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

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  1. Marga Biller

    Leadership in Times of Diversity: Astrid Homan

    What can leaders do to effectively manage diverse teams? If a diverse team is functioning well, what can a leader do to encourage the teams’ continued progress? Or conversely, if a diverse team is embroiled in conflict, how can a leader intervene in order to turn things around? Essentially, which competencies do leaders need in order to adapt and appropriately respond to their teams’ needs?
  2. Marga Biller

    Curiosity Where are You? Spencer Harrison

    Curiosity is a great source of new ideas, a great source of finding these patterns – and yet the majority of people don’t feel like they have permission to be curious at work. Spencer and his colleagues spent six months creating a new set of measures to assess curiosity. During this process, he and his colleagues identified that there are different types of curiosity. There is productive curiosity – where someone is actively investigating problems that are associated with the work that they’re doing. And unproductive curiosity, where someone is taking a break at work to look at something else – usually sports or social media related and doesn’t have anything to do with work. These two types have different consequences.
  3. Marga Biller

    Storytelling for Learning From Others with Chris Myers

    We know that tapping into experiences as part of our learning ecologies makes them richer and enables us better able to adapt to new situations.  At LILA, we have explored practices that enable us to do this at the individual level.  But what about creating learning ecologies at scale that enable learning to an entire team for example.  This is the starting point for today’s presentation by Dr. Chris Myers, Assistant Professor at the Carey School of Business at Johns Hopkins University.
  4. Marga Biller

    What do the members in your organization actively do to pick up weak cues signaling threat and/or opportunity?

    During the December 2018 LILA member call, Professor Claus Rerup provided some insights into these questions. His research focuses on what he identifies as attentional triangulation – how a group of people (e.g., teams and organizations) avoid missing cues about threat or opportunity. Paying attention to the right kinds of cues is likely a mechanism toward achieving this year’s theme of collective mindfulness. When teams and organizations do not act in collectively mindful ways and are on autopilot, it is likely at least in part through lack of attentional triangulation.
  5. Marga Biller

    How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions by Damon Centola

    LILA guest speaker Damon Centola has published a new book about the ideas he shared at LILA. From the publisher: A new, counterintuitive theory for how social networks influence the spread of behavior New social movements, technologies, and public-health initiatives often struggle to take off, yet many diseases disperse rapidly without issue. Can the lessons learned from the viral diffusion of diseases be used to improve the spread of beneficial behaviors and innovations? In How Behavior Spreads, Damon Centola presents over a decade of original research examining how changes in societal behavior–in voting, health, technology, and finance—occur and the ways...
  6. Marga Biller

    Collective Mindfulness: Shaping the Human Systems in Organizations

    LILA Theme for 2018-2019:  Collective Mindfulness:  Shaping the Human Systems in Organizations In dynamic environments, how might we create the conditions that improve the quality of interactions in order to nurture collective sensemaking and collective action?   What are the states of dynamic organizations as they evolve and change?   Exploring collective mindfulness—defined “as the collective capability to discern discriminatory detail about emerging issues and to act swiftly in response to these details (Weick, Vogus & Sutcliffe) might provide some answers.  This year, LILA turns its attention to understanding how to nourish the organization and the systems whose future we hope to...
  7. Daniel Wilson

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

    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...
  8. Daniel Wilson

    When we are uncertain, we turn to our group

    Michael Hogg’s shared his research on the role social identity and uncertainty. Just giving a groups a categorical names can create in group and out group dynamics: individuals trust, favor and conform to their in group and distrust, discriminate, and compete with the out group.   This research forms the foundation of social identity theory – the relationship between self and group. And what motivates this is often feeling better about oneself.   Michael’s work looks more specifically at a specific kind of uncertainty, identity uncertainty.   Overall, individuals are motivated to reduce uncertainty. And there are many sources of identity uncertainty –...
  9. Daniel Wilson

    Where the tipping point missed the point

    Damon Centola’s work unpacked assumptions in networks that related to how ideas/behavior spread through networks via “strong vs. weak” ties.  For many years, and argued well in Gladwell’s Tipping Point, the belief was that all ideas spread like viruses through networks. Daemon’s work points out that what is important is the distinction between simple contagions (ideas/actions that requires a single contact) vs complex contagions (ideas/actions that require multiple contacts and social reinforcement). Many cultural practices require social reinforcement, particularly when there is uncertainty & risk, run against norms, or interdependence with other technologies. What is important to know is how complex...

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