Translating productivity lessons to “learn-ivity” lessons #EdTransformation

You see, the first wave of managers simply replaced their steam engines with electric motors, but they didn’t redesign the factories to take advantage of electricity’s flexibility. It fell to the next generation to invent new work processes, and then productivity soared, often doubling or even tripling in those factories.

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General purpose technologies drive most economic growth, because they unleash cascades of complementary innovations, like lightbulbs and, yes, factory redesign. Is there a general purpose technology of our era? Sure. It’s the computer. But technology alone is not enough. Technology is not destiny.We shape our destiny, and just as the earlier generations of managers needed to redesign their factories, we’re going to need to reinvent our organizations….

Erik Brynjolfsson: The key to growth? Race with the machines, #TED

An adjacent possibility and a prediction of some future history-book paragraphs…

“You see the first wave of educators simply replaced their lectures with flipped classrooms and notebooks with iPads (etc.), but they didn’t redesign the curriculum or schools to take advantage of what we know is critical for innovation, engagement, and internally-motivated purpose. It fell to the next generation to invent new school processes, and then engagement and learning soared, often doubling or even tripling in those schools.

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General purpose pedagogies drive most learning growth, because they unleash cascades of complementary innovations, like community-based challenges and integrated-discipline problem-solving. Is there a general purpose pedagogy of our era? Sure. It’s PBL. But PBL alone is not enough. PBL is not destiny.We shape our destiny, and just as the earlier generations of educators needed to redesign their schools, we’re going to need to reinvent our organizations….”

Empathy and Empowerment – critical “Es” of 21C learning and educational innovation

From Chris Thinnes (@CurtisCFEE) at Curtis School and the Center for the Future of Elementary Education:

We find it ironic – and we think the students do, as well – that for all the focus “the education system” receives in the national media, input from students is rarely ever sought. We wanted not merely to give ‘permission’ to students to talk about their shared experience, but to invite them openly to offer their input of how best to improve our schools and our system.

In two blog posts (here and here), Thinnes shares an incredible, transformative experience made possible through a partnership between sixth graders at Curtis School and Cortez Middle School. In the sharing, Thinnes offers a fabulous model and case study for inviting collaborative voice and awareness and action from students – to help empower them to be deeply involved in ways that education and schooling can innovate and reach higher trajectories.

When we see student learners as the core solutions seekers to issues – especially those in which they are primarily immersed – we not only stand better chances at successful transformation, but we also facilitate active citizenship that will likely prove essential to the continued enhancement of our national democracy and global opportunities.

Bravo sixth graders and faculty facilitators at Curtis School and Cortez Middle School!

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Also related: “School Innovation Teams – Start with Outrospection #WhatIfWeekly #StudentVoice”

Brain Food: Education @Unboundary #BrainFood

Like others, UNBOUNDARY sees education as one of the linchpin design challenges of our time. And like others, too, we’re drawn as if by a tractor beam to play a role.

That attraction, no doubt, is fueled by the parallels we see to our quarter century of helping some of the biggest and best-known enterprises in the world rethink and transform themselves.

We enter into this challenge with a declared bias: our belief that the transformation of education is interconnected to the transformations happening now in both corporations and the social innovation space…

This bias has shaped the structure and practices of Unboundary, which now has interdependent practice areas in corporate, social innovation, and education transformation.

We also enter this challenge offering Brain Food: a proven approach for shifting the din of idea-sharing into a useful design-thinking discussion.

Brain Food is curated provocation. It is both question and answer. It is both perspective and focus.

We welcome you to Volume One, Number One of Unboundary’s Education Brain Food. And we look forward to the discussion it opens among us.

Brain Food: Education, vol. 1, no. 1

Unboundary 7.0

This morning, at work, I was am a part of something very exciting. We are actively and purposefully transforming.

Cover of handout at Unboundary everyone meeting 10.9.12 9:30 a.m.

 

After almost twenty years as a professional educator based in a school, I am three months into a new venture as an educator at a transformation design firm named Unboundary. Well, technically, we are now “Unboundary 7.0.” We were Unboundary 6.5, and before I even knew of Unboundary we were Unboundary 6.0, but now we are Unboundary 7.0.

I’ve written about this version software nomenclature before. Here are two, sample posts that shed light on this methodology of being purposeful about changing, evolving, and improving as an organization.

Not too long ago, on a morning walk with Lucy (my dog), I re-listened to a podcast from Daniel Pink’s Office Hours. On the show, the guest explained that progress is achieved by a recipe of creativity + discipline. Interestingly, the guest shared that we actually have very little problem with creativity – we are humans and we are inherently creative. Where we struggle is with discipline. For a few years, I have felt drawn to Unboundary, partly because of the organization’s purposefulness about practicing the discipline of intentional transformation and continuous improvement (kaizen, in Japanese – a concept I write about often here).

Part of re-versioning ourselves is about developing a genuine clarity about who we are and what we do…

We are a strategic studio that enables organizations to transform.

 

We see transformation as purposefully designed change.

 

The need to transform can be triggered by several things – new leadership, a significant innovation, lackluster performance, or a competitive threat – but it always involves recognition of a new, greater possibility.

 

Enabling transformation is the best but often hardest work of leadership. It requires helping others to see, believe, understand and act on that greater possibility.

 

Through unique experiences helping some of the biggest and best known companies through significant periods of transformation, Unboundary has developed a unique combination of strategic thinking, communication design, and enablement workshops.

 

We’re a boutique-sized firm with well-developed methodologies but few rote processes. We work in a dedicated, immersive way with a handful of organizations, always focused on creating something significant.

 

What is our purpose?

 

Enabling organizations to act on what matters in important periods of transformation.

This is what my next chapter is all about. Education is indeed in an important period of transformation. With this team at Unboundary 7.0, and with our co-authors and partners, we will strategically design next possibilities for Education 3.0, which we believe is forming at a confluence of business, social innovation, and education.

Image in handout at Unboundary everyone meeting 10.9.12 9:30 a.m.

Such a confluence also locates where Unboundary sees ourselves…geo-transformationally. Perhaps that is something of the core that I love about these people and this place – we practice what we preach. Or, we transform ourselves to better teach. We learn by doing, and we do by learning.

Recently, Jonathan Martin asked me in an email to share more about what I do at work at Unboundary. What a fabulous suggestion and invitation. I plan to do more of that sharing and storytelling. Often we find our voice when we tell stories that feel important and intriguing. I believe I am a part of such a story.