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

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June 2015 Feedback

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MEMBER on day 2

What went well

  • Fran:  Presentations were excellent, presented frameworks, wove in themes from the year, integrated insights from the day
  • Albert:  Summary briefs for the year were very well written, connect dots, cite references which provides residual value
  • Albert:  David’s summary and triangulation which provides insights and refreshing views on connections of key concepts
  • TJ had doubts until David spoke about what flexpertise was.  Leveraging lateral potential really landed it for him.
  • Laurent:  Such a complex theme. Speakers were well selected, choice of breakouts was hard to make.
  •  Lucy:  Have alumn come back to reconnect
  • Alana:  Connecting content with multiple pieces of content but also with people from before.  Nice to be a  part of the forming conversation.  We are in a position to inform the direction of the research.
  • David H:  would urge us to make incremental changes but not blow up the formula.
  • Josh:  easier to get to Longfellow than the Academy.  What does the formality of the Academy do to the presenters – does it up the game?
  • Michelle:  comes all the way because there is a bit of magic. She doesn’t come to hear people telling her how they do things because she can do that by connecting directly with members.  We shouldn’t try to make LILA everything.  Every time she comes here she visits others who she wants to get to know more.  Methods, (no analysis) one paragraph of results and then discussion implications.


Think about doing differently

  • Mike B: Could we develop a set of simple rules for LILA
  • David H:  Record video of David’s presentations to communicate to the rest of the organization
  • Laurent:  one speaker had her research completed and other in progress.  Some frustration that the research was not completed, raised more questions.
  • Fran:  16 years of experience- can we mine the themes to complexity and give us collective experience of LILA.
  • TJ:  Tying together of things happens by members, is it possible for speakers to do it as well at the end of the day.  Less speakers and more round robins for presentations so that we can listen to more presentations.  Less choice, more connections – intentionally looking to publish what we have learned.
  • Fran:  could you give me more insight into whether the research has panned out over time, metrics, etc.  So what of research.  How you know what you know, why it is important and applying it.  Longevity of impact helps.
  • Josh:  In Ting’s breakout – quantitative research – the cost in good will capital and time to implement these things has to be backed up with research that shows it matters and has impact.  How does it make a difference even if it isn’t directly related to what we do.  For example, research on addiction.   For example, no research presented from Deborah yesterday felt more like theory.  Correlating ideas to outcomes.  This kind of behavior gets you a better outcome.  Lisa Lahey’s presentation – DDO’s but if you go to the tremendous effort to become one, will your outcomes be better.  If you do this, you will get better outcomes.
  • Fran:  Steve’s window story – great example,but how does he balance windows with day job, did the company make money on Steve’s window.  If you don’t have data on Steve, is there another company that is analogous that shows results.
  • Josh:  Innovating in the learning practices here at LILA.  How can we bring it into LILA.  Learning rounds as an example. Useful format, maybe we continue and someone else shares what the most impactful thing is that we did last year, maybe we can experience it and it worked.
  • Lucy:  How can we innovate in how people learn – speakers are talking heads for example.  A first step is articulation of research but what is next step?  What if next year, we share what we are doing in our organization – action research or discover learning.  Josh, Lucy and Albert would take a lead in pushing this forward next year.  For example, they are internal teachers (engineer teaching other engineers).  They are working on how do we teach people to teach in a discovery learning way?  Maybe in the first part, we get content and then we have to teach it back to each other.  Head and practice knowledge when we leave. Maybe one practitioner corner and one learning round.
  • Janice:  There is something she gets from this consortium that she doesn’t get from others.  She is part of another group that focuses on learning innovative practices.  This is intellectual stimulation and a break for her. She struggles because the topics aren’t as applicable every time but she eventually gets to it.  Laurent agrees.
  • Elizabeth: Time out for her, organization is much smaller and she doesn’t have people to explore and blow her own mind wide open.  Intellectual curiosity exercise is very valuable for her.  Walks away with little things she can do and try them.  But  the time she comes back, she is burnt out again, is reinvigorated, tries again and then gets burned out.  How can we talk about nuggets and trials and use calls to do that.
  • Pat:  She sees an imbalance between theory and practice.  Where is the practice informed theory?
  • Albert:  two breakouts drifted yesterday.  Peter’s content didn’t seem to be well thought through.  Maria explained it all to him.  Deborah’s presentation – the name of the presentation didn’t match for him.  She never connected points in the talk to title.  Takes away of credibility for LILA.
  • Lucy:  new people in the room, welcome them and connect with them, get them up and moving and connecting early on in the summit.  Sociograms, etc.
  • David H:  Interview members throughout the year about what they are doing and share them in a write up.
  • Peter:  How could we have table conversation set up rather than the lines of chairs.
  • Michelle:  Thinks the academy does give a message that this is different, this is serious work we are doing.At the end of a LILA year there is something that is serious we need to do.
  • Laurent:  things space for everyday learning, not sure that it adds to learning for the Summit.
  • Laurent:  didn’t use the graphics much yesterday.
  • Fran:  Driver of outcome is key on space – if a lecture format then go back to the Academy.  Here the room suggested the potential for intimacy but seating didn’t provide it.  Longing for connections at tables that usual setting provides.
  • Mike:  likes this space for the normal sessions.  Provide handouts in advance.  Part one and Part 2 in the same space for example sitting in different sides of the room.

Participant Feedback after Summit

TJ Elliott

I don’t know that much to add to the feedback that would be different from what I said on June 10 with the other chairs. I found both of our major speakers very interesting — and we will certainly be applying their ideas with an organization. I enjoyed the two breakouts that I went to: Joe Raelin and Ting Zhang. I think that in general, folks with an academic background may underestimate some of the challenges to applying research or even some of the limitations of generalizing their research. However, would bring together these two communities in such a way that we end up informing each other, pushing each other to experiment?

I will repeat that I think less is more: I would have fewer breakouts and consider a round-robin where a really engaging speaker would give the same presentation in the morning and afternoon. Additionally, I think that we could use more of a social media presence so that there would be greater asynchronous communication among all of the participants. I don’t know how we do this; e.g., a Yammer group that is private? There is a desire among group members to contribute what they know, other sources of knowledge they encounter, and I think that would be valuable to everyone. Perhaps the members would be not only the alumni but also passed visitors and guests who would like to participate. This also connects to this notion of producing some ‘knowledge object’ that represents advances in thinking that are achieved through LILA.

I hope that this is useful, but I am glad to answer any other questions that might help LILA to continue its important work.
Kelly Brown

  • What did you of find most interesting?
    I really enjoyed the topic of Simple Rules as well as how to break out of cognitive entrenchment.  I also liked the break out session on Productive Disruptions.
  • What feedback do you have about the ways in which we attempt to support your learning including the briefing document, animation,  large group presentations, small group sessions and networking opportunities?
    Myself as well as others that I spoke with really appreciated the animation which quickly tied together the key concepts and overall conceptual framework of the theme.
  • What ideas from the Summit are you hoping to try out in your organization?
    Simple Rules and creating moments of pause in order to reflect and debrief.
  • What would you suggest we consider changing when designing future Summits?
    Maybe include a quick introduction of the participants if possible.  Also have all speakers use a microphone.Lastly, I wanted to share how grateful I am for my overall experience at LILA and the relationships that have developed.  As you are aware, Teresa, Debra, and Adria had dinner after the Summit.  It was a great evening with rich discussion.  This would never have been possible without LILA bringing us all together!!!

Danielle Taylor

  • What feedback do you have about the ways in which we attempt to support your learning including the briefing document, animation,  large group presentations, small group sessions and networking opportunities?
    I love the briefing documents, animation, small group sessions and networking opportunities as they are currently designed. The large group presentations are opportunities to experiment with more interactivity.
  • What ideas from the Summit are you hoping to try out in your organization?
    Identify and explore the tacit simple rules that govern our work and refine them as make them explicit.
  • What would you suggest we consider changing when designing future Summits?
    Have the graphic facilitation stickers from all the session available to the guests and have a viewing gallery of the past animations. Not sure how much guests are able to view or prepare ahead of time.

Jen Megules

What did you of find most interesting?

I have found it very easy to step back into the LILA conversation. I was thinking about what helped to enable this and I have a few thoughts.
The briefing document was extremely helpful to orient myself to the conversations and key insights the group had throughout the year.
I feel as if the annual themes have been branches from the same tree (Weaving Wisdom in Organizations, Unlearning, Flexpertise), and there is consistency in attendees both of which set conditions of familiarity in how others may be thinking about and talking about concepts. The ‘getting to know the group and trust building’ stage can be bypassed and you can dive right into content exploration with others.

What feedback do you have about the ways in which we attempt to support your learning including the briefing document, animation,  large group presentations, small group sessions and networking opportunities?
I enjoyed the conversation between the guest academics. It would be interesting to hear them pick a theme and talk about it together (what they find exciting about it, how they think about it) like an improv session that builds off of each other’s insights. This was started at the summit, and from what I recall the conversation was centered on similarities and differences. I wonder if we could spark a thriving dialogue if the conversation was centered on the content itself.
There was time for networking which was very useful- especially when attending only once in the year.

What ideas from the Summit are you hoping to try out in your organization?
The way leadership was discussed supports how I have been talking about a leadership that enables innovation and/or can be useful in times when uncertainty is dominant and/or efforts require great interdependency to be successful. I can fold in parts of the LILA conversation into this discussion. It is more an expansion in how we can think about leadership and leading styles versus a hard stop of one leadership way of being and a start of a new. Different leadership approaches (old dominant ones and new emerging forms) can all have usefulness given the situation at hand (I feel).

What would you suggest we consider changing when designing future Summits?
If there is any way to share insights with the extended community along the way that would be helpful- but I understand there may be membership privileges (which makes sense)


Day 1

What went well

  • Problem solving:  resetting space, afternoon break was set up in GCC
  • Support setting up boards and rooms the day before
  • Sue’s video orienting for people who hadn’t been here
  • Space is nice – working on the walls
  • Energy level was high
  • Seemed like it went by quickly
  • Not too much attrition
  • Fit with the theme was clear for all presentations
  • Breaks and lunch were right amount of time
  • Speakers build off each other well and accessible
  • Experiment with 10000Ft view and panel provided closer, not too much-nimble in responding to questions by presenters
  • Nice to contain drawing to one wall
  • Nice number of people at break out sessions


Think about doing differently

  • Temperature
  • IT help with set up
  • Lighting was bright – dim it down a bit next time
  • Use microphones whenever people talk – not just speakers
  • Did people engage with boards where they were set up?
  • Don’t use 319-320 for break out
  • Use the hallway for catering and boards on 3d floor
  • Set up coffee and water in the main room
  • Video looping set up?
  • Maybe provide link to video to participants
  • No space to mill about
  • Need a dedicated table/team area
  • Lunch was awkward to have in a different building
  • Water for presenters
  • Don’t draw on wall near door – it is challenging to settle in – maybe use wall on 320 rather than 319
  • Mark one door as entrance to minimize distractions
  • Get in early to break out rooms to set it up depending on what the numbers are.
  • Don’t use 325
  • Kelvy said it was different not to have been through the cycle and then scribe the summit
  • Make sure there is a sign downstairs for stragglers
  • How to encourage more alums to come back?
  • Amanda was missed – we rallied to cover it but wasn’t the same
  • Invite all participants to welcome reception

Team feedback Day 2

What went well

  • Aspirations and inspirations
  • Today’s space worked well for today
  • Having boards around the tables, circle for the start then move to tables
  • Catering inside the room
  • Dave’s launch – the hungry AND
  • Good number of members (people left around noon)

Think about doing differently

  • How to document inspirations and aspirations:  one to document and one to write on flipchart if that is the way we do it
  • Plus/Delta:  Process could be harvest and discuss – do a stickie note version to yield more ideas.  Narrowed the focus.  Went until 9:30.  It was great to see how Daniel handled the critique.  Graciously invited it.  David said he used to do a plus/delta in writing in the middle of the course and compile them and discuss them.
  • Have briefs and harvest documents on “wall” so people can review them as well during the look back.
  • Didn’t ask people who led learning rounds to update us on them
  • Process of going around and putting up stickie notes was not connected to tip discussion.  What worked was how it applied to the ideas.  What have you done this year with these ideas.
  • Could look to the 5 clusters where the post its are on the board and have a conversation about those.
  • Kelvy mentioned the desire to flag ideas from videos.
  • What is the issue that we may need to address the comment about not enough research based ideas this year.
  • Would we need to ask presenters to share the evidential story ( a chunk):  quantitative, qualitative story before sharing ideas.
  • Laurent is really good at identifying ideas and experiments and putting trying them out.  How does he do it and what can we learn that might help others.
  • Can we have one spot in each gathering dedicated as an experimental / experiential learning activity.
  • Remind people what we are experimenting with each year and what we learned. Write up what we did with gists this year.
  • Is there a way to change the format of the learning round to make it more experiential.
    • could we add a part of the learning round for participants to say what they personally got out of the learning round (which they can take back)
    • could we run one learning round with one participant from the company in each group
  • How to depart from the blah-blah-blah that are not experiential exercises?
    • thinking routines
    • look to Otto Scharmer:  coaching circle:  can only share a metaphor after the person shared their challenge.  It meant nothing to the person sharing the metaphor but it did for the owner of the situation.
    • Come up with a metaphor that address the question a person just raised after one of the presentations.
  • Remember to ask two members to talk about their experience at lila this year during the summit and to introduce alumni and guests during the opening session.

Harvard Graduate School of Education