Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Discussion on Art

A blog entry will soon come from me that is related to the future of art education at the community college level. I know that my focus was to remain centered on expounding my thoughts on structure solutions for organizations in higher education. This entry will certainly pertain to this concept indirectly, and will also highlight my concerns regarding the paradigm currently in practice for higher education, and possibly education as a whole.

In the meantime, please consider and review the current and past literature on the importance of discussing and understanding the key elements of paradigms: ontology, epistemology, and methodology. These concepts will be very relevant to my overall argument, and why the difficulty in improving education relates to a misalignment of the current paradigm and circumstances that exist in today's world.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Another Good Point From the Book Nudge

In chapter 4 of the book, Nudge, titled, "When Do We Need to Nudge?", the authors make a very powerful point about the challenge for people to make choices "that test their capacity for self-control".

Check this statement out:

We have seen that predictable problems arise when people must make decisions that test their capacity for self-control. Many choices in life, such as whether to wear a blue shirt or a white one, lack important self-control elements. Self-control issues are most likely to arise when choices and their consequences are separated in time. At one extreme are what might be called investment goods, such as exercise, flossing, and dieting. For these goods the costs are borne immediately, but the benefits are delayed. For investment goods, most people err on the side of doing too little. Although there are some exercise nuts and flossing freaks, it seems safe to say that not meany people are resolving on New Year's Eve to floss less next year and to stop using the exercise bike so much.

At the other extreme are what might be called sinful goods: smoking, alcohol, and jumbo chocolate doughnuts are in this category. We get the pleasure now and suffer the consequences later. Again we can use the New Year's resolution test: how many people vow to smoke more cigarettes, drink more martinis, or have more chocolate donuts in the morning next year? Both investment goods and sinful goods are prime candidates for nudges. Most (nonanorexic) people do not need any special encouragement to each another brownie, but they could use some help exercising more.

The authors go on to make points around this statement, one being "Knowing What You Like". The change we need today involves a level of self-control that is difficult to grasp by most people. And even though we choose to avoid dealing with the problem, it doesn't make things easier; difficult is probably the inevitability more so than anything. I don't really have a point today, other than to recommend reading the book, if you haven't done so already. And also, I encourage us all to spend time thinking about what decisions we have avoided socially and collectively that impact our performance today and in the future. We now enter an era where both sides of the political line are racing to the extremes to an ideology that centers on great self-control either fiscally or morally. In any case, one must ask if these choices are truly realistic given the assessment of human nature provided in this passage.

Thaler, R. and Sunstein, C. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Data. Information. Decisions. Action. Change

Watch Middle School Moment on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

During my lunch break today, I took a quick view at this video on Frontline. The story has an interesting perspective on the use of data to inform decisions and actions. As in my title the flow should be:
  1. Data produces information
  2. Information influences decisions
  3. Decisions inform action
  4. Action leads to change

This is nothing new to you as a reader of this post. What I question is this. What did it take to make the change? How did this appear on the solution table as an option for the administrators? How many people were involved in the decision to use data?

If you have any advice in counsel on this, I would be most interested in your comments and feedback.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Transactional Cost That Don't Add Value

It is crucially important that you analyze all the transactions that take place in your operation, and objectively consider each point. Some may not be required, and others may have a better solution. Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting outsourcing or automating everything. But, you have to consider your long-term options, and how these transactions may render you ineffective in the future.

The human nature of most individuals is to do all that is possible to be necessary and required, no matter how their skills or talents fit into the value-chain. As a manager, you have to consider what resources are necessary to build a valuable product/service as efficient as possible. My rambling is just to say that every now and then, it is helpful to question everything you do.