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Organizational Silos: The Enemy of Collaborating and Learning Online

I like to read the Corner Office interviews that Adam Bryant does in the New York Times each Sunday with Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of big companies.

Bryant’s questions invite guests to talk about the influences that shaped them and their leadership practices. Sometimes I identify with what they say and wonder how I would respond if asked. Other times, they provoke me to want to know more and I meander online to satisfy my curiosity.

Lois Braverman, CEO of the Ackerman Institute for the Family

Lois Braverman, CEO of the Ackerman Institute for the Family

When Bryant interviewed Lois Braverman, CEO of the New York-based Ackerman Institute for the Family, on February 8, 2015, Braverman promoted the value of honoring various perspectives. Braverman talked about the need to “make room for the legitimacy” of each viewpoint and “not let my righteousness make me think my perception is more meaningful than yours.” On a daily basis, she said

…there may be differences in terms of how we define the problem, because it can be different depending on where you sit in an organization. There’s an administrative reality and there’s a front-line worker reality, and those realities are very rarely the same. Read more

5 Steps: Tear down those cubicle walls and unleash the genius within!

We all have our rituals. On Sunday, mine is putting laundry in the washer, getting something hot or cold to drink (weather and season dependent), and then reading the New York Times online. I may have moved to Maine almost 30 years ago, but I am still a New York girl at heart!

As I was performing this ritual last week, an article jumped out at me as certainly germane to the Women’s Learning Studio blog posts for the last several weeks on learning with others online.

It caught my attention just because of the title: The End of Genius, an opinion piece by Joshua Wolf Shenk. He begins the piece with: “…the lone genius is a myth that has outlived its usefulness. Fortunately, a more truthful model is emerging: the creative network, as with the crowd-sourced Wikipedia or the writer’s room at “The Daily Show” or — the real heart of creativity — the intimate exchange of the creative pair, such as John Lennon and Paul McCartney and myriad other examples with which we’ve yet to fully reckon.” He gives examples of how genius morphed from everyone having genius within (pre 16th century) to solo creator after the Renaissance. Read more

Peals and Pearls of Collaboration from Watterson and Pastis

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

Everyone who really knows me remembers that I used to adore Calvin and Hobbes, the comic strip drawn by Bill Watterson.  When the strip ceased almost 20 years ago, my loud laughter from reading the comics page in the morning also declined.  It wasn’t nearly as much fun to grab the comics page from my husband to savor it before he could!

Available at Amazon

Available at Amazon

My happiness quotient went up when the Pearls before Swine cartoon entered my life.  I savored the unrelenting nastiness of Rat, the happy  obliviousness of Pig, the wise ways of Goat, and the easy manner with which “Zeeba” the Zebra foiled the hunter-crocodiles next door.  I laughed when the cartoonist Stephen Pastis injected himself into the strip to be mocked and disdained by his own characters.  My daily grab of the comics section resumed.  With our own “Zeeba” in the house, our unusual black and white, retired racing greyhound, my vision took on a rose-colored tint again.

A funny thing happened in the cartoon. Pastis was absent as a cartoonist for a few days, and he had a guest cartoonist, 7 year old Lib, fill in. When Pastis revealed June 7 that “Lib,” who outdrew Stephen Pastis in his own cartoon strip was really “Bil” Watterson, I laughed at being outwitted myself.  What also impressed me was how they formed and did their collaboration.  They worked together via email before they ever talked with each other on the phone.   Obviously, long-distance collaborations online can yield wonderful results.  Today, we’ll explore how they worked to learn what their experience suggests to us aspiring collaborators.

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Journeying on the Enterprise 2.0 Networked Learning

Remember the Star Trek Enterprise, traveling into space where no one had gone before? For businesses, organizations, and those in the workforce, the new way to travel to impact innovation and ROI is on the Enterprise 2.0 of networked learning.

Enterprise 2.0, coined by Andrew McAfee in 2006, is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies or organizations, or between them, and their partners or customers. Social software enables people to connect and collaborate online, and platforms are the digital environments in which these interactions are visible and persistent over time.

Harold Jarche, in his Organizational Learning in the Network Era blog post outlines the systemic factors and the necessity of sharing power to enable organizational learning in Enterprise 2.0. His main points are: Read more

Online Projects: Solutions for Learning AND Doing

In her most recent blog post, Doris talked about online projects as a tool for collaborative learning. In that blog she described a valuable process for collaborative projects that included identifying a challenge that matters to you, seeking people who share your passion, reframing goals and mission, and establishing a timeline, target milestones and regular sharing rituals.  

Some project skills are the same both online and offline.  As with offline projects, you must continually focus on the mission, reflect and ask questions, make each connection or meeting productive, and remain flexible and open to new ideas. However, working online hones and reframes leadership skills and technical knowledge. Read more