2012  January 30

Creative Experimentation

I caught the announcement of a free webinar from MIT entitled “Creative Experimentation: Developing a Skill critical for Managing Complex Operating Systems” via Paul Levy’s blog. This offering looked quite interesting, but it conflicted with an important meeting I had scheduled at the same time. Nonetheless, I registered just in case I might have a chance to listen in. And sure enough, I had a 10-minute walk to my meeting and I was able to listen in to the webinar from my phone. I thought it quite interesting how you can learn *anywhere* nowadays – even from a professor at a remote university while you are a college president walking between meetings. Here are my notes from what I heard on the initial minutes of the call:

  • “Don’t think your way to an answer. Discover your way to an answer.”
  • “Your first pass doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be directionally correct.”
  • “Unless you are generating new data or generating new insights, you won’t be doing something differently.”
  • “If you don’t know enough, do it in a way that is small and unobtrusive as a pilot.”
  • “Organizations throw their own obstacles in the way.”
  • “Organizations are nested. Each nest deals with the problems appropriate to their own boundaries. When a problem crosses boundaries of a nest, there’s a need to move up in the hierarchy of the nests ... or else a need to change the boundaries of a nest.”
  • “See the problem. Run the experiments. Validate the data.”
  • “Identify the problem. Create Experiments. Test the solutions.” (this was a refrain)
  • “Knowledge gets shared through communities with shared interests.”

As with all things in life, I wish I could have listened and learned more. Oh well. -JM

Steven Spear: “Discover your way to an answer.”

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