Archives for June 2013

Problem Finding and Disruptive Innovation

In his blog post, Adopting a Digital Disruptor Mindset to Transform Education, J Robinson talks about technology adopters and digital disruptors, referring to James McQuivey’s book, Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation. A mindset focussing on digital disruption focuses on engaging with new possibilities, rather than doing what we currently do, “better”.

I wonder if both have a place? Incremental improvement, supported and encouraged, can flourish and bloom as significant innovation over time, as it becomes established and operationalized as the norm. As I work through the ideas of problem finding-possibility thinking, (previous post) there seems an emerging connection between prevailing mindset and preparedness to engage in innovative thinking patterns.

Thanks for the post J Robinson!

Dan Pink’s “Problem Finding”

At Edutech, I heard Dan speak, not for the first time, about the need for students to become “problem finders” as opposed to just “problem solvers”. This phrase was echoed by several others in keynotes too. Perhaps it’s just semantics, but I couldn’t get my head around the phrase. The post at has really helped crystallise my thinking. If we reframe the words “problem” solving” into something more appreciative – “looking for opportunities” or “possibility thinking” then immediately I can grasp the intent of the phrase. I love the example given of the artists considering subjects – some paint what they see, whilst some consider what they might paint, given what is before them.
If we remove the base notion of a scenario as something that needs solving, and shift to considering what might or could be, then I think we could be working in Dan Pink’s “Problem Finding” mode.

Partners in Learning Aus National Forum

An absolute privilege to facilitate 2 intense days of working with the 21CLD task design framework last weekend. Co facilitating with the masterful Joan Dalton and inimitable Travis Smith was an enjoyable and valuable experience, both for me, and for the workshop participants. Having worked extensively with the 21CLD framework for 2 years now, it continues to evolve. Joan and I (well, mostly Joan) revised the rubrics, adapting them to include specific Australian Curriculum links, and raised the expectations of practice for the Australian context in general.

The forum workshops were tagged 21CLD; architecture for learning design. the 21CLD rubrics ARE a tool that shifts much of the rhetoric around teaching 21st century capabilities into a concrete reality. Participant feedback indicated the development of strong understandings around process and direct links to, and plans for implementation possibilities in their own school and beyond.

I would suggest that if you are looking for a place to start in actually DOING SOMETHING about shifting teaching and learning practice, then 21CLD can provide a critically effective foundation for action. Emerging evidences from programs in Tasmania indicate a significant effect on the way teachers design learning activities, and we are currently engaged in collecting evidences of impact from both teachers and students, with the aim of publishing the data by December this year.

Thanks to all participants for their dedication and work over 2 days (which included a Saturday), and again to Joan and Trav for their expertise. I look forward to continuing to support this program across the country.