for new environments that will help students learn to be innovative... not simply support innovative ways to get students to meet the standards.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Invent, Invent, Invent - by Friedman

I agree with Thomas Friedman - the time is now! Read his June 27th Op-Ed titled, "Invent, invent, invent."
"We need to do all we can now to get more brains connected to more capital to spawn more new companies faster."
Furthermore, those who have not yet read Friedman's The World Is Flat 3.0: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
- I don't think you can operate effectively in today's world without the framework outlined in that book.
- Friedman.

We need to increase our Edgility.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Forgetting Curve - Ignite by Jay Cross

In this Ignite presentation Jay Cross discusses the nature of time. One slide in particular resonated with me and my idea of Edgility. He discusses the Forgetting Curve - something that traps almost all of us due to the limits of our memory. Therefore, I believe that in order to increase our Edgility we need to think differently. We can only increase our ability to learn and innovate by getting better at retrieving information when we need it. Furthermore, we must go beyond simply relying on what is served to us via search engines like Google; everyone is seeing Google results. We must build our network so that we reach and leverage the edges to increase our ability to respond.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hagel's Manifesto for a new world - A call to the creative (everyone)

John Hagel, author of The Only Sustainable Edge: Why Business Strategy Depends on Productive Friction and Dynamic Specialization posted a "labor day manifesto for a new world" on his blog Edge Perspectives. I continue to follow John's work and he has significantly influenced my thinking and reaffirms the direction of my research.

Similar to other well-known thinkers (Florida) John describes a shift toward innovation work using the term passionate creatives to describe workers who will thrive in this new ecosystem.

At a very basic level, to be human is to be a passionate creative. That is what all of us were meant to be, even though many religions and political movements over the centuries have sought to channel or even deny this basic human need. We live in societies that, often with the best of intentions (and unfortunately occasionally with the worst of intentions), sought to socialize us into a very different mold. But many of those societies have been disintegrating over the past several decades as technology and public policy infrastructures challenge and undermine the foundations of those
He also suggests, like other well-known thinkers (Robinson), that our current institutions were designed for a different era - one defined for scalable efficiency (push system) to one driven by scalable peer learning (pull system). He writes,
This group of individuals today still faces enormous obstacles in pursuing its passions. While our infrastructures are transforming at a rapid pace, the institutions around us are increasingly at odds with these new infrastructures. Most of the institutions that we must deal with, whether they are schools, firms, non-profits or government bodies, emerged and were shaped in a previous era, driven by earlier technology infrastructures. These communication and transportation infrastructures rewarded scalable efficiency and we responded accordingly.

Passion in the workplace became highly suspect. Passionate people do not follow standardized scripts well, they are constantly seeking to improvise, challenge conventional wisdom and strike out on new and unexpected paths. ... These individuals also detest the organizational politics that pervade these institutions as many in the hierarchy begin to focus on hoarding and protecting limited resources. We quickly learn that our passions are viewed as deeply subversive, rather than as treasured assets.
He predicts with realistic optimism that this shift will be long and difficult but that it will free many from routine work. He continues,

Why will more and more people evolve into passionate creatives? Because we live in a world that is shifting inexorably from an obsession with efficiency to an obsession with learning. We have come to call this the Big Shift.
His manifesto is a call to passionate creatives - to work hard learn how to increase their ability to learn, be creative and let out their true innovative nature. It is a call to all passionate creatives to learn to increase their learning and innovative Edgility.

Many of us have suppressed our passions in an attempt to fit in and integrate ourselves into a world that expected stability, predictability and safety.... Our challenge is to re-discover and cultivate them, moving them from the margins into the center of our lives.
It is also a call to institutions to embrace this shift or continue to struggle with future budget and political instability.
Instead of pursuing scalable efficiency, institutions must learn how to pursue scalable peer learning. Said differently, institutions must find ways to make talent development the core rationale for their existence.
Thank you John Hagel for your perspetive and interesting insights.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blogs are important metacognition tools - Edgility

In this short video both Seth Godin (Best-Selling Author, Entrepreneur) and Tom Peters (Best-Selling Author, Management Visionary) discuss how important blogging has been for their metacognition and professional lives.

Godin explains that even if no one reads your blog "what matter is the humility that comes from writing it, what matters is the metacognition about thinking about what it is you are going to say." Peter's explains that, "no single thing in the last 15 years professionally has been more important to my life than blogging... it has changed my life, it has changed my perspective, it has change my intellectual outlook..." This short conversation supports my notion that by using tools like Blogger you become connected via the network (edge) and it increases your ability to think and respond - these Edgility tools increase your learning and innovating Edgility.

I want to thank Tony Karrer who writes a blog titled e-learning technology for posting about and directing me to this YouTube video.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Are your kids disarmed?

In this short video Henry Jenkins explains the problems associate with removing technology from our kids' schools and education. He comments that if we don't provide all kids with the opportunity to engage in learning via connections (technology mediated collaboration) and increase their learning agility we "lock them out," we create an opportunity gap and we leave them disarmed. Furthermore, he states that schools are bureaucracies and classrooms, for the most part, are designed around fixed relationships and standards. However, learning online is about the collective, it is about collaboration.

Schools must retool and give all kids opportunties to incease their learning and innovating Edgility.