Friday Faves – What We’re Reading This Week

Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

Organisational Learning Contexts

Anne says: Over the past couple of weeks I have been immersed in organisational learning contexts. At the JiveWorld17 conference in Las Vegas, I was a panel member in the newly formed Learning & Development track and last Friday I chaired the closing plenary panel for the AITD National Conference in Sydney. As a consequence, my attention has been focused on trends and case studies of organisations who are exemplars in the digital workplace learning practices.

The first is a conversation (podcast – 34 mins) with Christian Kuhna, Director of HR Strategy at Adidas. He talks about the Adidas Group Learning Campus that fosters a “New Way of Learning” for Generation Y and subsequent generations, focusing on lifelong, self-directed learning and skills needed in digital businesses.

The Adidas Group have been on my radar watch list over the last couple of years. Their ability to blend both the physical and digital environments into engaging learning contexts is worthy of review. Step back to 2015 to explore some of their earlier initiatives at https://www.gameplan-a.com/2015/01/ilovemyjob-next-generation-workplace/.

The second is a learning strategy – underpinned by the process of meta-cognition (although the article doesn’t refer to this directly). As we are constantly challenged in workplace environments to spend time deeply learning topics, this strategy is a great way of consolidating learning and ensuring longer term transfer or application. Talking out Loud – actually sits nicely alongside the more familiar digital workplace strategy of Working Out Loud.

Readhttps://hbr.org/2017/05/talking-to-yourself-out-loud-can-help-you-learn

And a date marker – Working Out Loud week is 5-11 June 2017. (Find out more at https://wolweek.com/)

Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us

“We are, all of us, in inescapable thrall to one of the handful of…. technologies that now dominate much of the global economy.”

Emilio says: Ever wondered how vital and indispensable the world’s leading tech companies have become in our modern day existence?

A writer at the New York Times examined just that. A single commercial transaction of buying a TV set made him think carefully about these tech companies and how, frighteningly, they had him (and perhaps all of us, too) ensnared. As he looked closer at his daily routine, encompassing personal/ family, interpersonal and professional, he identified the ‘frightful five’ – Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Apple – which have crept up on him, in varying degrees, unwittingly.

He then posed a challenge to himself: which of these tech companies would he give up, and how might his life become unbearable as a result. As he justified his utilisation of each, the process of elimination was difficult, if not nearly impossible.

And so I asked myself the same question: Would I give up social media over a search engine, or an online store that can get me everything I need over my mobile phone? Honestly, I don’t know.

And how about you: If you only had one technology company you could keep, which one would you choose?

P.S. Amazon have not launched in Australia yet, but local established and independent retailers and service providers are apparently already shaking in their boots at the thought. Now it makes more sense why.

Readhttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/10/technology/techs-frightful-five-theyve-got-us.html

Facebook wants to read your mind and make you feel words

Nat says: I’ve been thinking a lot lately, ironically, around mindsets. What are they? How do they establish themselves, and how do we engage in ‘double-loop learning’ as a way to challenge our assumptions and change our ‘mental models’?

The world is shaped by ideologies, so instead of knowing what to think, it is more important – albeit harder – to know how to think. But thinking is hard, which is why not many people do it. As part of my thinking about thinking, this week I stumbled across an article that talks about Facebook wanting to read our minds and make us feel words.

For the first part of their initiative, Facebook predict that in a few years we will be typing 100 words per minute, but we won’t be typing in the traditional sense, we’ll be thinking about the words and seeing them appear before us on a screen or through some type of augmented reality. The second part of the initiative deals with hearing through skin – by touching the throat of someone who is talking and being able to interpret the vibrations.

Both initiatives are seen as eradicating the need for speech, which could be great for deaf people or those who dislike talking, but also means more of our communication is being displaced into the hands of machines. I find it fascinating that humans have always had a relationship with technology, and living in the digital age means more of our sense of ‘self’ and who we are in the world is being shaped and influenced via online means. It will be interesting to see if Facebook achieve their goal in future years.

Readhttps://www.fastcodesign.com/90110693/facebook-wants-to-read-your-mind-and-make-you-feel-words

An Augmented Reality App That Turns Your Home Into a Nightmare

Joel says: Any time new technologies arise, especially in the games industry, some of the first experiences to be created for them are in the horror genre. The immersion factor in games, thanks to ever evolving VR technology, has made these big sellers with gamers as it seems deep down we like to experience new ways of being scared. Mobile app ‘Night Terrors’ goes one step further in the scare factor. Why, you ask? Well it’s because this game doesn’t have any pre-designed levels, missions or quests. Instead, the horror setting is your own home – it’s an augmented reality app that turns your home into a nightmare. Using the phone’s camera it creates a map of your home in real time as you move around looking for paranormal entities. It uses this map to know where your walls and doorways are so it can generate scares based on your house.

The app has been in development for some time and they have released what they’ve made so far on the app store for free. The game looks to be coming towards its final release soon as many outlets have started reporting on the game this week, and the old video trailers have started going viral again on social media which is how it came to my attention.

AR technology isn’t as widely used or as popular as VR, but with apps like Pokemon GO and Night Terrors becoming as popular as they are i’m sure the technology will be embraced more in the near future.

Watchhttps://www.facebook.com/techinsider/videos/vb.352751268256569/582214311976929/?type=2&theater

Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus

Jakkii says: Finally, a license to daydream!

You’ve probably experienced focus burnout, even if you didn’t have research to back up your feelings – that sense of exhaustion and overwhelm that comes after a hard day of serious focused work that leaves you decrying a lack of “brain space” for anything else. This piece goes further than just explaining why we can only take so much focus, to outlining why we specifically need unfocused time. That unfocused time is critical for creativity, and even for empathy and collaboration. It turns out that ‘downtime’ isn’t so down after all – when we are in unfocused time, our brains spend significant amounts of energy on flittering between the past, present and future, drawing all sorts of lines between what we knew, what we know, and what we’re learning.

This leads us to the daydreaming – the piece outlines the concept of PCD: Positive Constructive Daydreaming. It’s described as “a type of mind-wandering different from slipping into a daydream or guiltily rehashing worries,” and when we consciously use PCD in our days it can re-energise us, boosting our creativity and helping our brains use other ways to find information.

As a bonus, apparently taking a nap can help, too – so perhaps asking for a nap pod in your workplace isn’t so outrageous after all.

Readhttps://hbr.org/2017/05/your-brain-can-only-take-so-much-focus