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

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  1. Marga Biller

    LILA Theme 2023-2024: Learning on the Edge

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    “Learning on the Edge” will draw from the fields of sociology psychology, neuroscience, entrepreneurship, and educational theory to explore such questions as: How do we spot the “edge places” and know which are paths to push forward, vs. cliffs to step back from? What are the new ways of thinking about capability development that support learning on the edge? How can formal and informal learning structures evolve along specific business edges? How might learning amidst “edgy” uncertainty expand continuous improvement and improve engagement, productivity, and retention?
  2. How to Design Virtual Places with James Mahoney

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    When exploring a new place, it is common to try to recreate what is already known, instead of asking what could be done that is unique and meaningful in this new space or what can this new place enable. Therefore, what is unique about virtual spaces is that things that are done or that happen in the real-world can´t necessarily be replicated such as the sense of touch and other out of body experiences, but through imagination other new actions, representations and activities may emerge and be explored.
  3. Getting to the Roots (and Rhizomes) of Place

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    With Dan Williams   Places are spaces where we make meaning.  But what are the different meanings a place can hold?  Dan Williams, a researcher who has looked at relationships that people have to locations such as national parks and second homes, invited us to consider two different ways in which we make meanings of spaces:  functional and relational.   Functional meaning focuses on the instrumental meaning we have with a space:  it works for our activities and goals.  Relational is about identity:  it speaks to how we see ourselves.  These can intersect but we can see interesting differences that might...
  4. Marga Biller

    Power for All with Julie Battilana.

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    During the October gathering, we explored what agency looks like and what practices might lead to greater agency for all.  Among the puzzles we identified was the connection between agency and power.  To help us deepen our understanding, we invited Julie Battilana to share her research with the LILA community.  Julie is a scholar, educator, and advisor in the areas of social innovation and social change. She is a both a Professor at the Harvard Business School and Professor of Social Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School.  Julie has recently published a book titled Power for All: How it Works and Why it's Everyone's Business with her co-author Tiziana Casciaro. 
  5. Marga Biller

    Trust – Harnessing the Power of Agency and Belonging

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    People have an inherent need for belonging and agency, which can be fulfilled by trust in different ways. But just what is trust? It is the willingness to be vulnerable—to take a risk—in a relationship based on positive expectations of the trustee. And in the workplace belonging and agency matter because of their impact on job performance, commitment to the organization, and well-being. Mike’s research suggests that feeling trusted and having an opportunity to trust others can increase employees’ sense of belonging and agency. By a wide margin, the three biggest predictors of trust are ability, benevolence and integrity. (There is also trust propensity – a personality trait where someone is more willing to believe that others are reliable – but this can go away.) A few examples of trusting behavior include the supervisor’s willingness to rely on the employee’s skills and abilities, to disclose sensitive information or feelings to the employee, and to reduce monitoring of the employee. What are your thoughts? When have you experienced trust that led to your feeling a sense of agency, belonging and connection?
  6. Marga Biller

    Uniting Through Difference with Rachel Arnett

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    In the first presentation Rachel spoke about the benefits and risks of navigating a minority identity in the workplace.  In this  presentation she spoke about one way to bring attention to a cultural identity in a way that doesn’t necessarily activate bias and exclusion, and can actually activate and increase inclusion. 
  7. Marga Biller

    Agency in the Context of Diversity with Rachel Arnett

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    In her first presentation, Rachel shared some of her work about agency in the context of diversity.  Diversity is increasingly a reality of the workplace, and it brings lots of benefits – we gain new perspectives, we gain access to broader and better talent pools, for example, which helps us to innovate and improve how we do things in organizations. And there are also many challenges for example,  how do we navigate sources of differences.  Rachel’s research explores how the perceived risks and benefits of sharing features and aspects of identity can influence and enhance both individual and collective agency at work.
  8. Marga Biller

    Agency for Unimagined Events

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    Agency and structure matter for how you act but also for what future events you imagine or can’t imagine.  Lets look at reflective agency - when you consider scenarios that could happen, you do so based on your current position and the information available to you at the time which lead you to consider different alternatives and contingency plans.  Pre-reflective agency driven by past experiences, will lead you to take for granted that some aspects of reality will be as they have been in the past – leaving you in the dark about the future.  

Harvard Graduate School of Education