What’s Learn Gots to do with Leverage
Sadly, “What’s Learn Gots to do with Leverage” is not as good as a title as I first thought because I am going to have to explain it. Let’s start with the word leverage. Leverage is supposed to refer to both group creativity and collaboration. This is because both group creativity and collaboration are about leveraging the power of people working together to achieve a task. I discovered in working on this post that the similarities between group creativity and collaboration also apply to learning. My conclusion is that group creativity and collaboration begin with a readiness to learn.
Group creativity and collaboration begin with a readiness to learn.
In this post, the Creative Platform as described in Christian Byrge’s Ph.D. Thesis (Aalborg University, see conceptualisation-of-creativity-practices-through-action-research.html) is used as an example of group creativity. The Values Tree of Collaboration (see https://fulcrumconnection.com/blog/values-tree-collaboration/) is used as an example of collaboration. This post shows how The Creative Platform and Values Tree of Collaboration are alike, how the 4 pillars of the Creative Platform can be mapped to the Values Tree of Collaboration, and how these same 4 pillars can be mapped to the process of learning.
Both The Creative Platform and the Values Tree of Collaboration are actionable frameworks based on theory derived from experience.
The Creative Platform has been developed from hundreds of creativity sessions. The theory is providing a physical space, mental frame-of-mind, thinking discipline, and process to enable participants to have the confidence, concentration, and motivation for “unlimited application of knowledge” to the problem or challenge at hand. The Creative Platform is made actionable through a process with described methods and documented group exercises to effectively practice each step in the process (see http://www.uka.aau.dk/The+Creative+Platform/).
Image from “The Creative Platform: A Handbook in Creative Processes for Education and Worklife” by Christian Byrge and Soren Hanson
The Values Tree of Collaboration has been developed from hundreds of team experiences as a recipe for effective collaboration. The theory consists of three parts as illustrated in the graphic below. First respect and care for the roots, the unarticulated values of the collaborators. Second, create a rewarding and results-focused experience with the five branches of engaging authentically with others, seeking contribution that makes a meaningful difference, being open to change and opportunity, outcome-driven group process, and supporting focused content. Finally, grow and harvest the fruits of authentic value for the organization. The Values Tree of Collaboration is made actionable through an accompanying Collaboration Assessment Tool and “Answer Sheet” that includes ways to improve each item on the assessment (contact email@example.com for more information).
Both The Creative Platform and the Values Tree of Collaboration espouse inclusivity through the removal of barriers. This similarity recognizes the importance of both the individual and the collective group in creativity and collaboration. The barriers removed by the Values Tree of Collaboration are ineffective social interactions while the barriers removed by The Creative Platform are fear and ineffective thinking. While The Creative Platform improves the process of creativity and the Values Tree of collaboration improves the process of collaboration, there is overlap. Creativity can by enhanced by effective collaboration. Effective collaboration means there is the right balance of self and other, there is free thinking and sharing, there is motivation, and there is openness among other elements.
The four pillars of The Creative Platform are confidence, concentration, motivation and knowledge application. David Kelley co-authored a book called Creative Confidence and has given a TED talk on the topic (how_to_build_your_creative_confidence). David’s experience with clients in IDEO workshops has taught him that many people do not have adequate creative confidence to participate effectively in product design sessions. In the TED talk, David proposes a “guided mastery” process (Bandura1969JPSP.pdf) to improve creative confidence. Many creativity researchers have also pointed to the importance of concentration, or task-focus, and motivation on promoting high levels of creativity. Finally, creativity can’t happen without applying one’s knowledge, including scientific know-how, non-scientific know-how, truths, lies, understandings, and misunderstandings, to the problem or challenge at hand. You could say that The Creative Platform provides a “guided mastery” approach to creative problem solving.
The fours pillars of The Creative Platform can be applied to The Values Tree of Collaboration. For example, concentration and motivation map to the branches of the tree. The facilitator or team leader motivates participants to engage authentically, be open to possibility, and seek meaningful contribution. Outcome-driven group process and focused supporting content are designed to make it easy for participants to concentrate on the problem and desired outcomes. Knowledge application enables the fruit and happens via the branches. Confidence and concentration are gained in the roots because the roots take attention off interpersonal differences and put attention on thinking which frees the mind for creativity.
Finally, the four pillars of The Creative Platform also apply to the process of learning.
Fulcrum has developed a tool called the LEARN Plan. This tool captures a proven process to thrive on a steep learning curve. The tool is built on five principles. The first is the principle of intrinsic motivation since learning is a cognitive task (http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation?language=en). This principle is embedded in the “L” step of the tool (“L” for Love). The second is the principle of thinking big and broad to be able to focus on the right things. This principle is at work in the “E” step of establishing what success looks like (“E” for Expectation) and the “A” step of establishing helpful context (“A” for Acclimate). The third principle is using tangential bodies of knowledge for secondary research and experienced people for primary research to accelerate learning. This principle is at work in the “A” step of establishing helpful context and in the “R” step of generating useful insights (“R” for Relate). The fourth principle is that critical thinking, or asking good questions, helps to accelerate the process of learning. This principle applies across all five steps of the tool, including the “N” step of learning by doing (“N” for kNow-how). The fifth and final principle is that learning, at its best, which is learning that leads to valuable and useful insights, is an inherently iterative process. This principle also applies across all five steps of the tool.
The four pillars of The Creative Platform map well to the five steps of the LEARN Plan. The “L” Love step has to do with motivation, in this case, intrinsic motivation. The “E” Expectation step has to do with concentration by focusing on what success looks like for the learning. The “A” Acclimate step has to do with knowledge application to establish helpful context for the learning. The “R” Relate step has to do with knowledge application in interviewing subject-matter experts as well as with confidence. Interviewing others who have relevant success stories builds confidence in applying their knowledge and methods to your situation. Finally, the “N” step for kNow-how also has to with knowledge application and confidence. In this step, knowledge is applied to create and action plan and confidence comes from knowing the action plan has been built off a comprehensive approach including successes in relevant areas.
Thinking big and broad enables you to focus on the right things.
In summary, the four pillars of The Creative Platform (confidence, concentration, motivation and knowledge application) apply to collaboration and learning. A previous post made the observation that you can’t have collaboration without creativity (https://fulcrumconnection.com/blog/collaborate-to-innovate/). Since the four pillars of The Creative Platform apply to both collaboration and learning, then you also can’t have effective learning without creativity.
Fulcrum Connection LLC solves strategic problems for organizations. For example, Fulcrum helps organizations improve creativity, collaboration, learning, and innovation using structured processes and proven tools. To learn more about Fulcrum’s Team Collaboration Assessment and LEARN tools, please contact Valerie Patrick at Fulcrum Connection LLC (412-742-9675 or firstname.lastname@example.org). Also ask about our first-time client offer.