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

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  1. Marga Biller

    2017 LILA Theme: Emergence In Organizations

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    We live in a transformative time—one where old paradigms no longer help us solve the challenges we face and where new ways have not fully evolved. There is much we do not know about how to perceive, understand, and approach the issues we face. In past years, LILA has embraced themes addressing this dilemma, such as Unlearning, Managing Complexity, and Adaptive Cultures. For the coming year, we outline another such theme, one that directly engages organizational structure, structuring, and practices in the context of continuous change and distributed activity: Emergence in Organizations.
  2. Sue Borchardt

    LILA Summit 2017 Animation: Adaptive Culture

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    Becoming an adaptive culture is no small feat– demanding we keep transforming to sustain our organizational “fitness”, while at the same time sustaining an internal environment in which our people can thrive amidst change and uncertainty. We invite you join us in this ongoing inquiry, making sense of what it means to be an adaptive culture.
  3. 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...
  4. 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...
  5. Daniel Wilson

    When we are uncertain, we turn to our group

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    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 –...
  6. Daniel Wilson

    The social structure of cultural change: Damon Centola

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    A dominant theory cultural norms are functional, but Damon provoked us to consider that there are cases in which norms are not functional at all, and can even be dysfunctional. Conformity norms stifle speaking up, for example which is seen in the Emperor’s New Clothes story and Stalin’s Russia. Such norms often comes from some sense of exogenous authority that dictate a behavior (political science), or sense of what is better (behavioral economics), or snow-ball effects of what’s popular (sociology). But all of these explanations assume there is awareness of all these things and they are valuable in some way....

Harvard Graduate School of Education