How Serious Are We About Learning?

When journalist and book author Daniel Pink tweeted the above image the other day it provoked thinking about what real

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Disruption by Design

If we are to expect that the fields most connected to social action and the promotion of wellbeing are to contribute to our betterment in the future, they need to change. Disruptive design for programs, services and the ways we fund such things is what is necessary if these fields are to have benefit beyond themselves. Long past are the days when doing good was something that belonged to those with a title (e.g., doctor, health promoter, social worker) or that what we called ourselves (e.g., teacher) meant we did something else unequivocally (e.g., educate). Now we are all teachers, all health promoters, all designers, and all entrepreneurs if we want to be. Some will be better than others and some will be more effective than others, but by disrupting these ideas we can design a better future.

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Thinking Developmentally About Social Issues

Thinking developmentally means attenuating oneself to nuance, punctuated learning, ongoing feedback, and inconsistent behaviour. I don’t blame people for wanting to impose a simple cause-and-effect narrative on the world, but doing so doesn’t mean its useful. As I’ve argued elsewhere, unless we consider changing our thinking we may continue to spend time devising ways to do what systems thinker and management leader Russell Ackoff called “the wrong things, righter”.

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Asking if Technology Can Reinvent Education is the Wrong Question

Technology may aid in our strategy development, implementation of certain tactics for teaching, but it will not provide the grist for improving the social component of learning. Just as Facebook friends are (mostly) extensions of the friendships we create in everyday life without technology, so is learning. Technology is an aid, not the purpose and thus, focusing on the aids as the means for reinvention sidesteps whether we’re educating effectively in the first place and risks us doing what Russell Ackoff calls doing the wrongs righter.

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Storytelling, Sense-making, and Systems Thinking

I teach a class in systems thinking perspectives on public health. This past week we discussed the role of narratives and storytelling as ways to learn about systems and how to organize diverse information and make sense of that. All stories are fiction, but for systems thinkers, some stories are useful.

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