Mac and cheese
I have three young kids, so macaroni and cheese is a staple in our household. But the box drives me bonkers.
'To open, push here.' Are there any more dreaded words for mac and cheese lovers? You know it isn't going to work. You know you're going to have to rip the entire top off the box, and yet you try it anyway, hoping against hope that this time the little cardboard button will work the way it's supposed to. But of course it doesn't and you have to rip it open with your bare claws, or use kitchen shears, or a chainsaw...
'To open, push here' is a classic example of design getting in the way of purpose. I mean, let's face it, the mac and cheese box only has three purposes:
- to entice us to buy it,
The box fulfills the first two functions pretty well, but fails miserably at the third.
Now, let's extend this metaphor to our own technology (and other) initiatives in our schools. Like the mac and cheese box, what elements of our design and delivery get in the way of us achieving our purpose(s)? Lack of adequate training? Insufficient support? Failure to allocate appropriate time? Unreasonable expectations? As school leaders, if we don't want our initiatives to fail ('To open, push here'), we have to attend to these issues if we want to get to the yummy goodness inside.
Is your school organization aligned to get the results it says it wants to achieve? If not, what's getting in the way and what are you going to do about it?
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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