Friday, October 7, 2011

Optimism - the trajectory of choice

It's almost overwhelming these days when you look around and see the future painted as pessimistic and dreary. Whether it's the economy, climate, education.....seems no matter the topic, someone has portrayed the future as a bleak and dark outcome. Now I don't ignore these thoughts by any stretch, but having faith in God and in my fellow humans I'm certain, despite the obstacles, we have more opportunity for an optimistic outcome than we are communicating or researching.

Do we choose to sink in the sludge of pessimism or do we choose the trajectory of optimism? I don't consider myself a religious person, since my ideals are centered more on Love than on "doctrine and rules" which leads me to think that overall we must decide the outcome of our choices. I'm certainly more comfortable with balancing the negative with positive, this is one lesson where God provides pretty clear direction. Some would say I fall back on God, which is true but I believe we each have free will to decide. The early part of this process is choosing optimism or pessimism in any situation, time or place.

I remember early in my leadership training days of the military, watching a video, the basic idea of the video was a man walking the beach and throwing starfish back into the sea. Now there were thousands of starfish and in his short walk he could only return a handful to the water and ongoing life. When asked why he took up such a "useless" cause, how could it matter --he responded, it matters to that one as he throws a single starfish into the sea.

As we go along in a more individual and transactional world it will help all of us to be reminded -- " matters to this one." Somehow we must impact the overall system of humanity, one individual at a time with the optimism of a better life and a better world, for however long we live. Certainly, Steve Jobs did this in his ability to create new experiences at Pixar and repurpose old devices into new useful products for the individual and collections of individuals. Despite his short comings he did understand the thought that one man or woman or child could make a difference --- so along with Steve Jobs and the desire to change the world one individual or situation at a time ---my choice is Optimism.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Between centuries of Educators

So I'm teaching and taking online classes. I've spent the better part of the last four months trying to pull together a leadership class that captures much of the 21st century. It's not so easy to pull this together and put it into a format that fits into today's online courses. After all, most of them are nothing more than broadcast of video, exercises or the age old format shoved into the online viewer shoe. It's like trying to put a new, shiny titanium nail in an old hole of a schooner........the interesting thing is that in collaborating, it's not like the team is working toward building something new, half the team is, the other half is shoeing in the new material to the old hole.

This has cause for me to think about two really important things, asynchronous learning and asynchronous teaching. I'm certain there must be a better way. Even in the Stanford Classes I'm currently taking, which by the way are a brilliant marketing method, I'm finding it to be, solo flying. Now for the very technical and no human required materials I think this is great. Much like learning to fly an airplane it's actually better if one is solo and only risks their life in learning, but in material that is all about people, it's not very effective. Pure theory rarely holds up under the pressures of real leadership. True leaders have molded there knowledge and skills, hammered the dents out and polished the surface to the point that they barely recognize where the academic material resides.

We have to figure out how to share experience with those who will be leaders and use the 21st century knowledge exchange over the 20th century repository of knowledge; read it and pretend to know what's going on and how to solve the issues or challenges.
I'm pretty certain and very hopeful that integrated Experience Technology will give us a better handle on this type of education in the very near future.