Daniel Dennett's Seven Tools for Thinking

School of Thinking • 16 June 2013

Delving into deepities and more. Peruse this excerpt from cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett's new book, Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking. Dennett shares his precious nuggets of wisdom laced with wit, including how to benefit from mistakes, disarm opponents and avoid rubbish. Read on for Dennett's clever take on "life's lessons learned." [Bonus word of the day: deepity.]

I love this summary. "Surely" you will as well. I was once prompted by a consultant to try the Anatol Rapoport approach that Dennett describes. It's accurate, time-consuming and psychologically difficult and usually effective. I now see "deepities" everywhere including a sprinkle in the next article. (Michalko)

Idle Knowledge

The European • 21 May 2013

Learning for life. Liberal arts advocates will appreciate Jörg Friedrich's brief essay on why "[c]hildren should spend their school years learning all the things they will not need later in life." Technology may have eliminated the need to memorize dates or perform long division, but Friedrich still sees residual value in acquiring and retaining obsolete knowledge.

This is really an argument for education as a framing and patterning endeavor which is a strand in the more widespread and accepted assertion that education is to produce people who can teach themselves. (Michalko)

True Innovation Requires Knowledge—The Myth of the Naïve Disruptor and the Marginalization of Staff

The Scholarly Kitchen • 30 May 2013

Inside job. Tapping into expertise hidden among your staff can be your smartest move when attempting to manage transformation. Read on for cautionary advice about bringing in an outside expert (think JC Penney) rather than plumbing the deep insight stored in-house. Blogger Kent Anderson says: "Staff have earned their secrets about the industry. They may know something you need to know, or have a point of view that might save your organization thousands of dollars or hours. Don't forget about them."

Anderson usefully offsets the common wisdom that dictates outsiders or new skill sets to unleash innovation. He doesn't say enough about the incredible leadership needed to motivate staff change and to free those secrets. For a powerful take on another "myth" I suggest "The Myth and the Millennialism of 'Disruptive Innovation'". (Michalko)

The Corporation Is at Odds with the Future

HBR Blog Network • 29 May 2013

Outlook hazy. Anthropologist Grant McCracken's essay is a reminder that planning for the future means letting go of the present—a prescription that makes most organizations cringe. Read on for McCracken's take on how to break down organizational boundaries to embrace "a future that is shapeless and unmoored."

This started out promisingly as I thought it might be a restatement and update of the influential 1999 Hagel and Singer article "Unbundling The Corporation", which gave us such a useful heuristic. But no. Rather McCracken makes a series of good points only to end with a "deepity." (Michalko)

How to Give a Killer Presentation

Harvard Business Review • June 2013

Straight talk. TED curator Chris Anderson tells what he's learned from overseeing the development and delivery of thousands of TED Talks. Face to face communication is a powerful persuader and many of Anderson's suggestions can be applied in meetings and other impromptu settings. Be sure to click on "Find the Perfect Mix of Data and Narrative" for brief guidelines on how to craft effective messages for specific purposes.

This is an informed good summary of how to do a thing that is very hard to do well. He provides a terrific selection of TED talks to illustrate his major points. (Michalko)

We Have the Grammar Police. Why Not the Math Police?

The Creativity Post • 17 May 2013

No joking matter. Duke scientist Dr. Jonathan Wai questions why it's socially unacceptable to use poor grammar, but the inability to split a restaurant check is laughingly excused. Check out Wai's tongue-in-cheek argument for raising the bar on math competence.

Satirical it may be but America is deficient in producing the STEM-educated workers we need. If as a society we honored math and associated achievements more highly this might be different. We might not have to import workers and fight our tangled immigration system to keep them. See this Silicon Valley billboard. (Michalko)

Above the Fold Quiz

According to an item in this week's News and Views section, what is the SAA Jump In Initiative?

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