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Archive for the ‘Learning Strategy & Design’ Category

Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas

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Matthew E. May is the author of “In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing“. A quick synopsis of his concept on elegance of incomplete ideas is published as a change this manifesto, “Creative Elegance: The Power of Incomplete Ideas” [PDF]. To quote -

It is nearly impossible to make it through a typical day without exchanging ideas. Whether deciding on something as simple as a restaurant for a long overdue night out, or as complicated as the design of an entirely new product, we are forever involved in sculpting and selling our creative thought. Conventional wisdom says that to be successful, an idea must be concrete, complete, and certain. But what if that’s wrong? What if the most elegant, most imaginative, most engaging ideas are none of those things?

Experiencing elegance is nearly always this profound. The unusually simple yet surprisingly powerful nature of any elegant this or that gives us pause, and the impact changes our view of things, often forever. Elegance delivers the power to cut through the noise. It can shake markets. It can change minds, and mindsets, as you’ve just witnessed.

When I read the manifesto, couple of things came to my mind. First, the context of visual abstraction level in comic books and use of graphics in learning contents. It’s an eternal dilemma for comic book artists of different genre- what should be the abstraction level of the illustrations? How much it should mimic reality? (Check out Scott McCloud’s TED presentation on understanding comics). Second thing came to my mind, this is THE reason why we almost always get disappointed by watching the silver screen rendering of a favorite novel. Words are the ultimate level of abstraction from visuals, which allows us to construct an image in our mind from the ‘incompleteness’ of the words. After reading a novel when we watch the movie version, a cognitive dissonance is inevitable.

What kind of abstraction level is OK for learning content design?

Written by anol

May 7th, 2009 at 9:49 am

Inspirational Interactive Explainer: British History Timeline by BBC

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This is one of the best Interactive Flash Explainers I’ve seen so far. Awesome usage of Flash to display humungous amount of information (From Neolithic and Bronze Ages till modern days) in an effective and comprehensive manner. British History Timeline by BBC.

Explore all of British history, from the Neolithic to the present day, with this easy-to-use interactive timeline. Browse hundreds of key events and discover how the past has shaped the world we live in today.

‘Take a Journey’ when the timeline has loaded to follow themes such as Slavery, Women’s Rights and Technology.

Also Read : Interactive Visual Explainers-A Simple Classification by Maish Nichani and Venkat Rajamanickam

Written by anol

March 21st, 2009 at 10:16 am

Organizational Learning, Collaboration and more : HBR

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David A. Garvin, Amy C. Edmondson, and Francesca Gino from HBR discusses the building blocks of a ‘Learning Organization’ in the article (and video), “Is Yours a Learning Organization?”

Building Blocks of the Learning Organization.  

  • A supportive learning environment:  An environment that supports learning has four distinguishing characteristics, which includes – Psychological safety, appreciation of differences, openness to new ideas, and time for reflection.
  • Concrete learning processes and practices.
  • Leadership that reinforces learning.

Another awesome video from HBR (pointed out by Luis) is an interview of Cisco CEO John Chambers, where he explains how abandoning command-and-control leadership has enabled the company to innovate more quickly, using collaboration and teamwork.

To quote :

“Stepping down from command and control formal authority and instead overseeing a web of relationships and inter dependencies requires you to be able to build an inclusive collaborative approach, more of a leading from behind perspective, to be an effective leader. To allow leadership as collective genius requires you to subjugate your own ego in order to allow others to thrive”

Written by anol

February 12th, 2009 at 11:06 am

Google Reader in Plain English

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Latest from CommonCraft


Written by anol

August 27th, 2008 at 5:31 am

What making us stupid?

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2 days after the BIG news got released, ‘Google now can search within Flash swf files’ [link], I found out 3 Flash developers of my company are NOT aware of the fact at all. When I mentioned the news, within few seconds they gathered  all the facts  about it via Google! I was thinking about this typical Gen Y style of information gathering pattern.

The way we find what we need ‘now’ at Google age is great. But it works only in the cases of when we know about what we don’t know. Without a regular ‘reading habit’ (RSS or old school books too), a habit of gathering knowledge beyond the domain of ‘now’, we can’t possibly know – what we don’t know.

Serendipitous learning is absolutely necessary, even at Google age. 

BTW – in case you missed the heavily discussed article by Nicholas Carr, here it goes -  Is Google Making Us Stupid?

Written by anol

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:34 am