Posts tagged ‘learning’

The Cure Against Learned Helplessness: Intelligent Disobedience?

We humans (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) suffer from learnead helplessness.  Most of our daily usual stuff we tend to practice without deeply thinking about it. We act on auto-pilot. We don’t challenge the why. It’s learned helplessness.

But have you ever heard of Intelligent Disobedience? It’s a technique that is used to train service animals, for example service dogs that help blind people move around. Normally, the service dog walks side by side by the blinded. But if the service dog notices that it’s “boss” is making a move that might hurt (in fact making a poor decision), it starts being Intelligently Disobedient. With only one goal: to save the boss!

And now since you and me (but not yet all the others ofcourse) share this little secret of Intelligent Disobedience, we might also bring it into practice. But before bringing it into practice, we have to know and understand the current “rules”. Otherwise it will be difficult to break them if we don’t understand them. And then we can start rule break practicing. For example next time when we see people in our environment make poor decisions, we can try to shift into intelligent disobedience mode, discuss the poor decisions with them, and then shift back again into “normal”  learned helplessness mode. I wish you a happy learned “unhelplessness”! Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic What do we Know Infographic


Gearing Up The Social Innovation Cycle: From Learn to Un-Learn to Re-Learn

One could state that Humanity is in dire need of switching the Social Innovation Cycle into the 2nd gear: Un-Learn. Ofcourse there is a lot of good stuff around that we as humans collectively have invented which is there for keeps. But we (not you and me but all the others ofcourse) also have made some serious flaws here and there, given all crises we’re in.

So I propose we switch to 2nd gear, start un-learning many of the things we have got used to and forgot te critically un-learn. We need to discuss the undiscussables and not be afraid to ask the “why” questions often and routinely.

From that 2nd gear, it’s very easy to switch to the 3rd gear: Re-Learn. And it is this 3rd gear that might just help us transform into a new Golden Age, and who wouldn’t want that? And while running 3rd gear, we will have routinely become used to rethink, relearn and resist often, so we constantly refresh our knowledge and not re-use it dogmatically. I wish all of you Happy Gearshifting!

About Experience, Understanding and Collaboration

We people (not you and me ofcourse but all the others) tend to simplify problems by separation or segmentation techniques. If we encounter a complex problem, our intuitive reaction will often be to break down the problem into segments we think we can oversee. And we also tend to leave out parts we think that can be left out. And that’s were things often can go wrong. Because first of all, the way we approach a problem is to segment it into parts we have segmented before. Now this may sound like a reliable approach because we did it before. It’s part of our experience from the past and therefore we believe it can be done again. We don’t question if the approach from the past is scalable to the problems of today and tomorrow. We don’t question if our approach from the past might in fact be unreliable. It has become part of our belief system and therefore part of our understanding how the world works. And therefore we try to modernize the world with approaches we think are reliable because they have worked in a previous era. But that’s not allways the right way.

What could be another approach? Well, if you are open to new ideas, try to learn case by case and are not afraid to let go of your own belief system, you can really invent transformational new approaches. All you have to do is be open for new learning experiences. Open for collaboration. Open for co-creation. Open for crowdsourcing.  It worked for me since I began opening up for new insights. Started collaborating with others. Finding new knowledge outside my well-known day-to-day environment. Started to actively learn from experiences from others. I believe it can also work for you. And while I can try to explain how this all worked for me, I cannot understand it for you! That’s something you have to do all by yourself. So I wish you a Happy Understanding!

Why It Is So Important To Have Learning Experiences

We have all come to this earth to have learning experiences. However, in our quest for perfection or operationale excellence or even greed, we often tend to forget how important it is to make room for these experiences. And having learning experiences is not something you only do in school. It’s a life long task. Every person on earth has the basic right to have ample learning experiences. Because what could we possibly gain, if others have already taken away the learning experiences for us? Our children would be utterly boared if we take away their chances to experience, especillay if we make their lives easier and easier. So we need to factor learning in, into the designs of our educational, government, institutional, corporate and other related societal systems. And be careful with strategies that tend to take away or damp experiences. For example standardization can take away experiences because there is only the ´standard´ option available.

Below are some quotes that I think also fit whell to this post. These are quotes by which I am trying to live:

  • Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy ~ Robert A. Heinlein
  • It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know ~  Henry David Thoreau
  • Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn ~ Benjamin Franklin
  • Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge ~ Lao-tzu
  • People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves ~ Paulo Coelho
  • Be brave and take riscs. Nothing can replace experience ~ Paulo Coelho

Happy Learning!

Relax! Take Your Time To Learn

Have you heard about the Cool School of Life Long Learning? It really exists! And it was designed to let you relax. Because there is so much to learn, it takes more than an average human’s lifetime. So this means our life must be stuffed with learning experiences. And learning experiences take time. That’s why our world isn’t perfect. Because we all are experiencing. If there was a perfect world, there would be no experience. And without experience the will to say yes or no to a new creation is not possible. So we need experiences. We need an athmosfere that allows learning mistakes. And because we all have a different understanding of everything, we need to give eachother room for misinterpretations. Allow others than ourselves to make the same kind of learning mistakes we make. And don’t forget, anybody can try to explain something to anybody else, but will never be able to understand it for another! You have to do that all by yourselves. That is your learning path. And that is why we should take it all a bit more relaxed. Allow ourselves time to learn. Have a good and relaxed learning journey! Picture originals here and here.

How To Replace Fear of Inconsistent Behaviour with Love for Progressive Insight

Fear of inconsistent behavior is a quite common phenomenon. You can experience it everywhere. And it is often blocking or frustrating us. But why is that? I think it’s because demonstrating inconsistent behavior is generally “not done!”  It’s socially unacceptable. It’s a taboo. And because of that it drives our behaviour in a certain direction. We sometimes rather make stupid decisions and then later on hide that fact by showing “consistent” behavior. For example: “The decision I made last year still stands and I am in no way going to change that, even if I now know there are much better alternatives”.  But wouldn’t we make things a lot easier for ourselves and our environment, if there was somehow a kind of culture that allows us to demonstrate (a little bit) inconsistent behavior? A culture that allows us to make learning mistakes? And no longer consider a learning mistake as a taboo?  I think it can be made possible. And it doesn’t cost a thing. We only need to accept a new mindset that helpes us promote what I call the Love for Progressive Insight. That allows us to be a learning society. And that accepts that our society is getting so complex that no single soul can make the sometimes very complicated decisions (s)he can stand up to. So it’s time to allow for more learning mistakes. Time to stimulate the culture towards progressive insight. Time to forget pointing fingers at inconsistent behavior. What is your opinion, could this approach work?

Of Metaphores, Modeling, Thomas Kuhn, the Ladder of Inference and Loose Coupling

I have been wondering many times why it seems so difficult for certain people to change some of their old habits in favor of new (better) ones. Even if you provide numerous rational arguments why a new habit could be beneficial, people just don’t seem to be able to dislearn the old habit. This has a lot to do with the inner workings of the human brain and is documented behavior called the Ladder of Inference. The Ladder shows how most people often tend to fallback to single-loop learning instead of double or even triple-loop learning and thus are not open to new realities, however valid these are. People’s assumptions and beliefs filter any new experience and are one of the main reasons why it is sometimes so difficult to convince someone. So it would be nice if we could influence people to climb down the inference ladder, learn them some NEW insights, and let them reclimb the ladder again with new insights. I have the hypothesis that delicately choosen metaphors can help in conveying a new meaning or a new message to a theme under consideration. If supported by the right kind of visualization, metaphors are worth their value in gold and should stimulate to abandon single-loop learning practices. Or to speak with Thomas Kuhn: you don’t see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it. So we need to have some kind of metaphor management here: not only carefully selecting the metaphor that needs to be explained, but also the supporting visualisation that helps people convey new meaning. A good metaphor is then nothing more than a model of some new reality you want to explain to someone else. A good metaphor should leave behind some permanent trace in the receivers brain. In that case it will not only be remembered very good but can also be re-visualised in new contexts.

Lets say you want to explain the difference between interoperability and integration. A metaphor that can help visualizing this example topic could be according to the figure below. I like to refer to this figure as “Interoperability eats Integration” and will write about this in another post.

Suppose you explained that the small fishes on the left represent Interoperability (let’s call this the Interop fish) and that the big fish on the right represents Integration (let’s call this the Integration fish). Now you can easily start explaining differences and commonalities. For instance, the Interop fish could be used to explain that it has a high redundancy (it doesn’t matter if one or a few small fishes get lost, because the others still “interop” together to form a big fish). The integrated fish however represents a single point of failure and is more vulnerable in that sense. The interop fish is highly modular, loosely coupled by the integrate fish is only one tightly coupled module. The interop fish is highly adaptive to it’s environment and can quickly change direction. The integrated fish, because it’s big and slow, will not be able to adapt as quickly. So especially for larger organizations, having a (small) collection of highly effective metaphors should be able to help achieving better collective mental models, especially around complex themes.

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