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

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  1. Daniel Wilson

    Towards Collective Mindfulness – Michael Pirson

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    The world is full on complex problems, ranging from global warming to economic disparities, to ongoing ethnic conflicts. Michael reminded us that mindfulness approaches involve contemplative action, restoring harmony, and questioning status quo. Mindlessness approaches are easier and involves apathy and actionism, questioning harmony and resorting status quo.
  2. Daniel Wilson

    Insights from Interactions: How do teams manage complexity? with Mary Waller

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    Mary has studied what makes teams effective in a variety of dynamic contexts, such as flight crews, nuclear power plant engineers, hospital trauma teams, fire-fighting teams and emergency crisis teams. In her studies of interaction patterns she has identified some key lessons for leaders to keep in mind:   Setting the tone: interaction patterns emerge quickly and solidify.  Initial patterns of interactions influence the subsequent effectiveness during dynamism.  Teams that had reciprocal, balanced and consistent interaction patterns performed better in highly adaptive situations. In the thick of it: when teams face ambiguity, uncertainty, and incomplete data effective teams accept ambiguity...
  3. Daniel Wilson

    “Three keys to leading emergent organizing” by Jim Hazy

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    Too often we feel that we are in control at a fine grain and local level, but too often in emergent contexts emergence it unfolding at a coarse grain and macro level in which we cannot control.  Traditional leadership still may still apply but the context matters more. An important first move is fine-grained to empathize with followers: what are their needs? A theory is that, as humans develop we move from dependence, independence, to inter-dependence.  Different leadership frameworks speak to these developmental needs.  For example, charismatic leadership speaks to dependence needs.  Transformational leadership speaks to independence needs, to support...
  4. Daniel Wilson

    Embracing the Simple & Strange with Jim Hazy

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    Jim began by emphasizing that first we consider leadership we need to mediate on: what iscomplexity?  There are many sources from biology, sociology, economics, etc.  What links them together is unpredictability of time (you don’t know when something will happen), place (you do know where it happen), social complexity (you don’t know who is connecting, influencing, etc. whom).   What leaders need to do is find the simplicity on the other side of complexity, to quote Oliver Wendell Holmes. From Jim’s research there are some keys to get to simplicity: Realize that the map is not the territory. Models aren’t reality but...
  5. Daniel Wilson

    “Experiencing emergence, emerging experience” – Donald MacLean

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    Every emergent system, whether it be musical improv or dance, has a discipline. The discipline is critically important, it defines the process of how we craft our plan for interaction, the reality of the activity, how we experiment, and then how we make sense of that experimentation. We felt this in our opening activity! Along the we each person receives feedback. Negative feedback is information that drives a system back to a predetermined state. Positive feedback drives a system forward, away from predetermined states. In many ways this is how we manage the emergence.
  6. Daniel Wilson

    Frustrated or flourishing? Three ways we make sense of challenges at work

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    Sally Maitlis shared her research which revealed that, in the face of challenges, there are three pathways that workers take:   Identity Path: in the face of threats, they rely on their sense of who they are Contribution Path: in the face of threat, they try and use their skills to help Practice Path: in the face of challenges, they learn skills as part of the work   What’s important is that these paths explain different outcomes of employees – the identity and contribution paths lead to frustration, burn-out and leaving the organization. Only the practice path, which is about...
  7. Daniel Wilson

    Growing through loss: How we make sense from trauma

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    How do people overcome devastating and traumatic experiences and grow? Sally studied artists who experienced injuries that resulted in which they couldn’t do their art anymore. These are experienced as highly distressing, traumatic, and threatens their core identity. It’s about loss. These events trigger sensemaking: who am I? What is my place in the world?   People who grow from these events create meanings: The injury as growth or loss: while painful, it helped them grow by opening up new worlds and possibility, made them stronger, or revealed some deeper struggle that could be resolved. Others didn’t grow and instead...

Harvard Graduate School of Education