Major New Fernando Flores Work Product

Fernando Flores has just delivered a major report to the nation of Chile on the subjects of innovation and preparing for the future. In English, SURFING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: CHILE ON THE 2025 HORIZON, explores “strategic orientations for innovation” for the nation over the coming decades. The document, and the work of preparing it, comes from the Chilean National Council on Innovation for Competitiveness, under Flores’ leadership.

In a blog posting reprinted in The Wall Street Journal CIO Journal, Irving Wladawsky-Berger praised the report for its creation of a new historical background for understanding and interacting with innovation. You can read his comment by clicking this title: Wall Street Journal_Innovation as a Journey Into the Future

For those with serious interest in how innovation occurs, this report is a treasure. It examines the phenomena of innovation, the background in which innovation occurs, the current historical state of the world in which innovation arrives, and proposes directions for investigation and action for Chile that can readily be seen as relevant and deeply related to the challenges faced by communities of all sizes and types around the world.  Further, the report re-frames, in important new ways, the questions of leadership and design for anyone who takes responsibility for guiding their community or enterprise into the future that is before us.

A full copy of the English translation of the report can be downloaded here.

I recommend it.

Joseph Stiglitz on Why Janet Yellen, Not Larry Summers, Should Lead the Fed – NYTimes.com

I have been following the press on the President’s choice of someone to replace Bernanke in the Fed, and have had a strong intuition that Larry Summers would be a very bad choice. This is the first appearance I have seen of an authoritative and strong opinion about this. I recommend it.
Stiglitz minces no words. They may sound not so different, but there is a vast difference between them, according to someone who has worked with both for decades.

Why Janet Yellen, Not Larry Summers, Should Lead the Fed – NYTimes.com.

OK, I surrender ….

I’ve been bad. Busy with work with clients and friends on projects I like, I have not paid attention to my blog. But there is more. When I started blogging, and subtitled my blog “Exploring social, commercial, and technological innovation,” I promised myself to stay away from political commentary.

To put the point baldly, I was (and remain) deeply dissatisfied with the political discourse in this country, and in the West. Good people vilifying each other in whining, complaining voices, like contending junkyard dogs do not give us room to learn or grow. (I don’t have enough experience with the discourse in the East to have an opinion there, but I suspect I wouldn’t like it there either.) I thought that anything I might say would be wood on the fire, merely adding to an already bad situation.

Recently, however, I concluded that if I begin to comment on the difficult situation of the country and what might be done about it, and explore the question of how to prepare our children to act in and take responsibility for the world that we are leaving them, then I might be able say some things that would be acceptable to me.

So this is the first next posting on my blog, headed in much the same direction as before, but with some  new opportunities, and explorations.

Sometime in the next weeks I will have an important announcement for those who have followed the work that I and my colleagues of many years have done in designing new practices, .

So stay tuned.

At my wife Shirah’s request I wrote a review yesterday of John L. Austin’s How to Do Things With Words, an important book that Fernando Flores introduced me to many years ago. Take a look and tell me what you think.

My greetings and best wishes to you,

Chauncey 

Little girl gets new arms from a 3-D printer | SmartPlanet

I am about to put more emphasis on the blog. I have changed some of what I am doing, and will say more about that in a few days.
Meanwhile, this story is about many things. Most of us have not been following what has been happening with what is called “3d printing.” This story shows something very heartening about the human dimensions of technology.

Read and watch (and comment if you like).

Little girl gets new arms from a 3-D printer

By Rose Eveleth | August 9, 2012, 3:00 AM PDT

Emma Lavelle was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), a genetic condition that causes joints and muscles to be stiff and nearly useless. At birth, Emma could move nothing but her thumb. After years of training and practice, she could move around without a walker, but her arms still hung by her sides, too stiff and weak for her to use.

“She would get really frustrated when she couldn’t play with things like blocks,” Megan Lavelle, Emma’s mother, says in the press release. When Megan saw a presentation of the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) being used by another patient with AMC, she immediately approached the doctor and asked if it could be used on Emma.

But the device wasn’t made for someone so small. The presentation showed an eight year old using WREX. The doctors had worked to make the device smaller, and got it working on six year olds who were in wheel chairs. But Emma could walk, and was only two.

Still, they tried, and when they brought Emma into the workshop and put her in a an experimental WREX, they saw an immediate improvement. Emma began playing, eating on her own for the first time, and throwing her arms up in the air.

Here’s a video, made by Stratasys, the company that prints the WREX device, of Emma using her exoskeleton:

Here’s another video of an older patient using it, made by Jaeco Orthopedic, the people who invented WREX:

The WREX exoskeleton isn’t new itself. Metal versions have been around for adults for a long time. But those are too heavy for most kids, especially those with difficulty lifting their arms. What makes this plastic version of WREX useful for kids is that it’s light, made from the same plastic that LEGO bricks are made from, and it’s easy to produce a custom model. SImply design, and print. And replacement parts are no problem, so as the child grows, new pieces can be printed to fit their bodies.

Via: PC World

Image:� Stratasys

via Little girl gets new arms from a 3-D printer | SmartPlanet.

via Little girl gets new arms from a 3-D printer | SmartPlanet.

End the University as We Know It – NYTimes.com

Hello there.
I’ve been busy with many things for the past year, but am committed to start posting some comments again. I’ll begin scattergun fashion, without a lot of focus, but this article that Michele Gazolo passed to me is too good not to pass on, so I’ll start here.

Other things to catch up on quickly will be a short review of what I have been doing, a note about the next Fernando Flores WEST (Working Effectively in Small Teams) Course, starting February (see www. pluralisticnetworks.com), and the next posting, news from a friend who has worked some miracles close to me over the years and who is taking a new and I guess important tack on Parkinson’s Disease.

Looking forward to be back in touch with many of you shortly.

Best,
Chauncey

End the University as We Know It – NYTimes.com.

Fernando Flores new offerings

Many of my readers know that I worked with Fernando Flores for over 20 years in a variety of companies and roles. I am his student, admiring colleague, and friend.

Now that he has completed his term in the Chilean Senate, Fernando has begun to roll out new educational offerings. He has started to deliver the new program he has been thinking about for some time now, with a center of operations in the US. His central premise (my summary) is that there is nowhere available today an educational program that addresses the challenges of the most serious problems facing us in the world today — working across enormous cultural and geographical distances, and building programs (and people) with the kind of  ‘staying power’ to keep thinking about and developing approaches to problems that will not be swayed or stopped because some groups have found compelling sound-bytes and mastered techniques of speaking ‘loudly’ in whatever media.

To address this need, he has built a short workshop that introduces the program, a four-month long course about working effectively in small groups, and is at this moment piloting the second of what he expects could eventually be a set of four or five courses.

I am currently participating in the first of the four month long courses. I’m convinced that his diagnosis about the dimensions of education and preparation for working in the 21st Century that he is thinking are on the mark. And, I have been very impressed by the accelerated learning that takes place in the environment that Fernando and his colleagues have designed. The combination of a rich philosophical context, guided play and discussion, and the use of a virtual reality environment for interaction gives a place for learning that is both full of challenges and at the same time allows students to take risks and develop new practices fast without risking their identities in their normal workspace. Most participants report important results developed very quickly.

If you have followed Fernando’s ideas and writings over the years at all, and found or suspected that important benefits were possible there, I strongly recommend that you contact Gloria Flores at <gfloresletelier@gmail.com> and discuss with her how to participate in the emerging new work.

The following are introductory comments from Pluralistic Networks’ introduction to their offerings. Pluralistic Networks’ website can be found at http://www.pluralisticnetworks.com. The name comes from the observation that important work all over the world must come from teams of people assembled from deeply varied communities, backgrounds, and training, and those people must learn how to come together and work effectively with each other very quickly. There is no way for us to all ‘grow up in the same village together’ in order to learn to work effectively together.

Our Introductory Session is currently called Building and Thriving in Pluralistic Networks — A New Approach for Learning Critical 21st Century Skills.  It will take place in SF on Feb. 23rd – 25th.

This session is an intensive three day conference led by Dr. Fernando Flores.  During the three days, participants will experience a new way of learning that combines Virtual Reality Games, Guided Reflection and Discussion, and grounded theoretical work to constitute a Virtual Reality Learning Laboratory that enable our students to rapidly develop new skills and sensibilities that are critical for our world today.  During the three days, participants explore:

-the skills and sensibilities we must cultivate to build stronger relationships and act effectively with others in a global, complex and constantly changing world.
-the use use new networked technologies as learning environments for developing new skills and sensibilities.
-their own abilities to work effectively with others, including the behaviors that may get in the way. Throughout the course, participants engage in hands-on group exercises using a virtual reality game environment, and emerge not only with a new awareness of themselves and the skills they need to cultivate, but also with a sense of ambition as they begin to articulate a personal roadmap for learning to navigate in the world of pluralistic networks.

The WEST program (Working Effectively in Small Teams) is our Four Month Learning Laboratory focused on working in teams.  This program is not what you might expect from a “team building” type of course; but rather, our focus is on developing an awareness of how we invent our identity with others, and on learning new skills and sensibilities that enable us to not only coordinate more effectively with other people, but also to build trusting relationships and to be more sensitive to each others’ moods and emotions.  Our students work as teams, and in the process of engaging with each other, they discover what works and what does not work in the way they build their relationship with their team mates (and in real life) for the sake of completing their missions.  The program includes exercises that allow our students to begin to develop the ability to observe themselves in action, not get triggered by negative emotional reactions, and begin the process of cultivating emotional fortitude — the ability to cope with adversity, change and uncertainty as a routine part of life.

When he finished his term as a Senator, the Chilean Government asked Fernando to do several interesting things that I am sure he will share with students and in his blogging when the time is right.

Recommending Russell Bishop’s new book, Workarounds that Work

Russell Bishop and I have followed each others’ work for decades, but only recently did Ron Kaufman introduce us. I recommend to your attention his new book, Workarounds That Work: How to Conquer Anything That Stands in Your Way at Work. His website is here, and his bio at the Huffington Post is here.

I first encountered the word “work” in the way that Russell addresses and plays with it in his book when my father gave it as his excuse for not being available to play with me when I was a child. He said, “I’m sorry, son, but I have to work.”

That caught my attention. What was this mysterious thing that was taking my father away from me? “Work” has been interesting to me ever since, at first as an enemy of my relationship with my father, and later as a central issue in all of our lives.

In the middle of this era of vilifying theory and worshiping practice*, it is inevitable that this book must be positioned as a book about practice and emphatically not about theory, but really I think that positioning hides some of the most important things that the book is about.

Russell is a wise and experienced man who has started several companies that have made huge contributions to very large numbers of people. He is also an editor and regular blogger at the widely-read Huffington Post. He knows well the substance of the old and oft-quoted adage, ‘…to practice without theory is to sail an uncharted sea; to work with theory without practice is not to set sail at all.’

In his book, to make it a happy one for a modern reader, Russell puts the practice in the foreground and the theory in the background and the spaces between the words.

A better way of talking about this book, at least for me, might go something like the following.

In Workarounds that Work, Russell models – in his way of speaking, in the way he reveals himself, in the examples he brings, and in his recommendations – a way of being that revels in the challenge and joy of work, and does not flinch nor whine about the myriad roadblocks that inevitably confront anyone trying to do anything serious in life. He is a joyful warrior in the middle of the mess of modern working life. Russell shows clearly the power of humility, gratitude, an indomitable spirit, a commitment to find alternatives and not remain stuck in ruts, and the soft underbellies of the enemies we face in everyday working life.

I often say that the fifth of my story about five great generators of waste in our modern working world – the interpretation that we are doomed to a kind of indentured servitude called ‘work’ – is the nastiest and most destructive. ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ – the announcement that we toil away five days of every week just waiting for a brief respite of freedom and meaning each weekend – is our declaration that we consider 5/7ths of our lives wasted. A tragedy.

Russell’s book is an antidote to work as toil, and full of good things.

*(My aside: Vilifying bad theory is may sometimes be worthwhile, and can be satisfying, and the fields of management and leadership are particularly full of bad theory.)