November 26, 2001

See table below. Culture Red

See table below.
























































Culture Red Blue Green Yellow White
United States Danger Masculinity Safety Cowardice Purity
France Aristocracy Freedom/Peace Criminality Temporary Neutrality
Egypt Death Virtue/Faith/

Truth
Fertility/

Strength
Happiness/

Prosperity
Joy
India Life/Creativity   Prosperity/

Fertility
Success Death/Purity
Japan Anger/Danger Villainy Future/Youth/

Energy
Grace/

Nobility
Death
China Happiness Heavens/Clouds Ming Dynasty/

Heavens/Clouds
Birth/Wealth/

Power
Death/Purity

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 17, 2001

MSI – Time Exhibit Gallery


MSI – Time Exhibit Gallery

Posted by Jay Cross at 07:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 13, 2001

Organizing Genius The Secrets


Organizing Genius

The Secrets of Creative Collaboration
by Warren Bennis and Patricia Ward Biederman

“The End of the Great Man.” We have lived in a by-line culture where recognition and status are accorded to individuals, not groups. But even as the lone hero continues to gallop through our imaginations, shattering obstacles with silver bullets, leaping tall buildings in a single bound, we know there is an alternate reality. Thought history, groups of people often without conscious design, have successfully blended individual and collective effort to create something new and wonderful. The Bauhaus school, the Manhattan Project…

Gifted individuals working alone may waste years pursuing a sterile line of inquiry or become so enamored of the creative process that they produce little or nothing. A Great Group can be a goad, a check, a sounding board, and a source of inspiration, support, and even love.

The controversial aspect of Organizing Genius is the authors’ decision to look only to great groups. Why not look at normal groups? They say they looked at only hard-charging groups whose fervor yielded famous results because “excellence is a better teacher than is mediocrity.” The reader must decide whether the lessons from groups “carried out by people with fire in their eyes” apply to groups whose members lead more balanced lives. Take-Home Lessons

Most of us have experienced the terrible frustration of being part of a group that had the potential for greatness but never quite gelled. The geometrical surge in ideas and energy that happens in Great Groups never took place, even though the talent was there, the drive was there, and the project seemed full of promise. Looking back at these stillborn opportunities, you experience a shudder of sadness and inevitably ask yourself, “What went wrong?”

Greatness starts with superb people.

Every Great Group has a strong leader. This is one of the paradoxes of creative collaboration. Great Groups are made up of people with rare gifts working together as equals. Yet in virtually every one there is one person who acts as maestro, organizing the genius of the others. He or she is a pragmatic dreamer, a person with an original but attainable vision. Ironically, the leader is able to realize his or her dream only if others are free to do exceptional work.

Many Great Groups have a dual administration. They have a visionary leader, and they have someone who protects them from the outside world, the “suits.”

Great Groups think they are on a mission from God. This is not a job. This is a mission, carried out by people with fire in their eyes.

Every Great Group is an island—but an island with a bridge to the mainland.

Great Groups see themselves as winning underdogs.

In Great Groups, the right person has the right job.

Great Groups ship. Successful collaborations are dreams with deadlines.

Great work is its own reward. Great Groups engage in solving hard, meaningful problems.

Reflection on Jay’s learning about Great Groups

The Meta-Learning Lab is in the formative stages. I’m committed to making it successful so I figured it would be useful to look ahead and figure out what we need to do.

Reviews of Warren Bennis’s Organizing Genius suggested it told what had worked for others. Yesterday I read the introduction, first chapter, and last chapter of the book, highlighting passages that grabbed me as I read. I was familiar with a number of the examples the book cites: PARC, the Mac, the Skunk Works, the 1992 Clinton campaign, and the Manhattan Project, so I didn’t feel guilty cutting to the chase. Next I read reviews and critiques of the book on Amazon and elsewhere on the net. I slept on this and then transcribed the highlighted passages that still seemed relevant.

Time invested: two or three hours. Evaluation: worthwhile. Conclusion: A good touchstone for thinking about Meta-Learning Lab’s organizational issues.

Posted by Jay Cross at 11:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 11, 2001

The Knowing/Doing Gap by Jeffrey

The Knowing/Doing Gap

by Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton

"Did you ever wonder why so much education and training, management consultation, organizational research and so many books and articles produce so few changes in actual management practice?" ask Stanford University professors Pfeffer and Sutton. "We wondered, too, and so we embarked on a quest to explore one of the great mysteries in organizational management: why knowledge of what needs to be done frequently fails to result in action or behavior consistent with that knowledge."

Why do some organizations know what to do but don't do it?
(1) TALK substitutes for ACTION - making presentation instead of doing the actual stuff!
(2) MEMORY is a substitute for ACTION - limited by one's own thought and could not make a leap forward by implementing.
(3) FEAR prevents ACTING ON KNOWLEDGE - Yes! This is what bothers me for years!
(4) MEASUREMENT obstruct GOOD JUDGMENT
(5) Internal Competition turns FRIENDS into ENEMY.

"Unfortunately, using complex language and ambiguous terminology confuses people and inhibits action. One organization we studied gave employees laptop computers to provide them access to e-mail and the Internet, but describe this as a transformation to a virtual organization. This jargon confused people ... resulted in weeks of spreading rumors (e.g. our office is closing ...)"

Center for Workforce Development: "Most workplace learning goes on unbudgeted, unplanned, and uncaptured by the organization.... Up to 70 percent of workplace learning is informal."

Evaluations can be based on how well someone performs...or how smart the person seems. How smart they seem is often the only data at hand. Smart talk becomes confused with good performance.

Teresa Amabile notes, "Only pessimism sounds profound. Optimism sounds superficial." But at the end of the day, something still needs to get done.

A simple principle was applied in firms in which the measurement systems helped--rather than undermined--the ability to turn knowledge into action. Such firms measured things that were core to their culture.and values and intimately tied to their basic business model and strategy, and used these measures to make business processes visible to all employees.

What does affect performance, if it isn't competition? THere is a large body of research showing the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy, also called the Pygmalion effect, on performance. Independently of skill, intelligence, or even past performance, when teachers believe that their students will perform well, they do. Independently of other factors, when leaders believe their subordinates wil perform well, these positive expectations lead to better performance.

Guidelines for action:

Why before how. It's a process, it's not an answer. The successful organizations in the book begin not with specific techniques or practices but rather with some basic principles--a philosophy or set of guidelines about how they will operate.

Knowing comes from doing and teaching others how. In a world of conceptual frameworks, fancy graphics presentations, and, in general, lots of words, there is much too little appreciation for the power, and indeed the necessity, of not just talking and thinking but of doing--and this includes explaining and teaching--as a way of knowing.

Fear fosters knowing/doing gaps, so drive fear out. Christensen: "What companies need is a forgiveness framework, and not a failure framework, to encourage risk taking and empower employees to be thinking leaders rather than passive executives."

Posted by Jay Cross at 05:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 10, 2001

CLOCK, n. A machine of

CLOCK, n. A machine of great moral value to man, allaying his concern
for the future by reminding him what a lot of time remains to him.

--Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), "The Devil's Dictionary," 1911

Posted by Jay Cross at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 09, 2001

Systems Design of Education by

Systems Design of Education by Bela Banathy

UCB Ed/Psych Library LB 2805 B264 1991

Improvement or transformation?

To ask larger questions is to risk getting things wrong. Not to ask them at all is to constrain the life of understanding. Geo. Skinner

This is a solid yet entertaining book. Highly influential in shaping school reform. Unfortunately, it's due back at the library and I've read but 67 pages.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:37 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Tree of Knowledge by

The Tree of Knowledge by Mumberto Maturana and Francisco J. Varela

All cognitive experience involves the knower in a personal way, rooted in his biological structure. THere, his experience of certainty is an individual phenomenon blind to the cognitive acts of tohers, in a solitude which, as we shall see, is transcended only in a world created with those others.

Nothing we are going to say will be understood in a really effective way unless the reader feels personally involved and has a direct experience that goes beyond all mere description.

This special situation of knowing how we know is traditionally elusive for our Western cluture. We are keyed to action and not to reflection, so that our personal life is generally blind to itself. It is as though a taboo tells us: "It is forbidden to know about knowing." Actually, not knowing what makes up our world of experience, which is the closest world to us, is a crying shame. There are many things to be ashamed about in the world, but this ignorance is one of the worst.

Now, if the reader has followed seriously what was said in these pages, he will be impelled to look at everything he does --- smelling, seeing, building, preferring, rejecting, conversing -- as a world brought forth in coexistence with other people....

We must walk on the razor's edge, eschewing the extremes of representationalism (objectivism) and solipsism (idealism). Our purpose in this book has been to find a via media: to understand the regularity of the world we are experiencing at every moment, but without any point of reference independent of ourselves that would give certainty to our descriptions and cognitive assumptions. Indded, the whole mechanism of generationg ourselves as describers and observers tells us that our world, as the world which we bring forth in our coexistence with others, will always have precisely that mixture or regularity and mutability, that combination of solidty and shifting sand, so typical of human experience when we look at it up close.

We are continusously immersed in this network of interractions, the results of which depend on history. Effective action leads to effective action: it is the cognitive circle that characterizes our becoming, as an experession of our manner of being autonomous living systems.

We have only the world that we bring forth with others, and only love helps us bring it forth.

We affirm that at the core of all the troubles we face today is our very ignorance of knowing. It is not knwoledge, but the knowledge of knowledge, that compels.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The Tree of Knowledge by

The Tree of Knowledge by Humberto Maturana and Francisco J. Varela


All cognitive experience involves the knower in a personal way, rooted in his biological structure. THere, his experience of certainty is an individual phenomenon blind to the cognitive acts of tohers, in a solitude which, as we shall see, is transcended only in a world created with those others.

Nothing we are going to say will be understood in a really effective way unless the reader feels personally involved and has a direct experience that goes beyond all mere description.

This special situation of knowing how we know is traditionally elusive for our Western cluture. We are keyed to action and not to reflection, so that our personal life is generally blind to itself. It is as though a taboo tells us: "It is forbidden to know about knowing." Actually, not knowing what makes up our world of experience, which is the closest world to us, is a crying shame. There are many things to be ashamed about in the world, but this ignorance is one of the worst.

Now, if the reader has followed seriously what was said in these pages, he will be impelled to look at everything he does --- smelling, seeing, building, preferring, rejecting, conversing -- as a world brought forth in coexistence with other people....

We must walk on the razor's edge, eschewing the extremes of representationalism (objectivism) and solipsism (idealism). Our purpose in this book has been to find a via media: to understand the regularity of the world we are experiencing at every moment, but without any point of reference independent of ourselves that would give certainty to our descriptions and cognitive assumptions. Indded, the whole mechanism of generationg ourselves as describers and observers tells us that our world, as the world which we bring forth in our coexistence with others, will always have precisely that mixture or regularity and mutability, that combination of solidty and shifting sand, so typical of human experience when we look at it up close.

We are continusously immersed in this network of interractions, the results of which depend on history. Effective action leads to effective action: it is the cognitive circle that characterizes our becoming, as an experession of our manner of being autonomous living systems.

We have only the world that we bring forth with others, and only love helps us bring it forth.

We affirm that at the core of all the troubles we face today is our very ignorance of knowing. It is not knwoledge, but the knowledge of knowledge, that compels.

Posted by Jay Cross at 12:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 02, 2001

Posted by Jay Cross at 08:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 01, 2001

Allison Rossett’s Beyond the Podium

Allison Rossett’s Beyond the Podium

This is a little like reading Don Norman. Yes, we agree, no problem, nothing new here for me. I did learn some things: Ruth Clark’s schema and the ARCS model.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

George Leonard's Education and Ecstacy

George Leonard's Education and Ecstacy

I haven't finished this one but I'm going to remove it from the top of the stack. George's message has largely filtered down to me through other sources.

Notes on George Leonard’s Education and Ecstasy

Leonard wrote this book in 1968, yet its stinging criticism of the practice of schools fits today’s situation 33 years later, a demonstration of how hard it is to change something as ingrained as education.

“It is as cruel to bore a child as to beat him.”

Learning eventually involves interaction between learner and environment, and its effectiveness relates to the frequency, quality, variety and intensity of the interaction.

A visitor from another planet might conclude that our schools are hell-bent on creating—in a society that offers leisure and demands creativity—a generation of joyless drudges.

Ways can be worked out to help average students learn whatever is needed of present-day subject matter in a third or less of the present time, pleasurably rather than painfully, with almost certain success. Better yet, the whole superstructure of rational-symbolic knowledge can be rearranged so that these aspects of life’s possibilities can be perceived and learned as unity and diversity within change rather than fragmentation within an illusory permanence.

Ways can be worked out to provide a new apprenticeship for living, appropriate to a technological age of constant change.

Ways can be worked out so that almost every day will be a “teachable day,” so that almost every educator can share with his students the inspired moments of learning now enjoyed by only the most rare and remarkable.

To learn is to change. Education is a process that changes the learner.

Education is, at best, ecstatic.

THE HUMAN POTENTIAL
Neurologists, psychologists, educators, philosophers, and others agree that people now are using less than ten percent of their potential abilities; some put the figure at less than one percent.

Posted by Jay Cross at 09:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Don Norman’s Things That Make

Don Norman’s Things That Make Us Smart: Defending Human Attributes in the Age of the Machine

Two forms of cognition: experiential and reflective

Reflection is greatly aided by systematic procedures and methods, and these are learned primarily by being taught. Alas, our educational system is more and more trapped in an experiential mode: the brilliant inspired lecturer, the prevalence of prepackaged films and videos to engage the student, the textbooks that follow a predetermined sequence. We strive to keep our students engaged in our schools by entertaining them. This is not the road toward reflection.

The skill of an expert is that of experiential cognition. The experiential mode seduces the participant into confusing action for thought. One can have new experiences in this manner, but not new ideas, new concepts, advances in human understanding: For these, we need the effort of reflection.

Vicarious experiences can be entertaining but they cannot substitute for active participation.

Three ways of learning:
1.Accretion: accumulating facts
2.Tuning: practice (maybe 5000+ hours)
3.Restructuring: the heavy lifting of reflection

“It is remarkable how little scientific knowledge we have about motivation, enjoyment, and satisfaction.”

There’s no reason for study to be solitary.

Cognitive artifacts are representations, internal or external, of sounds, ideas, concepts, and objects that are not the thing itself.

Stories are marvelous means of summarizing experiences, of capturing an event and the surrounding context that seems essential. Stories are important cognitive events, for they encapsulate, into one compact package, information, knowledge, context, and emotion. Roger Schank points out that our stories not only explain things to others, they explain things to us.

Logic is artificial. It assumes a certainty to the world. Ah, if only the world were like logic, clear and precise, with no sloppiness or indeterminate states. But it isn’t. And in its attempt to abstract the relevant from the irrelevant, logic oversimplifies to the extreme.

Ad for the Wooton patent desk, 1880. “With this desk a man absolutely has no excuse for slovenly habits in the disposal of his numerous papers, and the man of method may here realize that pleasure and comfort which is only to be attained in the verification of the maxim: a place for everything and everything in its place. The operator having arranged and classified his books, papers, etc., seats himself for business at the writing table and realizes at once that he is master of the situation. Every portion of his desk is accessible without change of position and all immediately before the eye. Here he discovers that perfect system and order can be attained; confusion avoided; time saved and vexation spared; dispatch in the transaction of business facilitated and peace of mind promoted in the daily routine of business.” (It didn’t work but the desks go for $35,000 to $250,000 on the antique market.)

People Propose, Science Studies, Technology Conforms

Posted by Jay Cross at 08:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack