Monthly Archives: March 2013

Elements of Innovation⤴


ResearchIng the literature on innovation it seems to me that it’s possible to break the innovation process into three fundamental elements:

1. Looking Differently

2. Making unexpected connections

3. Trying – Failing – Perfecting

 1. Looking Differently

The innovator steps outside the normal viewpoint and looks at a problem from a variety of perspectives, disciplines or fields of knowledge/practice.

2. Making unexpected connections

The innovator makes links between these various perspectives to create new solutions.

3. Trying – Failing – Perfecting

The innovator tests their idea, learns from the results, and modifies the solution until it consistently achieves the desired result.


After the ninth hour⤴

from @ blethers

Dead. That’s about it, really -
dead inside my head, dead
inside my heart as we lift the dead
weight of our friend who was more
than just our friend and take his
dead body to this raw tomb that
just happens to be waiting for him.
Was it all meant to work out
like this? What about the two
hanging, groaning, haranguing, 
praying? Praying in extremis.
Everyone does that. 

There is no feeling left
for a time like this. Only the 
raw hole where the emotion
raged and the terror flared
and burned all else to black
as the sky darkened
and the woman bustles
home and her thoughts 
turn to food and tasks
and children make their
demands that obliterate
all dialogue with self
and leave you safe
from this empty pain.

Leave the heavy weight 
of body and the weighty spice
to scent the darkness
till another day. 
Leave the dark sky
light a lamp
do not let the pictures
fill your head
the hammer blows
your inward ear
the dull thud of wood
in the hard ground.
No. It is finished.
But how, God, how
do we live now
in the world that is so changed?

©C.M.M. Good Friday ’13.

Help! Missing: trust in young people⤴

from @ Ewan McIntosh | Digital Media & Education

I'm currently attempting some "holiday" in France, but the downtime has had my brain whizzing with sights that are more or less unfamiliar, certainly not from the time when I lived here over a decade ago or from my wife's own upbringing.

One such thing is what you can observe in the photo I took in a book shop in a city centre mall. This was the third shop we'd been into where we observed the same pattern:

Children and teenagers, though never adults, would diligently and without having been told to, take their bags to the entrance and dump them in a pile before going about their shopping.

I remarked that in pretty much any other country, a) the bags would be stolen within minutes, or b) they'd be removed as a bomb threat, and almost certainly c) any young person asked on entering a store to leave their bag would cry foul, civil liberties and assumptions of innocent-until-caught-with-a-loot-of-school-supplies (this was a stationery and book shop; hardly the stuff of hardened crack heads or hungry desperadoes).

France is certainly struggling at the moment. Her economy is dying, her politicians panicking, her entrepreneurs leaving by their hundreds every week on the Eurostar.

But success might be more likely to appear some day soon if it can do one thing for the taxpayers, citizens and workers of tomorrow: trust them as equal citizens in a Republic built on liberté, égalité and fraternité.

Help! Missing: trust in young people

Innovation Leadership – so what’s that?⤴


Starting on the 1st August I will take up my position as Director of Innovation Leadership with Drummond International. But what does a Director of Innovation Leadership actually do?

Firstly, it’s important to place the role within the overall values and principles espoused by Norman Drummond throughout his long career.

At risk of simplifying Norman’s work it is fundamentally aimed at helping leaders to establish – for themselves –  a powerful and meaningful connection between their ‘heart’ and their ‘head’ in order to underpin their leadership behaviours, at both a personal and professional level, thereby leading to a more rewarding, effective and meaningful life.

Norman’s work is driven by a deep optimism in the human spirit, as demonstrated through one of his favourite quotations:

“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” John Buchan

With apologies to John Buchan our work in relation to innovation adopts a similar values based and optimistic perspective and could be paraphrased as follows:

“The task of leadership is not to put innovation into humanity, but to elicit it, for the capacity to innovate  is already there.”

Innovation Leadership has three elements which can be considered separately or in a more integrated manner depending on the requirements:

  1. Supporting Leaders to Innovate
  2. Creating space for Innovation
  3. Generating Innovation

Supporting Leaders to Innovate is geared towards helping Leaders to become more innovative themselves and to counter the barriers, fears and limiting cultures which may have reduced their confidence and capacity to innovate in their personal and professional lives.

Creating Space for Innovation focuses upon innovation within an organisation and assists the leaders, their teams and other members of the community to create the environment which encourages others to innovate, supports and enables the collaborative innovation process; and finally, develops ways in which to translate innovation into habitual and improved practice.

Generating Innovation is where the Innovation Leadership process is used as a catalyst to assist organisations or teams which are ‘stuck’ in order to generate new ideas which can then be translated into effective solutions to long-term, or intractable problems.





The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us⤴

from @ Laurie O'Donnell


I recently attended a discussion on Dan Pink’s wonderful book Drive hosted by Dundee Business School and the Deming Learning Network. It reminded me that I posted a few years ago on the great RSA animation that summarises this book

If you don’t have 10 minutes to spare to watch the RSA animation then Dan Pink’s 140 character Twitter summary will give you a flavour:

Carrots and sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st Century work we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.

Pink’s basic argument is that we live in an age where the tricks that were (and continue to be) used to motivate people to undertake routine tasks have limited efficacy and scope. They also are counterproductive when it comes to complex, non-routine work requiring initiative, creativity, vision and ethics. In the world of business people are all too often ‘compensated’ for their time, awarded  bonuses for meeting short-term performance targets (usually at the expense of any long-term success) and micromanaged on the basis that their judgement can’t be trusted. A model where employees are extrinsically motivated  ’resources’ rather than self-directed intrinsically motivated human beings.

Most schools and education systems are even worse than businesses as attainment targets narrow the focus of what counts as success.  It is as if we have learned nothing from the last 50 years of research into how to promote deep learning. As Dan Pink would argue we are still using the old carrots and sticks operating system of Motivation 2.0.

The ‘Motivation 3.0 approach that Pink argues for draws on research from across the social sciences. Over the years I have picked up some of the same influences, the positive psychology of Martin Seligman, for example, taught me that pessimism is the human being’s default setting and that you have to learn how to stay optimistic. Mihaly Csikszenthimhalyi concept of flow gave me insight into the conditions for optimal performance at work and play. Carol Dweck’s insights around mindset helped me to understand the psychological barriers to learning new things and the danger of having a fixed  perception of being either good or bad at anything

The body of evidence to support this new way of looking at the world is growing and for Pink takes the form an ‘operating system’ for a better way of living and working.  I am not all surprised by Pink’s argument. What really surprises me is that in 2013 his ideas, and the research that underpins them, have not already achieved the status of  common practice and good sense.

The post The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us appeared first on Laurie O'Donnell.

Schools of inquiry⤴

from @ Cat's eyes

Reblogged from bluyonder:

In March the NSW Government announced its blueprint for improving schooling.  The action plan includes raising entry requirements for teaching courses at universities and ensuring the quality of initial teacher education is regularly assessed.  This is a positive move.

Attracting the best and the brightest is something that all education systems desire. Yet attracting is one thing, retaining teachers is something else when we continue to operate as Richard Elmore says as a profession without a practice.

Read more… 681 more words

A very interesting commentary on teacher education from Greg Whitby. It seems to be consistent with much of what is recommended by Teaching Scotland's Future in terms of ITE, and it will be interesting to track the parallel developments across the hemispheres. In essence, some would say that the idea of a "mutual transformation agenda" was  at the centre of the Donaldson recommendation for new partnership arrangements between Scottish local authorities and teacher education institutions, but the carving up or sharing of responsibilities for this seem to be as yet unclear. There's no doubt about the increasing availability of outside "experts" ready to dispense their wisdom, and  greater autonomy at school level enables school leaders to tap into this resource, but Greg's point about collegiate working is a good one and it raises a further question of why would teachers consider themselves the best people to educate future teachers if they themselves are often rendered dependent on outside expertise for their own professional development? Schools of inquiry as the basis for TSF partnership agreements? Might be worth considering.

Leadership isn’t management⤴

from @

My gripe for today.


I cringe when I hear the phrase ‘distributed leadership’.

I fight back the rage building within me whenever I hear someone exchange the term ‘manager’ for the term ‘leader’.

Let me be clear about this – I love the concept of distributed leadership. The world would be a wonderful place if the people with the vision and passion were given the space to drive change. My gripe however is this – people seem to be using these two terms interchangeably.  ‘Leadership’ and ‘management’ are not the same thing, for one very simple reason: accountability.

Sure, ‘leadership’ is a quality we would hope ‘managers’ exhibit, and one would hope that any organisation would provide opportunities for staff to develop their skills both in terms of leadership and in terms of management, but they are not the same thing. You can be a leader because you have the vision and drive to make change happen. You are a manager because you are accountable. Leadership is a whole subject in it’s own right, but it’s also a really important subset of management.


Ignore the rest of management at your peril.

Wandering and Wondering⤴


I noticed the little phrase used in the title of this post in the digital booklet from Matt Redman‘s album 10,000 Reasons which I downloaded last night from Amazon.  The writer describes taking his camera out following snow (we have been getting a lot of that recently) and being captivated by the different scenes around where he lives.  As he walked and noticed the tiny flakes of snow to broad vistas he became more and more aware of all that was around him.  Now I am paraphrasing but hope that I am being honest to his intention. 

I have been waking very early this week.  As I have watched the daylight appear and the birds start to sing I am so aware that there are so many things we just don’t see in our busy day to day lives.  We have deadlines to meet, tasks to prioritise, people to see and places to go.  The little things get pushed to the side or excluded all together.

Whilst I remain guilty of this I am convinced that we spend too much time running from one thing to another.  As I write this I am very aware of huge pressure pressing down on me.  I have too much to do and not nearly enough time to do it all. 

We need to spend more time wandering and wondering.  I like that. 

April 2013 Desktop Wallpaper⤴


This close up image of a lilly was taken a number of years ago As we don’t appear to actually have many signs of life outside yet I thought the bright colour would brighten up my desktop. The desktop image was created with fd’s Flickr Toys

If you like the image then please feel free to download and use it yourself.

There are also widescreen and iphine versions below.