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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #174

Hi team - welcome along to this week's issue. If you are here, you are a purveyor of highly curated i
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #174
By Tom Barrett • Issue #174 • View online
Hi team - welcome along to this week’s issue. If you are here, you are a purveyor of highly curated ideas and provocations about Leadership, Learning and Innovation.
The throughline I have been pondering this week is about decision making. In particular the reasoning, discernment and commitments we are making in response to the “great return”.

Will this cause harm?
I know this is a tough question to explore. Grappling with this might seem to be a bit of a deflating approach to change. And yet, we have to stay balanced in our decision making.
There is plenty happening at the moment - especially in education and workplace settings - as we find our way back to “school” and “work”. Air quotes are appropriate because it seems the definition has shifted.
With the groundswell for change, we have to understand the inadvertent side effects of our interventions. Any decisions we might be exploring still need thoughtful rigour - that has not changed.
Start with some of these questions:
  • “Will this cause harm?”
  • “How might we understand the negative impact of this idea?”
  • “What can we do to minimise the negative impact?”
  • “How will we know if the negative impact of this outweighs the positive?”
  • “What would happen if we did nothing?”
Will this cause harm?
Responsible Innovation
An adjunct to the balanced discernment that we need right now is to explore new approaches and methodologies for design. The link below outlines an approach to technology design being implemented by Microsoft.
At the heart of the idea is to weave our ethical thinking frameworks into decision making and design processes. The author Mira Lane explains the approach to responsible innovation:
Learning to exercise your moral imagination to consider the socio-technical implications of what you create is a bedrock process of responsible innovation. 
*In part, exploring the question Will this cause harm? is a way to flex that moral imagination.
Part of their toolkit is something called Harms Modelling which examines how people’s lives can be negatively impacted by technology.
It is interesting to explore this approach to design and the implications for our work in learning and education.
Responsible Innovation: The Next Wave of Design Thinking
Think Through Time
In the first link this week I shared the idea of iatrogenics - something I have written about in issue #55 and #90. Another way of thinking about that is the mental model: Second-order thinking.
You might connect with a few different visual representations of this. Perhaps it is the waves and ripples we cause. Or maybe the domino effect, as your interventions have repercussions.
Regardless of what works for you - consider how any decisions you are exploring in your team, right now, might have known/unknown second, third and fourth order impacts.
I titled this section “Thinking Through Time” and that is drawn from the article listed below. It resonated with me because it is a challenging thought process to embark upon.
What do the consequences look like in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 Years?
Take a moment with your teams to explore the repercussions, map them out and consider the rippling effect. Incorporate those insights into your ideas and innovations.
Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to Outperform
Let’s anchor our decisions to the values and principles that guided us before this crisis and persist today. Our ambition for change and innovation isn’t detached from consideration of the compatibility and repercussions of our ideas.
Our ideas are likely to be better for it.
Thanks for being here this week. Let me know what resonates.
In dialogue we trust.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Tom Barrett

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