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admin on August 27th, 2013

Hello world

admin on August 23rd, 2013

Hello world

Dave Lash on June 25th, 2013

The Promise Neighborhoods Institute at PolicyLink has just released the first segment of their report, a resource guide for Promise Neighborhoods. This is Part I, a results-based framework to work with this population; future sections will offer programmatic and policy solutions.

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Dave Lash on June 25th, 2013

childpoverty_onpointradioIn 2011, the child poverty rate was 23%, or 16.4 million children — an increase of 3 million since 2005, according to the release yesterday of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT 2013 Data Book. The problem is even worst among children under the age of 5.

The report is a wide-ranging update covered well in this stimulating OnPoint Radio discussion (46 minutes).

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offline glassAnother in the keys to innovation series: how to stop the infernal texting and cell phoning in restaurants and bars? Here’s one solution:  [1.5 minute video]

Reminds me of the old door-stop jokes…

[Hat tip to The Dish]

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Dave on May 16th, 2013

The Great Recession has changed market attractiveness — perhaps for the long-term — for many, many organizations. The ability to adapt will determine the survivors and thrivers. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at four key points.

First, the ability to adapt and the ability to react are not the same.
We react to a contract being cancelled; we adapt to changing market conditions. neandertal-twilight_smReacting is a response to an event; adapting is a form of evolution. Organizations, like species in the natural world, adapt to improve their fitness to succeed in their environment. (According to Scientific American, the extinction of Neanderthals may well have been caused by their inability to adapt quickly enough to rapid climate swings and not by competition or inter-breeding with modern humans. See terrific 6-minute video.)

Second, the ability to adapt has three parts:

  • Finding opportunities to add value within an enterprise’s doable sphere
  • Enrolling the necessary resources (employees, partners, capital, technologies)
  • Executing well

The ability to continually find and deliver new value to customers trumps all other business competencies. Organizations that do it well see themselves as “can-do” market leaders; others label it “change” and wring their hands.

Third, each act of adaptation is a strategic initiative: an assignment of resources to a potential opportunity. The great entrepreneurs — like Carnegie, Disney, Walton, and Gates — forged their success not from a grand vision or technological genius, but from a cascade of adaptations aimed at creating new value. These strategic initiatives are eventually aggregated and relabeled, erroneously, by history as a Grand Strategy. The truth is far more instructive!

creating-new-value-faster

Fourth, creating new value faster is a competitive advantage. In 1997, I first read Wheelwright and Clark’s book Revolutionizing Product Development and have been referring to it as a book of strategy ever since. In this simple but powerful diagram, they capture a truth about business in a rapidly-changing environment: if you are a fast-cycle enterprise that can adapt (create new value) quickly, you can overcome slower competitors despite their lead and improve your fitness despite turbulence.

IHI_thumbnailThere is simply no equivalent in K-12 education for what IHI has accomplished in health care — systematizing innovation through R&D partnerships with practitioner organizations.

Knowledge Alliance took notice. This is SVP Penny Carver’s slide stack at the Carnegie / Knowledge Alliance Working Meeting on January 20th.

“What’s the most central, obvious change we need need to make in order to resolve the problem?” My answer (yours may vary) was the shift from a time-based to mastery-based architecture (reconfiguring curriculum, instruction, assessment, and time). For my money, a mastery-based approach changes the playing field profoundly, creating new challenges for sure but also unlocking many opportunities to improve learning.

Microlab Innovation Strategy -- concept paperThis idea is at the heart of the attached paper, exploring the concept of small, local microlabs supported by a National Lab and focused on specific changes which I believe are at the heart of healing our education system.

Background
In the past few months, I have facilitated and participated in a number of fascinating discussions on how best to develop a new model for K-12 education that serves all children well, makes smart use of computer learning, and leverages the looming fiscal crisis towards a more cost-effective approach. A key question in these discussions is: What system of innovation will produce effective, substantive changes in practice that can be scaled quickly?

Your comments and suggestions on the microlab strategy are greatly appreciated:

  • What are your thoughts about the fostering multi-age learning communities in existing schools?
  • About empowering local teacher-innovators supported by a national lab?
  • Can such an on-site, opt-in alternative model accelerate migration to the changes needed to provide all students with a high-quality, 21st century education?

Also, please forward this plan to colleagues interested in the topic and please let me know of any potential partners or resources who might be a good fit.

Dave on February 6th, 2010

six_stages_of_educationI’m posting a brief “visual refresher” on K-12 education over the past century and asking the question whether conditions today should be pursued as an opportunity for significant system redesign.

I’ve been increasingly involved with K-12 education since 2006 when I became part of the research team and eventually a co-author of The Turnaround Challenge, the report proposing a new framework for turning around failing schools.

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