Tuesday, May 21, 2013

John Seeley Brown Keynote at #ASTD2013

These are my live blogged notes from the opening session at the ASTD International Conference and Expo (ICE) -- happening this week in Dallas, TX.  10,000 or so training and development people here to extend their practice. Forgive any typos or incoherence!

This morning's keynote with John Seely Brown: http://www.johnseelybrown.com

How to turn any situation into a learning moment? If you can do that, you’ll become an entrepreneurial learner.

We have been in a period of instability and it won’t be stable for a long, long time…

Corporations have yet to organize in high-end guilds like world of warcraft.

The half life of any skills is shrinking to less than five years.  We move from stocks to flows….

Stocks = assets that we packaged (the old order of corporate training)
Flow = the world no longer receives well structured assets. How do we participate in knowledge flows.  It’s about creating knowledge and participating in that creation.

When we create something, we have not had time to figure out the explicit component of that knowledge.  A lot of it is still tacit.  Tacit knowledge can’t be delivered by traditional training techniques.

How do we move from a world where our strategic leverage was scalable efficiency to one of scalable learning?

Participation & the embodied mind: the essence of tacit learning.
As kayaker becomes PART of the current – embedded in that current, and your mind is your arms and your head.  Hand and head learn together in this kind of embodied context.

Strategic leaders need to think about embodied participation.

We have moved from an era of equilibrium to a word of dis-equilibrium – disruption every year.

Our ways of working need to be reframed. It’s a new mindset that we need for this new world.

A paradigmatic example:
How do we leverage a worldwide ecosystem as our learning environment?
He shares the story of Dusty Payne and his cohort of friends from Maui who became world champion surfers.

As a group, Dusty and his friends studied frame by frame DVDs of other world champion surfers. Then they got entrepreneurial and pulled the best ideas from other “adjacencies” (windsurfing, skateboarding, mountain biking, motor cross…)

Looking around in an entrepreneurial way

Questing, Play, Probing boundaries to invent new things.

Dispositions can not be taught, they can only be cultivated. 

Reverse Mentorship: we have a lot to learn from the kids.

How can you make Mentorship and Reverse Mentorship work together? The kids learn from the elders, the elders learn from the kids.

Building a community of peer-mentors.

Creating and sharing knowledge through a virtuous circle.  Using simple social software to create a network of practice or a community of practice. In SAP, almost obsoleted the need for the corporate training.

Much of the real work and learning happens in the emergent – so how do we really support this?

The distributed water cooler is everywhere.

We’ve not been supporting the emergent and informal.

Basically, work IS social.

e.g. Google Hangouts lets you bring up to 10 people together to work on Google Docs – a feeling of intimate space. You also have the ability to have people link and lurk on the periphery. So 10 core people, but limitless people can observe what’s going on and can pass a question in. Brown calls this “legitimate peripheral participation.” So this can scale….

Brown lists amazing innovators: Jeff Bezos, the Google guys, etc. – they all went to Montessori school.  Entrepreneurial learners?

“In a world of constant change today’s creators must be willing to regrind their conceptual lenses.”

Let’s go back and think about PLAY.

How did we learn how to frame the world? Not in school. We PLAYED.

Book: Homo Ludens (a highly nuanced concept of play_ -- permission to fail and fail again, play of imagination (poetry), an epiphany – when something falls into place.

Not just creativity, but the play of imagination. Learning as riddles – learning to reframe the world every five years.

Extending blended epistemology:
Knowing, making, playing

Through play, we find new ways to make sense out of the world.

Consider Facebook.  Hackathons. Once a month everyone gets together to try things out and break it – a radically different attitude than most organizations. This has helped to create a deep learning community within Facebook.

Google has become famous for the 20% rule – to go on own and explore new rule in 20% of their time.

“Every time we have done something crazy, we have made progress.”

The old school mindset: “I am what I wear/own/control.”

Today’s mindset: “I am what I create, what I share, and what others build on.”

There is a fundamentally new kind of individual entering the job market:
  • More interested in learning than salary
  • Adaptable and mobile: east cost educated, west coast bound
  • More interested in start ups
  • Risk taker
  • An entrepreneurial learner
  • Technically sophisticated and social adept.
  • She won’t want to work in the traditional workplace environment.

In the 20th century, we viewed institutions as things that shaped individuals- to create people who were comfortable to work in factories and standardized bureaucracies.

In the 21st century, the individuals reshape the institutions. They come with agile minds.

For this to work:
We must thing about mentorship and reverse mentorship. How do these kids help shape the institutional architecture, and how do we help these kids see they don’t know everything yet. These need to co-mingle.

The CLO will need to become the Chief Organizational Architecture. To create a learningscape.

We need to be responsive to these types of changes.

If your culture doesn’t work that way, you need to change your culture. These are the types of things we need to take on. How do we become the architects of the institutions that we want these kids to be part of – to provide fluidity and scale (without inertia or mass).

Where imaginations play, learning happens. 

Imagination needs to reign supreme.

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