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Saturday, July 20, 2019


I recently read Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King, et al (2016).

This book is an eye-opening discussion of how technology has changed our lives/world AND how that evolution will only accelerate in coming years.  BK takes us on a whirlwind tour, from health to transportation to medicine to art to banking to…  

Some of my biggest takeaways:
> Major disruptions that will accelerate:  Artificial intelligence; Distributed-embedded experiences; Smart infrastructure; Gene editing and Healthtech; Metamaterials; 3D printing.
> To children born since 2000, technology is not different or disruptive; like water or air, it’s just there.
> The “transhumanist” movement – bioengineering + cyborgification – is no longer the stuff of science fiction; it is now the stuff of science non-fiction.
> The progression phases of our current tech-laced world:  Real world >> Augmented reality >> Virtual reality >> Augmented virtuality.
> Most current adolescents will never own a credit card or use a checkbook.
> The biggest losers of the Augmented Age will be: 1. Big Energy. 2. Big Health Care and Pharma. 3. Small- to Mid-sized Colleges and Universities. 4. Big Government. 5. Banking, Insurance, Regulators and Finance.
> The biggest winners of the Augmented Age will be: 1. Tech Majors. 2. Artificial Intelligence Start-ups. 3. Smart Infrastructure. 4. Internet of Things. 5. Networking the Developing World. 6. Developers, Human Computer Interaction and Experience Design Practitioners. 7. HealthTech and FinTech Providers. 8. Personal AI Providers. 9. AR, VR, AV and PHUD. 10. Exotic Metamaterials and 3D Printing.

 My favorite quotes:
“The skills that students need to learn in order to survive in the Augmented Age are very different from what they are being taught in school today.  We will need to teach students not just science, technology, engineering and maths (so-called STEM subjects), but agility, creative thinking, rapid learning and adaptation too.”

“Now that we have established that Watson is more accurate at cancer diagnosis than a human doctor, my question to you is this:  who would you rather have diagnose you if your GP suspected you might have the disease?  Dr. Watson or a “human”?”

“Massive data processing capability is at the core of what will make AIs better advisers than humans, even if humans have access to the same data. Synthesis of data is where humans can no longer compete.”

“Self-driving cars don’t get tired, don’t get drunk, don’t get distracted, don’t get road rage and don’t need a rest, unless it might be to charge.” Brad Templeton, Singularity University, author interview in May 2015

“Paper and signatures have no future in the banking world—at all.”

“The businesses of the future will be in the business of experiences, not products and services.”

“Smart retailers will learn that loyalty doesn’t come from brand marketing, tear-jerking advertisements or airline miles. It comes from the ability to know what we need before we know it, and to personalise that in real time. Shopping in the future is all about the experience, and the experience is all about the data.”

“Education will be revolutionised. When writing this, I kept coming back to the apprenticeship and guild models of old, rather than the modernised knowledge-based systems around universities and colleges. As we augment our intelligence through AI and always on access to data, knowledge will tend towards ubiquitous access, and knowledge as a scarcity mechanism or barrier to entry will become indefensible—but skills will remain sought after.”

Only those of us who plan to live for at least another 1-2 years need consider reading this book. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


We have all been shaped - influenced, pulled, taught, polished, altered, pushed - by three things:  People + Experiences + Forces

The People (the Who) we invite into our lives and minds influence the way we think, the way we view the world, the way we pursue our dreams.

The Experiences (the What) in our lives, both those that are chosen and those that are foisted onto us, compel us to look, listen, feel, make connections, reflect, grow - to LEARN.

The Forces (the How) in our lives - Love, Hate, Passion, Fear, Ambition, etc. - are those internal and external drivers that are always there but seldom noticed, and they resist being controlled.

Understanding Who and What and How we are being shaped is an important step in self-knowledge, self-awareness, self-understanding.

Understanding Who and What and How we are shaping others is a critical component in effective leadership.  

Purposeful engagements, purposeful actions, and purposeful reactions determine our personal success, and that of the organizations to which we belong.

Intentionality rules!

Monday, July 15, 2019


I recently read Embedded Formative Assessment by Dylan Wiliam (2011).

I’ve owned this book for years, but have just now gotten around to reading it.  DW makes a compelling case for using frequent and shortened assessments, both through his rock solid reasoning and through exceptional writing skill. Should’ve read it as soon as I laid my hands on it.

Some of my biggest takeaways:
Ø  The skill of the teacher is THE most important variable in determining the efficacy of the learning environment.
Ø  The evidence of learning the goal we seek as teachers, period.
Ø  Feedback that does not affect either a change in aspiration or a change in effort is useless.
Ø  Feedback should cause THINKING.
Ø  Students don’t learn what we teach; if they did, we could simply keep a record of what we taught (rather than records of what they learned).
Ø  Much like athletic coaches, teachers must not only identify talent, but nurture it, produce it, coax more from it than the students themselves believe possible.

Some of my favorite quotes:
“As Michael Barger says, ‘The quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers.’” (p. 22)

“The only teachers who think they are successful are those who have low expectations of their students.” (p. 29)

“After all, what sense does it make to talk about a lesson for which the quality of teaching was high but the quality of the learning was low? It’s rather like a surgeon claiming that an operation was a complete success, but unfortunately, the patient died.” (p. 48)

“The study from Harvard University mentioned in chapter 1 showed that the impact of having an outstanding teacher in kindergarten can be detected in the annual salaries of those students thirty years later.” (p. 160).

I shoulda read it as soon as I laid my hands on it.

Friday, July 5, 2019


I recently read Improv Wisdom by Patricia Madson (2005).

Some of my biggest takeaways:
  • Saying “YES” keeps things moving forward, while “NO” usually shuts down thinking and creativity.
  • SHOW UP – presence is required to make good things happen.
  • Take care of each other (rather than trying to block or destroy teammates).
  • In attempting to solve sticky problems, start now, start where we are, use the tools/resources we have currently available (rather than waiting for “more” or “right” resources).
  • Listening, really LISTENING is an act of ultimate kindness.
  • Let go! Quit trying to control everything.

My favorite quotes:
“Charles Darwin recognized the value of this when he wrote, 'In the long history of humankind (and animalkind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.'” (p. 22)

“Life is attention, and what we are attending to determines to a great extent how we experience the world.” (p. 67)

“The light in which something is perceived will determine its value. I can look at a person or event from three vantage points: To see what’s wrong with it (the critical method—commonly used in higher education). Using this lens the self looms large. To see it objectively (the scientific method). Using this lens both the self as well as others are meant to disappear. To see the gift in it (the improviser’s method). With this lens others loom large.” (p. 89)

“The improviser knows that she is inextricably bound and dependent upon others. Everything we do (or refrain from doing) matters. My effort or my neglect of the smallest detail has consequence.” (p. 97)

Much wisdom here that is directly relevant to effective leadership practice.