Friday, 25 December 2015

YOUR D.Q. in 3-D

No, it is not your Dairy Queen but your “Desire Quotient.”  We first had I.Q. and more recently E.Q. and now it’s time to introduce D.Q. to a wider audience.  In addition to the simple definition of “wish” or “want”, as a transitive verb, since action is usually required in order to fulfill a desire, a more complete definition might be “a conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.”   For many people that means a successful outcome, goals achieved and time for celebrating the accomplishments.
Following are three dimensions of your D.Q. in terms that you can see, share, and enhance, in order to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.  Each dimension contributes to the work in progress according to what is needed at a given time. The work can be of any kind.  Think about a specific project, a piece of art or music, an article or a book, a relationship, a trip or your next adventure.
1.    Design
The recent activity in “design thinking” has taken planning off the drawing board and made it a more interactive process.  Instead of a solo activity by a designer taking a client’s desires and translating them into a plan, “design thinking” incorporates the clients into the activity in a more participatory manner.

In 2008, Tim Brown, in the “Harvard Business Review” said, “Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible… “  Tim went on to say, “ On reflection this is a narrow description that focuses on design thinking’s role within business. The next sentence that I wrote ‘….design thinking converts need into demand’ , which I borrowed from Peter Drucker, broadens things out a bit but still assumes an economic motivation.”

Tim’s 2009 book, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation is described as” a book for creative leaders seeking to infuse design thinking into every level of an organization‚ product‚ or service to drive new alternatives for business and society.”  That sounds like a tall order and yet that is a significant part of what is needed in order to move toward the desired change in any area of life and work.  That drive in this case is the design of the desire.   Whatever you call it, however you engineer it or design it, what comes out at a point in this process is nothing more or less than a good plan.  It will be one that is comprehensive, clear and compelling.  And it is not the end but another beginning.

2.    Dedication
In order to be dedicated one must have a commitment to purpose, focused on both the task at hand as well as the end game.  Here is where the proverbial rubber meets the road, where one gains traction and makes progress through hard work, where the so-called heavy lifting takes place.  If it’s a building or an organization, there are systems that must be coordinated, integrated and kept on track and on time and in many cases, within budget.  The dedication to each of these pieces and to the overall process requires effort, energy, resources and time. 
Being dedicated means being consistent and staying within agreed upon parameters without necessarily being limited and restricted by them.  If a change in direction is needed, there must be sufficient flexibility to make the adaptation.  A dedication is much like a promise, making the declaration that something in particular will (or will not) be done and holding to it.
Few would question the dedication of people such as Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Marie Curie, Margaret Sanger, or Susan B Anthony.  There are hundreds and thousands of other unsung heroes and heroines who have dedicated themselves to purpose and passion beyond themselves.  Goal-directed, task-oriented and results-focused behaviors are some of the essential ingredients of dedication as one of the three D’s in your D.Q. 

3.    Determination
In spite of obstacles, barriers, delays, frustrations, disappointments, or even failures, determination keeps us going. Determination is a characteristic that helps overcome adversity in many forms.  It is the fuel that feeds the fire, the energy that keeps us moving forward and the conscious intentions that are the bedrock that so many other actions are built upon.  Determination is marked by stability in the face of shifting tides and winds, being willing to change a course of action but without compromising the goal. 
When there is a significant challenge or a degree of difficulty with a particular piece of a project, it is determination that sees us through to the other side.  In the words of Winston Churchill, October 29, 1941,  he said. "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense."  This was a clear expression of his determined commitment that he wanted to communicate with clarity and compassion.
Determination is more than a positive response to a negative situation.  It is the strength of the fiber in the character of every person and will not only be the test of pressing on when the going gets tough but will also be that which helps keep others on task, on target and on time.  Determination holds one self and others accountable and is thus a key ingredient in your “Desire Quotient.”
Questions:   What are your desires?   Beyond wishes and hopes what do you want to accomplish in 2016?  What are your specific goals and what are your plans to achieve them?  How would you measure and assess your levels of design, dedication and determination?    How will your D.Q. move you in that direction?

Thursday, 10 December 2015

A NEW SCHOOL MODEL: The Teaching Hospital

I am indebted to the Knight Foundation and Eric Newton for their presentation in November, 2013, to a group of Dutch journalists in Amsterdam.  The content regarding K-12 schools is mine and I take responsibility for any mistakes, misunderstanding or errors in laying out a design for these kinds of schools*  
Gary R. Gruber, Ph.D.  © 2015

The teaching hospital is deeply rooted in community and so are schools.  In these hospitals, medical students, under the direct supervision of physicians and nurses learn how to read vital signs, draw blood, insert catheters, set broken bones, deliver babies, do surgery, read x-rays and MRI’s, interpret test results and conduct a range of other procedures. Why?

What a student learns from reading and listening and passing tests is not sufficient to teach you how to be a physician.  This is also true for engineers, mechanics, architects, software designers, pilots  scientists, race car drivers and many other professions.  Nothing has surpassed the apprentice model for learning by doing.  We know that and yet have still not adopted it across a broad spectrum of education, especially for younger students in K-12 schools.

In the United States, there are about 400 teaching hospitals. They develop new cures and treatments because they are action research oriented.  They set high standards for patient care. They treat the most difficult cases while serving the poor. At the same time, they train more than 100,000 new doctors and other health professionals every year.  Over 200,000 teachers are trained each year.

At this point in time, few if any, schools reflect a complete model of a teaching hospital .  Some have various components like student teachers and interns, or teacher directed research or laboratory and studio settings, or high touch, high tech approaches.  even gardens.  Some even have teaching and learning centers attached to the school.  Most either do not or cannot go far enough to be all-inclusive nor can a school be all things for all people.  Choices have to be made.

One of the more familiar models that some might think is similar to a teaching hospital is the classic Lab School, often in conjunction with a university such as the University of Chicago where the Lab School was started by John Dewey.  There are numerous others in various states connected to universities, often with a College of Education.   Stanford and UCLA in California are good examples as are Bank Street and Columbia in New York.  Here’s a description of the Horace Mann Lab School at Northwest Missouri University: “Horace Mann is one of only a small number of laboratory schools in the United States that provides a hands-on, project based learning, individualized approach that is only possible with small class sizes and multiple teachers…Master teachers provide a unique learning environment for all students that include technology, innovative best practices, and exemplary educational experiences.” 

Only about one-half of the states in the U.S. have these specific kinds of Lab Schools and the total number appears to be fewer than 100 in number. And, over time, many of these schools, for different reasons, struggled to maintain their progressive status and leadership positions within their own communities. 

The point here is not to try and replicate these very good Lab Schools but to see how a new model could take advantage of the best of both models – a teaching hospital and a university-based Lab School. 

The challenge is in combining the education expertise with the technological expertise, and combining the entrepreneurial spirit and the community service.  The goal should be to provide greater community engagement and service. Clinical trials should test new techniques and technologies, with results made widely known. The entire context of care has changed: Many of the current procedures, operations, and treatments were not performed a decade ago.

Being in a teaching hospital also means working with other parts of the university to import subject matter knowledge, including marketing, business, technological and entrepreneurial expertise. New revenue streams for business and nonprofit models can be tested. This kind of compelling case can be made for additional funding from a variety of sources including corporate and foundations sources.   We should ask tech companies and their foundations to consider it, too.

Research is the coin of the realm at universities. Spreading applied research throughout the teaching hospital would be a key to its acceptance in the rest of the university.  There are numerous schools experimenting with new models for delivering education today.  They do special community engagement projects. The hope is that those places and people who have almost all the elements will look around and see what they don’t have and add it if possible and appropriate. Constant iteration can lead to transformation.

It is time to move from reforming schools to transforming them.

To duplicate a teaching hospital, a community school would need to combine at least six different elements in one cohesive combination
1.     Students doing the work, i.e. learning as apprentices to great teachers.  Students may also be adults including graduate students.
2.     Exceptional teachers at every level guiding students in order to improve the quality and impact of the educational experience.
3.     Professors and other recognized education experts bringing in topic knowledge and raising issues to elevate the levels of teaching and learning.
4.     Innovators pioneering new tools and techniques.
5.     Academics and practitioners doing major research projects.
6.     Everyone working together with an emphasis of not just informing a community but engaging with it. This sixth element is not a type of person, it’s a way of doing things: working collaboratively with each other and a community.

You don’t have to build a new school as long as whatever you do has its own sense of wholeness. Experiments of any size that contain the six teaching hospital elements will move education forward. They will encourage real-world experience; the latest tools and techniques; best-practices; continuous experimentation;  applied research and an open, collaborative relationship with each other and a community The result is knowledge both to a single community and the larger world. As results multiply, many students, teachers and communities can be the beneficiaries.

(For those interested, a more detailed description of the teaching hospital model as applied to schools is available from the author.)