Sunday, December 16, 2007

Local Fool For Thought

Dear colleague(s)

Local Fool
for thought

re: new ways to think about thinking about
sustain ability et al if it’s actually new
ways we want to be talking about…
writing about, co-laboring
on & on about.

“Clarity is not a virtue. If everything you say is detailed and explicit,
you won’t give your collaborators room to run.

Put ideas out there that are half-baked, ideas where
you’re not even sure what it means yet.

Put yourself in an environment
that rewards failure.

Creativity is risky;
successful creative people are
also the ones who fail the most often. Creativity is inefficient.
Don’t expect every idea and every project to pan out.
Know when to cut your losses and move on—
when to holdem, when to foldem.

Innovation emerges from the bottom up

I.E.upo: “uproar” Germanic: ubilaz:
“exceeding the proper limit’;
Old English: yfel:
“ evil”

unpredictably, and it’s only after the innovation
has occurred that every one realizes what’s happened.

Innovation can’t be planned; it can’t be predicted:
it has to be allowed to emerge. Like successful

Key to understanding innovation: to realize that
collaborative webs are more important than creative
The power of this collaborative web …is
what companies must tap into if they want to create
a culture that encourages significant innovation.

Genius is the Enemy of GENIUS I focus on discourse
processes to better understand
several assumptions that
educators have made about
the construction of knowledge
in collaborating groups:
for example, that the flow of the
collaboration is not
deterministic, that the teacher's
instructions must leave
room for creative exploration,
and that
collaboration is an emergent process—with
a result greater than the
sum of the parts

Drawing on these arguments, I developed an
analogous argument that properties of
collaborating groups—such as the topic discussed,
the insights that emerge, the collaboratively
determined framing of the task, the opportunistically
emerging plan of action—are emergent from the
conversation of the group, and yet are difficult
to reduce to properties of the group's members
(such as their internal goals or mental representations).

(sampling Keith Sawyer on group genius and the creative
powerof collaboration (google-up-able).

Deadening Language.
Awful stuff. Typical.
But the idea is lively.

Creativity emerges from group collaboration
Genius rises-up out of inter-action (converse),
back & forth, call & response, com-petition,
the co-operation of diverse voices in play,
in game. Can you hear me now? So…

Like playing jazz, or even old-time music.
Or any team sport. Easy analogies. The
genius (spirit) of the group-as-whole is
more than the sum-of-parts. And we
can’t break IT down to parts-analysis
without eclipsing what’s actually
happening in terms of the


But we do.

My genius uber alles!
I always played banjo much too
loudly for the group, needing to be heard.
My Vega snap-on resonator: snapped on—resonating.

Snap: there, I’ve got it on. Can you hear me now?
Plinkety Plunk: damnit, Dinah! Do dah Do dah

I once watched a half-hour show on MTV where
a group of maybe 5 were trying to figure out a
new LOGO for the station which at that point
was playing nothing but music videos all day long.

Collaboration was a riot. More creative action going on
with that project then I ever recall happening in “school.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with THAT. Institutional
& Industrialized “School” don’t aim to teach creativity.
Educing genius is not the function of “academics.”
Teaching Physics, Chemistry, Biology—yes.
History & Sociology & Psychology: sure.
Philosophy, Theology, Environmental
Studies and now Sustainablity:
that too as if it were a course like
all the rest and not epi-

We are not a Conservatory. Leave your
instruments at home—or for idle times
unless we want to be thinking about how
to think about sustainability & the whole-y
war going on all the time between inertia
and ertia, between un-art and art. That
would be a course of another color.

You can improve my terms here & I wish
you would: it’s the distinction that counts.
The war is something LIKE a never-ending
conflict between Conventional Sustainability
and, say, Evolutionary Sustainability.

3 little pigs on the one hand and on the other:
what feels like BB Wolf knocking at the
doors of my Ecos, damnit.

yrs in
xxxooo, Presbyter

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