Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's that time again -- time to evaluate my progress towards goals and chart my new course. 2010 was an interesting year. I experienced some turmoil in my private life, but was able to more or less maintain my equanimity.  I feel as good about that as I do any of my accomplishments. I set fewer professional goals for myself, and that helped me to focus more. So let's look at how I did.

 1. Review and re-define my personal brand. I'm feeling a little unfocused and unhappy with my direction right now and need to figure out where it is I want to be in the next 3 years.
The work that makes me happiest right now is the thinking and talking about innovation and managing creative teams. It seems to me that there isn't a lot of knowledge about transforming teams from ordinary to innovative. I think that I would like to work on that, and in doing so, refocus my brand.

2. Blog more regularly. I really enjoy this, even if (as I suspect!) it is just me and my nephew occasionally reading it. But blogging does help me focus my thoughts. I am going to try to blog weekly. The summers are the hardest time, when all I want to do is be out in my garden. But let's see if I can't be a little more regular with this.
I think I blogged here 50 times, out of a target 52. I also started a new blog for my personal musings, allowing this to become a more professionally focused space. I blogged there 44 times. So the combined effort is well above my goal. 

3. Continue to improve my ASL skills. I have 18 months to reach Intermediate level on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview. This isn't a minor goal, to say the least.
I haven't made my goal here yet, but I still have seven months. I feel like my signing has improved. My receptive skills definitely have.

4. Continue work on my Instructional Design Model for Teaching Deaf Adults. I would like to be able to present this at conferences in 2011.
I made very little to no direct progress on this goal. However, I do have a better understanding of the linguistic aspects of ASL and that is helping me further define my model.

Here are my goals for next year:

1. Using a methodology I describe here, perform an analysis of the skills and experience that I need to develop in order to determine what I need to do to maintain my position.

2. Learn to use InDesign and complete a project using it.

3. Work on understanding what I can do to maximize the creativity and innovation displayed by my team. Write an article or give a presentation on leading a creative team.

4. Develop an idea for a mobile device app that I recently came up with.

5. Investigate moving this blog to WordPress that I host myself.

What are your resolutions?

Here's hoping that 2011 is your happiest ever!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life Cycle of Pride Movements

I interested to know if there is some kind of a life cycle that has been described for "pride" movements. For example, when I was a young woman, the feminist movement was just getting off the ground and was relatively powerful. Although not all women considered themselves to be feminists, those who did were very vocal and focused, with a fairly clear agenda.

But now, I don't hear ANY young women describing themselves as feminists, although they all enjoy the benefits that the early feminists won for them. It seems obvious to me that there was a period where the notion of feminism was rising and gather steam, then a period when it had enough strength as a movement to effect changes, and then a period of decline, during which most of the societal changes persisted, but no new changes (such as passing the ERA) were able to be accomplished. Does this process actually exist, and can it be used to describe other "pride" movements?

If such a process exists, those of us who are supporters of particular social changes and their associated pride movements might modify our strategies based on where the movement was in the life cycle.

Any thoughts?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Major Themes for 2011

My boss has asked me to develop a strategic plan for my department at NTID. This has been a very interesting exercise. It has given me an opportunity to talk to people inside and outside about where should we be in three years and what do we need to do to be ready to go there. These conversations have been so enlightening!

I came to this task with an understanding that technology is progressively becoming more mobile and distributed. And that this will have a democratizing effect on the population.

My conversations with my colleagues have led me to see how important the idea of entrepreneurship is going to be to us. You may not immediately connect entrepreneurship to University. Understanding the fundamentals of product management is going to be important to my team, as we strive to support faculty and staff entrepreneurs. I will be exploring that connection in future blog postings.

Design-thinking is another new idea I will be exploring. What I like about design-thinking is that it includes empathy as well as rationality and creativity, and is a method for making innovation happen. Up to now I haven't had language or process to describe how I innovate, so my attempts at supporting innovation in my team have been less than universally successful. In a nutshell, if the person I was working with was an innovator, then mostly I just had to get out of the way. I want to do more than that. Hopefully, learning and implementing design-thinking will make that possible. Expect to read more about that in the future.

I am looking forward to 2011, and the learning and exploration that is going to come with it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Developing a Place for Innovation

As I watched this video, I was very interested in Jane's comments about games and "epic wins", which she defines as an outcome so extraordinarily positive that you had no idea it was possible until you achieve it. According to Jane, gamers experience epic wins while playing games but not during real life.

Jane has written Reality is Broken and I'm planning on putting it on the top of my list for reading over the Christmas break. I am intensely interested in establishing a place (maybe I should say atmosphere?) where my team and I can innovate. I think Jane has some ideas that might really help with that. Stand by for more!