LILA ~ Learning Innovations Laboratory at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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April 2014 Member Feedback

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Laurent Bernard:   thought the experiment was a good one.  As you observed , the main question that the team has in minds is : how do I apply and can transfer insights in a practical way.  In my group ; we could have been a bit more disciplined in the exercise which would have enabled better outcomes – we spent some time to select which case is the best.  May be one idea is to create an Alpha company that would serve for the business case ? not too many data but each group working on the same Alpha this can provide more discussion and exchange.  Just a thought

Pat Chiu:  Hope all is well and you’ve had time to relax after all the LILA activities that you organize so well.  Following are my comments:

  • I found the experimental activity and the practice with the new tools (4Q and 4columns) to be the most valuable.  They helped me to bridge the gap between the theoretical and the actual.  I also found the cafes to be helpful for their in depth discussion of topics of interest to me and David Perkins’ “summations” which brought a sense of “cohesiveness” to the three sessions.
  •  The experimental activity provided me with an “aha” moment since our group discussed one of my company’s routines which was problematic for me.  The group was able to determine which quadrant I should start and that I’d been thinking about the problem backwards.  This was tremendously helpful for me in order to pursue resolution.
  •  I suggest continuing the “experimental” activity and, if needed, extend the overall time to two full days.

Kathy Gagne:   I really appreciated the experimental time, where we spent time with each other, working through and talking about applying the learning to our own organization.  I like the added time talking in smaller groups/table talk.

KT Lim:  I would like to express my appreciation for these 2 fruitful days of learning and sharing by the LILA team and participants. The pace was just right and the experiments went great . Many takeaways for me to share with Robert. Please copy ot Daniel and David , and rest of the LILA crew who make the 2 days a wonderful and meaningful experience – relaxed, dialogue in confidence to unlearn freely, and cutting edge work but simple innovative ideas that I can bring back to Singapore/STADA/self awaking – Routines, Habits, Mindsets, Trust in Leaders, 4Q and ITC model. And not forgetting to align to OBT – One Big Thing to execute. God continue bless your meaningful work and servant leadership  .

I thought the meeting was superb, and, of course, I missed the second day due to having to return to Princeton for the dedication of our new building. I am highly prejudiced in this conclusion in any case because of what Lisa Lahey has meant to us at ETS in general and to me in particular. Lisa and Bob’s work is foundational to what we try to do and how we make sense of the world. Being with Lisa is like being in a master class as an actor or singer. You know the technique, but ‘doing it’ with other experts sharpens your skill and deepens your understanding.

I thought the experiment the Katie ran was very good. If she asked me, I’d recommend that she get up in front of groups like us a lot more often. As the year has progressed, the more she does the more fluent she becomes in her presentation. Like a lot of people, I felt that the conversation held around the four quadrants was useful, but I believe even Ken Wilber would admit that his model is an oversimplification. However, it gave us another plane to our language and I think we can all make use of that.

I think that I wrote I posted as one of my a-ha moments Lisa’s opening quote, “every system is brilliantly designed to produce exactly the results does!” It’s not new, but it bears both repetition and reflection. The complementary notion that it isn’t that there’s resistance but that there’s complexity is important and echoes work of others like Edwin Nevis. Several times now we have come across this notion that unlearning is associated with loss, and that such loss be very hard. I think that insight is quite valuable, and I employed it in the start of the campaign around people who are moving to this new open space environment at ETS.

Now for my bold suggestion. You and Daniel have been patient and generous in listening to my ideas and comments over the years. Here I go again!

I think it’s time that Lila created something with the participants; e.g., book, webinar, conference, Ted talk equivalent, etc. I’m probably influenced by the fact that Kate Pugh approached me about writing a chapter in a book about innovation and knowledge. I was working on it right up to its deadline a few days before I traveled to Boston. I had access to the other chapters, and I thought that in some ways my fellow participants at Lila could offer an equally valuable guide to some dimension of organizational learning. I say this because I think that it would be of great interest to commit us to producing something. Certainly what happens at Lila is not ephemeral; one of the benefits of membership is the access to all of the knowledge objects produced as a result of meetings such as briefs, graphics, etc. However, I still think that there is room for some linked narrative of learning from members that we might offer to the outside world and indeed use as a way to further engage the outside world.

My other reflection is that it seems like we’re getting a little bit smaller. I’m okay with that, but I hope that doesn’t reflect some difficulty in sustaining Lila. It has become a very important part of our life at ETS and I want to make sure that we do whatever you think is appropriate to help. Do we need to start to think about some more experimentations with the platforms through which we meet? I’m guessing that this question that you have already explored, but I thought that I would raise it as part of my feedback as well.

I hope these comments are useful and I look forward to offering whatever additional commentary you might want when we meet in June. I cannot make the May 22 chair call, but I have put a placeholder for the May 29 one, which sounds very interesting. In fact, the notion of how we do learning rounds might be the very subject of that proposed Lila participants’ product.

Nadine Rothermel:  I truly thank you for the opportunity of being welcomed as I was and be able to participate in your last session.

  • What I found valuable was the ability to have the space to think so deeply about unlearning and the impact on our systems.  The models or structure from which to apply my thinking from Ken Wilbur’s model and Lisa Lahey’s ITC gives me useful tools to really step back and not only think about change but to talk about it in a broader way with others.
  • Of course, having the opportunity to present our case for a Learning Round, was immensely beneficial to hear what others might do, if it were theirs.  The ability to sit back to truly listen and not influence an outcome was more than interesting.  What a gem that could be if practiced in situations back at work!
  • As for the experimental activity, I have no mental model of what should have been.  I can only offer that the time to discuss more deeply with intelligent, bright and witty people on a situation that matters, can only be good.

I hope this helps!  Again, thank you.

Harvard Graduate School of Education