Research Process

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been collecting research for my thesis project for 5 weeks now and have established a pretty good routine for tracking key facts that I find. I track down my materials via the Internet using simple Google searches and the more academic Google Scholar. My primary source has been the IUPUI catalog and book and article databases. After a general search for content I use Google Scholar to identify more items and track them down in the IU system. General searches in the IU catalogs have also yielded decent results.

If I have a physical version of the source is found I skim the table of contents to see what jumps out. Sometimes that leads me to sections inside and other times I just start reading. I do a lot of skimming until I find topics of interest. Once I find that I focus my reading and use sticky note tabs to mark important sections, noting on the tag why I have marked the page.

After getting a number of tabs established I then transfer the facts onto note cards, reading the sections again to determine relevancy and to review the fact. On the note cards I’ve noted the author, speaker, article and/or book.

If the source is digital, I use a similar process, only I sometimes take screen capture photos of content as well. I have these files all saved in one folder for easy access when needed.

I now have a few nice stacks of cards with key facts on them that are helping me keep my momentum going forward and helping me synthesize and understand the huge amount of information I’ve gathered.


Consultant/Facilitation Practice

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Acting as a consultant to a classmate, I helped her devise a solution to small problem in her life through facilitation of a team of 4 peers through the Simplex creative problem solving process.

I had a pre-consulting session with my client and then prepared over the next 3 days for the event. At the group session I had 2 hours to complete 6 or 7 of the 8 steps in the process, which would provide the client with a new strategy for tackling her problem. I think both the individual and group sessions went very well and the solution provided to her problem was very fitting. 😉

Our challenge statement for the client arrived at “How might we help her enjoy shopping?” We determined that she did not enjoy shopping for a variety of reasons, but largely due to allergies. The lack of enjoyment resulted in her having a wardrobe unapproved by her boyfriend and family members. « Read the rest of this entry »

Leadership Visual

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Visual closeup

In my Design Leadership seminar we recently read two articles and visualized our integrated understanding of them. The first article discussed the leadership style of seven different types of leaders. Three of these under perfom, two styles are average to good performers, and the final two types are the cream of the crop, transformational leaders. The second article, written by Design Thinking advocate Roger Martin, focused on the ability to think integratively. Rather than simplifying problems into either-or scenarios using conventional thinking, the integrative thinker is able to create a new third-way to approach the problem.

Click here for my visual. (Warning: LARGE file)

Secrets & Assumptions

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Secret BoxAs I was leaving school today I noticed simple looking box sitting innocently in the lobby. Too plain to be an advert of any sort but too smart to have been forgotten, I stopped and turned around for further inspection. There was a pad of paper attached to the top, a pen tethered to the back and a simple note asking passerby to share a secret. For their generosity they would be rewarded with a secret from the box’s creator, which was on the flip side of the note. I deposited two secrets, read theirs and was on my way. Kind of a nice end to the day, leaving a few secrets behind as I left for the day.

The incident got me thinking on my drive home about a box created last year by design team 5.0 in the Collaborative Action Studio. I believe they were having communication issues that were hampering their work. In effort to address this they created a similar box. If an issue was thought to be serious enough the member was obligated to discuss it. If the problem was likely an assumption  or minor it could be placed in the box, never to be read; a good symbol for acknowledging fears and then moving on, not letting them hold you back. It seemed to have worked for them as their productivity improved after implementing their version of the secret box.

Maybe we all need a box to deposit our fears and secrets into so that we can move forward, and past our assumptions that threaten to hold us back. Feel free to share your secrets in the comments section, anonymously of course.

How Might…

September 21, 2010 § 1 Comment

How might...

In crafting my thesis research question I am beginning each attempt with How Might… . It is similar to crafting a challenge statement in a problem solving process. The next step involves identifying, generally, a “what,” a “how” and a “why.”

It’s a tough process, finding an area that has not yet been covered ad nauseum, is specific and focused, but not too specific or too focused. I think I’m finally getting the hang of it but I’ve been throwing a lot of pasta at the wall with little of it sticking. I still need to do some further research so that I can get more specific but I think I’m figuring out how to craft an appropriate research question.

Click here to read all of my HM… statements

Topics of Interest

September 21, 2010 § Leave a comment


Click here for the full Areas of Interest Visual

A key method for success in tackling complex, ambiguous problems (such as identifying thesis research questions) is to create a visual model (or visualization) of the problem space. The one above is a map that covers my topics of interest to this point in my thesis project research and begins to build connections between the topics. Also identified are design lenses, which I will eventually need to establish.

It is always interesting creating these things. You never know what patterns or relationships will pop up that you didn’t recognize before and only were able to see once you started separating and organizing the muck.

Negotiation Exercise Reflection

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

In our collaborative studio course last week we went through a 1-on-1 negotiation exercise. The scenario pitted two mid-level managers at a newspaper in a negotiation to spend $1M. I thoroughly enjoyed the negotiation role playing and possibly got too involved in my character’s perspective to produce a result closer to what I think that I would have reached for in my life.

As Coleman, one of the first emotions I felt was a sense of competition with Martinez. Competition is certainly part of many workplaces and this scenario made sure to play that aspect up through the inclusion of potential job promotions and encouraging us to exceed stated goals. (Both of which are appropriate workplace phenomenon.) The secretive nature of the exercise also helped to create an us, advertising, versus them, editorial, mentality, and I fell for the common trap of thinking that we both could not win. « Read the rest of this entry »

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