Lessons Learned From Reading Götz W. Werner’s Autobiography “Womit ich nie gerechnet habe” Pt 2

Howdy folks,

I feel like having to proceed to tell you about this impressively inspiring book (first part here)… I can tell you, I folded one edge of every book page I found interesting and I was almost feeling like beginning to read one page, folding the edge and then finishing reading this page.

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Departmen...

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Department Group for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, at “Centralstation” in Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany Deutsch: Götz Werner, Leiter des “Interfakultative Institut für Entrepreneurship” an der Universität Karlsruhe, in der Centralstation in Darmstadt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, if you have not read the first part yet, I want to briefly introduce Götz W. Werner to those of you who don’t know him. He founded the company I am working for, an originally German drugstore chain (now spread over big parts of Europe), in 1973. Today, he is a member of the supervisory board and is promoting an idea he really likes, a basic income for every citizen paid by one single tax on the consumption (he would remove every other tax because he thinks that every member of the industry is already calculating the taxes into the price we as consumers are paying for its products, so it is us paying its taxes). The drugstore chain he founded is quite well known, especially in Germany, for being a very social employer with some anthroposophical philosophy mixed into the corporate culture. I already told you about the process to get to a commonly accepted decision some time ago (see here if you want to) and this is only one example of a kind of different thinking.

Götz Werner was asked three questions that changed his life (and the success of his company) very much:

  1. Is your company serving you or are you serving your company?
  2. Are your employees serving your company or is the company serving its employees?
  3. Are the customers serving your company or is your company serving its customers?
Think Tank

Think Tank (Photo credit: Robiwan_Kenobi)

These questions are very essential because they define if the human being is the mean or the end of thought and work. If your employees, the customers and you are only serving your company, your company is just using human beings to grow or earn as much money as possible. But this is not the real purpose of a company. A company should be of service for the human being and be therefore the means and not the end of work and thought.

Next thought. Stop. Take a deep breath. What are you doing here? Why are you reading this post? What are your goals in life? Who are you? Stop again. Maybe too much questions and questions that are too hard to answer right now. But what Götz Werner is telling us is that we all need to spend enough time on reflecting the things we do. If we only react to the things that happen without thinking about them, we can hardly learn or improve anything and will therefore struggle harder and harder until we (literally) die. If we refuse to be always in “reaction mode”, we can start to take time to think about things and design our own life.

English: Think positive

English: Think positive (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Once we begin thinking about our life, we need the right attitude, too. Remember, every problem is a potential for development and improvement and never a reason to worry.

If we are doing quite well getting our problems “solved” or if we work for a company or even own a company, we should begin to think about the needs and problems of the human beings around us. If we find solutions and ways to solve these problems and satisfy these needs, we can improve their quality of life and the way they satisfy their needs and will probably earn money or other rewards for doing so.

Information

Information (Photo credit: heathbrandon)

Very important in this context is one point I agree very much on: Good advertising is not talking to the dark and stupid part of the customer’s mind. It is honestly telling the customer about the existence of a solution for his/her problem and providing the opportunity to improve one’s life this way. This is real innovation and not just marketing…

Now we are on page 75 of almost 300 but I will stop here to give you the chance to think about what you have just read and proceed in part three next week.

Hope you enjoyed reading, comments are very welcome.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend,

Chris

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Lessons Learned From Reading Götz W. Werner’s Autobiography “Womit ich nie gerechnet habe” Pt 1

 

Howdy folks,

already finished reading this book on my flight back from Russia in end of September but somehow postponed this post for sometime. But still feel like having to tell you about this impressively inspiring book… I can tell you, I folded one edge of every book page I found interesting and I was almost feeling like beginning to read one page, folding the edge and then finishing reading this page.

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Departmen...

English: Goetz Werner, head of Cross-Department Group for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, at “Centralstation” in Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany Deutsch: Götz Werner, Leiter des “Interfakultative Institut für Entrepreneurship” an der Universität Karlsruhe, in der Centralstation in Darmstadt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, I want to briefly introduce Götz W. Werner to those of you who don’t know him. He founded the company I am working for, an originally German drugstore chain (now spread over big parts of Europe), in 1973. Today, he is a member of the supervisory board and is promoting an idea he really likes, a basic income for every citizen paid by one single tax on the consumption (he would remove every other tax because he thinks that every member of the industry is already calculating the taxes into the price we as consumers are paying for its products, so it is us paying its taxes). The drugstore chain he founded is quite well known, especially in Germany, for being a very social employer with some anthroposophical philosophy mixed into the corporate culture. I already told you about the process to get to a commonly accepted decision some time ago (see here if you want to) and this is only one example of a kind of different thinking.

Self Evident

Self Evident (Photo credit: matttrent)

The first thing from his book that hit me was his concept of what he calls “Evidence”: “Evidence” means to him that everybody is telling you that it won’t work but you somehow are just feeling like knowing they are all wrong because you know you are right, even if you can’t prove it now. But if you look back later at this decision, you might think that there was no other possibility to go on at this point.

He wants us to be attentive for the human beings and the world around us and to be able to be amazed or touched by the things and people that we meet. If we care for human beings and even feel amazed or touched by some of them, we still need to carefully think about them analyzing e.g. which impact they might have on our lives. So we need to be both proactive and reflective to be successful and to improve ourselves or even a part of the world/our environment.

November means an Intuition Boost (366/316 Nov...

November means an Intuition Boost (366/316 Nov. 11, 2012) (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

Evidence is very much related to intuition for him. If you know you can trust your intuition, you are able to follow the “Evidence” you feel about something and are likely to be successful because the future is something you can hardly grasp by the measures of today (so analyzing the future by measurements of today will often lead to a rational but wrong decision).

World map depicting Africa Esperanto: Mondmapo...

World map depicting Africa Esperanto: Mondmapo bildiganta Afrikon Español: Ubicación de África (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He describes the spirit of entrepreneurship by a short but funny story: At the beginning of the 1950s, there were two shoe salesmen sent to Africa who should analyze the market and send a telegram (message) about their first impressions after three days. One of them found “no market, all the people are walking on their bare feet”, the other found “a huge market potential, nobody is wearing shoes yet”. The spirit of entrepreneurship is about making every problem an opportunity to create something to improve our personal and the customers’ situation (and maybe half the world are “our customers”).

One last thought for this part: His company was not always as anthroposophically influenced as it is today. It started as a very hierarchical enterprise like many companies were that time and only transformed by facing difficulties it could not handle as a hierarchically company. Will tell you more about this in Part two…

Hope you enjoyed reading, comments are very welcome.

May peace surround you and be happiness your friend,

Chris

 

Lessons learned from reading “Loyalty 3.0” by Rajat Paharia

Howdy folks,

Rajat Paharia, Bunchball

Rajat Paharia, Bunchball (Photo credit: E2 Conference)

today I want to tell you what I learned from reading “Loyalty 3.0” by Rajat Paharia.

  • There are rather algorithmical tasks, e.g. making pizza in a pizza restaurant is like you have a template how the pizza should look like and what you have got to do to get there. For these rather algorithmical tasks, there is a lack of intrinsical motivation so you have to motivate extrinsically, e.g. with points and levelling up and relating the level to the salary.
  • There are rather heuristical tasks (you might say creative tasks), e.g. designing a user interface or doing research and innovate car engineering. For these rather heuristical tasks, there is often intrinsical motivation already existing or can be created by a bit of gamification, so there is only a need for support like feedback.
  • Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation do not have clear cuts, if an activity results from extrinsic or intrinsic motivation depends on somebody’s reasons for doing it. We can rather think of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation as the opposed ends of a gradient scale/spectrum.
  • On the way to happier and therefore more productive employees some enterprises implement result only work environments or even complete autonomy for employees.
  • When people lack autonomy in one activity, they strive for autonomy in another activity, e.g. if work is boring and without autonomy, people escape by playing games.
  • Rajat gives us a great example of Tom Sawyer to show that it depends mostly on someone’s attitude if something feels like work or like a game. So gamification can change the perception of an activity and makes it feel less like work.
  • There are fixed mind-set and growth mind-set persons (Tagg calls them entity and incremental theorists): Fixed mind-set persons do not believe they can improve and change their skills and growth mind-set persons believe in and work hard to improve their skills.
  • Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...

    Image via CrunchBase

    I loved the Steve Jobs quote “We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?” in combination with Rajat’s thoughts about Wikipedia: “People often wonder why others dedicate their time and energy to efforts such as contributing to open-source projects and writing and editing on Wikipedia for no financial gain. Now you know the answer – because there is a strong sense of purpose, of making a dent in the universe.”. Makes me think of meaningful activities… Rajat also introduces research by Amabile and Kramer about this issue.

  • A like on Facebook does not mean a company has a social relationship to the customer who pushed the like button. Real engagement on both sides is needed to create a social relationship that lasts.
  • Rajat explains the most important details about big data and big data analysis in brief and nice-to-read paragraphs with examples, thanks for telling me so that I could learn it in this enjoyable way!
  • Loyalty 3.0 can be used to implement my thoughts about building trust in your team.
  • “Don’t let the game in the name fool you.”: Gamification does not make work a game but uses game elements to make work more enjoyable, meaningful and productive if done right.
  • Khan Academy

    Khan Academy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Did you know the Khan Academy?

  • Gamification does not make a poor product a great product, for its success there needs to be a product with a core value proposition. Reminds me of my thoughts about sustainable gamification
  • Fun and positive emotions in games come from the path to the win: Autonomy, mastery, purpose, a feeling of progress and social interaction makes us happy and make the game a meaningful activity.
  • Check out Rajat’s explanation of the ten most important gamification mechanics!
  • We should suggest a next action to the user.
  • We should use personal leaderboards where the user can compete with friends or just see his position and some before and after so that he/she know what to do to get from 1001th to 999th position.
  • There are different kinds of extrinsic motivation which are more or less far away from intrinsic motivation: external regulation, introjected regulation, identified regulation and integrated regulation.
  • English: Autonomy Mastery Purpose vs. Carrot a...

    English: Autonomy Mastery Purpose vs. Carrot and Stick (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Cash is not the only meaningful reward.

  • Always work with teams because if someone feels responsible for his/her team mates, he/she will try everything to perform better.
  • Gamification can provide you with the steering wheel for your employees.
  • Loved the Thomas A. Edison quote “Vision without execution is hallucination.”.
  • Gamification can be used to improve software testing participation and intensivity, case study: “Thwack“.
  • Scaffolding and Onboarding are important gamification techniques, e.g. at Zamzee where families can get and stay fit.
  • Ever got frustrated using Photoshop? Try LevelUp, a gamified Photoshop training!
  • If a game designer designed the school experience most of us had, it would have been the worst game ever.
  • Have to check out “The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game“.
  • Another example of successful gamification of education: “Just Press Play“.
  • I will try the amazing third part of the book (guide for implementation of Loyalty 3.0) for my favorite future fashion store soon.

Hope you learned something, too and want to learn more now (buying Rajat’s amazing book ;)).

I am looking forward to read your comments, e.g. about where you could implement Loyalty 3.0, where do you feel a need for more feedback or purpose, if you do know any of the case studies and whatever comes into your mind. Thanks in advance for becoming a brave one 🙂

 

Lessons I learned from reading John Tagg’s “Learning Paradigm College”

Howdy folks,

Today, I want to introduce to you a great book about education and life I read some time ago: “The Learning Pardadigm College” by John Tagg. I read this book for my research on designing a new course concept for the Software Engineering course at  the Duale Hochschule of Karlsruhe and got a great bunch of inspiration from reading it that I want to share with you now. But some important questions first.

P question

What do you think about the Learning Paradigm College?

What do you think are the problems we are facing as students and as teachers at university/college/school?

Have you ever worked in a project in school/college/university and how did it feel compared to everyday’s learning?

I love to read and answer your comments, thanks in advance!

So now we can begin with the lessons I learned from reading John Tagg’s “Learning Paradigm College”.

Guidance from the map and feedback when you see a roadsign you expected to see. (Photo credit: fotalia.de)

Guidance from the map and feedback when you see a roadsign you expected to see. (Photo credit: fotalia.de)

Teaching is never adequate to cause successful learning because no matter how well you guide me in advance, I still need to determine whether I am successfully doing what you asked me to. (S. 189)

Guidance gives direction; feedback tells me whether I am on track or off track in a way that enables me to self-adjust. (S. 189)

This is an important thought first: A teacher can tell a student what to do but the student will need feedback from the teacher to determine if he/she is still on the way to success and how he/she could do better. If the teacher fails to give accurate feedback, every exercise will probably result in frustration for every student that accidentally lost the road (the way to success).

Many students will take time to learn to use their freedom because they have adopted a radically short time horizon, thinking in terms of the next test or the next assignment. (S. 245)

If you implement a new course concept which uses Problem-based and Collaborative learning (which I would really appreciate by the way, please remember to share your findings and experiences with us. Thanks!), don’t expect the students to change their habits from one day to another. As Tagg says, they have adopted a very short time horizon which makes it hard for them to work on problems that do not directly lead to the next test. This was the reason that I decided for the Software engineering course re-redesign to plan for almost weekly grades but always paired with feedback which is important to the students to improve as they will do the same activity again and again in the course.

When students write reflective journals or essays about their experience in the field – in internships, research, or service – they reify their formative meanings. And when they discuss those reflections, they participate in the ongoing negotiation of meaning. (S. 259)

Planned student activities during a "lecture" in my re-redesign of the Software Engineering course

Planned student activities during a “lecture” in my re-redesign of the Software Engineering course

In my SE course re-redesign, students are expected to write regular blog entries that are graded and that they receive feedback on. In their teams they discuss what they learned and how their project is doing and write a blog entry about it. Additionally, there are peer reviews for submitted project progresses with predefined criteria. The meaning of this criteria has to be negotiated, too.

Only if the teachers are learners too, and if they are seen to be learners, can they genuinely model deep learning for the apprentice learners in the community. The best design for learning in classrooms, it seems to me, is the combination of several teachers with a group of students who are addressing a theme that none of them quite has charge of, the meaning of which must be negotiated by the teachers as well as the students. (S. 263)

In this very inspiring quote, Tagg claims (in my opinion) for cross-discipline Problem-based and Collaborative teaching. There we get to a very central point of the Learning Paradigm College: Opposed to the Instruction Paradigm College with its “One teacher, one room, x students all focussed on the teacher (or should be)”, the Learning Paradigm College expects you to drop all the unjustificable relicts from the history of education: The blackboard and the teacher table do not have to be in front of the classroom and the chairs should not be arranged in lines. You may ask if it is still school then? No and yes. No, it will not be like school we know it today. But yes, it will (finally) be a school in the meaning of a “place where students learn something for life”.

English: 5th floor lecture hall at Baruch Coll...

English: 5th floor lecture hall at Baruch College. Taken on the day of an Economics Final Examination. The watermark is my own; I have full rights to this image and am the original photographer for this image. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A lecture hall affords sitting among a mass and listening. The overwhelming message sent by the room is “sit down and watch what happens at the front of the room.” (S. 290)

Lining up the chairs in rows is an Instruction Paradigm habit. (S. 309)

As I already told you, the Learning Paradigm College expects you to drop all the unjustificable relicts from the history of education…

Shupe’s template for categorizing learning outcomes:

–          Understanding: a student’s demonstration of what he or she knows and understands within a specific context

–          Performance: a student’s demonstration of what he or she can do that is specific to a context

–          Perspective: a student’s demonstration of what he or she knows and understands that can be carried from one context to another

Capability: a student’s demonstration of what he or she can do that can be carried from one context to another.

(S. 301)

This template can be used to evaluate a student. And remember, evaluation is to analyze where the student can still improve in a learning environment that has a long time horizon. If you do so, please share your findings and experiences with us. Thanks!

Rich feedback leads to learning, while frequent evaluation often deters it. (S. 332)

Think about it in relation to deep learning vs. short time horizon created by test and drop.

Collaboration Rooms

Collaboration Rooms (Photo credit: Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly)

A major focus of course redesign should be to create communities of practice among students. (S. 330)

Go for Collaborative learning, internships and team project work!

Everything depends upon how the institution uses technology, whether it reinforces the cool cognitive economy that thrives in most institutions today or raises the temperature. […] On the other hand, if we look at many online courses offered today, we see a very cool cognitive economy, where students are isolated and denied significant feedback for most of their activities.

I laughed wenn reading these lines in Taggs book because I remembered the Duale Hochschule using Moodle but having deactivated the messaging function between students so that only the teacher could communicate to (not with) the students. Does not sound like Instruction Paradigm yet? You have to read or ask about it again, I guess…

If the goal is to facilitate and highlight student performances, the tools that count most are the tools that students use. (S. 333)

So Facebook and Co. have a great potential for learning? Anyone got any experiences with it? Would be great to read about, share them with us, please. Thanks!

So much for now, I added the “Golden rule – a kind of Ten Commandments for teachers” to the poll to vote for the next blog entry. Maybe you want to learn more about it…

P question

P question (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What do you think about the Learning Paradigm College?

What do you think are the problems we are facing as students and as teachers at university, college and school?

Have you ever worked in a project or taken an internship in school, college or university and how did it feel compared to everyday’s learning?

I love to read and answer your comments, thanks in advance!

How to transform work into a meaningful activity that makes you happy

Howdy Folks!

Today I want to give you some ideas about how to transform work into a meaningful activity that makes you happy. And I want to thank Hört auf zu arbeiten!And I want to thank Anja Förster and Peter Kreuz for writing the very inspiring book “Hört auf zu arbeiten! Eine Anstiftung, das zu tun, was wirklich zählt” (in English it would be like “Stop to work! A call to do the things that really count/are really meaningful”).

At first, I want to show you an image I drawed to illustrate the central idea of a meaningful activity:

Social integration and meaning plus following personal aims leads to a meaningful activity

Social integration and meaning plus following personal aims leads to a meaningful activity

As you can see in the image, bad work is working from nine to five for a handful of bucks. It is important to know that bad work is different for everybody: If you hate doing something, see no sense in doing something or nobody recognizes your work you hate to do, then it is probably bad work for you.

Good work means that you work from nine to five for a good amount of bucks and other people recognize what you are doing. But you do not follow your personal aims and so you never get happy while you are working. You only do what others expect you to do and do not add any individual input to your work which makes you replacable, sorry to say so!

If you do your own thing, e.g. have had a great idea (at least you thought so) and now you try to sell never-stinking sport socks, there is a big risk that you will not succeed and this lack of social recognition will make you sad even if you are exactly doing what you always wanted to do.

So you can transform your work into a meaningful activity, if you do follow your personal aims but also do what others expect you to do. I think it is quite often the case that you can decide between 1) exactly giving a “customer” (a person that wants you to get some work done) what he or she wants and 2) using your personal knowledge and experience to give the customer the best that meets his/her expectation and maybe even amazes him/her.  1) is good work but 2) can become a meaningful activity that makes you happy while doing it. So poor news, you will not get happy working that fast, it is hard mental work to get there!

But don’t worry, you’re not alone! I will ask you some key questions now and if you find the answers for yourself, you can already start the mental work. And if you don’t make it or wonder how to do something, just ask me in the comment section and I will give my best to help you.

Key questions to answer for yourself are:

Happy Furry Friday, folks!

He seems to have already found some answers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. What are my personal aims?
  2. What are things that I like to do?
  3. What are things that I don’t like to do?
  4. What am I good at?
  5. What am I bad at and do I want to change something about it?
  6. When do I feel happy?
  7. What is it then that makes me feel happy?
  8. Is there any chance to trigger the reason for that happiness more often (e.g. by changing your workplace, join your working place community (or found it) or invest more time in a particular spare time activity)?
  9. When do I wish to change something and why do I think this change is impossible instead of trying to go for the change?
  10. When do I blame others and could I not do something about solving the problem myself if it is that important to me?

Ten questions, maybe ten that are hard to answer. Maybe you just give yourself twenty minutes and take some notes to answer the questions? Don’t think too much about a special answer, just write what comes into your mind and repeat the exercise some times until you think that you really answered all questions for now. And a great thing would be if you posted some of your answers and what you with them. You know, social recognition is a key to a meaningful activity…

So much for now, let me know what you think and have a great day!

May the force be with you,

Chris