Category Archives: Books

Another look at ‘Good to Great in the Social Sector’

I am in the process of redeveloping my website/blog over the summer and having a look at some of my output over the last 7 years I came across a review from October 2006 of Jim Collins' wonderful monograph 'Good to Great in the Social Sector'. I am doing some work for a start-up tech charity The Memory Box Network and it made me think of how to build a great organisation where greatness is not measured purely in financial terms. Since 2009 I have been self-employed and have built private and 3rd sector experience on.
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The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us

Carrots and sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st Century work we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.

The body of evidence to support this new way of looking at the world is growing and for Pink takes the form an ‘operating system’ for a better way of living and working. I am not all surprised by Pink’s argument. What really surprises me is that in 2013 his ideas, and the research that underpins them, have not already achieved the status of common practice and good sense.

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Steven Johnson – Where Good Ideas Come From #2

WGICFJust re-read this book and thought it was worth summarising the main points again. As I understand it Johnson's basic argument is that the roots of innovation often go beyond individual moments of inspiration. He identifies seven crucial themes, or environmental conditions, that are closely involved in the processes of innovation. In summary these are: The Adjacent Possible From genetics to YouTube, innovation requires the right environment and the component parts to be available. YouTube required broadband and Flash for an internet video service to be viable and developed in a very short period.
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Steven Johnson – Where Good Ideas Come From

Made a very long overdue start today on one of the many books in my 'must read' pile,  'Where Good Ideas Come From' by Steven Johnson. Really enjoying it and thought this little video was a good introduction to what I think are very powerful insights. I love the way he elevates the role of the slowly incubating hunch over the eureka moment.  Johnson concludes with the observation that 'chance favours the connected mind' and in my.
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Reality is Broken

Just finished reading Jane McGonigal's 'Reality is Broken on my Kindle. Lovely thoughtful and optimistic book that reaffirms the importance of games in human culture. As the title suggests her thesis is that the real world is broken - nothing new here.  However she goes on to argue that the resources we need to solve the world's great problems already.
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The Nature of Learning: CSSC

I have been dipping in and out of 'The Nature of Learning: Using Research to Inspire Practice' from OECD-CERI over the last couple of months. I would recommend it is as the best summary of what research tells us about learning. Chapter 2 'Historical Developments in the Understanding of Learning' by Erik de Corte, University of Leuven, is outstanding and should be essential reading for every teacher and for all those concerned with improving learning. Erik de Corte takes us on a short journey through behaviourist models of learning (still the.
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Carol Dweck: The Effect of Praise on Mindset

I was reminded today of the importance of giving the right kind of praise to learners - especially young learners. Telling a learner they are good at something is just as bad as telling them they are not good - both reinforce what Professor Carol Dweck calls the 'fixed mindset'. I think this is one of the most important lessons for parents and teachers. Carol Dweck's research on this is counter-intuitive. Every parent wants to be positive and give praise, we just need to be careful to.
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Book: Education Nation 2

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="414" caption="Milton Chen of The George Lucas Educational Foundation"]Milton Chen of The George Lucas Educational Foundation[/caption] I promised to return to Milton Chen’s 'Education Nation' once I had taken the time to read it properly so here goes. This is book with an international flavour but its focus is on the largely dysfunctional US K-12 system.  Milton does not pull any punches in his description of the decline of  US schools from ‘first to worst’:
  • 6,000 high school students drop out every day
  • The US has fallen from 1st to 18th.
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Book: Education Nation

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="Milton Chen, Education Nation"]Milton Chen, Education Nation[/caption] This lovely book has just arrived through the post. The author is my good friend Milton Chen, former executive director and now senior fellow at the George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF). Those with a long memory may recall that George Lucas, the Star wars director, spoke about Glow at the US House of Representatives in 2008 suggesting that there might be some lessons to be learned from the vision of the Scottish Government and the strategic.
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What is an expert?

In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell  suggests that opportunity plays a significant part in someone becoming an expert. He suggests that a 10,000 hour rule applies as much to the success of The Beatles (opportunity to play live 7 days a week in Hamburg) as to that of Bill Gates (opportunity to attend an elite school with a computer club followed by access to the University of Washington IT facilities).  Whether or not 10,000 hours is a magic number it strikes me that access to the best facilities and time to practice are essential. All the better if learning is.
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