Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Critical knowledge for sustaining life

Once in awhile you come upon a site that has a huge impact on your world. OK, I admit, that is a strong statement. I mindfully wrote it to be strong.

Consumer Consequences is an interactive game which brings you along through a journey to help you understand the impact each of us has on our environment and the lives of those around us. The site, created by American Public Media, is very well designed and highly interactive. You choose your avatar and your home, and begin your journey.

Be prepared, you won't be the same at the end of it. There are many other opportunities in our work and our world to apply the type of interactive learning this site utilizes. There are few with so many surprises and ah ha moments. Go, try it, apply the learning/teaching style to your work. And, please, let us each apply the environmental learning to our way of life.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Knowledge for the fun of it

Sometimes we all get so caught up in the serious side of our work that we forget to have fun. Or, at least I can forget. And fun is what truly makes the work worth doing. Fun and a sense of being of service to the greater good, I believe.

Anyway, I have been heads down in life and projects. Both can be a bit too serious sometimes. When I found the site I will describe here in this posting, I thought 'this is just what the doctor ordered.' Literally almost true!

A site for nothing but fun. And not just any fun, but creative, use your hands and build it, fun. Fun that is new and nostalgic at the same time.

Do you remember building paper airplanes when you were a kid? What else did you try to make out of construction paper and a bit of glue. Well, look no further. Our friends at www.papertoys.com have given you many different kinds of paper toys to build, AND shared their knowledge of how to do so.

Ever thought of building the White House out of paper? They have! Along with almost everything else imaginable. We all know it can be difficult to share knowledge like this in writing. It requires some deep thought to ensure all of the instructions are as complete as needed. Take a look, take a learning, make a toy and enjoy!!! We all need it!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The class of 2011 mindset

The Class of 2011: what Berlin wall?

Just think, most students entering college in September were born 1989. Ok, excuse me, but wasn't that the day before yesterday?

Beloit College has published the Beloit College Mindset List for the 2011. The list has 70 factoids for this group of freshman. The list gives you an incredible snapshot of how context is everything. Let me give you a few examples:

1. What Berlin wall?
8. General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
9. Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
10. Pete Rose has never played baseball.
11. Rap music has always been mainstream.
13. “Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.
15. Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
23. Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM

And we wonder if we need to do cross generational bridging in our organizations? I wonder how we are able to communicate at all. We should take heart that we have done as well as we have but we must focus on the multi-generational workforce (as well as multi-cultural). This is to our sustained success...we must learn not only how to work together with different viewpoints, values, ideals...but we also need to know what knowledge is critical to transfer and how we can do it with relevance.

Given the above list and what you will find at the Beloit website, it amazes me that we are so shortsided as to think we can learn to collaborate cross generationally without any assistance. Let us learn to take the best of the best, whatever age they are, and share it with zeal in a way others can absorb. We are not all the same. Thank goodness. Let's work with that and move forward by leaps.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Learning how to identify trends

I am one of those people who is always looking for trends and patterns in data. I don't necessarily mean to, I'm just wired like that. Trendspotter is an e-publication I have previously mentioned that spots and describes new business concepts which may change business as we know it, and shift some of the trends and patterns of business or commerce.

In this listing they actually work to help the reader learn how to spot a trend. What a tough concept to teach! Complex and complicated at the same time. First they set a common language (what IS a trend) and they set context (know WHY you are looking for trends) and the learning continues from there. I think this site does a great job at sense making of a difficult subject.

I also think if we are willing to consider the same format for teaching our colleagues (and ourselves) how to look for trends and patterns in our own data, at work or at home, we might find this method very worthwhile.