Friday, October 25, 2013

Early education reinvention

Can creativity be killed?  Can the status quo be institutionalized?  It seems that is what some of the thought leaders are proving… delightful, as well as showing what it takes to move past it.

The latest article in Wired, "How a radical new teaching method could unleash a generation of geniuses" highlights.

"Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College who studies children’s natural ways of learning, argues that human cognitive machinery is fundamentally incompatible with conventional schooling. Gray points out that young children, motivated by curiosity and playfulness, teach themselves a tremendous amount about the world. And yet when they reach school age, we supplant that innate drive to learn with an imposed curriculum. “We’re teaching the child that his questions don’t matter, that what matters are the questions of the curriculum. That’s just not the way natural selection designed us to learn. It designed us to solve problems and figure things out that are part of our real lives.”"

The story in the article of a teacher in the slums of a border town (to USA) transforming the capabilities of his students is a real world example of what is possible.  Note in the article that the status quo is unable to accept this transformation.  Read the complete article here.

See Mr. Sugata Mitra's Ted talk "Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud" below to hear one of the leaders leading the above change across the world.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Working hours versus productivity

A picture is worth a thousand words... perhaps more!

From The Economist here.

The above may be correct for corporations, in my experience in the entrepreneurial world the above curve is inverted.  But then "burn out" is a common occurrence as well.

UPDATE: I was asked given that I have created and led smaller companies and also been in multinational, why the curve does not apply to entrepreneurial or smaller ventures?

The answer is quite simple: Entrepreneurs work on what they love, can't stop thinking about, and want to make sure it is successful.  Same does not hold true in a multinational.  In larger corporations, mostly the work is assigned, loving what you do is not necessarily true, yet most of all, the creative mind is caught in the proxy battles.

What is a proxy battle?  A proxy battle is one where the executive layer of the company is vying and fighting for the top spot.  That creates a war, which disseminates down the hierarchical chain turning in proxy battles between the various organizations.

Generational characteristics

From The Economist here.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Entrepreneurs - break your bad

"A Harvard MBA will set you back $90,000 (plus two years’ lost income). You can buy a deluxe edition of all five seasons of “Breaking Bad”, complete with a plastic money barrel, for $209.99, or a regular edition for less than $80."

I had to pay attention when Schumpeter in the latest Economist called the television series "Breaking Bad" - "... one of the best studies available of the dynamics of modern business."

Using "Breaking Bad", Schumpeter highlights why successful entrepreneurs are able to turn insights, ideas, way of looking at the world in a contrarian way, into businesses:
  • Huge ambition.
  • Product obsession.
  • Partnerships and alliances.
Sounds like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the like!

So, what is the draw back: Hubris - "An impressive volume of social-science studies suggests that leaders are more willing to break the rules than followers. There is no shortage of corporate examples, from Enron to Olympus, to illustrate this."  Fortunately, or unfortunately, this is human nature, and it will not change.  Of course, exceptions are there to prove the rule.

Enjoy the complete article here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gensler surveys design in work space

One of the design and architecture companies I follow is Gensler.  Most of their work shows that they comprehend the user and the consumer of the space well.  See Gensler here.

Mr. Gerald Gehm, Managing Director, Gensler, forwarded the this work space survey to me "2013 U.S. Workplace Survey; Key Findings."  Worth reading!

I took the liberty of pulling the following visual from one of Gensler's publications.  It describes the "work modes" an office worker lives.  Key is focus versus what has become the goal of work spaces i.e., collaboration.

See my previous blog "Design in work space" here; see my blogs on design in general here.