Tag Archives: sir ken robinson

Personal Development & Business Start Up Reading

There are a number of books that I have been reading over the past year-and-a-half that have made a significant impact on my thinking and how I view what I do, what I say, the decisions I make each day etc. These were all recommended to me personally by friends and other people I have met at business meetings etc (NB. All book titles are linked to The Book Depository, what I consider to be the best online bookstore; most prices are heavily discounted and all delivery worldwide is free. I always use The Book Depository: I have never been disappointed and I always use them in favour of Amazon, especially because of the postage I save).

Creativity, Change & Innovation Titles

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson – In all great people there is a spark, an element which enables them to reach their full potential and become world leaders in their field. If we can tap into our element we can reach our full potential too.

Out of Our Minds by Sir Ken Robinson – Creativity is at the heart of talent and success and there is a ‘war’ for talent. Yet just about every education system around the world focuses on only part of intelligence; the intellect. This book is quite deep and very thorough. It explores the need for creative people, both now and in the future, and the need to engage our emotions, not just our reasoning ability as we help people to reach their creative potential.

The Heart of Change by Dan S Cohen – Dan Cohen looks at the process of change and how to manage it effectively so that we take people with us, on our side, rather than alienating them and forming enemies within our own companies. A number of real-life stories provide case-studies on how change has been effectively managed in a range of different situations.

The Ten Faces of innovation by Tom Kelley – Available in Hardback and Softback editions, this book by the General Manager of the World famous design company, IDEO. He explores the strategies they use to foster original thinking and addresses how to overcome the ‘devil’s advocates’ in our organisations.

Personal Development & Enhancement Titles

I Want to Make a Difference by Tim Drake – How to make a positive difference in your own life and the lives of others by changing your mindset. Making life better for your family, friends, colleagues and customers.

S.U.M.O Shut Up Move On by Paul McGee– Paul investigates how we can move from the pont of wishing to achieving. By taking responsibility for our life we can change our attitude, learn to seize opportunities and even respond to adverse conditions with a positive attitude. humorous and pointed all in one go.

Starting Your Own Business Titles

Anyone Can Do It by Sahar & Bobby Hashemi– The founders of Coffee Republic tell how they moved from day jobs to risking everything as they set-up the UK’s first New York style coffee house and how that expanded to become a top brand with over 100 outlets around the UK and employing over 1000 staff. The story as it was … warts and all.

The Small Business Start-Up Workbook by Cheryl B Rickman– This book leads you through the thoughts, processes and activities required to conceive and start your own business; step-by-step. As the title suggests, this is a workbook and therefore, it contains activities to undertake and checks to help ensure that all necessary bases are covered. Very practical, thorough and well thought-out.

Spare Room Start Up by Emma Jones – This is a really practical help on how to start up your own business ‘in your spare room’ i.e., working from home. Emma uses 3 key themes; business, lifestyle and technology to provide a base on which to build a home business, from scratch and at low cost. Well organised, easy to read, easy to pick-up where you left off.

Start Your Business Week by Week by Steve Parks– The attraction of this book is that Steve Parks breaks down the process of starting a business into week-size chunks, thereby making it accessible and less daunting. Checklists, tasks, targets and useful contacts all help to set-up your own business over a six-month period.

The White Ladder Diaries by Ros Jay– Journalist Ros Jay gives insight into how she set-up White Ladder Publishing with an emotional, touchy-feely quality. The book provides plenty of helpful advice and helps you learn from Ros’s mistakes, providing a diary of the lead-up to the first day of trading and beyond.

Setting Up and Running a Limited Company by Robert Browning – Tackling more specific issues surrounding establishing and running a limited company, this book answers many of the questions you need to ask in order to meet the specific requirements relating to a limited company. Appointment of Directors, accounts, shareholders, meetings, minutes and more; the book takes some of the fear out of these formal procedures providing practical help and advice.

The Financial Times Guide to Business Start Up 2009 by Sara Williams– Formerly ‘The TSB Small Business Guide’ this book has sold well over 1-million copies to entrepreneurs and business owners. A comprehensive guide to starting your own business this is a highly detailed book with lots of useful contacts and advice. Also works as an ongoing business reference book.

I hope these provide you with hours of reading and the help you need to get yourself and your business up-and-running, and to keep you up-and-running.

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Creativity: The Other Global Crisis

Perhaps one of the most eloquent and engaging speakers I have heard is Sir Ken Robinson. he has this style which instantly puts one at ease whilst totally drawing us in to what he has to say. If you want an example, pour yourself a coffee and Watch Ken Robinson Talk to see him in action (opens in a new window … use the ‘Close Window’ button after viewing).

In one of his more recent appearances he continued to present some uncomfortable facts which will impact us all unless things change. Here is a sample of out-takes from his talk. Full article here (opens in a new window).

  • The world is facing a crisis of human resources … “I believe that fundamentally we have both underestimated and continue to misuse – if not actually abuse – many of our most important talents; our talents, our children’s talents, and the talents of the people who work with us. And unless we fix [this crisis], I feel we’re not going to make much progress fixing the other one.”
  • Both crises are the result of our “industrial mindset,” which is incompatible with modern society and modern business. Both manifest themselves in terms of imbalances. In the natural world it is the imbalance of gases in our atmosphere, although human activity is also disrupting many other ecosystems. In society we have legions of people dislocated from their own talents, legions of people suffering from all kinds of anxiety, legions of people in dysfunctional communities. And there is an enormous cost of handling this.
  • In California (Robinson’s new home town) spends $3.5bn a year on the state university system; it spends $9.9bn on the state prison system. Similar figures exist for other Western countries, as well as other US states. The UK spends millions of pounds a year on remedial education, to try to get kids through a system which many of them are bucking against. And we spend millions of pounds a year on career counselling, because people have not found their way.
  • The result for educators, employers and HR professionals is that it is vital to have an understanding of “the ecology of human resources.
  • As a society, we must improve our understanding of human capabilities. We believe mistakenly that creativity and intelligence vary in inverse proportion to one another. The things we take for granted as being true are the real problem; the enemy of making the best of ourselves is common sense.
  • Thankfully creativity is not dead but merely latent, in most adults.
  • Work by Land and Jarman showed that in a smaple of 1,500 children aged 3-5, 98% ranked as “geniuses” in divergent thinking. In children aged between 8 and 10 years the figure fell to just 32% and by the time children had reached between 13 and 15 years it had declined further to a mere 10%. In other words, children become less creative as they grow older. What coincides with this period of development, aside from hormonal changes and socialisation, is that they enter formal education where they have learnt a) there is one answer to every question, b) don’t look, because that’s cheating and c) don’t copy from anybody else, because that’s cheating too … even though outside of school we call this collaboration.
  • This mindset goes well beyond school and college. Land and Jarman also performed a control test of two-thousand adults (aged 25+) where only 2% ranked as geniuses. We don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it, because of the ways in which we become institutionalised and socialised. Education is a big piece of this, but work is an even bigger piece.
  • Creativity is most frequently associated, in the workplace, with innovation but it is equally important in helping society cope with, and harness, technological advances. No matter what we do or where we do it, technology is going to swamp us: new information systems are going to subvert all the things we take for granted.
  • The over-25s think we’re OK, but we’re not that great. We have learnt digital technology like a second language, so we kind of speak phrasebook digital compared with our children. IT systems are becoming more and more pervasive, but they’re not fundamentally avoiding the powerful need for better and better use of human resources. To the contrary. Human resource is the only way we can engage with these things properly … and at this moment we are locked into an industrial mindset about our own capabilities.
  • Business people can help to nurture creativity and imagination by thinking of organisations as organisms rather than organisations A better metaphor is from agriculture. A farmer can’t make a plant grow. A plant grows itself. A good farmer provides the conditions for growth. And a great plant doesn’t just grow from the top, it grows everywhere simultaneously, as do healthy organisations, which have a reciprocating relationship among the parts.
  • There is a huge difference between a creative team and a committee: great creative teams require real expertise among managers and leaders to work. It’s a skill-set that we need to be teaching managers and leaders.
  • Great teams, large or small, are deliberately diverse: they have people from different backgrounds, experiences, ages and responsibilities in the organisation. The processes employed by these teams ensure that their diversity is not an impediment but a resource.
    The best senior managers are those who are not afraid to let teams congregate for specific tasks and then disband, to form other teams as necessary, perhaps one of the best ways to spread cultural information around the organisation.
  • It is essential to create the right habitat, in terms of culture and environment. Anyone who is serious about making more of people must be serious about the environment in which they work. And not just the colour of the walls: innovative organisations have a rigorous approach to questioning algorithms of behaviour and changing the environment as need be.
    Challenging stuff.

What I think is obvious is that we have a long way to go. BUT we need to make a start, no matter how small to change the inertia of creative decline. and just perhaps some of our organisations and social structures will be rebuilt into healthy living cultures.

Until next time …

 
My Zimbio

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