An unprecedent requirement for adaptability (Schön, 1995)

24 October 2010

The crisis of confidence in the professions has been interpreted by professionals who have given serious thought in their own fields to the adequacy of professional knowledge. On the whole, their assessment is that professional knowledge is mismatched to the changing character of the situations of practice – the complexity, uncertainty, instability, uniqueness, and value conflicts which are increasingly perceived as central to the world of professional practice […]

Even if professional knowledge were to catch up with the new demands of professional practice, the improvement in professional performance would be transitory. The situations of practice are inherently unstable. Harvey Brooks, an eminent engineer and educator, argues that professions are now confronted with an “unprecedent requirement for adaptability”:

The dilemma of the professional today lies in tlie fact that both ends of the gap he is expected to bridge with his profession are I. changing so rapidly: the body of knowledge that he must use and the expectations of the society that he must serve. Both these changes have their origin in the same common factor – technological change … · The problem cannot be usefully phrased in terms of too much technology. Rather it is whether we can generate technological change fast enough to meet the expectations and demands that technology itself has generated. And the four professions – medicine, engineering, business management and education – must bear the brunt of responsibility for generating and managing this change. This places on the professional a requirement for adaptability that is unprecedented.

(Schön, 1995, p. 14f)


The disappearance of creativity (Ackoff, 1978)

18 October 2010

Most of us take for granted both the creativity of children and its subsequent loss. We do not try to understand, let alone prevent, this loss. Yet the disappearance of creativity is not a mystery; the explanation lies in a query that Jules Henry (1963), an American anthropologist, once made: What would happen, he asked,

if all through school the young were provoked to question the Ten Commandments, the sanctity of revealed religion” the foundations of patriotism, the profit motive, the two party system, monogamy, the laws of incest, and so on …. (p.288)

The answer to Henry’s question is clear: society, its institutions, and the organizations operating within it would be radically transformed by the inquisitive generation thus produced. Herein lies the rub: most of the affluent do not want to transform society or its parts. They would rather sacrifice what future social progress creative minds might bring  about than run the risk of losing the products of previous progress that less creative minds are managing to preserve. The principal beneficiaries of contemporary society do not want to risk the loss of the benefits they now enjoy. Therefore, they, and the educational institutions they control, suppress creativity before children acquire the competence that, together with creativity, would enable them to bring about radical social transformations. Most adults fear that the current form and functioning of our society, its institutions, and the organizations within it could not survive the simultaneous onslaught of youthful creativity and competence. Student behavior in the 1960s convinced them of this.

(Ackoff, 1978, p. 4)

Förändra dig själv, gubbjävel (Kepner & Tregoe, 1985)

12 October 2010

I åratal har forskare sagt att människan motarbetar förändringar – och det stämmer. Men människan gör bara motstånd mot sådana förändringar som hon inte förstår, som hon är misstänksam mot eller som hon anser gå emot sina egna intressen. Människor accepterar förändringar som förefaller bra. Om ett förslag till förändring åtföljs av medel för genomförande och om förändringen resulterar i uppmärksamhet och erkännande är sannolikheten för ett bra resultat större. För att förbättra en organisation måste vi introducera bra idéer, se till att de fungerar och ge en synbar belöning för den gjorda ansträngningen.

Kepner-Tregoe (1985, s. 19)

Vad handlar livet om? (Kepner & Tregoe, 1985)

12 October 2010

Förändringar är vad livet handlar om. Framgång och överlevnad beror på vår förmåga att förutse förändringar, och att undvika att drabbas av dess negativa effekter.

Kepner & Tregoe (1985, s. 133)