Ted2014 is on at the moment and I have drawn a great deal of inspiration and confidence from Ted Talks. It would be a long list if I were to included my favorite talks, but there are some that had a lasting impression on me;
The Secret Structure of Great Talks - Nancy Duarte
Where Good Ideas Come From - Steven Johnston
The Power of the Introvert - Susan Cain
Tribal Leadership - Dave Logan
Hole in the Wall and School in the Cloud - Suguta Mitra
I think it would be so cool to come up with a game-changing idea that would secure an invite to present at Ted! Today I want to talk about whether or not ideas get adopted or ignored, not because of whether the idea is good or the way its presented... but depending on who delivers the message?
I think that Steven Johnson's talk compliments Duarte's really well as he tells us how "An idea is a network." I try to take Johnson's advice by looking in a diverse range of places for "slow hunches" or new ideas, and try to figure out if/how they could be applied to Further Education. I love Johnson's closing comment "Chance favours the connected mind." I also consider meta data by trawling through some monster spreadsheets, whcih is something that I cover in this "Mining Data....Nuggets of Gold & Pearls of Wisdom" post"
Where Good Ideas Come from... And When they are Not Heard.
I've touched on introverts in the past but Susan Cain's Talk and book had a big impact on me, it helped to explain (and gave permission for) some of my personality traits. Here is one of my faviourite extracts from her book;
"If you're an introvert, find your flow using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths.You may be so busy trying to appear like a zestful, reward-sensitive extrovert that you undervalue your own talents, or feel underestimated by those around you. But when you're focused on a project that you care about, you probably find that your energy is boundless.
So stay true to your own nature. if you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don't let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don't force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multitasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you and incalculable power to go your own way. It's up to you to use that independence to good effect.
Of course, that isn't always easy. Jack Welch wrote an article called "Release Your Inner Extrovert," where he called for introverts sometimes need to act more extroverted on the job. Cain suggested that extroverts sometimes need to act more introverted, too, and suggested that Wall Street might have benefited from having more introverts at the helm. Welch was intrigued. But, he said, "The extroverts would argue that they never heard from the introverts."
Welch makes a fair point. Introverts need to trust their gut and share their ideas as powerfully as they can. This does not mean aping extroverts; ideas can be shared quietly, they can be communicated in writing, they can be packaged into highly produced lectures, they can be advanced by allies. The trick for introverts is to honour their own styles instead of allowing themselves to be swept up by prevailing norms."
I have had roles where I managed people in the past, with mixed results - some good; some not so good, and the experience was never an enjoyable one. There was no training for these positions, so found myself mirroring what I saw in the organisation which were extroverted ways of doing things. As this was neither enjoyable nor effective I shied away from managing teams... until I found Tribal Leadership. This provided models where I could lead with my strengths - not by pretending to be something I'm not.
Where Good Ideas Come From... And When they are not Heard
Ted Prize - The City 2.0
"My wish is that we develop an education system where there are no class boundaries (either barrier to access or being made to feel inferior once in the classroom), Where those in the room want to learn, where they are exposed to only the most passionate, inspiring and knowledgeable teachers.
This could mean that the limited number of people who currently enjoy the experience of could be rolled out to reach a larger audience"
Learning From Ted
So have I learned anything from the Ted Talks mentioned above?
- I try to have a "networked mind"; so know that I can have some good ideas from time to time.
- I am an introvert so can struggle to make myself heard; A few good ideas have gone unnoticed (More details in next post)
- I realise that I am a "recovering sales person"; so try not to draw too much attention to myself
- It's one thing to have a great idea; it's another thing to articulate the idea well
"Whose going to listen to some random sales guys' idea... Why am I even submitting this idea? It's ridiculous!"
This mindset led to an over-explanation of how I came up with the idea which, in turn, led to a rather poor presentation.
Learning From the Past
I mention this not just because Ted 2014 is on this week, but also in an attempt to prevent my current ideas being overlooked. I have been blogging and Tweeting a lot since the FELTAG agenda has gained momentum. I have tried to temper my enthusiasm for the subject and my ideas with not being a "Hashtag Hijacker" but, at the same time, as the Joshua Bell example demonstrates the location of an idea could mean that people walk right past the person and their suggestions.
I have ideas that I am confident that they have the potential to make a difference.
So what am I going to do? Do as Welch suggests and go all extroverted and shout & scream about them?
Emerging technology just might be something that the youngest member of staff might know more about, regardless of pay grade, job title or department they work in.
How many people are there who, just like Washington commuters did with Joshua Bell, walk past people in their organisation every day without noticing their ideas or talents? How many great ideas do they have which go unnoticed? You just might be surprised about where good ideas come from...