American vision, Dilemas, Learn

Creative Problem Solving, week 1. A Coursera.org class

I joined the curse “Creative Problem Solving” at Coursera.org/ 8 hrs. ago. A different thing to do, imagine that. Soon discovered that class had started a week earlier and Homework was due in few hours. With 3 hrs left and feeling the pressure it was good to read and evaluate ¬†a few of my peers, a divergent ¬†solution. That exposure to different ideas did prime the creative side. The idea that just emerged was not connected to any process of analysis nor focusing an any problem. My problem was time, ¬†a linear issue.

But what do we mean by being Creative?  *   What is this Creative Mind thing?

My personal belief is that Creativity is one side of the coin of Leadership.

We often view Creativity as an Insight Machine. So we look for ways to increase creativity(read this short Scientific American article) written Jul 21, 2009 |By Oren Shapira and Nira Liberman

We can see a contemporary meaning for creativity as the ability to find solutions that are brilliant and by that we mean solutions that enhance our lives to a new level. This solutions can be from inventing tools to managing resources, like the set of bow and arrow for tools or managing fire. Life has plenty of dangers, insurmountable  obstacles and just plain re-occurring complications.

How do we fix this? How do we make it better?  These are key thoughts.

And there is the rub, isn’t it? Our thinking. In particular our habits of thinking. ¬†Much has been discovered and said about what aids the blossoming of this valuable skill. Even meditation has been suggested to help. ¬†So I think today Creativity has come to crystallize one of 2 things:

  • for some the understanding that creativity is a birth quality
  • for others the challenge that creativity is a learning and a teachable process

This Coursera.org class on Creative Problem Sollving will examine both Divergent Thinking and Convergent Thinking, that Creativity can easily be acquired by changing habits of action and thinking. And we can develop Creativity as a skill just as we develop muscles to become strong. DSD, Do Something Different, Think different.

Divergent Thinking: the creativity engine under my rusty hood suggested several solutions after reading several posts from my class peer’s difficulties, and reading and identifying with their resolve. But one one suggestion had a louder voice.

On this first week’s lesson we are tasked to change how we eat.

Questioning the¬†sources of opinions about ‘eating’ was first. Second: definitions.

What is eating? Eating means health now, but scratching the surface you will reveal the word Dining.
Dining and the cultural imprints of etiquette, cuisine, manners, social mores and style. These were strongly stressed in my family who had pride in gastronomical finesse.

You never ate in the bathroom and you never would, ¬†… this is different!
This idea just showed up and I rejected quickly because it was a stupid and lame suggestion or not good enough to impress others and get a good grade.
What was stupid? ¬†The idea intrinsically or the challenge of…” me doing such a thing! ” ?

It felt difficult to go through with it, yes easy activity to accomplish physically but not one a civilized human would do willing. Because

  • Eating in the Bathroom. It goes against everything I was taught on the subject of manners and have taught my children and struggle with my gran-children. Manners and a modicum of class.
  • This project has another difficulty, a personal one: I had to ask someone else to help me with the project. I hate to ask for help, it makes me feel dependent it makes me feel I owe something, unnecessary. My daughter and her fianc√©, even worse. Did I mention that I hate to ask for help? Well I do. It is irrational, I know…may the time to change has come. But I hate it! di I tell you that already?

This project pushed me out to habits, my comfort zone and pride. If one was to solve one unsolicited problem, to my thinking then, submitting the homework within few hours after joining the class.

 So here is the proof I actually went through with the suggestion, and that I listened to that voice of creativity not the voice of my Habits and fears.

marenco1 a

Preparing the food. I don’t eat hamburgers, So I fixed one with green cold beans and carrots. The buns were spread with humus…yup roasted peepers humus.

Image Lime over cold burgers. Never had it before. I like limes but on a burger without salt? No..ok yes

No wordds are necessary. Did you say Hi-gene? I was cringing, but it got done.  It did not kill me.

Image In an clean environment  yet the mind has associated ideas with unclean and demeaning, rooted ideas that have emotional force.

  Summary for this lesson: 

  • A problem is a set of seemingly unbreakable physical conditions or/and mental rules that stand between achieving an agreement
  • The agreement can be a cognitive understanding of a value or material acquisition
  • There is a demand we call goal, a pressing urging from self or others
  • The creative process is the game of respecting the rules that contain us while finding a “Back Door” a …Hack!
  • There is no creativity without change through effort. Even accepting that one’s dire condition contain a hidden gift requires a paradigm change. Ask any Cancer survivor.
  • MOST IMPORTANT: Creativity is a CHOICE. It speaks to us as well as our habits and fears and desire speak to us. Developing the habit of listening and following through the suggestions of your creative voice

Fin de camino.  Thank you and good night. Till next class.

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American vision, Dilemas, GOP's Vision, Leadership, poor leadership, Vision

Political Anger Management with GOP’s Aspbergers like behavior.

I used to admire the GOP during the 70’s and 80’s but…¬†Does the new GOP have Aspbergers? ¬†We love the principles of Liberty they claim to spouse and love their guts and work ethic ¬†BUT … they are exhausting to watch and listen to. ¬† When we watch the news and listen interviews, it would be easy to follow the GOP logic IF AND ONLY IF we agree with their basic assumption: That the new GOP Ideology is American Constitutional Purity and anything else must be stopped or destroyed, at any cost. More and more their reactions are tantrums ¬†to anything that represents friction to the smooth sailing of this New RealGOP ideology. Which is simply the old WASP point of view. Clearly the GOP has very poor leadership skills and goals. Their Vision has ¬†turned egotistical, arrogant and childish.

Their explosive responses reminds me of the reaction exhibited by some autistic ¬†folk I know. They are perfectly fine in many areas and look normal and at times behave normal. We are awed sometimes at their unique talents. ¬†Some autistic folk explode in strong displays of dissatisfaction or anger when told NO. This happens often …moment to moment. It is exhausting on parents and take carers, or taxpayers like in this occasion with the Government shutdown fiasco.

This Government shutdown is hard to understand through the thick smoke of burning ideologies and hate. But it is really simple once we pause to identify our core values detached of favoritism. Fareed Zakaria’s post on How to solve the crisis in Washington deserves reading. It will help the reader to discover how simple is the way to solutions. By comparing the rhetoric of both parties versus the basic teachings about our political system, we will realize how Anger has clouded our thinking through an issue. ¬†And as a society how Anger has slowly isolated us from common sense while believing every body else lost it. How Anger is quietly soothing our sense of loss and becoming our companion.

So how do this happen to a society so advanced, curious, well informed, smart and caring like the USA? Are we burdened with data or has the digestion of information become a chore?

We may suffer with Decision Fatigue Syndrome

Our society became technically complicated and filled with information in all areas of our life: Law, medicine, crafts, business, hobbies you name it. Information became a requirement for negotiations. We are curious and fuel our need to know with more information and data. What no one suspected was that for every piece of information perused a decision is necessary. Do I think this information is data or just info. Do I believe this data? Do I trust the sources? What do I do with this? How does this info affect my goals?

It is important in our society to listen to both sides of an argument. Many political decisions are drastically different AND demand inspection or study of lots of information and make decisions about their accuracy, relevance and behavior in our lives.

Sometimes the data is drastically different from our expectations. Does this new knowledge demand a change in perspective and actions or behavior. And does it demand a character change?   DO I NEED A CHANGE IN IDEOLOGY

“Maybe a better way to describe chronic fatigue when it comes to Aspbergers and related conditions is to call it decision fatigue. The condition of decision fatigue comes from the world of social psychology ¬†Mental fatigue is different from ordinary physical fatigue. ”

 This is how a parent blogs about caring for a child with Aspberger and continues:

“Unlike physical fatigue, you can have mental fatigue without feeling tired. What happens with mental fatigue is that you start to experience everything more intensely. You become more irritated, more easily frustrated. You may have a powerful impulse to eat, drink, spend money, or blurt out something stupid.”

 In short we are asked to make countless decisions in our daily lives.

This leads to fatigue and depression. In the long term it leads to apathy about the opinion of others or Anger.

We can easily get off the Anger and emotional fatigue train. First we can start with basic Anger Management which boils down to Growing up.

Like if ‘Am angry at KLMN because ‘His ideology puts me in danger”‘ then ¬†‘Growing Up’ ¬†beyond anger is pausing long enough to ask of one self:¬†How do I really know this is true? What happened that i came to believe and agree these thoughts were real?
Now Decision Syndrome Fatigue may be one cause.

American vision, Technology

iPhone/XPlatform Revolution

Iditarod Leadership by Chris Fuller. This free iPod App(Application) is one beautiful thing in every sense of the word: Looks, design and content . This App is powered by Tapstack and uses the leadership premise that “If you are not the lead dog the view never changes”, well our society will not function properly if everyone wants to be the chief, and Mr. Fuller seems to understand this (  Mr. Fuller has a website that zeroes his work to be of service to Team Leaders and works on that level/scale) He points ” Thermometers in business are those people who consistently communicate issues or problems (what the Temp. is) without adjustment or solution of the issue or dilemma.  Leaders need to be Thermostats, people who fully understand the reality as it exists today AND take ownership of the situation. They are fully engaged in creating and implementing the solution”

Well Apple has done this very well with the iPod Touch and the iPhone, through Apps the computing world has been revolutionized beyond the turning back point. The iPod Touch/iPhone has become a standard platform for How OS(Operating Systems) will behave by providing focused solutions  to the user.

I no longer depend on a laptop to stay connected while on the-go, It is easier and friendlier to use, has a faster browser, one is able to quickly  sync PIM(personal Information Managers: Contacts, iCal, Pocket Informant, Bento, many more) and mail, news content is tailored to my needs from Bloomberg, Y! Finance or CNN Money to TweetDeck or Facebook Apps to WordPress, PDF readers ESPN or  SI to WindFinder.

Is easy to read any of Shakespeare’s plays or Alice in Wonderland free as well Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. All beautifully displayed in vibrant colors.

This is the 4th time that Apple and Steve Jobs in particular taps the secret vein of changing history. 1st he did it with Steve Wozniak and Espinoza to create the   Apple II computer and by allowing 3 party vendors to have access to its design they became the beneficiary of a wealth of opportunities.

Actually what happened is that they opened the gate for a “Watershed of Technologies” like the airplane industry, to develop and connecting with higher education was a shrewd move the 2 Steve’s knew from how DEC(Digital Equipment Corporation) had given away free PDP-11 to power house Universities like MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Cornel created and cemented a  sub-industry   dependent on a need neglected by IBM.

The 2nd instance was marked by the introduction of the MacIntosh, a computer that was an improvement on the Lisa which used a then revolutionary concept in  OS: real windows, a technology borrowed!?   ;-)  from Xerox.

The 3rd instance was the introduction of the iPod. A device that invented by Tony Fedell, an independent inventor, a man from Rochester NY who wanted to improve how a device interacted with Napster.

The 4th of course is the iPhone/iPod Touch, an invention that has already changed the computer industry. In my opinion is the platform best suited to deliver Cloud Computing.

I forsee the Cloud devices being an improved iPodTouch with a screen that has about 35-50 square inches more in real estate or about 2-3 inches wider and longer and the providers being Apple and Google with an Android OS.

Newsweek Magazine published an issued devoted to the impact that the iPod Touch/iPhone will have in businesses, new industry and employment. In an article: “There is gold in them iPhones” the explanations continue

Also in an article about the diversity and wealth of Apps “There’s an App for that” Daniel Lyons points out how mind-blowing and how real this explosion of technological talent is. There is humor also like the App that caters to populist outrage with an App that allows you to stop the crooked bankers from escaping.

The advantage of the iPod Touch over the iPhone is that you are not tied down to the ball and chain of monthly payments, you buy it once and you’re done with it. Buy the Apps you need that’s all. There are Apps from totally free to free lite versions of full Apps to 99 cents Apps all away through 4.99 to 12.99; with few exceptional special purpose Apps $25.00 (books for professionals)

Really ! what are you waiting for? Get yours soon.

American vision, Citizen responsibilty, Learn, poor leadership, system management, system thinking

Crowley-Gates: Failed Leadership & common sense

Everyone has a stake in leadership, At the personal and group levels.

All we shall be talking here is basic stuff learned by anyone who has a job in any half way decent company no rocket science just broken down as basic system  components.

To make the right decisions we have to keep the eye on the ball. While negotiating a situation obstacles show up that will distract us, will steal away our peace of mind and our sober awareness needed to succeed peacefully  in resolving a situation. Taking things personally quickly latches onto memories of self pity or the fear of losing part of our status quo but it is much worse when it frees the seething dog of a festering anger. Invariably this appears certainly real. Yet it is our job to be the mature adults and discern real from not so real, momentary displeasure from long lasting gain. Such as relieving momentary anxiety by buying on credit an expensive item, or satisfying our anger and indignation by making emotionally offensive statements to defend our imagined offended dignity. In life everything grows, escalates and dies.

I believe this is factor in our present financial crisis: Imagine two layers of systems at work, the personal and the society at large & we have developed systems designed to contain personal tragedy to become viral and affect society at large, our undisciplined instincts and emotions at the personal levels are constantly happening, human but not the cause of national breakdown because we have systems in place that check that base personal humanity however we allowed our clouded thinking to disregard the system  in order to secure personal profit.

Recent headlines have brought to us one such case that has tentacles of disruption and clouded thinking, the arrest of a a man that broke into his own home because he had misplaced his house keys. The neighbor reported the break in, the Police officer arrived and was inside the home with the “perp” who claimed to own the home and certainly either the cop failed to ascertain that this man owned the home, lacked real¬† police skills remember this is not Boston , had an off day or was already predisposed to win “this fight/disturbance call”. The “perp” was not friendly so the cop admits that he calmly told the man I will leave his house go outside to discuss the matter further and one way or the other the Devil found two cocks to put in a fight and the peeing contest ensued, ending in The owning “perp” of the house in jail, photo muged and later released.¬† However the perp had ace up his sleeve a personal channel to the President of a very powerful nation, no Hondurenian president here at all. This fact appears that he kept to himself for later until sprung out from jail. Or did he tell the Policeman and the cop played his best Joe Friday & booked him anyhow. All of this very human not quite Shakespearean. The only reason why we know about this is because the arrested man is a really close friend to the sitting President of a large industrial nation.

So what really went wrong? That day at that moment in Cambridge, Mass. the leadership of several systems failed to keep the system running smoothly regardless of personalities involved

First the personal level part: Failed Interview

  • University Intellectual know how at graduate level failed for this individual. Forget about the pissing match between one leader of the intellectual class (Harvard Professor) that demanded prescient respect, who is he, The Godfather? and a just the facts Joe Friday cop. The Intellectual spent years teaching our young how to prepare well for interviews, adversity and challenges that will arise and rise above it, succeed, ignore the obstacles and persevere to improve society blah blah blah. The learning from our high Universities was AWOL,¬† failed one very expected phone call and interview: I broke into my house and¬† if somone saw me, say a neighbor, chances are that if they care about a neighbor’s property they will call the police so I better prepare my ID for when they arrive and interview me¬† // THE BALL: Is this officer protecting my property, yes.//¬† DISTRACTION: I need respect all my books and talks confirm this need
  • The Management of the shift in that Police Department as a system at the shift level that allowed this poorly supervised arrest. This arrest would not have proceeded thus far in my Hometown nor most major cities, racial tensions or not the Cambridge Police system failed the arresting officers regardless of how much loyalty they can mine for among their Blue brethren¬†¬† // THE BALL: Does this individual owns this residence and is he here legally? Yes // DISTRACTION: I need respect as Police officer first. Fail to communicate data of subject’s high profile to Commanding officer
  • The Cambridge Community neighborhoods, a neighbor that was so keen to help in calling a fleeting break in but fail to ID and vouch that the Neighbor was not a “perp” after all but our old dear neighbor, well clearly no brotherly love here, no matter how you excuse it or rationalize it. // THE BALL: Is my neighbors home ok, did the Police find out, let me check maybe I can help ID the suspect. OMFG it is my neighbor after all Thank God officer everything is ok.¬† //DISTRACTION: ???

Second: broke down at the society/national level: Fail interviewing for facts

  • Gates is still at his house and other officers are present while Gates is clearly agitated(as shown in video. Where did it come from?) // BALL: ID individual, live alone? where does he work? Professor at HARVARD and agitated Check for background with Campus Security. Influential writer with critical books and videos about racism?? call for chain of command assistance //DISTRACTION: Rush. No stop and think attitude and lets think this over. The Cambridge Police Department should have an ISO9000/MRPII type of procedure and method to handle high profile figures since they are host to a high profile Institutions Harvard and MIT
  • Press conference at The White House: BALL: Does The President has the facts, NO. What is the diplomatic way of handling this situation? Admit to close friendship with Prof. Gates and will look into it, Thank You. //DISTRACTION: Commenting. How did he knew about this so quickly while so busy with great matters of state? Did the professor manipulate and “used” the friendship?
  • Town of Cambridge: // BALL: LEAD and ask all personnel not to comment as it is done across this great land, their job is to serve not agitate nor incite to riot,¬† it has nothing to do with freedom of speech. // DISTRACTION: ??? Need to come across as conservative and independent??
  • Harvard:¬† // BALL: Provide basic legal assistance to Mr. Gates seek peaceful and constructive resolutions for the community at large and assess the fallout of incident.¬† // DISTRACTION: seems that they do not seek interaction with the ball at all
  • The Media: //BALL: reporting facts only //DISTRACTION: Its own comments

The facts are simple, boring and admitted by the players own contradictions. The sad¬† story of an Ivy League leader who ignored and failed his own studies or successfully manipulated a friendship for personal gain.¬† Henry L.Gates is heard saying in an audio interview “what he needed was to treat me with respect not assume that i am the perpetrator”. about the police at his house investigating a break in into his house that he knew well in fact because he committed the break in, and if he truly believed to be correct in what he has been writing and lecturing all this years of the facts in racial profiling then he knew in advance that the police had a handicap so why not take the high ground? Class was missing in a possible class struggle. No thankfulness for arriving early to check a break in to his home? No, because that would have been demeaning? This would been demeaning only to royalty.

The Harvard professor is the anomaly here. The unexpected event. The neighbor is the rare alarm that catches the anomaly. So far so good. The neighbor calls 911 here is where the system is set to the ON position and it will not stop until there is resolution one way or the other.

This point onward is where all the systems involved failed including the media that reported it. Did the Professor manipulate the friendship or the situation believing that he had an Ace up his sleeve ( channel to the RedButton). It does not take a rocket scientist to smell undue personal profit here on inside track, Did Mr. Gates lead Mr. Crowley into an unfair advantage (fame and credit to his theories) with his presidential connections counting on the ignorance of the officer. Such behavior has jailed stock brokers in the past, ask Mr. Milken.

And this model applies to AIG, Madoff, Detroit’s bailout and our retirement plans.

What and where is the BALL and what are DISTRACTIONS.

We really do not know what actually occurred and if we did would we communicate it clearly without making things up?perhaps they were polite to each other and got on famously but when they stepped out the realized that they had a job to fulfill to maintain the race struggle and keep the media going blah blah blah

from: Tuesday, February 3, 2009

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/217828/february-03-2009/henry-louis-gates–jr-

Georgetown University’s Michael Eric Dyson and columnist Kathleen Parker

audiio of 911 call