For 29.4.19

For 29.4.19

What did you learn from others?

We are looking for different ways to help us learn, learning from others is among the most important, so please take a moment to look at how and what you might learn from a classmate

  • In class, I invited you to survey what others have done, find one thing — some “sign of intelligent life” and write it up: do that!
  • When you write it up, look for the three dimensions of ideas, social dynamics, and feelings: what idea do you find in what they did, what method, how did it work socially for you, and what sorts of feelings did you have along the way?
  • A lot of people have thought about this. I’ve surveyed some of them in my advice on Team Work, and maybe you’ll have a moment to survey this article, look up a link or two, and find something that “clicks” in your imagination or actions and leads you to think or do something differently? Try writing it up, briefly — a couple of sentences will do, more if you are inspired, get the juices flowing, see things — and add that to your portfolio for this weekl


We discussed how everyone wrote things up nicely, but wrote them up for the most part as reports, finished things, and as such did so at the cost of exploration: to put it bluntly, most are trained in their classes here to wait to the last minute, cobble things together quickly, aim to please the teacher — and pray that nobody asks them difficult questions. Give yourself a chance to ask the difficult questions before someone else does: learn how to read a complex, sophisticated article like this one on Industry 4.0 in new, more thoughful ways.

  • Follow my advice on Reading Industry 4.0 and where you try to follow the instructions, do a little bit of each part

What I’ve done there is walk you through a number of different ways of looking at this text, and if you do this right you’ll have a number of different ways of looking at any text. The Big Idea is:

  • Read such texts in ways that are interesting to you, so you will want to start reading them early in the week and so have time to think about them
  • Learn how to read such texts in different ways, so you have more than one tool in your reading tool kit

The key to reading stories differently is to understand the difference between facts and information, stories, and presentations and to see that your present way of writing things up is a presentation based not simply on the facts, but on the way you’ve been taught to tell a story, including,

  • To make it sound like you know what you are talking about — which is completely different than presenting research to fellow researchers in a way that invites them to offer you valuable feedback, even challenge your question, evidence, and arguments and lead you to see things differently
  • To conform to a certain way of making your presentation — which is different than explaining things to 2-3 different people, observing how differently you explain things, and so opening things up rather than shutting them down

This week, learn how to develop an overview before digging down

Most of you have grabbed a couple of things almost at random, from my perspective, then cobbled them together to make them sound more intelligent, as I like to say, than they really are.

  • This is a rather brutal way of putting it, because you folks know how to make full sentences, paragraphs, and reports that make a point, but how about assuming that business and talk about it is really complex, that it takes years to understand it, and whatever tools you’ve got so far are just great — for starters — but there is a lot more to be learned

So instead of grabbing on to the first few things that pop off the page, let’s develop some very special skimming and scanning skills

  • Skim. Read a few pages of this PWC article on e-commerce to see that it is divided into sections, some with table, graphs, lists, etc., and others with explanations of different kinds.
  • Scan. Then re-read those very same pages, but this time look for pieces that you can begin to understand, that look like they might be of special interest, and which you might look at closely.
  • Outline (context). Before you did into that one section, create an outline where you put that special section into a context, so you have a halfway decent idea of where it fits; for example, if you like the timeline of Industry 4.0, showing 1-4 and beyond 4, outline briefly the pages before and after to see how the timeline fits in a framework of different ways of explaining the problem
  • Outline (one section). Then outline your chosen section, like that timeline, where you create a sub-head for each piece, then write in your own words a brief summary of that piece, so that you have about equal-length short discussions of the half dozen points in your section and so an overview.

Reading Industry 4.0

Then do a couple of the things you’ll find in my guide to the first few pages of this paper (you won’t be able to do more than a few, there’s a lot there, we’ll continue with this in class and for homework in the next week)

  • You can spend years, as I did, learning how to read, there are a zillion different ways, methods, materials, contexts, etc., etc., etc., so maybe best is to pick and choose a couple of the activities I’ve written up for you and do enough of them to feel challenged, feel like you’ve learned somethinng, and have written a page or two to share and in a way that will interest your classmates

You want to engage your classmates along the way to engaging other professionals

  • 19 Powerful Presentation Stats to Transform Talks in 2019 appears on Duarter’s website, and if you take a moment to review it briefly you’ll find a lot of well-informed discussion about modern corporate communications: as Duarter says in Engage: digging up facts and information, telling stories is something else, and engaging your audience is yet a third thing.

You want to make some small steps with all three, and your laboratory is our classroom and where your classmates are your “test rabbits,” they will respond when you write up something that interests them.

Head First Excel

  • Spend an hour on this

Everybody claims to “know” Excel, and I’m sure you can all push the buttons and solve basic business problems. Good for you! All the more reason to learn how to learn Excel in another way and so expand your tool kit (and we are stuck having to spend some time on it, so lets make it interesting for you!)

  • First, read the introductory pages of Head First Excel (pp xxvii-xxxi in the handout) and in what follows implement some of it (and explain what you have done that follows there advice, even just one little thing will do)
  • Then, especially if you think you know Excel, try doing each and every one of the HF Excel 1 exercises: fill in each of the exercise pages (and use the data files in our Dropbox
  • Along the way, note what happens: is this really the exact same thing you know already? If not, what is different? How differently do you see the problems, methods, procedures, concepts, etc., etc.
  • To do this, you will want to work slowly, carefully, and thoughtfully. Don’t worry about getting all of it done, do worry about observing how you work, how differently they are advising you to work, and explaining one or two examples of where things are different and interesting.
  • Once again, this is for you, not for me!

Outline View in MS Word

It will take you a few weeks to master MS Word, so invest a half hour or so, maybe first:

Create a browser start page

  • In Notes, Onenote, or MS Word (etc., ) save your links and notes for using technology
  • Save as .pdf in your BizInfo folder
  • In your browser, navigate to this file, open
  • In your browser preferences, set the browser/tabs to open on this page
  • Then add shortcuts and brief reminders of what to do when you want to use the Outline View: include all of the first 12 procedures on my Outlining Checklist

How to learn MS Word

Then, follow my Outlining Checklist and learn all 12 procedures at the top.

  • Best is when you work with a partner
  • Look up “ms word outline view shortcuts” in your language, save this link, and take the time to really learn outlining
  • List what you’ve learned and how it went, what problems you encountered and how you addressed them as well as any wonderful discoveries

And take a moment to give yourself a good reason to learn outlining