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

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  1. Marga Biller

    How to Break the Expert’s Curse by Ting Zhang

    We have the pervasive problem of the expert-novice gap. Consider an illustrative example from an interview with a medical student. During her first weeks, she admits that she did not know something basic when she walked into the operation room: “where do I stand.” Her attention would be better directed on the substantive procedures in the OR. Experts find it difficult to relate to novices, though they themselves were once novices. This is because one, they have imperfect memory which leads them to mistakenly think that they have always known what they know now. Two, experts are victims of the curse of knowledge, so they assume the uninformed parties are knowledgeable. Three, difficult processes have become automatic for experts, and experts underestimate the amount of time it takes novices to learn.
  2. Sue Borchardt

    What Is LILA Video

    Interested in getting a sense for the LILA Community? Click this post to watch the animation. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member, please use the contact link on the website.
  3. Marga Biller

    How to run a company with almost no rules – Ted Talk by Ricardo Semler

    What if your job didn’t control your life? Brazilian CEO Ricardo Semler practices a radical form of corporate democracy, rethinking everything from board meetings to how workers report their vacation days (they don’t have to). It’s a vision that rewards the wisdom of workers, promotes work-life balance — and leads to some deep insight on what work, and life, is really all about. Bonus question: What if schools were like this too?
  4. Marga Biller

    Paradoxical Thinking with Wendy Smith

      Wendy Smith from the University of Delaware joined us on a conference call as we continue the exploration of the theme of Flexpertise   Wendy’s research focuses on strategic paradoxes – how leaders and senior teams effectively respond to contradictory agendas.  She has studied how organizations and their leaders simultaneously explore new possibilities while exploiting existing competencies, and how social enterprises simultaneously attend to social missions and financial goals.  
  5. Marga Biller

    The Crowd as Innovation Partner with Karim Lakhani

    What is the link between organizational flexibility and its ability to innovate? How does expertise contribute to innovation? How can novel organizational practices drawn from the open source community and scientific contests contribute to how organizations flexibly innovate? Karim R. Lakhani’s research on innovation can help LILA address these and other questions.
  6. Marga Biller

    Unlearning in Action: Practice Without Helmets to Reduce Concussions

    Concussions are a big problem for football teams. To address the problem, new regulations were issued regarding safe tackling. This presents a challenge for players who were taught to tackle using their helmet (head first). So how to help them unlearn this practice and learn a new technique that will lead to safer ways to tackle and reduce concussions? Enter Erik Swartz, a University of New Hampshire professor of kinesiology who studies movement. He suggests that getting to the root of the problem – technique may do the trick. Instead of clashing helmet-first, he suggests that the better approach is...
  7. Marga Biller

    Dr. Jens Beckman shared his work on developing flexible expertise

    Dr. Jens Beckmann is the Deputy Director of Research in the School of Education in Durham University in the UK, where he researches the assessment of intellectual abilities. He was previously the Director of the Accelerated Learning Laboratory (ALL) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where he was part of research team investigating the impact of a “2-year leadership training program for mid-level managers from large organizations” (Birney, Beckmann, & Wood, 2012, p. 573). This training program provided fertile ground for his study of cognitive flexibility, which can “broadly be defined as the ability to deal...
  8. Marga Biller

    Dr. Erik Dane shared his research on Flexible Expertise

    During the October gathering, were joined by Dr. Erik Dane wh0 share his research on the topic of Flexible Expertise.         Dr. Dane is Associate Professor of Management at Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. His research focuses on cognition in the workplace. Through field research and laboratory experiments, he examines topics such as attention, creativity, expertise, intuition, and mindfulness ( In a recent article, he writes about the trade-offs between expertise and flexibility. His construct of “cognitive entrenchment” explains when expertise may lead to inflexibility and when it may lead to flexibility. To learn...
  9. Marga Biller

    Organizational Unlearning with Bill Starbuck

    William Starbuck, professor emeritus at New York University and Courtesy Professor in Residence at Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon, presented his work on organizational unlearning. Starbuck began with a historical overview. Prior to the 1950s, nobody thought of the idea that organizations could learn. As scholars began to study organizational learning, they (perhaps naively) assumed that it was a good thing; that learning meant the firm would do better in the future. Study after study showed that it was instead a mixed bag; learning both helps and hurts. Then in the 1970s and 1980s, scholars began...

Harvard Graduate School of Education