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Jonathan Mooney: "The Gift: LD/ADHD Reframed" - YouTube
"The University of Oregon Accessible Education Center and AccessABILITY Student Union present renowned speaker, neuro-diversity activist and author Jonathan Mooney.

Mooney vividly, humorously and passionately brings to life the world of neuro-diversity: the research behind it, the people who live in it and the lessons it has for all of us who care about the future of education. Jonathan explains the latest theories and provides concrete examples of how to prepare students and implement frameworks that best support their academic and professional pursuits. He blends research and human interest stories with concrete tips that parents, students, teachers and administrators can follow to transform learning environments and create a world that truly celebrates cognitive diversity."
neurodiversity  2012  jonathanmooney  adhd  cognition  cognitivediversity  sfsh  accessibility  learning  education  differences  howwelearn  disability  difference  specialeducation  highered  highereducation  dyslexia  droputs  literacy  intelligence  motivation  behavior  compliance  stillness  norms  shame  brain  success  reading  multiliteracies  genius  smartness  eq  emotions  relationships  tracking  maryannewolf  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  punishment  rewards  psychology  work  labor  kids  children  schools  agency  brokenness  fixingpeople  unschooling  deschooling  strengths  strengths-basedoutlook  assets  deficits  identity  learningdisabilities  schooling  generalists  specialists  howardgardner  howweteach  teams  technology  support  networks  inclusivity  diversity  accommodations  normal  average  standardization  standards  dsm  disabilities  bodies  body 
november 2017 by robertogreco
Books that have shaped our thinking – Nava PBC
"Recommended reads related to civic tech, health, government, behavioral science, design and engineering

At Nava we have a living Google Doc where we link to books that help us understand the systems and architecture we use. The intention of this document is to form a baseline of readings that new employees will need and to share with other employees good resources for being productive.

Below are some of our favorites from that list:

Sorting Things Out: Classification and its Consequences
by Susan Leigh Star and Geoffrey C. Bowker
This covers, in great detail, the astounding ways that the models we make for the world end up influencing how we interact with it. This is incredibly relevant to our work: the data models we define and the way we classify and interpret data have profound and often invisible impacts on large populations. — Sha Hwang, Co-founder and Head of Creative

Decoded
by Jay Z
Decoded is Jay Z’s autobiography and describes his experience as a black man growing up in an impoverished neighborhood in NYC. In particular, there is a passage about poor people’s relationship to the government that changed the way I think about the perception of those government services that I work to improve. This book showed me that the folks we usually want to serve most well in government, are the ones who are most likely to have had profoundly negative experiences with government. It taught me that, when I work on government services, I am rebuilding a relationship, not starting a new one. Context is so important. It’s a fun, fast read and I used to ask that our Apprentices read at least that passage, if not the whole book, before starting with our team at the NYC Mayor’s Office. — Genevieve Gaudet, Designer

Seeing like a State
by James C. Scott
A reminder that the governance of people at scale can have unintended consequences when removed from people’s daily lives and needs. You won’t think of the grid, property lines, and last names the same way again.— Shelly Ni, Designer

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain
Cain uses data and real world examples of how and why introverts are overlooked in American culture and then discusses how both introverts and extroverts can play a role in ensuring introverts get a seat at the table and a word in the conversation. — Aimee Barciauskas, Software Engineer

Capital in the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas Piketty
This book analyzes the long-term fluctuations in wealth inequality across the globe, from the eighteenth century to present. He exposes an incredibly important issue in a compelling way, using references not just to data, but to history and literature to prove his point. — Mari Miyachi, Software Engineer

Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson III
by Robert A. Caro
Our most underhanded president also brought us Medicaid, Medicare, and civil rights. Was Machiavelli so bad after all? — Alex Prokop, Software Engineer

Praying for Sheetrock
by Melissa Fay Greene
A true, close-up story of McIntosh County, Georgia, a place left behind by the greater Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. This is a story about the civil rights movement that shakes up the community in the 1970s, and this is also a story about burnout, and organizing, and intergenerational trauma. — Shelly Ni, Designer

The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care
by T. R. Reid
Reid explores different models for healthcare in nations across the globe. He’s searching for an understanding of why America’s system is comparatively so expensive and unsuccessful, leaving so many uninsured and unhealthy. There is a great chapter on Ayurvedic medicine which (spoiler alert) seemed to work for the author when he was suffering from a shoulder injury! — Aimee Barciauskas, Software Engineer

Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration
by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
A very enjoyable and inspirational read about the history of Pixar from founder Ed Catmull himself. It delves into what sets a creative company apart and teaches lessons like “people are more important than ideas” and “simple answers are seductive” without reading like a typical business book.— Lauren Peterson, Product Manager

Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
The magnum opus of Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman is a psychologist but his Nobel is in Economics, and unlike other winners in this category, his win stands the test of time. You will be a much better decision maker after reading this book and understanding the two modes our brains work in: System 1 intuitive “fast” thinking and System 2 deliberate “slow” thinking. It is a beast of a book, but unlike the vast majority of (pop) psychology books, this book distills decades of groundbreaking research and is the basis for so many other psychology books and research that if you read this book carefully, you won’t have to read those other books. There are so many topics in this book, I’ll just link to the Wikipedia page to give you a flavor.— Alicia Liu, Software Engineer

Nudge
by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein
This covers how sensible “choice architecture” can improve the decisions and behavior of people. Much of what’s covered comes from decades of research in behavioral science and economics, and has a wide range of applications — from design, user research, and policy to business and everyday life. — Sawyer Hollenshead, Designer

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
by Atul Gawande
This book is about how checklists can help even experts avoid mistakes. Experience isn’t enough. I try to apply the lessons of this book to the processes we use to operate our software.—Evan Kroske, Software Engineer

The Soul of a New Machine
by Tracy Kidder
This book details the work of a computer engineering team racing to design a computer. While the pace of work for the team is certainly unsustainable and perhaps even unhealthy at times, the highs and lows they go through as they debug their new minicomputer will be familiar to engineers and members of tight-knit groups of all varieties. The rush to finish their project, which was thought to be a dark horse at the beginning of the book, is enthralling and will keep you engaged with this book late into the night. — Samuel Keller, Software Engineer

Release It!: Design and Deploy Production-Ready Software
by Michael T. Nygard
One of the best, most practical books I’ve ever read about creating resilient software on “modern” web architectures. While it may not be the most relevant with regards to cloud-based infrastructure, the patterns and processes described within are still very applicable. This is one of the few technical books I have read cover-to-cover. — Scott Smith, Software Engineer

Design for Democracy
by Marcia Lausen
From an AIGA project to improve the design of ballots— both paper and electronic— following the “hanging chad” drama of the 2000 election, comes this review of best practices for designers, election officials, and anyone interested in the intersection of design and voting.—Shelly Ni, Designer

The Design of Everyday Things
by Donald A. Norman
This is a classic for learning about design and its sometimes unintended consequences. I read it years ago and I still think about it every time I’m in an elevator. It’s a great introduction to a designer’s responsibility and designing in the real world for actual humans, who can make mistakes and surprising choices about how to use the designs you create. — Genevieve Gaudet, Designer

More recommendations from the team
• The Unexotic Underclass
• Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice
• Everybody Hurts: Content for Kindness
• Poverty Interrupted: Applying Behavioral Science to the Context of Chronic Scarcity [PDF]
• Designing for Social Change: Strategies for Community-Based Graphic Design
• Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels
• The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on their Craft
• The Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands Made High Art out of Desperate Times
• The Effective Engineer: How to Leverage Your Efforts In Software Engineering to Make a Disproportionate and Meaningful Impact
• Effective DevOps: Building a Culture of Collaboration, Affinity, and Tooling at Scale"
nava  books  booklists  design  education  health  healthcare  sawyerhollenshed  jayz  susanleighstar  shahwang  geoffreybowker  decoded  jamescscott  seeinglikeastate  susancain  introverts  quiet  thomaspiketty  economics  melissafaygreene  civilrrights  socialjustice  creativity  edcatmull  amyallace  pixar  teams  readinglists  toread  howwethink  thinking  danielkahneman  government  richardthaler  casssunstein  atulgawande  tracykidder  medicine  checklists  process  michaelnygard  software  ui  ux  democracy  donalnorman  devops  improvisation  collaboration  sfsh  journalism  kindness  socialchange  transparency  participation  participatory  opengovernment  open 
may 2017 by robertogreco
4 years "real" — Funomena
"two very different games that each aim to express the same core messages about community, empathy, and the ultimate value of every person on this planet."



"Making games is a process of creative discovery - embracing the unknown. With each challenge, we have learned new ways to collaborate, to face uncertainty and most importantly to accept our own mistakes and failures as a part of the learning process that makes each of us better colleagues and creatives."



"Most importantly, the process of making art together helps us grow as individuals, capable of dealing with the ups and downs that naturally emerge while solving difficult problems, together, as a team."
funomena  robinhunicke  teams  collaboration  2017  discovery  creativity  empathy  games  gaming  videogames  problemsolving  community  personhood  uncertainty  mistakes  process  howwelearn  learning 
april 2017 by robertogreco
After years of intensive analysis, Google discovers the key to good teamwork is being nice — Quartz
[via: https://workfutures.io/message-ansel-on-overwork-jenkin-on-the-workplace-cortese-on-stocksy-mohdin-on-project-3cb6502c79a8 ]

"Google’s data-driven approach ended up highlighting what leaders in the business world have known for a while; the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all members should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how a team’s members interact with one another.

The findings echo Stephen Covey’s influential 1989 book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Members of productive teams take the effort to understand each other, find a way to relate to each other, and then try to make themselves understood."
2016  google  work  niceness  kindness  labor  teams  howwework  commonsense  understanding  administration  leadership  management  sfsh  conversation  productivity  projectaristotle 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Rule of Three and other ideas
"and other handy thoughts: so many folks have asked me for a "quick start" set of rules for the design of 3rd Millennium learning spaces...
... this Rule of Three section and some of the other ideas here (see top of this page), have all been well received in conferences, seminars and most importantly adopted / shared with success by practitioners. These are proven, working ideas, so I thought it was time to park some of them on a web page:

***

rule of three - physical

I guess rule one is really that there is no absolutely right way to make learning better - schools are all different, their communities, contexts vary and as I have often observed on a windy day they become different places again. So you build your local recipe for great learning from the trusted and tested ingredients of others, adding a bit of local flair too. But this rule of three helps:

one: never more than three walls

two: no fewer than three points of focus

three: always able to accommodate at least three teachers, three activities (for the larger spaces three full "classes" too)

make no mistake - this is not a plea for those ghastly open plan spaces of the 1960s with their thermoplastic floors under high alumina concrete beams - with the consequent cacophony that deafened their teachers. Today's third millennium learning spaces are multi-faceted, agile (and thus easily re-configured by users as they use them), but allow all effective teaching and learning approaches, now and in the future, to be incorporated: collaborative work, mentoring, one-on-one, quiet reading, presentation, large group team taught groups... and more.

***

rule of three - pedagogic

one: ask three then me

A simple way to encourage peer support, especially in a larger mixed age, stage not age space, but it even works fine in a small 'traditional" closed single class classroom. Put simply the students should ask 3 of their peers before approaching the teacher for help. I've watched, amused in classes where a student approaches the teacher who simply holds up 3 fingers, with a quizzical expression and the student paused, turned and looked for help for her peers first. Works on so many levels...

two: three heads are better than one

Everyone engaging in team teaching reports that, once you get over the trust-wall of being confident that your colleagues will do their bit (see Superclasses) the experience of working with others, the professional gains, and the reduction in workloads are real and worthwhile. You really do learn rapidly from other teachers, the children's behaviour defaults to the expectations of the teacher in the room with the highest expectations, and so on. Remarkably schools especially report on the rapid progress of newly qualified teachers who move forward so quickly that people forget they are still NQTs. And older teachers at career end become rejuvenated by a heady mix of new ideas and of self esteem as they see that their "teaching craft" skills are valued and valuable.

three: three periods a day or fewer

Particularly in 2ndary schools a fragmented timetable of 5 or 6 lessons a day wastes so much time stopping and starting. Children arrive and spend, say, 3 minutes getting unpacked, briefed and started, then end 2 minutes before the "bell" and have 5 minutes travelling time between classes. On a 5 period day that is (3+2+5) x 5 = 50 minutes "lost" each day, 50 x 5 = 250 lost each week, which is effectively throwing away a day a week. Longer blocks, immersion can be solid blocks of a day of more, some schools even adopt a week, gets students truly engaged - and serves as a clear barrier to Dick Turpin teaching ("Stand and Deliver!") - which simply cannot be sustained for long blocks of time - thank goodness. This doesn't mean that the occasional "rapid fire" day (a bit like pedagogic Speed Dating!) can't be used to add variety. But longer blocks of time work better mainly.

***

rule of three - BYOD / UMOD

some schools adopting Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or more recently Use My Own Device (UMOD - somehow, bringing them wasn't enough!) initially adopted really comprehensive "acceptable use policies" - bulging folders of policy that were neither understood nor adhered too (see for example the "sacrificial phones" mention under "What young people say" in the 2011 Nominet funded Cloudlearn research project).

Today though (2015) schools around the world, from Scandinavia to Australasia, are simpifying all this by three simple rules.

one: phones out, on the desk, screen up

Not everyone has a "desk" anymore of course, but the point here is that a device hidden under a work surface is more likely to be a problem than one on the worksurface, screen up. This makes it quick and easy to use, where appropriate, and simple to monitor by teachers or peers.

two: if you bring it, be prepared to share sometimes

This is more complex that it looks. Obviously handing your phone or tablet over to just anyone isn't going to happen, but the expectation that friends, or project collaborators, might simply pick up "your" device and chat to Siri, Google for resources, or whatever, means that bullying, inappropriate texts / images, or general misdemeanours are always likely to be discovered. Transparency is your friend here, secrecy masks mischief - and the expectation of occasional sharing is transparency enough. It also helps students develop simply safety / security habits - like logging out of social media to prevent Frapping or similar.

three: if you bring it, the school might notice and respond positively

If you've brought your own device along, the least you might expect is that the school gives you useful things to do, that you could not otherwise do, or couldn't do so well, without that device.

This requires a bit of imagination all round! A simple example would be the many schools that now do outdoor maths project tasks using the devices GPS trace capability (the device is sealed in a box during the excercise) like the children below tasked with drawing a Christmas tree on the park next to their school: estimating skills, geometry, measurement, scale, collaboration.... and really jolly hard to do with a pencil!

[image of a GPS traced tree]

***

knowing the 3rd millennium ABCs

A

ambition: how good might your children be?

agility: how quickly can we reconfigure to catch the wave - at a moment, only over a year, or at best across a generation?

astonishment: we want people to be astonished by what these children, and teachers, might achieve - how do we showcase this? how do we respond to it ourselves?

B

brave: what are others doing, what tested ideas can we borrow, how can we feed our own ideas to others? Brave is not foolhardy or reckless!

breadth: learning reaches out to who? embraces what? what support do you give for your school's grandparents for example?

blockers: you will need help with beating the blockers - if you run at the front, you need resources that win arguments: what is the evidence that...? why doesn't everyone do this...? where can I see it in action...? why should I change, ever...? all this exists of course (see top of page for example), but you need to organise it and be ready with it. A direct example is this workshop manual we developed for the new science spaces at Perth's Wesley College in Australia.

C

collegiality: that sense of belonging, of us-ness, sense of family, sharing, co-exploring, research. Also a sense of us (the team working on this innovation) being learners too - and able to show that we are trying cool stuff too - you won't win hearts and minds by saying but not doing;

communication: how does a learning space / building communicate what happens within? and this is about symmetry: how does the school listen to what happens outside school? how do we share and exchange all this with others?

collaboration: we don't want to be told, but we want to do this with others. How do we share what we learn as we do it? Who do we share with? How do we learn from them?"
tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  edtech  technology  schooldesign  stephenheppell  via:sebastienmarion  pedagogy  howweteach  howwelearn  education  teaching  learning  schools  collaboration  byod  umod  sharing  ambition  agility  astonishment  bravery  breadth  blockers  collegiality  communication  simplicity  mobile  phones  desks  furniture  computers  laptops  etiquette  conviviality  scheduling  teams  interdependence  canon  sfsh 
march 2016 by robertogreco
agile content conf: Learn practices to help teams work together on content. 1 Feb 2016, London
"On 1 February 2016, 70 people came to the second annual agile content conf at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London to learn practices to help teams work together on content."
via:nicolefenton  content  agile  agilecontent  jonathankahn  rebeccamallon  sarahrichards  lilydart  teams 
march 2016 by robertogreco
What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team - The New York Times
"Project Aristotle’s researchers began by reviewing a half-century of academic studies looking at how teams worked. Were the best teams made up of people with similar interests? Or did it matter more whether everyone was motivated by the same kinds of rewards? Based on those studies, the researchers scrutinized the composition of groups inside Google: How often did teammates socialize outside the office? Did they have the same hobbies? Were their educational backgrounds similar? Was it better for all teammates to be outgoing or for all of them to be shy? They drew diagrams showing which teams had overlapping memberships and which groups had exceeded their departments’ goals. They studied how long teams stuck together and if gender balance seemed to have an impact on a team’s success.

No matter how researchers arranged the data, though, it was almost impossible to find patterns — or any evidence that the composition of a team made any difference. ‘‘We looked at 180 teams from all over the company,’’ Dubey said. ‘‘We had lots of data, but there was nothing showing that a mix of specific personality types or skills or backgrounds made any difference. The ‘who’ part of the equation didn’t seem to matter.’’

Some groups that were ranked among Google’s most effective teams, for instance, were composed of friends who socialized outside work. Others were made up of people who were basically strangers away from the conference room. Some groups sought strong managers. Others preferred a less hierarchical structure. Most confounding of all, two teams might have nearly identical makeups, with overlapping memberships, but radically different levels of effectiveness. ‘‘At Google, we’re good at finding patterns,’’ Dubey said. ‘‘There weren’t strong patterns here.’’

As they struggled to figure out what made a team successful, Rozovsky and her colleagues kept coming across research by psychologists and sociologists that focused on what are known as ‘‘group norms.’’ Norms are the traditions, behavioral standards and unwritten rules that govern how we function when we gather: One team may come to a consensus that avoiding disagreement is more valuable than debate; another team might develop a culture that encourages vigorous arguments and spurns groupthink. Norms can be unspoken or openly acknowledged, but their influence is often profound. Team members may behave in certain ways as individuals — they may chafe against authority or prefer working independently — but when they gather, the group’s norms typically override individual proclivities and encourage deference to the team.

Project Aristotle’s researchers began searching through the data they had collected, looking for norms. They looked for instances when team members described a particular behavior as an ‘‘unwritten rule’’ or when they explained certain things as part of the ‘‘team’s culture.’’ Some groups said that teammates interrupted one another constantly and that team leaders reinforced that behavior by interrupting others themselves. On other teams, leaders enforced conversational order, and when someone cut off a teammate, group members would politely ask everyone to wait his or her turn. Some teams celebrated birthdays and began each meeting with informal chitchat about weekend plans. Other groups got right to business and discouraged gossip. There were teams that contained outsize personalities who hewed to their group’s sedate norms, and others in which introverts came out of their shells as soon as meetings began.

After looking at over a hundred groups for more than a year, Project Aristotle researchers concluded that understanding and influencing group norms were the keys to improving Google’s teams. But Rozovsky, now a lead researcher, needed to figure out which norms mattered most. Google’s research had identified dozens of behaviors that seemed important, except that sometimes the norms of one effective team contrasted sharply with those of another equally successful group. Was it better to let everyone speak as much as they wanted, or should strong leaders end meandering debates? Was it more effective for people to openly disagree with one another, or should conflicts be played down? The data didn’t offer clear verdicts. In fact, the data sometimes pointed in opposite directions. The only thing worse than not finding a pattern is finding too many of them. Which norms, Rozovsky and her colleagues wondered, were the ones that successful teams shared?"



"As the researchers studied the groups, however, they noticed two behaviors that all the good teams generally shared. First, on the good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as ‘‘equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.’’ On some teams, everyone spoke during each task; on others, leadership shifted among teammates from assignment to assignment. But in each case, by the end of the day, everyone had spoken roughly the same amount. ‘‘As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,’’ Woolley said. ‘‘But if only one person or a small group spoke all the time, the collective intelligence declined.’’

Second, the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. One of the easiest ways to gauge social sensitivity is to show someone photos of people’s eyes and ask him or her to describe what the people are thinking or feeling — an exam known as the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. People on the more successful teams in Woolley’s experiment scored above average on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test. They seemed to know when someone was feeling upset or left out. People on the ineffective teams, in contrast, scored below average. They seemed, as a group, to have less sensitivity toward their colleagues."



"When Rozovsky and her Google colleagues encountered the concept of psychological safety in academic papers, it was as if everything suddenly fell into place. One engineer, for instance, had told researchers that his team leader was ‘‘direct and straightforward, which creates a safe space for you to take risks.’’ That team, researchers estimated, was among Google’s accomplished groups. By contrast, another engineer had told the researchers that his ‘‘team leader has poor emotional control.’’ He added: ‘‘He panics over small issues and keeps trying to grab control. I would hate to be driving with him being in the passenger seat, because he would keep trying to grab the steering wheel and crash the car.’’ That team, researchers presumed, did not perform well.

Most of all, employees had talked about how various teams felt. ‘‘And that made a lot of sense to me, maybe because of my experiences at Yale,’’ Rozovsky said. ‘‘I’d been on some teams that left me feeling totally exhausted and others where I got so much energy from the group.’’ Rozovsky’s study group at Yale was draining because the norms — the fights over leadership, the tendency to critique — put her on guard. Whereas the norms of her case-competition team — enthusiasm for one another’s ideas, joking around and having fun — allowed everyone to feel relaxed and energized.

For Project Aristotle, research on psychological safety pointed to particular norms that are vital to success. There were other behaviors that seemed important as well — like making sure teams had clear goals and creating a culture of dependability. But Google’s data indicated that psychological safety, more than anything else, was critical to making a team work.

‘‘We had to get people to establish psychologically safe environments,’’ Rozovsky told me. But it wasn’t clear how to do that. ‘‘People here are really busy,’’ she said. ‘‘We needed clear guidelines.’’

However, establishing psychological safety is, by its very nature, somewhat messy and difficult to implement. You can tell people to take turns during a conversation and to listen to one another more. You can instruct employees to be sensitive to how their colleagues feel and to notice when someone seems upset. But the kinds of people who work at Google are often the ones who became software engineers because they wanted to avoid talking about feelings in the first place.

Rozovsky and her colleagues had figured out which norms were most critical. Now they had to find a way to make communication and empathy — the building blocks of forging real connections — into an algorithm they could easily scale."



"Project Aristotle is a reminder that when companies try to optimize everything, it’s sometimes easy to forget that success is often built on experiences — like emotional interactions and complicated conversations and discussions of who we want to be and how our teammates make us feel — that can’t really be optimized. Rozovsky herself was reminded of this midway through her work with the Project Aristotle team. ‘‘We were in a meeting where I made a mistake,’’ Rozovsky told me. She sent out a note afterward explaining how she was going to remedy the problem. ‘‘I got an email back from a team member that said, ‘Ouch,’ ’’ she recalled. ‘‘It was like a punch to the gut. I was already upset about making this mistake, and this note totally played on my insecurities.’’"
charlesduhigg  google  teams  teamwork  groups  groupdynamics  juliarozovsky  psychology  norms  groupnorms  communication  2016  siliconvalley  collaboration  projectaristotle  behavior  safety  emocions  socialemotional  empathy  psychologicalsafety  leadership  socialemotionallearning 
february 2016 by robertogreco
End of Year Report 2015 — Studio D
"TEAM

Studio D has no full-time employees and no plans to take any on. We build teams on a per-project basis and have a core of trusted staff that enjoys working together. In 2015 we hired 35 people on projects, 29% male and 71% female. Our crew represents 13 nationalities, a reflection of the diverse locales in which we operate.



WORKPLACE

We continue to pioneer the use of popup studios, which we ran this year in 12 locations, from Pune in India to a coastal retreat/sauna in Berbera and pretty much everywhere in between. The duration of a single studio ranged from a few days through to a month.

Approximately 95% of consultancy project time is spent in field with the rest being devoted to remote sensing and other project preparation activities at home base. Wherever possible we conduct project planning on the ground where the team can more easily acclimatise to the locale—something that benefits both the team and the project.

Whilst in-field, our crew worked 12 to 15 hours days, 6 to 7 days per week. Time off is decided by the team, depending on the goal that they have collaboratively set. This year decompression spaces included The Orcas, Bangkok and Tokyo.

METHODS

Operating in diverse environments requires a diversity in tools. We regularly learn new processes and software on the job, and design workflows to suit a particular context and project. We shy away from traditional recruiting methods, and prefer to communicate and participate in the digital vernacular of our locale. Regularly-used platforms for logistics, recruiting, collaboration and team comms include Viber, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Slack, Google Apps, Careem, Hi.co and Tinder.

We strongly recommend experiencing the dating dynamics in Saudi Arabia, using increasingly intimate levels of social media."
design  travel  fieldresearch  janchipchase  teams  2015  studiod  socialmedia 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Sha Hwang - Keynote [Forms of Protest] - UX Burlington on Vimeo
"Let’s close the day by talking about our responsibilities and opportunities as designers. Let’s talk about the pace of fashion and the promise of infrastructure. Let’s talk about systematic failure — failure without malice. Let’s talk about the ways to engage in this messy and complex world. Let’s throw shade on fame and shine light on the hard quiet work we call design."
shahwang  2015  design  infrastructure  fashion  systemsthinking  complexity  messiness  protest  careers  technology  systems  storytelling  scale  stewartbrand  change  thehero'sjourney  founder'sstory  politics  narrative  narratives  systemsdesign  blame  control  algorithms  systemfailure  healthcare.gov  mythmaking  teams  purpose  scalability  bias  microaggressions  dignity  abuse  malice  goodwill  fear  inattention  donellameadows  leveragepoints  making  building  constraints  coding  code  programming  consistency  communication  sharing  conversation  government  ux  law  uxdesign  simplicity  kindness  individuals  responsibility  webdev  web  internet  nava  codeforamerica  18f  webdesign 
january 2016 by robertogreco
What Hollywood Can Teach Us About the Future of Work - NYTimes.com
"I was there as a “technical adviser”: The movie involved some financial events that I’ve reported on, and the filmmakers wanted to ask me questions as they set up their scenes. But I spent much of the day asking questions of my own, trying to figure out something that mystified me as the day went on: Why was this process so smooth? The team had never worked together before, and the scenes they were shooting that day required many different complex tasks to happen in harmony: lighting, makeup, hair, costumes, sets, props, acting. And yet there was no transition time; everybody worked together seamlessly, instantly. The set designer told me about the shade of off-­white that he chose for the walls, how it supported the feel of the scene. The costume designer had agonized over precisely which sandals the lead actor should wear. They told me all this, but they didn’t need to tell one another. They just got to work, and somehow it all fit together.

This approach to business is sometimes called the “Hollywood model.” A project is identified; a team is assembled; it works together for precisely as long as is needed to complete the task; then the team disbands. This short-­term, project-­based business structure is an alternative to the corporate model, in which capital is spent up front to build a business, which then hires workers for long-­term, open-­ended jobs that can last for years, even a lifetime. It’s also distinct from the Uber-­style “gig economy,” which is designed to take care of extremely short-­term tasks, manageable by one person, typically in less than a day.

With the Hollywood model, ad hoc teams carry out projects that are large and complex, requiring many different people with complementary skills. The Hollywood model is now used to build bridges, design apps or start restaurants. Many cosmetics companies assemble a temporary team of aestheticians and technical experts to develop new products, then hand off the actual production to a factory, which does have long-­term employees. (The big studios, actually, work the same way: While the production of the movie is done by temps, marketing and distribution are typically handled by professionals with long-­term jobs.)

Our economy is in the midst of a grand shift toward the Hollywood model. More of us will see our working lives structured around short-­term, project-­based teams rather than long-­term, open­-ended jobs. There are many reasons this change is happening right now, but perhaps the best way to understand it is that we have reached the end of a hundred-­year fluke, an odd moment in economic history that was dominated by big businesses offering essentially identical products. Competition came largely by focusing on the cost side, through making production cheaper and more efficient; this process required businesses to invest tremendous amounts in physical capital — machines and factories — and then to populate those factories with workers who performed routine activities. Nonmanufacturing corporations followed a similar model: Think of all those office towers filled with clerical staff or accountants or lawyers. That system began to fray in the United States during the 1960s, first in manufacturing, with the economic rise of Germany and Japan. It was then ripped apart by Chinese competition during the 2000s. Enter the Hollywood model, which is far more adaptable. Each new team can be assembled based on the specific needs of that moment and with a limited financial commitment."

[Compare to: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/business/yourmoney/29pixar.html?pagewanted=all
and http://www.cityofsound.com/blog/2013/10/departments-to-studios.html

This comparison noted here:
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/597978757912137731
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/597979986910322689 ]
2015  hollywoodmodel  projects  teams  work  howwework  adamdavidson  multidisciplinary  interdisciplinary  transdisciplinary  film  filmmaking  hollywood 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Final Boss Form — Criticism doesn’t just make people defensive,...
"
Criticism doesn’t just make people defensive, criticism can also worsen a person’s performance. In the book The Man Who Lied to his Laptop, Clifford Nass outlines a study that he did with a Japanese car company that illustrates this point. This car company had created a sophisticated system that used sensors and artificial intelligence to determine when someone was driving poorly and let the driver know. They asked Professor Nass to help them evaluate the effects of this system on driver performance in simulations before putting it live in cars. It’s a good thing too because what they found is somewhat counter-intuitive.

The system gave well-intentioned feedback when people drove too fast or took corners too sharply. It would say things like, “You are not driving very well. Please be more careful.” If you think that people were delighted to hear when they weren’t driving well, you are mistaken. People were frustrated and angry when the system told them their driving wasn’t very good. People’s damaged egos would not have mattered if the system actually improved their driving. What they found through the simulations was that the feedback actually worsened people’s driving. People got annoyed and, rather than slowing down or taking corners more cautiously, they sped up, oversteered, and generally drove worse the more critical feedback they received.


—Kate Heddleston [https://www.kateheddleston.com/blog/criticism-and-ineffective-feedback ] (via treblekicker)

I need to get better with giving feedback. I come from a tribe of self criticizers who accomplish great things by constantly evaluating one’s own work as being “not good enough.” [http://www.vulture.com/2015/04/how-age-of-ultron-nearly-broke-joss-whedon.html ]

It turns out that that’s a great way to self motivate but disastrous when working with teams."
kenyattacheese  criticism  motivation  work  perfectionism  feedback  howwework  teams  intrinsicmotivation  2015  kateheddleston  josswhedon 
april 2015 by robertogreco
No Dickheads! A Guide To Building Happy, Healthy, And Creative Teams. — Medium
"There is a perpetuated myth within the design community, that a single visionary is required to build great products. Rubbish. Great teams build great products; moreover, in my experience, the greatest teams prioritize and nurture a healthy and positive internal culture because they understand it is critical to the design process itself.

In 20 years of leading design studios and teams, ranging from a small boutique consultancy to several in global corporations, I have become obsessed with the differences between a successful studio and a merely effective one. Inevitably what makes or breaks a studio depends on its ability to evolve skills and competencies while remaining fastidiously creative. However, simple adaptability is not enough. In an ever-changing hyper-competitive landscape, what I’ve found to be even more important is the value of laughter, empathy, a collective responsibility and a distinct lack of ego.

My measure of success — beyond incredible products — has been creating studios and a studio culture where the creative capacity of the collective team is palpable; where designers love to come to work, and visitors remark how positive and creative it feels.

The following, is an attempt to create a guide for the (often-overlooked, humanist leaning) behaviors that make a studio happy, functional and sustainable. I believe there is a straight line between how the studio feels, how we as designers treat each other, and the innovative impact of the team. The value of articulating the characteristics of an effective studio will hopefully make each team member a more conscientious contributor. Of course, these characteristics will ebb and flow to varying degrees and should not be considered concrete rules. Rather, these behaviors serve as a guideline for creating a consistently positive, and as a result, a consistently more creative place to work.

SAY GOOD MORNING AND GOOD NIGHT … While it may appear trivial, the act of observing (and even encouraging) these subtle cultural rituals increases a studio’s functionality by making it more personal.

BE OPTIMISTIC, EMBRACE FAILURE, AND LAUGH MORE… Design, through a humanist’s lens, sees optimism as a choice and creativity as an optimistic act. Therefore, constant optimism is a key ingredient to iteration. It fuels the persistence and tenacity necessary for sustaining the creative process, especially during challenging times. For example, the difficulty of innovating within a large corporation reflects a work environment where people often say, “No” or “I don’t understand” because change in corporate culture is often uncomfortable and slow. As a result, negativity must be confronted and countered — not just in a brainstorming session or during a proposal — but on a daily basis. …

EAT AND COOK TOGETHER … Team events within a big corporation are set up to facilitate these informal conversations but often do the opposite: you go to a nice restaurant, everyone orders expensive food and lots of wine, they drink until they get drunk, and you go back to your hotel room. One year, our budget ran low so we thought, “What if we did the opposite? Go to the wilderness, buy food, and cook for each other.”

What happened next was amazing! Somebody invariably took responsibility for cooking, another for preparing food, and someone else for laying the table. Without much discussion the whole team was buzzing around the kitchen, like a hive working towards a common goal. There’s something inherently vulnerable about cooking together and for each other. It’s humbling to serve and to be served.

GOOD STUDIOS BUILD GOOD WALLS It is important when you walk into any studio that you feel as much as see what is being built — the studio should crackle with creative energy. Specifically, I believe you can determine the health of any design studio simply by looking at its walls. …

READ FICTION … As designers we are often asking people to take a leap of faith and to picture a world that doesn’t quite exist. We are, at our essence, doing nothing more than creating fiction and telling good stories — an essential part of human communication. Wouldn’t it then make sense to, at the very least, invite fiction into the studio or at the most encourage it to flourish?

Storytelling is a craft. It’s emotional and it’s part of the design process. We should therefore read and study fiction.

DESIGN THE DESIGNING There’s one very simple rule when innovating: design the process to fit the project. …

EMBRACE THE FRINGE I believe creative people want “to make”. In corporations or complex projects, the products we make often take an inordinate amount of time. As a result, I assume that most designers (myself included) work on fringe projects — creative projects made outside of the studio. …

MIND YOUR LANGUAGE Language defines the territory of projects. It is therefore important to constantly check that people share the same understanding of a word, phrase or name. Ideally at the outset of the project you should define the language, almost to the point of giving each person on the team a list: when we say this, this is what ‘this’ means. This pedantic approach is particularly important in multicultural studios where a diverse language encourages multiple, sometimes volatile, interpretations …

MEET OUT IN THE OPEN There are very few highly confidential things in an effective studio, so why go in a room and close the door? Instead, move most conversations out in the open. They will be better as a result. …

EVERYONE LEADS AT SOME POINT … At any point everyone should feel the responsibility, or the opportunity, to lead. It is so important to be collectively responsible. No one person can lead these dynamic projects effectively in a studio because they are never two-dimensional. …

INVERT EVERYTHING Designing products for people requires that you get inside their minds, feelings, motivations and values. To do so, a smart designer must invert their own worldview and see the world through someone else’s eyes in order to empathize with them. This ability to empathize with others, a very humanist behavior, is perhaps the most important capability and characteristic of both a studio and a designer. …

HIRE A BOOKIE Competition motivates a team, that’s a given. But betting on shit seems to be galvanizing and brings a team together. …

BRING THE OUTSIDE, INSIDE … We spend most of our time with our colleagues at work rather than with our partners or families. So whether we like it or not, we are all going through this life together. We should embrace that fact.

Yes, I understand people value privacy and you must respect that boundary. But the reality of the modern studio is that boundaries often blur. In fact, I think it is good that they are blurred. Children, pets, and hobbies — shared human connections and interests — promote this intimacy. …

….. ALLOWED! … I believe it is a perpetuated myth that great products are built by a single visionary. Often the people who think they are visionaries are just egomaniacal Dickheads. I honestly believe that great teams build great products and that careers are made by people that prioritize great products first, not their own ambition. …

FIND A GOOD MIRROR The studio mirror is a distinct role and a job title. In our studio Luke’s role was to archive our work and reflect it back to the team in a unique way, much like the documentation of these principles. Pursued with persistence and the eye of a journalist, the Studio Mirror should capture not only WHAT is being made but HOW and by WHOM. This isn’t simply dumping files on a server but rather curating the content in a way that is compelling and consumable for the team. For example, our studio created a quarterly magazine. You can read ADQ2.1: The Launch Issue here."
rhysnewman  lukejohnson  teams  creativity  studios  openstudioproject  lcproject  2015  collaboration  tcsnmy  leadership  open  openness  transparency  process  fun  play  intimacy  sharing  language  storytelling  fiction  walls  design  place  work  food  optimism  failure  laughter  howwework  conviviality  cohabitation  facetime  relationships  publishing  reflection  documentation  jpl  omata  culture  fringe  display  planning  outdoors  criticism  connection  conflict 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Group Projects and the Secretary Effect - The Atlantic
"In one study from the late 90s, researchers interviewed students in London about the attitudes of both students and teachers in their classrooms and found that both genders felt girls put more effort into their work. "I think girls spend too long over their handwriting and presentation and things and the boys just scribble it down but have got all the answers right and just sit around mucking around for the second half of the lesson," one student said. A male head teacher at that same school noted the same thing, saying, "If the boys can do the minimum they will, whereas girls will devote much time to writing it up."

Deborah Tannen, a linguist at Georgetown University and the author of You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, has found similar social dynamics between boys and girls. "When girls get together in groups, nobody likes to stand out, girls don’t like the girl who stands out," she said. "Boys in contrast are actually trying to stand out; they’re trying to get center stage to attract attention." She pointed me to another study from the 90s on groups within a science classroom. When there were three girls and one boy, the girls would make the boy the center of attention. If the ratio was flipped—three boys and a girl—the boys would either make fun of, or ignore, their female teammate.

This isn’t necessarily because boys are greedy attention seekers, or because they consciously want to keep women down. Often, Tannen said, it’s because they’re not sure what else to do. In her own class, she recalls a 1985 incident in which she had students work in small groups and then asked one member to come up in front of the class and present their work. Most of the presenters were boys. When she asked the students to reflect on their roles in their groups, Tannen was surprised to hear that in some cases it wasn’t that the boys necessarily wanted to present; rather, nobody else in the group stepped up, and they felt obligated to do so.

Tannen says that this kind of expectation—that women will fill in behind-the-scenes, secretary-like roles while men step into the limelight—is reflected in how women are typically treated later on in their careers. She recalls one evening in the late 80s when a male student continually came into her office asking to borrow things: whiteout, pen, paper, and so on. It eventually became clear that the student assumed Tannen was a secretary, not a professor at Georgetown. Tannen might have otherwise written this off as a one-time fluke, but when she told the story at a conference of college presidents, the women in the room nodded and shared stories of similar experiences.

And women in all sorts of fields are likely to nod at Tannen’s story. Technology is a prime example, an industry in which men continue to dominate and women continue to fight to break in. Sergey Brin and Elon Musk get to be innovative and off the wall, while Marissa Mayer is described in the Wall Street Journal as overly detail-oriented, according to "people who have worked under her."* These people say "she has an obsessive attention to detail, often micromanaging details down to the shade of colors in new product designs," the Journal reported. Women who don’t step back and let their peers take the spotlight are often docked in performance reviews. Men, on the other hand, are typically praised for taking initiative.

These are generalizations. There are girls who can’t keep track of their own shoes, and there are boys with great handwriting. There are girls who readily take on leadership roles in groups and boys who enjoy keeping track of the details. Again, this isn’t to say that secretaries aren’t important; without them most companies would fall apart entirely. And, of course, there’s a lot more keeping women from becoming CEOs than their middle school science projects. But it’s worth thinking about how teachers prime their students to accept certain roles later in life.

Stetson University's Piechrua-Couture says that teachers shouldn’t let kids divide the labor up themselves: "We really encourage you not to just give kids groupings, what you really want to do is give roles in the group and you make sure you rotate those roles." Tannen agrees, citing a study from the early 90s that compared two teachers who differed in their approach. One let the groups proceed as they pleased, while the other defined roles for each student. "The girls did better if it was described, because if the students were left to their own devices the girls would be ignored," she said.

Dale Baker, an education professor at the Arizona State University, wrote in an article for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching that it’s important for teachers to do more than just lump students into groups and let them divide up the labor on their own. "Group dynamics often reinforce stereotypes," she wrote. "Girls are often found in stereotypical roles, such as secretary, and they take a passive rather than active role in hands-on science activities."

In other words, avoiding the Secretary Effect is easy, really. But it first requires realizing that it exists."
education  gender  groupwork  groupprojects  collaboration  girls  boys  teams  2015  roseeveleth  deborahtannen  dalebaker  secretaryeffecy  kathyjopiechura-couture  conversation  creativity  obedience  organzation  howweteach  howwelearn  culture  society  stereotypes 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Culture Stories: Introduction and Milk.
"So that was a very mundane story about milk. Why did I share it? Because I think sharing stories like these is how we increase and improve culture. It’s not something that can be fixed by having TW3 meetings with senior management. While the senior management should absolutely read these, and (sometimes) discuss them, the act of writing and sharing them itself is how to improve the way we work.

In case you were in doubt, I’m not suggesting that sharing milk is how you improve the culture. Maybe sharing milk isn’t the right culture for a particular organisation, but I’d be interested in hearing why.

These discussions should be in the open. They may not be interesting to people outside your organisation (although you may be surprised), but knowing that they are public will help prevent them being too inward looking. Remember that (hopefully) new people will be joining your team regularly, remember that you are not an isolated team.

So share your culture stories! Maybe we’ll find somewhere to collate them. Or tell me why you think this is a stupid idea. If no-one convincingly does the latter, then I hope to post up a few more of my own.

To kick us off, here are some stories by Alice Bartlett6 that encouraged me to do this one: Six Months at GDS and Tampon Club. I also highly recommend reading Hidden dangers of team building rituals for some wise words on ensuring you’re not being exclusionary."

[via: http://interconnected.org/home/2014/12/02/filtered ]
culture  milk  offices  management  government  jamesdarling  organizations  sharing  collectivism  teams  2014  tamponclub  alicebartlett 
december 2014 by robertogreco
On BERG's hibernation
"Today BERG Cloud (Formerly BERG, formerly Schulze and Webb) announced it was shutting shop. I spent about 2 years all together working for or with BERG, so I wanted to share some thoughts on my time there. All of this is purely from my point of view, is not official, and I am certain the others would have differing opinions.

I never went to university, but after working with BERG on Mag+ my interest in interaction design grew. I nearly applied for the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design but when BERG offered me a full time position, my recurring theme of choosing experience over formal education got the better of me. And it was not a mistake.

To describe a company as a family is incredibly cheesy, but of everywhere I’ve worked it applies most to BERG. My favourite times were definitely on Scrutton Street, when the 13 (or there about) of us were squeezed into an office far too small for us. We had an airport express that anyone could play tunes on, and only one conversation could really happen at once. Of course there were times we would rub each other the wrong way, but one thing that never wavered was the immense respect I had for everyone.

This enabled us to work in a way I’ve never seen anywhere else, and what I half-jokingly dubbed ‘emotion driven development’. If Kanban is the more fluid state of a trusted and able team compared to scrum, then what we had was a step beyond that. We trusted in our own, and importantly each others, strong opinions and (this sounds cheesy again) feelings to drive us forward. This is probably a fragile and unscalable way of working, but without it, I think much of the work would be very different, and BERG wouldn’t have attracted the attention it did. We worked in a different way, and the work was often different because of it.

BERG had an interesting cult following. It certainly punched way above its weight in the design world for such a small company. It was able to create work that turned the heads of both the industry and mass audiences alike. One thing I was always impressed with was how easily new aesthetics were created, something that others spend entire careers developing was almost effortless to my colleagues. Making Future Magic (a project I had nothing to do with) perhaps most exemplifies this.

I am now focusing on working in the public sector, and I went into much detail as to why, but I will always miss my time at BERG. For me it will always feel like my university time; a time to spend learning and experimenting on what we found interesting with very few constraints.

For a group of people who were professionals on thinking about “what’s next”, I think we’re a bit knocked back as we truly don’t know what’s next. It’s an interesting (and scary in a very high up Maslow’s hierarchy kind of way) time. BERG was a major part of East London’s tech culture, and its demise is another blow to it. I imagine there are plenty of people wondering where their friends are going next. I know I am."

[See also: http://morning.computer/2014/09/for-berg-my-london-launchpad/ ]
berg  berglondon  autodidacts  srg  experience  learningbydoing  jamesdarling  2014  design  howwework  tcsnmy  families  workenvironments  teams  respect  groups  howwlearn  learning  mattwebb  emotions  feelings  culture  workculture  creativity 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Jennifer Eliuk - Apprenticeships - I implore you! - Burlington Ruby Conference 2014 on Vimeo
"The increase in web development vocational programs means a steady supply of junior developers, but are we prepared to help them become productive members of our teams?

These programs were created in response to the need for more developers, but I fear without apprenticeships to bridge the gap, we’re simply moving the bottleneck upstream.

In the absence of an established, structured program, I’ve had to figure out what it means to be a software apprentice and ensure I’m building skills and learning best practices daily. Conversely, the senior developers have had to think about how to integrate apprentices and provide purposeful learning opportunities.

In this talk, I’ll share my experience coming from a vocational web development school and the apprenticeship program we’re developing at Democracy Works, Inc."
apprenticeships  education  learning  jennifereliuk  employment  mentorship  coding  ruby  teambuilding  teams  via:nicolefenton  2014  teaching  howwelearn  howweteach  programming  mentorships  intangibles  fulfillment 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Instead of futurists, let’s be now-ists: Joi Ito at TED2014 | TED Blog
[Update 8 July 2013: video now at http://www.ted.com/talks/joi_ito_want_to_innovate_become_a_now_ist ]

"Remember before the internet? Ito calls this period ”B.I.” In this stage of the world, life was simple and somewhat predictable. “But with the internet, the world became extremely complex. The Newtonian laws that we so cherished turned out to be just local ordinances … Most of the people who were surviving are dealing with a different set of principles.”

In the B.I. world, starting a business had a clear timeline: says Ito, you hired MBAs to write a business plan, you raised money, and then you built the thing you wanted to build. But in the AI world, the cost of innovation has come down so much that you start with the building—and then figure the money and business plan. “It’s pushed innovation to the edges, to the dorms rooms and startups, and away from stodgy organizations that had the money, the power and the influence.”

During Nicholas Negroponte’s era at the MIT Media Lab, the motto he proposed was: “Demo or die.” He said that the demo only had to work once.But Ito, who points out that he’s a “three-time college dropout,” wants to change the motto to: “Deploy or die.” He explains, “You have to get it into the real world to have it actually count.”

Ito takes us to Shenzhen, China, where young inventors are taking this idea to the next level. In the same way that “kids in Palo Alto make websites,” these kids make cell phones. They bring their designs to the markets, look at what’s selling and what others are doing, iterate and do it over again. “What we thought you could only do in software, kids in Shenzhen are doing in hardware,” he says.

He sees this as a possibility for the rest of us, too. He introduces us to the Samsung Techwin SMT SM482 Pick & Place Machine, which can put Samsung machine can put 23,000 components on an electronics board, something that used to take an entire factory. “The cost of prototyping and distributing is becoming so low that students and software can do it too,” says Ito. He points to the Gen9 gene assembler. While it used to take millions and millions of dollars to sequence genes, this assembler can do it on a chip, with one error per 10,000 base pairs. In the space of bioengineering. “This is kind of like when we went from transistors racked by hand to Pentium, pushing bioengineering into dorm rooms and startup companies,” he says.

Of course, this new model is scary. “Bottom-up innovation is chaotic and hard to control,” he says. But it’s a better way. It’s a way that lets you pull resources—both human and technical—when you need them rather than hoarding what you think you’ll need before you start. And we need to educate children to think along on these lines. “Education is what people do to you and learning is what you do for yourself,” says Ito. “You’re not going to be on top of mountain all by yourself with a #2 pencil … What we need to learn is how to learn.”

Ito urges us to follow a compass rather than a map. Instead of planning out every exact points before you start, allow yourself to make the decisions you need as you go in the general direction of where you need to be.

“I don’t like the word ‘futurist,’” he says. “I think we should be now-ists. Focus on being connected, always learning, fully aware and super present.”"
connectedlearning  fabrication  making  joiito  2014  education  learning  unschooling  deschooling  justintime  openstudioproject  lcproject  hardware  software  demos  demoing  now-ists  futurists  future  speculativedesign  glvo  teams  bottomup  chaos  control  resources 
march 2014 by robertogreco
From Superman to the Avengers: Rethinking Bruce Mau Design | UX Magazine
"Nurture Culture

Imagine a newspaper filled with a hilarious collection of things staff said throughout the year, off-color messages scribbled on post-it notes, and a two-page photo spread of "twins" (a.k.a. staff who start dressing similarly after working together for a while). That's the gist of the annual BMD Haiku book that is given to everyone on staff.

What I love about this artifact is that it's about culture, and culture only. It’s not about profit margins or client work, it simply and powerfully creates a snapshot of what it was like to work together for a year. So often as we race toward deadlines and profit goals, we forget that we are people. It's incredibly important to nurture our relationships, play with one another, and connect as human beings … because those bonds are what get us through the rough spots in projects.

So, what are you doing as a team or organization to celebrate, laugh, and nurture your culture? Do you have an explicit way to reflect upon the quirky uniqueness of your group? Are you making time to socialize and get to know each other?

There are a million ways to create stronger connections. For example, if you've had a particularly tough week at Cooper, you earn temporary ownership of a stuffed fish and a chance to make light of your angst with everyone.

I know teams that have "Grilled Cheese Fridays," go jogging together at noon, and have bad idea contests. The most important thing is that you instigate ongoing practices to keep culture alive.

“Growth happens. Whenever it does, allow it to emerge.”—Bruce Mau

In closing, there are many ways BMD could have addressed the departure of their founder. They chose to embrace that change and become a new kind of organization, driven by a group of superheroes. That decision impacted how they perceive themselves, create, and interact with clients. So far, it seems to be working. And no matter how it turns out, you have to give them credit for owning change, rather than letting it own them.

As Alan Cohen said, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new, but there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change, there is power.”

Sometimes, change is a catalyst for organizations. Sometimes, when leaders retire, those who remain build from the legacy and blossom."
teams  culture  bmd  brucemaudesign  organizations  design  2014  brucemau  play  playfulness  tcsnmy  legacy  change  classideas  projectideas  writing  newspaperclub 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Episode Forty One: When You're Part Of A Team; The Dabbler
"The thing is, a lot of this behaviour is very easy to mistake for cult-like behaviour from the outside. Apple frequently gets described as a cult - not only are its employees members of the cult, but its customers are described in terms of being followers, too. And you see this cult behaviour in terms of the reverence expressed toward dear leaders (Messrs Wieden and Kennedy, for example, or the brain trust at Pixar, or Steve at Apple) but also in terms of the transmission of the values of those leaders. Wieden prides itself on a number of maxims ranging from a thousands-of-thumbtacks installation done by members of its advertising school of the slogan FAIL HARDER (with requisite misplaced thumbtack) to pretty much every employee being able to understand what's meant by "the work comes first" even if they do need a bit of re-education as to how, exactly, the work comes first (ie: it is not a get out of jail free card when you disagree with the client about what counts as good work). Then there are the Other Rules, the ones practically handed down from the mount (or, more accurately, discovered in an office scribbled in pen) that state:

1. Don't act big
2. No sharp stuff
3. Follow directions
4. Shut up when someone is talking to you

and turned out to be a parent's note to their child but actually not that bad advice when you think about it.

[See also: http://wklondon.typepad.com/welcome_to_optimism/2005/02/words_from_wied.html ]

And now, another nascent organisation, another one that I constantly harp on about: the UK's Government Digital Service. I don't think it's a coincidence that from the outside two of the people (but certainly by no means the only people) influential in the success of GDS and its culture are Russell Davies and Ben Terrett, both of whom have been through the Wieden+Kennedy, er, experience.

Russell is an exceedingly smart, unassuming and humble person who has a singularly incredibly ability to be almost devastatingly insightful and plain-speaking at the same time. It feels rare to see both at the same time. But what he's articulating at the moment in terms of GDS strategy and implementation is the thought that "the unit of delivery is the team" and when you're building a new organisation from the ground up, and one whose success is tied directly to its ability to embed within and absorb the culture of an existing massive entity, the UK civil service, it feels like watching a (so far successful) experiment in sociology and anthropology being deployed in realtime. A note (and thanks to Matthew Solle for the clarification because it's an important one): while the GDS works with the civil service, it's not actually a part of it, instead being a part of the cabinet office and being more tied to the government of the day.

So there are macro-level observations about Pixar that you glean from books and other secondary sources, but it's not until you visit the place and start to talk to the people who work there that understand starts to feel that it unlocks a little more. I'm lucky enough to know one person at Pixar who's been gracious enough to host me a few times and while we were talking about the culture of the place and how, exactly, they get done what they get done, one thing that struck me was the role of the individual and the individual's place in the team.

You see, one of the things it felt like they concentrated on was empowerment and responsibility but also those two things set against context. My friend would talk about how every person on his team would know what their superpower was - the thing they were good at, the thing that they were expert at - and everyone else would know what that superpower was, too. And the culture thus fostered was one where everyone was entitled to have a reckon or an opinion about something and were listened to, but when it came down to it, the decision and authority rested with the expert.

Now, this might not sound like a stunningly insightful revelation. Allowing people to have opinions about the work of the greater team and then restricting decision-making to those best qualified to make it sounds on the surface like a fairly reasonable if not obvious tenet, and maybe even one that because of its obviousness would seem reasonably easy if not trivial to implement. Well, if you think that, then I'm sorry, it sounds like you've never been a good manager before: it turns out to be exceedingly difficult.

At this point the narrative begins to sound rather trite: Pixar, and the companies like it that consistently achieve "good" results and are able to marshall the resources of large teams to accomplish something greater, are simply trying harder than all the other ones. And in the end, it may well be as simple as that. It's easy to have a mission statement. It's easy to have values. It's significantly harder to try as hard you can, every single day, for thirty years, to actually live them.

In the same way that one does not simply walk into Mordor, one does not simply say that one has a set of values or culture and it magically happen.

This is perhaps best illustrated in the blindness of the new wave of stereotypical valley startups that rail against bureaucracy and instead insist that their trademarked culture of holocracy inures them to the requirement of bureaucracy. That the way they instinctively do things is sufficient in and of itself. Well: bullshit to that. That simply doesn't scale, and the companies that think they're doing that - and I'm looking at you, Github, winner so far of the Best Example Of The Need To Grow Up award of 2014 and we've not even finished the first quarter of the year - are living in some sort of hundred-million-dollar VC-fueled fantasy land. Which, I suppose, goes without saying.

I began this part by implying something about teams, and I sort of alluded to it when mentioning the GDS maxim that the unit of delivery is the team.

I think it's becoming clear that the type of delivery that is expected in this age by its nature requires a multi-disciplinary team that works together. It's not enough, anymore, to have specialisms siloed away, and one thing that jumped out at me recently was the assertion in conversation on Twitter with a number of GDS members that there isn't anybody with the role of "user experience" at GDS. Everyone, each and every single member of the team, is responsible and accountable to the user experience of delivery, from operations to design to copy and research.

The sharpest end of this is where digital expertise had traditionally been siloed away in a sort of other. In a sort of check-boxing exercise, organisations would recruit in those with digital experience and either for reasons of expediency or for their own good, would shepherd them into a separate organisational unit. Davies' point - and one that is rapidly becoming clear - is that this just doesn't make sense anymore. I would qualify that and say that it doesn't make sense for certain organisations, but I'm not even sure if I can do that, and instead should just agree that it's a rule across the board.

Of course, the devil is always in the detail of the implementation."



"The thing about hobbies in the networked age is that it's incredibly easy for them to become performative instead of insular. That's not to say that insular hobbies are great, but the networked performance of a hobby comes with seductive interactions built not necessarily for the hobbyist's benefit but for the benefit of the network substrate or medium. As a general reckon, hobbies in their purest form are nothing but intrinsic motivation: whether they're an idiosyncratic desire to catalogue every single model of rolling stock in the UK or increasingly intricate nail art, before the hobby becomes performative it is for the self's benefit only, a sort of meditation in repetitive action and a practice.

The hobby as the networked performance, though (and I realise that at this point I may well sound like a reactionary luddite who doesn't 'get' the point of social media) perhaps too easily tips the balance in favour of extrinsic motivation. Whether that extrinsic motivation is in terms of metrics like followers, likes, retweets, subscribers or other measurable interaction with the hobbyist the point remains that it's there, and it's never necessarily for a clear benefit for the hobbyist. You could perhaps absolve blame and say that such metrics are intrinsic properties of the enactment of a social graph and that they're making explicit what would be rendered as implicit feedback cues in any event, but I don't buy that. They were put there for a reason. Friend counts and subscriber counts were put there because those of us who are product designers and of the more geeky persuasion realised that we could count something (and here, we get to point the finger at the recording pencil of the train spotter), and the step from counting something to making visible that count was a small one and then our evolutionary psychology and comparison of sexual fitness took over and before you knew it people were doing at the very least SXSW panels or if you were really lucky TED talks about gamification and leaderboards and whether you had more Fuelpoints than your friends.

So that's what happened to the hobby: it moved from the private to the public and at the same time the dominant public medium of the day, the one that all of us had access to, marched inexorably to measurement, quantification and feedback loops of attention."
danhon  leadership  administration  management  pixar  wk  gov.uk  russelldavies  benterrett  authority  empowerment  collaboration  teams  2014  hobbies  expertise  trust  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  motivation  performance 
march 2014 by robertogreco
managers are awesome / managers are cool when they’re part of your team (tecznotes)
"Apropos the Julie Ann Horvath Github shitshow, I’ve been thinking this weekend about management, generally.

I don’t know details about the particular Github situation so I won’t say much about it, but I was present for Tom Preston-Werner’s 2013 OSCON talk about Github. After a strong core message about open source licenses, liability, and freedom (tl;dr: avoid the WTFPL), Tom talked a bit about Github’s management model.
Management is about subjugation; it’s about control.

At Github, Tom described a setup where the power structure of the company is defined by the social structures of the employees. He showed a network hairball to illustrate his point, said that Github employees can work on what they feel like, subject to the strategic direction set for the company. There are no managers.

This bothered me a bit when I heard it last summer, and it’s gotten increasingly more uncomfortable since. I’ve been paraphrasing this part of the talk as “management is a form of workplace violence,” and the still-evolving story of Julie Ann Horvath suggests that the removal of one form of workplace violence has resulted in the reintroduction of another, much worse form. In my first post-college job, I was blessed with an awesome manager who described his work as “firefighter up and cheerleader down,” an idea I’ve tried to live by as I’ve moved into positions of authority myself. The idea of having no managers, echoed in other companies like Valve Software, suggests the presence of major cultural problems at a company like Github. As Shanley Kane wrote in What Your Culture Really Says, “we don’t have an explicit power structure, which makes it easier for the unspoken power dynamics in the company to play out without investigation or criticism.” Managers might be difficult, hostile, or useless, but because they are parts of an explicit power structure they can be evaluted explicitly. For people on the wrong side of a power dynamic, engaging with explicit structure is often the only means possible to fix a problem.

Implicit power can be a liability as well as a strength. In the popular imagination, implicit power elites close sweetheart deals in smoke-filled rooms. In reality, the need for implicit power to stay in the shadows can cripple it in the face of an outside context problem. Aaron Bady wrote of Julian Assange and Wikileaks that “while an organization structured by direct and open lines of communication will be much more vulnerable to outside penetration, the more opaque it becomes to itself (as a defense against the outside gaze), the less able it will be to “think” as a system, to communicate with itself. The more conspiratorial it becomes, in a certain sense, the less effective it will be as a conspiracy.”

Going back to the social diagram, this lack of ability to communicate internally seems to be an eventual property of purely bottoms-up social structures. Github has been enormously successful on the strength of a single core strategy: the creation of a delightful, easy-to-use web UI on top of a work-sharing system designed for distributed use. I’ve been a user since 2009, and my belief is that the product has consistently improved, but not meaningfully changed. Github’s central, most powerful innovation is the Pull Request. Github has annexed adjoining territory, but has not yet had to respond to a threat that may force it to abandon territory or change approach entirely.

Without a structured means of communication, the company is left with the vague notion that employees can do what they feel like, as long as it’s compliant with the company’s strategic direction. Who sets that direction, and how might it be possible to change it? There’s your implicit power and first point of weakness.

This is incidentally what’s so fascinating about the government technology position I’m in at Code for America. I believe that we’re in the midst of a shift in power from abusive tech vendor relationships to something driven by a city’s own digital capabilities. The amazing thing about GOV.UK is that a government has decided it has the know-how to hire its own team of designers and developers, and exercised its authority. That it’s a cost-saving measure is beside the point. It’s the change I want to see in the world: for governments large and small to stop copy-pasting RFP line items and cargo-culting tech trends (including the OMFG Ur On Github trend) and start thinking for themselves about their relationship with digital communication."
michalmigurski  2014  julieannhovarth  github  horizontality  hierarchy  hierarchies  power  julianassange  wikileaks  valve  culture  business  organizations  management  legibility  illegibility  communication  gov.uk  codeforamerica  subjugation  abuse  shanley  teams  administration  leadership 
march 2014 by robertogreco
He’s not there – notes from “Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Product”s by Leander Kahney | Magical Nihilism
"‘In America, on the other hand,’ Milton explained, ‘designers are very much serving what industry wants. In Britain, there is more of the culture of the garden shed, the home lab, the ad hoc and experimental quality. And Jony Ive interacts in such a way … [he] takes big chances, instead of an evolutionary approach to design – and if they had focus-grouped Ive’s designs, they wouldn’t have been a success.’

If the education system in America tended to teach students how to be an employee, British design students were more likely to pursue a passion and to build a team around them.

‘As an industrial designer, you have to take that great idea and get it out into the world, and get it out intact. You’re not really practising your craft if you are just developing a beautiful form and leaving it at that.’

I can’t have people working in cubicle hell. They won’t do it. I have to have an open studio with high ceilings and cool shit going on. That’s just really important. It’s important for the quality of the work. It’s important for getting people to do it. – ROBERT BRUNNER

He wanted a ‘small, really tight’ studio. ‘We would run it like a small consulting studio, but inside the company,’ he said. ‘Small, effective, nimble, highly talented, great culture.’4 Setting up a consultancy inside Apple seemed in line with the company’s spirit: unconventional, idea driven, entrepreneurial. ‘It was because, really, I didn’t know any other way,’ Brunner explained. ‘It wasn’t a flash of brilliance: that was the only thing I knew how to do.’

In 1997, English contributed photos to Kunkel’s book about the design group, AppleDesign, but he also worked with a lot of other design studios in the Valley. To his eye, Apple seemed different. It wasn’t just the tools and their focus; the place was rapidly populated with designer toys, too, including spendy bikes, skateboards, diving equipment, a movie projector and hundreds of films. ‘It fostered this really creative, take-a-risk atmosphere, which I didn’t see at other firms,’ said English.

Brunner also made about half a dozen of the designers ‘product line leaders’ (PLLs) for Apple’s major product groups: CPUs, printers, monitors and so on. The PLLs acted as liaisons between the design group and the company, much in the way an outside design consultancy would operate. ‘The product groups felt there was a contact within the design group,’ Brunner said.

Brunner wanted to shift the power from engineering to design. He started thinking strategically. His off-line ‘parallel design investigations’ were a key part of his strategy. ‘We began to do more longer-term thinking, longer-term studies around things like design language, how future technologies are implemented, what does mobility mean?’ The idea was to get ahead of the engineering groups and start to make Apple more of a design-driven company, rather than a marketing or engineering one. ‘We wanted to get ahead of them, so we’d have more ammunition to bring to the process.’

In hindsight, Brunner’s choices – the studio’s separation from the engineering groups, its loose structure, the collaborative workflow and consultancy mind-set – turned out to be fortuitous. One of the reasons Apple’s design team has remained so effective is that it retains Brunner’s original structure. It’s a small, tight, cohesive group of extremely talented designers who all work on design challenges together. Just like the designers had done at Lunar, Tangerine and other small agencies. The model worked."
jonyive  apple  design  robertbrunner  teams  small  engineering  howwework  education  mindset  experimentation  markets  appledesign  collaboration  workflow  groupsize  2014  uk  us  academia  jonathanive 
february 2014 by robertogreco
How Spotify organizes teams: Squads, Tribes, Chapters, and Guilds | Emmanuel Quartey
"It’s always interesting to learn about the internal organization of an organization.

The way a collective is structured reveals its values, and the function it is optimized for.

Two short PDFs about Spotify’s internal organization:

1. Scaling Agile at Spotify with Tribes, Squads, Chapters, and Guilds
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1018963/Articles/SpotifyScaling.pdf

2. How Spotify Builds Products
http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1018963/Articles/HowSpotifyBuildsProducts.pdf "
spotify  organizations  mentorship  teams  tribes  leadership  management  huilds  squads  2013  henrikkniberg  andersivarsson  collaboration 
december 2013 by robertogreco
russell davies: a unit of delivery
"When I start telling advertising/marketing people about this stuff the same themes seem to come up. So let's address those:

This is not about a bunch of private sector digital experts parachuting in to save the day. (Although we might sometimes behave like that, which is bad.) I'm not sure of the metaphor but we're somewhere between a catalyst, the tip of the iceberg and in the right place at the right time. We've certainly been very lucky. We are civil servants, most of us long-time civil servants. We are building on years of work from fellow civil servants who haven't had the benefit of our mandate. And we're working with huge numbers of colleagues across government who are as talented, driven and imaginative as we are, they've just been stuck in systems that don't let that flourish. Part of our job is to help shift those systems.

This is not about comms. We're not the new COI. We don't spend money on marketing, even digital marketing. Personally I think GOV.UK will soon be a great example of a new way of thinking about that stuff ('the product is the service is the marketing') but that's a post for another day. When we do use traditional 'agency-type' comms and design skills (which we do ourselves) it's to help the service/product communicate about itself. (That probably doesn't make sense yet, I've still not found a way to explain that properly.)

There is no 'client'. This really messes with agency people's heads. Obviously we're accountable if we screw up, the website falls over, the facts are wrong or the site's unusable. But it's not an agency-type relationship where someone distant and important has to 'approve' everything. This is mostly because our chief responsibility is to our users - they approve our decisions by using or not using the services we offer them. Or by complaining about them, which they sometimes do. Also, because you just can't do Agile with a traditional client-approval methodology. That's going to be a thing agencies are going to have to deal with."



"But, what does this mean for BRANDS!!?

Nothing. Obviously.

Well, maybe a bit. Iain was kind enough, the other day, to point back at a post I wrote about working at W+K [http://russelldavies.typepad.com/planning/2006/07/7_things_i_lear_1.html ]. I think there's a similar post brewing after a year and a bit of GDS. I have learnt an incredible amount here and I think there are some obvious lessons for agencies and their clients in what we've been up to.

As a tantalising teaser I'd say they are:

1. The Unit of Delivery is The Team

2. The Product Is The Service Is The Marketing

3. Digital is Not Comms, And It's Not IT, It's Your Business

And a bunch of others to be named later.

Anyway. I'll try and come up with something useful."

[See also: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/2bfa73373a9a ]

[Update 5 Feb 2014: see Dan Hon's remarks on the same: http://tinyletter.com/danhon/letters/episode-nine-everything-in-silos-forever-and-ever-amen ]
gov.uk  wieden+kennedy  russelldavies  2013  marketing  branding  government  agile  digital  business  services  teams  teamwork 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Updated: My speech at The Economist (on innovation)
"First, most teams don’t work. They don’t trust each other. They are not led in a way that creates a culture where people feel trust. Think of most of your peers  – how many do you trust? How many would you trust with a special, dangerous, or brilliant idea?  I’d say, based on my experiences at many organizations, only one of every three teams, in all of the universe, has a culture of trust. Without trust, there is no collaboration. Without trust, ideas do not go anywhere even if someone finds the courage to mention them at all."



"Without teams of trust and good leaders who take risks innovation rarely happens. You can have all the budget in the world, and resources, and gadgets, and theories and S-curves and it won’t matter at all. Occam’s razor suggests the main barrier to innovation are simple cultural things we overlook because we like to believe we’re so advanced. But mostly, we’re not."



"Next, we need to get past our obsession with epiphany. You won’t find any flash of insight in history that wasn’t followed, or proceeded, by years of hard work. Ideas are easy. They are cheap. Any creativity book or course will help you find more ideas. What’s rare is the willingness to bet you reputation, career, or finances on your ideas. To commit fully to pursuing them. Ideas are abstractions. Executing and manifesting an idea in the world is something else entirely as there are constraints, political, financial, and technical that the ideas we keep locked up in our minds never have to wrestle with. And this distinction is something no theory or book or degree can ever grant you. Conviction, like trust and willingness to take risks, is exceptionally rare. Part of the reason so much of innovation is driven by entrepreneurs and independents is that they are fully committed to their own ideas in ways most working people, including executives, are not.

Lastly, I need to talk about words. I’m a writer and a speaker, so words are my trade. But words are important, and possibly dangerous, for everyone. A fancy word I want to share is the word reification. Reification is the confusion between the word for something and the thing itself. The word innovation is not itself an innovation. Words are cheap. You can put the word innovation on the back of a box, or in an advertisement, or even in the name of your company, but that does not make it so. Words like radical, game-changing, breakthrough, and disruptive are similarly used to suggest something in lieu of actually being it. You can say innovative as many times as you want, but it won’t make you an innovator, nor make inventions, patents or profits magically appear in your hands."
words  innovation  trust  teams  teamwork  leadership  administration  tcsnmy  ideas  howwework  howwelearn  risktaking  culture  conviction  gamechanging  disruption  invention  epiphanies  2010 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Nintendo's Miyamoto Stepping Down, Working on Smaller Games | Game|Life | Wired.com
"What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game development once again myself," Miyamoto said. "Probably working on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself. Something really small."

[via: http://kottke.org/11/12/shigeru-miyamoto-to-step-down-at-nintendo ]
nintendo  shigerumiyamoto  small  scale  humanscale  organizations  2011  cv  howwework  howwelearn  meaningmaking  gaming  videogames  edg  srg  glvo  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  audiencesofone  teams  groupsize  slow  simplicity  simple 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Figure Out Who’s On Your Team « John’s Blog
"One of the best pieces of advice I ever got, back when I was 23 and newly out of school, is this: look around and figure out who you want to be on your team. Figure out the people around you that you want to work with for the rest of your life. Figure out the people who are smart & awesome, who share your values, who get things done — and maybe most important, who you like to be with and who you want to help win. And treat them right, always. Look for ways to help, to work together, to learn. Because in 20 years you’ll all be in amazing places doing amazing things.

That’s turned out to be true for me. Knowing who’s on your team — or as Reid likes to say, who’s in your “tribe” — has been critically important for me, even though I don’t see them all as much as I’d like."

[via: http://sinker.tumblr.com/post/10358919069/via-john-lilly-one-of-the-best-pieces-of-advice ]
advice  teams  aspirationalnetworks  aspirationalfriends  tribes  making  doing  learning  mindset  surroundings  surroundyourselfwithgoodpeople  lcproject  networks  work  howwework  howwelearn  johnlilly  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Bassett Blog 2011/07: Board Composition, Part One: Diversity and Boards
"Page, in his writings and on the lecture circuit, notes that Nobel prizes are typically now won by teams, not individuals, because we can now have a collective brain. And winning combinations occur with a mixture of talent and reference frames. This is why diversity brings better performance. In fact, diversity trumps ability in groups: That is to say, a diverse group with a cross section of IQs as it is traditionally measured will outperform a homogeneous group of high IQs, because innovation and divergent thinking emerge in recombination. One caveat: The value of diversity to problem-solving is dependent upon the extent of collaboration and teaming. Sharing ideas, not conforming to consensus, is what brings value. Ideally, it’s the combination of talent and difference that produces results. In human ecosystems, that combination turns out often to be harder but better."
scottpage  patbassett  diversity  tcsnmy  boardmembers  complexity  systems  collaboration  teams  2011  humanecosystems  innovation  divergentthinking  problemsolving  sharing 
july 2011 by robertogreco
ZURB – How Design Teamwork Crushes Bureaucracy
"People who can’t communicate w/ each other get stuck making complicated ‘stuff’ to make up for it. Frustration turns into PowerPoints, complicated charts, & lots of meetings…requires layers upon layers of management to keep organized…weighs companies down…creates no direct value to customers. This is why there are so many lame products in the world. There’s not a wireframe or chart or design method that is going to save you if you can’t look your team members in the eye."

"Our teamwork made up for the lack of ‘stuff’ other companies would use because we:

Shared a clear goal that we all understood…Worked physically close to each other & stayed connected by IM and phone when we didn’t…Shared feedback w/ each other & from customers out in the open every day, which builds confidence in arguing & makes new conversations really easy to beginStayed together through thick and thin to build trust in one another"
teamwork  teams  administration  management  tcsnmy  toshare  bureaucracy  organizations  goals  purpose  community  communication  collegiality  feedback  constructivecriticism  argument  arguing  discussion  proximity  powerpoint  irrationalcomplexity  rules  control  missingthepoint  trust  2011  zurb 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Drive - by Daniel Pink | Derek Sivers
"Your best approach is to have already established the conditions of a genuinely motivating environment. The baseline rewards must be sufficient. That is, the team’s basic compensation must be adequate and fair - particularly compared with people doing similar work for similar organizations. Your nonprofit must be a congenial place to work. And the people on your team must have autonomy, they must have ample opportunity to pursue mastery, and their daily duties must relate to a larger purpose. If these elements are in place, the best strategy is to provide a sense of urgency and significance - and then get out of the talent’s way.

Any extrinsic reward should be unexpected and offered only after the task is complete. Holding out a prize at the beginning of a project - and offering it as a contingency - will inevitably focus people’s attention on obtaining the reward rather than on attacking the problem."

[via: http://gaiwan.tumblr.com/post/7206114293 ]
books  drive  danielpink  motivation  extrinsicmotivation  teams  teamwork  autonomy  nonprofit  urgency  significance  talent  work  management  administration  congeniality  howwework  nonprofits 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Six Common Misperceptions about Teamwork - J. Richard Hackman - The Conversation - Harvard Business Review [Wish someone I knew could get #1, #2, #3, and #5 straightened out]
"Teamwork and collaboration are critical to mission achievement in any organization that has to respond quickly to changing circumstances. My research in the U.S. intelligence community has not only affirmed that idea but also surfaced a number of mistaken beliefs about teamwork that can sidetrack productive collaboration…

Misperception #1: Harmony helps. Smooth interaction among collaborators avoids time-wasting debates about how best to proceed… [A description of what actually is the case follows each]

Misperception #2: It's good to mix it up. New members bring energy and fresh ideas to a team…

Misperception #3: Bigger is better…

Misperception #4: Face-to-face interaction is passé…

Misperception #5: It all depends on the leader…

Misperception #6: Teamwork is magical."
collaboration  business  management  leadership  administration  tcsnmy  via:steelemaley  culture  teams  work  small  groups  harmony  disagreement  teamwork  consistency  time  meetings  productivity  problemsolving  classideas  lcproject  myths 
june 2011 by robertogreco
I fucking hate organization charts : peterme.com
"organization charts…are emblematic of how broken standard business practice is. Command-&-control hierarchies are appropriate for Industrial Age mindset that favors control in order to achieve consistency, efficiency, & quantifiability…Departmental silos are no longer practical…

…related to org charts, are job titles…associated w/ set of qualifications & responsibilities, w/ idea that anyone who has that job title can do same activities…interchangeable…any fan knows that [basketball players] w/ same title are far from identical & secret to success is chemistry that emerges from combination of right set of individuals…

If we’re going to get away from bureaucratic thinking that defined Industrial Age, we need to set aside outmoded tools that were created for wholly different needs than what we have now…need to stop assuming that way we were taught is way it always was (& always should be) done, & we need to come up w/ new models & approaches to address our current reality."
petermerholz  bureaucracy  hierarchy  interchangability  quanitifcation  organizations  management  administration  leadership  jobtitles  jobs  work  teams  collaboration  creativity  departmentalsilos  messiness  control  commandandcontrol  unschooling  deschooling  2011  industrialage  business  teamwork  howwework  lcproject  tcsnmy 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Scott E. Page - In Professor's Model, Diversity Equals Productivity - New York Times
"[organizations made up of different types of people are more productive than homogenous ones] Because diverse groups of people bring to organizations more & different ways of seeing a problem &, thus, faster/better ways of solving it.

People from different backgrounds have varying ways of looking at problems, what I call “tools.” The sum of these tools is far more powerful in organizations w/ diversity than in ones where everyone has gone to the same schools, been trained in the same mold & thinks in almost identical ways.

The problems we face in the world are very complicated. Any one of us can get stuck. If we’re in an organization where everyone thinks in the same way, everyone will get stuck in the same place.

But if we have people with diverse tools, they’ll get stuck in different places… There’s a lot of empirical data to show that diverse cities are more productive, diverse boards of directors make better decisions, the most innovative companies are diverse."
diversity  michigan  economics  collaboration  management  admissions  tcsnmy  affirmitiveaction  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  research  scottpage  2008  learning  problemsolving  schools  teams  organizations  lcproject  standardizedtesting  testing  deschooling  unschooling 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Smart Plus: Lessons from Trump's Apprentice
"This overseas business teacher pointed out several 'hidden problems' that were discovered in his 'apprentices':

1. academically brilliant students often more aloof, pull down group
2. passing the buck / hogging work
3. overlooking fundamental facts
4. not listening to other team members
5. taking a stand or not taking enough
6. witholding information
7. cannot evaluate flaws
8. not finishing work
9. political intrigues
10. conflict-seeking behavior."
todiscuss  classideas  tcsnmy  groups  groupwork  cooperation  collaboration  apprenticeships  behavior  conflict  teams  teaching  groupdynamics 
march 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: A Middle School that Works [Project-based everything, individually crafted, team focused, individual education plans for all, "extra" curricular]
"The middle school is really just junior high school continued, & that was always a bad idea. Kids stumble through a bizarrely carved up yet age-dependent curriculum, & nothing could be less appropriate. There is no age range w/ a greater range of individual skills no matter the birth date, & there is no age range where getting kids interested in school is harder…kids 11-14 have a million things, really important things, to learn - about themselves, society, life, their bodies, & almost none of those things are taught in schools.

Meanwhile, the grades, subject areas, sports teams, honor rolls - even corridors - of middle school are essentially designed (a) to encourage bullying, & (b) to make kids see school as worthless & irrelevant.

…divide Middle School Grades into 9 large, & 3 "mini" project-based experiences…which kids choose. Completely interdisciplinary…

Kids would pick three 10-week experiences & 1 shorter experience each year, and that is what they would do all day."
irasocol  education  progressive  tcsnmy  lcproject  cv  teaching  projectbasedlearning  student-centered  projects  middleschool  juniorhigh  gamechanging  change  realreform  learning  adolescence  schools  schooldesign  individualized  teams  collaboration  collaborative  pbl 
january 2011 by robertogreco
John Sculley On Steve Jobs, The Full Interview Transcript | Cult of Mac
"He felt that the computer was going to change the world & it it was going to become what he called “the bicycle for the mind.” It would enable individuals to have this incredible capability that they never dreamed of before…

What makes Steve’s methodology different from everyone else’s is that he always believed the most important decisions you make are not the things you do – but the things that you decide not to do. He’s a minimalist.…

Normally you will only see a handful of software engineers who are building an operating system. People think that it must be hundreds and hundreds working on an operating system. It really isn't. It's really just a small team of people. Think of it like the atelier of an artist…

[Japanese standards are just different than ours. If you look at Apple and the attention to detail. The “open me first,” the way the box is designed, the fold lines, the quality of paper, the printing — Apple just goes to extraordinary lengths."
apple  business  stevejobs  mac  design  interview  size  groupsize  teams  managment  focus  minimalism  johnsculley  organizations  tcsnmy  computers  efficiency  via:kottke  japan  muji  experience  packaging  management  administration  lcproject 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Palomar5 Parallel process collaboration
"We had a phrase at Palomar 5 marked by a grave – “concensus killed my idea”, parallel process collaboration arose from this thinking on how to proceed without concensus. The answer is just to proceed, with people addressing the issues in the manner they think is most
consensus  palomar5  collaboration  tcsnmy  teams  teamwork  autonomy  sharedvalues  parallelprocess  learning  goals  classideas  direction  administration  management 
june 2010 by robertogreco
SSRN-Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea by Karan Girotra, Christian Terwiesch, Karl Ulrich
"In a wide variety of organizational settings, teams generate a number of possible solutions to a problem, and then select a few for further investigation. We examine the effectiveness of two creative problem solving processes for such tasks - one, where the group works together as a team (the team process), and the other where individuals first work alone and then work together (the hybrid process). ... In our experimental set-up, we find that groups employing the hybrid process are able to generate more ideas, to generate better ideas, and to better discern their best ideas compared to teams that rely purely on group work. Moreover, we find that the frequently recommended brainstorming technique of building on each other’s ideas is counter-productive: teams exhibiting such build-up neither create more ideas nor are the ideas that build on previous ideas better."
brainstorming  collaboration  development  creativity  innovation  teams  psychology  invention  tcsnmy  classideas  research  groups  ideas  thinking  leadership  management  individual 
june 2010 by robertogreco
Tom Wujec: Build a tower, build a team | Video on TED.com
"Tom Wujec presents some surprisingly deep research into the "marshmallow problem" -- a simple team-building exercise that involves dry spaghetti, one yard of tape and a marshmallow. Who can build the tallest tower with these ingredients? And why does a surprising group always beat the average?"

[via: http://scudmissile.tumblr.com/post/554987122]
building  business  challenge  collaboration  creativity  design  prototyping  ted  teamwork  teams  leadership  management  motivation  inspiration  innovation  process  tcsnmy  learning  problemsolving  iteration  failure  administration  tomwujec  psychology  extrinsicmotivation  intrinsicmotivation  success  incentives 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Why Group Norms Kill Creativity | PsyBlog
"So of course schools kill creativity, of course politicians are fighting over the middle ground, of course most TV programmes are the same and of course all our high streets are identical. People are social animals who work in groups and, especially with the advance of globalisation, the number of groups that govern or control our world has shrunk. These groups naturally kill creativity, or at least redefine it as conformity.
groupthink  psychology  behavior  groups  teams  teamwork  productivity  sociology  creativity  innovation  collaboration  conformity  cv  individual  groupnorms 
august 2009 by robertogreco
Why group norms kill creativity - elearnspace [quote from: http://www.spring.org.uk/2009/06/why-group-norms-kill-creativity.php]
"Unfortunately groups only rarely foment great ideas because people in them are powerfully shaped by group norms: the unwritten rules which describe how individuals in a group ‘are’ and how they ‘ought’ to behave. Norms influence what people believe is right and wrong just as surely as real laws, but with none of the permanence or transparency of written regulations…the unwritten rules of the group, therefore, determined what its members considered creative. In effect groups had redefined creativity as conformity."
creativity  collaboration  pedagogy  psychology  management  innovation  conformity  groupthink  trends  genius  groups  diversity  teamwork  teams 
august 2009 by robertogreco
dev2ops: delivering application change: Tools are easy. Changing your operating culture is hard.
"Did you ever notice that our first inclination is to reach for a tool when we want to change something? What we always seem to forget is that web operations, as a discipline, is only partially about technology.
technology  tools  organizations  behavior  change  psychology  via:rodcorp  teams  leadership  management  administration 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Creative Class » The Value of Those Who "Stand Out"
"Workplace teams with “socially distinct” newcomers perform at a higher level than those comprised of people who have been working together for a while, or of people of similar backgrounds. This comes from research by Katie Liljenquist, reported by Sarah Boesveld in the Globe and Mail a couple weeks ago (a similar report on her research is here if you can’t access the Globe). Newcomers are often in a position to voice disagreement and create tension, she says, which tends to lead to looking at issues in new ways or renewing focus on the task rather than “chatting about the weekend.”"
collaboration  teams  work  leadership  problemsolving  perspective  outsiders  learning  tcsnmy  administration  outsider 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Non-Hierarchical Management (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought) [Kottke weighs in: http://www.kottke.org/09/02/managers-as-servants AND read the comments too]
"The word manager makes many people uncomfortable. It calls up image of bossman telling you what to do & forcing you to slave away at doing it. That is not effective management. A better way to think of a manager is as a servant, like an editor or a personal assistant. Everyone wants to be effective; a manager’s job is to do everything they can to make that happen. The ideal manager is someone everyone would want to have. Instead of the standard “org chart” with a CEO at top & employees growing down like roots, turn the whole thing upside down. Employees are at top — they’re the ones who actually get stuff done — and managers are underneath them, helping them to be more effective. (The CEO, who really does nothing, is of course at the bottom.) Most guides on management are written for big bosses at big companies, not people starting something new who want their team to be as effective as possible. (Hi, startup founders!) So herewith, a guide to effective non-hierarchical management."
business  management  administration  leadership  tcsnmy  hierarchy  entrepreneurship  teams  development  advice  work  via:preoccupations  groupdynamics  psychology 
february 2009 by robertogreco
If you’re working in a big group, you’re fighting human nature - (37signals)
"According to...Antony Jay, there are centuries of evidence to support idea that small groups are most efficient...humans have worked in small groups, 5-15 people, as hunters & farmers for hundreds of generations....ideal group size is a ten-group"
37signals  management  business  organizations  groups  work  lcproject  psychology  dynamics  efficiency  teams  collaboration  productivity  entrepreneurship 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Chicago looks to 'turnarounds' to lift failing schools | csmonitor.com
"That wholesale staff turnover – giving a new principal the ability to shape who's working for him or her – is the most crucial element to a turnaround's success, says Mr. Calkins of Mass Insight, but it's not the only one."
chicago  schools  education  leadership  management  administration  teams  teaching  organization 
february 2008 by robertogreco
5 Reasons Distributed Teams Suck | Socialtext Enterprise Wiki
"5 It spends energy. 4 Its hard to make friends, let alone colleagues. 3 Some things are more expensive. 2 Some things start slower. 1 Talent by timezone."..."As with most ways of organizing, there are tradeoffs, and the key is recognizing them before the
collaboration  distributed  coordination  office  teams  virtual  work 
october 2007 by robertogreco

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