Tag Archives: education

Savvy Saturday 14 July

Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.

– E. M. Forster


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Savvy Saturday January 24th, 2015

Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon. E. M. Forster

See my essay on design thinking applied to education.

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Turning Overload into Coherence

For the last month I have been involved in an ongoing process of transformation with an organization in the education sector. While my role was not clearly defined at the beginning, each day that passes it is becoming clearer that my work is based on making things coherent.

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Coherence is defined as systematic or logical connection or consistency and an integration of diverse elements, relationships, or values by Merriam-Webster dictionary.

I was reading a piece from a US education organization where they were talking about the challenge of leaders in the education sector and they used the phrase: “turn overload into coherence.” I thought it particularly apt for a post on this blog where I often talk about leadership and about managing complexity (the theme from last year’s Drucker Forum).

The challenge of turning overload into coherence is not reserved only for the education sector. It appears everywhere where we have high-level strategic decisions being compressed into a hectic schedule of priorities and deliverables. The key is finding coherence; connections that allow us to utilize resources efficiently while contributing to the mission of the organization.

In previous posts, I have talked about branding, authenticity and how to consistently do what you say you are going to do and what people expect of you. Coherence is fundamental in branding; ensuring that your message, values, “reason for being” is consistent and integrated across all your communications and your actions.
In closing, coherence is the way to take abstract ideas and ensure they are implemented in the various areas of your organization. Actions yield results but they should be the “right” results and implemented by motivated individuals who understand why they are doing what they are doing.


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Savvy Satuday June 14, 2014

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”
― Robert Frost

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It’s your turn…

It’s your turn…help raise awareness (and solutions!) related to the education crisis – not just in Latin America but in the world at large.

I am a finalist in the Inter American Development Bank (IADB — or BID in Spanish) Graduate XXi competition. It seems they liked my idea about applying design thinking to education!

Voting opened today and continues to the end of February. Please go to this link, read my idea and vote for me if you like it. That’s it. It takes less than a minute.

If you want to “pay it forward”, share my idea with your network and get them to give me their vote if they like my idea. Here is my recent blog post with a bit more explanation of my idea.

Thanks so very much!

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Learning to See the World: Application of Design Thinking in Education

The purpose of education is learning; learning to see the world, critique it, interact with it and relate with it. There’s a quote by the writer E.M. Forster that says:

“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.”

If we expect education to help members of our society to build things such as a business, a rocket ship, a masterpiece, a software program, or a soccer team, we must teach young people to see the possibilities of creating something relevant, innovative, and meaningful. Education should attempt to show the world in all its complexity.

Today’s Latin American youth are already interacting with the world. We live in highly transaction- based environments. Recent studies show that in certain cases, our attention span is a mere eight seconds. But education is not a zero sum game. It is not necessary for education to compete with these distractions in order to gain a foothold in the lives of young people. Instead, we need to reframe these “distractions” and invite more interaction from community, business, family, arts, or sports in the realm of education. Overspecialization or excessive focus on one aspect of education detracts from the overall learning experience.

One of the current crises facing education in the region of Latin America is that young people – from all walks of life – are not finding relevance in formal education. Graduate XXI has generated some amazing solutions from a diverse community of what can be done about the 50% school desertion rate in Latin America. It’s a topic that concerns us all.

My idea is the application of design thinking to education in Latin America. Design thinking is about designing something – in this case education – for the heart (emotions) as well as the hand (practice). If we apply design thinking to education in Latin America we would start with the question: “what would an ideal educational experience look like?” and then go on to engineer that experience. We would look at the entire educational experience – in and outside the classroom – to see where we can improve the experience; whether it be making travel to and from school safer or giving more autonomy to teachers – the lifeblood of education and learning.

One real life example of this can be found with “we.learn.it”; a European initiative that reframes education as a learning expedition. It is a multidisciplinary approach to education; it lets young people be creative as well as learn the skills required to take their creations and put them into practice. Referring to E.M. Forster’s quote, why not ask “what might a spoon look like for an alien?” of “how might we replace the spoon?”

Rather than look at how we can identity youth at risk of leaving school, why not ask what an ideal educational experience for those youth would look like? Why should we look at alternative education after a student has left school when we can offer a richer and more relevant learning experience at the very start of a student’s voyage of discovery and learning?

We all have the innate ability to create and that’s why learning to see the world is the most valuable education we can give our young people. By embracing the complexities of life in Latin America – rather than ask a student to choose between family, friends, economic subsistence, community, or non-conventional goals and aspirations – we can expect higher levels of engagement, participation and interaction with education and schooling and drive down school desertion rates.


Author’s note: This is a longer version of an idea I submitted to Graduate XX1 on the subject of high school desertion rates in Latin America. The short version (Idea 77) can be found here: http://www.graduatexxi.org/ideas/.

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Savvy Saturday January 11, 2014

south america

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

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Complexity and Education in Latin America

Last month I submitted an idea to the Inter American Development Bank on how to get students more “engaged” with education in Latin America. It’s my response to a troubling problem: nearly 1 out of every 2 young people in Latin America does not finish high school. You can find my idea to the IDB “Graduate XXI” competition here in English or in Spanish (choose Spanish option at top of page).

For me, education is the basis for building better societies, communities and businesses. It’s the foundation for us to convert our ideas into reality.

Would love to get your feedback as I have another interesting idea on designing a better education system which I will share with you soon!


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