Individual Perspectives Generally And Specifically Education Essay

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Based on experiences on Advanced Perspectives on Projects, and the completion of the group project: "NHS National Program for IT (NPfIT); reflective essay affords me an opportunity to engage with and clarify my individual perspectives generally and specifically: in relation to this course and my past experiences of project management. I am using the word potential with purpose: I refer to the potential writing strategy developed by Dr Mark Winter during the Advanced Perspectives on Projects lectures in semester 2. This reflection will enable me to elaborate on potential writing which sets the intention for new, different, creative, imagined, outcomes that are not constrained by current thought or practice.

Embarking on such an in-depth analysis of projects meant that there was no real practical experience from my previous experiences, however, it did mean that I was open to new ideas and concepts such as Edward De Bono's six hats thinking and the multiple perspectives which enabled me to consider projects and tasks from all angles and deeming them as a constant flux of events, which is what a project essentially is. I still remember in that first lecture where I analyzed definitions, explanations and summarized tables offered to us, 'to engage with complexity, we need perspectives which admit the possibility that more than one thing can be true at once' Arthur Battram. Reflecting now, I see I have embodied a journey through most of these theoretical perspectives. My research of project management was applied early as playing cricket for Lancashire County Cricket Club, being elected as the captain; I quickly realized how to act on my feet, making tough decisions when my team mates had low morale. Understanding the use of time and patience on and off the pitch, thus one may suggest that I was firmly entrenched in the quantitative, positivist frame. My next foray was embarking on a team project in college, in which I was pressed with devising complex database design for our local football team. This proved mighty difficult as each member in the team had a different set of skills, by allowing ourselves to delegate responsibility we each assigned ourselves a role, for me presentation as the goal. This I feel took me into a qualitative realm in which deadlines and quality of work became the utmost importance. The choice of attending university itself was with a desire to be an emancipator with a critical theorist perspective, wanting to catalyze change in my hopes, education and practice.

Then when I still couldn't get to what I felt I needed I delved into a lecture called Advanced Perspectives on Projects and was welcomed with a soft spoken, passionate lecturer who taught me how to reflect on a multitude of projects. I am (of course) wondering where my potential study in this topic could take me…




Insight 1

Edward De Bono's Six Hat thinking

Culmination of thought processes by taking a critical analysis on tasks. The thinking hats are useful for learners as they illustrate the need for individuals to address problems from a variety of different angles. They also aid learners as they allow the individual to recognize any deficiencies in the way that they approach problem solving, thus allow them to rectify such issues. Because everyone is focused on a particular approach at any one time, the group tends to be more collaborative than if one person is reacting emotionally (Red hat) while another person is trying to be objective (White hat) and still another person is being critical of the points which emerge from the discussion (Black hat).

For instance, a meeting may be called to review a particular problem and to develop a solution for the problem. The Six Thinking Hats method could then be used in a sequence to first of all explore the problem, and then develop a set of solutions, and to finally choose a solution through critical examination of the solution set.

Insight 2

London 2012 Olympics

A multitude of events which are constantly changing. A perfect example of how a project is defined as a constant flux of events with lots of things happening at once. Beneficial for London's tourism, more opportunities for growth and development. Provides jobs in the region meaning that people are all working towards one cause. One project, one goal type aim. Fascinating insight into how an international hotspot can become the centre of attention. The commitment to sport in the UK, with the social and health benefits. Disability organisations including the Autism Awareness Campaign UK were confident that the Olympic and Paralympics' Games would encourage people across the disability spectrum to take up sport. Other legacy items would include the conversion of the Olympic Village Polyclinic into a lifelong learning centre for the east London community with a nursery and primary and secondary schools, and the conversion of the media and press centre into a creative industries centre for East London.

Be proud of our national country hosting such a predominant campaign. Would mean separate businesses would be set up permanently ensuring the security of jobs and opportunities for the locals i.e. helping businesses gear up to win Games-related contracts to encouraging young people to take up more sport and activity.

Insight 3

Multiple Perspectives/ Seven Images

There is an increasing need to collaborate, form partnerships and fuzzy alliances while understanding and including the expectations and needs of individuals and groups or put simply seeing the world through their eyes. Such features have become critical aspects between success and failure. When starting a project, we tend to forget that people have different understanding of the process they are involved in. The magic of efficient teamwork is to understand these different perspectives of all the team members and of the other stakeholder groups involved in a project. The more perspectives on an issue that can be considered by a team, the more possibilities emerge for effective action. The point is not just to look at one or two extremely different perspectives, but also to capture as many nuances as possible.

This approach enables one to develop a profile of each team member with regards to the projects. By looking at multiple perspectives it optimises their input within a decision making model. As a team and discussion leader the ability to have knowledge of the particular strengths and weaknesses of each team member or participant will provide leverage points to maximise collective wisdom of the group and an ability to gain a complete range of perspectives that will encompass the collective intelligence of the group. Under these circumstances buying and ownership will lead to a focused approach for problem solving and decision-making.

From learning the first insight, Edward De Bono's six hat thinking. This I thought was fascinating. The notion of ideas and emotions being resided into any projects, with an actual effective outcome, what I thought was significant was the fact that many people are used to this and develop their own habits unconsciously. Sometimes these are effective, other times not. What is certain is that when we were doing a class exercise of thinking about the different hats with our group members, these individual strategies did not tend to converge. As a result, I felt that our discussion didn't converge either. Due to the power of the ego and the identified predilection to black hat thinking in the majority of western culture this can lead to very destructive meetings.

Even with good courtesy and clear shared objectives in any collaborative thinking activity there is a natural tendency for "spaghetti thinking" where one person is thinking about the benefits while another considers the facts and so on. The hats allow this to be avoided so that everyone together considers the problems, or the benefits, or the facts, reducing distractions and supporting cross pollination of thought. After learning such a concept I can easily relate it to my daily processes, a simple paradigm could be designed as well for example if I was the team leader and we were in a meeting. So the meeting may start with everyone assuming the Blue hat to discuss how the meeting will be conducted and to develop the goals and objectives. The discussion may then move to Red hat thinking in order to collect opinions and reactions to the problem. This phase may also be used to develop constraints for the actual solution such as who will be affected by the problem and/or solutions. Next the discussion may move to the (Yellow then) Green hat in order to generate ideas and possible solutions. Next the discussion may move between White hat thinking as part of developing information and Black hat thinking to develop criticisms of the solution set. Thus a simple thought process can be devised and what I liked the most about this is that it is expendable.

The next insight is the London 2012 Olympics; these were fascinating largely because no one else has ever accomplished such a lengthy project in a short space of time: "The cost of the London Olympics will be more than double the price quoted in the bid document that helped Britain to win the 2012 Games, according to the official budget to be released next month", The Sunday Times, 4th February 2007, shows a perfect example of how projects can immediately be forecasted under budget as all the underlying issues come out once the plan has been approved. Towards a positive look "The Olympic Games and Paralympics' Games will provide the catalyst for a huge programme of urban and environmental regeneration. The Olympic Park in east London will transform one of the city's most underdeveloped areas into a model for sustainable urban development, building inner city communities linked to sport, the environment and health.", Although, this is a large scaled project this particularly fascinated me because it portrayed building the impossible.

I could safely suggest that London 2012 was many things at once as Dr Mark Winter my lecturer also stressed. IOC - International Olympic Committee, GLA - Greater London Authority, BOA - British Olympic Association, TfL - Transport for London, these were all the separate entities involved in achieving this vision. The reason why it is important to me is because I think staging the Olympics would have important community, social inclusion, cultural, and educational benefits for both the local East London community and the nation as a whole. Also, as well as the 'feel good factor' nonetheless, it would mean that the Olympics would provide an opportunity to promote the cultural diversity of London and of the local communities directly adjacent to the Olympic Zone. Careful planning and capacity building in the run-up to the Games will undoubtedly deliver opportunities to improve social cohesion through the promotion of diversity and inclusiveness of minority ethnic communities and disabled groups. Thus in turn suggesting that the London 2012 Olympics will give those underprivileged adolescents something to look forward to and give them a chance at what they can be one day if they put their minds to it. As well as promoting participation in sport across the nation, the Olympics would leave a legacy of facilities including a new stadium and aquatics centre in East London. The key to delivering these benefits is effective identification and planning of linkages between the event, its exposure, heightened public interest, and sports development programmes. Pro-active programmes are also required to engage and secure ongoing participation. This means improving capacity across a range of areas including facilities, coaching, volunteer recruitment, and club management.

So the final insight, the one which has shaped up most of the lectures in this module I've had through semester 2. The multiple perspectives of images, Dr Mark Winter I remember saying in his second lecture: "Not only is a project seen differently by different people, but it can be also seen in different ways by any one person. The deliberate use of multiple images can yield much greater understanding of a project and suggest ideas for action which might not otherwise be thought about in a real situation" and I remember my mind being boggled by such a thought. I was always under the impression that a project was just controlled by one person. However, now I know the truth that it's a complex changing flux of events, similar to my cricketing days when a team mate had sprained his ankle earlier in the trials, it was my job to arrange a stand in.

"There are no ready-made solutions. Instead you need to step back from the 'buzzing blooming confusion' of the organisational world in which you are operating, and make your own sense of it, sharing this sense with others involved. This process of making sense … may require the conscious use of a variety of mental models, frameworks and metaphors to increase your understanding of the situation. Sheila Cameron and Sue Pearce, in their statement both have personified exactly what a project can entail, that it needs to be viewed from multiple perspectives. Multiple perspectives bestow great advantages.

Most of the Strategies of Genius modelled by Robert Dilts included multiple perspectives: "An important characteristic of genius is the ability to entertain several different perspectives of a particular subject or process.  Genius often comes from finding a new perspective that no one else has taken.  Leonardo, in fact, equated "knowledge" with having at least three different views of a particular object or phenomenon.  Einstein's theory of relativity is in its essence a description of the interaction between different perspectives.  Freud's analytic methods ... were designed to find details that did not fit with traditional perspectives, in order to find a completely new point of view" (p. 391, Vol. III),

Ken Wilber in April 2003, on the Developing Group Day mentioned: "Any single perspective is likely to be partial, limited, perhaps even distorted, and only by taking multiple perspectives and multiple contexts can the knowledge quest be fruitfully advanced."  But they also have their disadvantages: Too many and complexity increases exponentially, Insufficient links between perspectives and communication between perceivers can reduce integration and I also feel that incongruence (Sequential or Simultaneous) between perspectives and perceivers can lead to confusion, conflict, and binding patterns.

Above all, this lecture module, Advanced Perspectives on Projects has been quite a fascinating one in that it really has opened my eyes for a multitude of tasks. Mainly my own perspective on projects and how we view them, noting that there a constant flux of events, but also moving on to the broader issues of time planning and being a practitioner of reflection, as Ian Mangham once said: "Practitioners are not confronted on a day to day basis with subjects; they have to wrestle with problems which do not come complete with questions and answer".

Similarly this view was also shared by Donald Schon in 1983: In order to convert a problematic situation to a problem [or some next steps], a practitioner must do a certain kind of work. He [or she] must make sense of an uncertain situation that initially makes no sense. The reason for each of the particular chosen insights was that firstly Edward De Bono's six hat thinking really opened my thoughts about peoples motivations for certain work. It makes people have a perspective thinking which was a concept totally new to me. The second was the London 2012 Olympics, this really appealed to me largely because it was such a large project on such a broad scale with multiple sub divisions of organisations which meant that people had the opportunity of permanent jobs being made but also made me realise that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Undoubtedly these lectures have been intellectually stimulating but also made me open up to new ideas. Myself being more of a narrow-minded student, the thought of new ideas doesn't really appeal to me, I am vulnerable to the temptation to regard all this as a threat to the good old culture of books and eternal classics. However, entering Dr Mark Winter's lectures makes me seem like a changed individual. Respect is due where it is deserved. In summary, it has been a very rich semester 2. I hope that these ideas have found their way into my long-term memory and will emerge in relevant ways as I plan my life goals for the next coming years. Amidst the excitement, I must bear in mind that these ideas are at their best in proactive rather than reactive form. One of the realities of my final year will undoubtedly be days, even weeks when I am doing more planning rather than reacting. I hope myself including my fellow team mates will remember to be gentle with ourselves and avoid a model of spare of the moment planning.