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

Walk a mile in my moccasins – Jane Elliott

Anne says: I was first exposed to Jane Elliott’s work in the early 1990s. Her work had an immediate impact and shaped my approach to education and design in workplaces ever since. I was reminded of her passionate and lifelong dedication to educating people when she was interviewed by Jimmy Fallon recently. Now in her 80’s, Jane’s energy and resolve have not diminished, in fact, she’s more vehement than when I met her in the mid-1990s.

To understand Jane’s work, it’s necessary to locate the origins in context. In April 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jnr, Jane Elliot, a school teacher in Riceville, Iowa (USA) decided to teach her students about discrimination. How she created the context and experience for her third grade students was remarkable. Informed by a Sioux Indian prayer: “keep me from judging a man until I’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.”  Or as I use in educational and workplace design: without the experience, there is no understanding. It’s empathy and more. I can empathise, deeply understand what someone else may be experiencing, but I can never truly feel what their experience is. In terms of discrimination, I can empathise, I can imagine, I can understand, but I can’t truly feel it until I experience it, in their skin. So Jane Elliott, put into practice, an experiment with her students. The now famous (or infamous to some) “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes”.

If you had blue eyes, you were branded as less intelligent, dirty, of lower value than the other children with brown eyes. They were smarter, more important. She enacted the scenario for a whole day – the results were astounding. The impact of language, how we speak to others, how we label others is a fundamental aspect of creating a binary “us versus them” scenario. There are links to her original work and the third video, “A Class Divided”, revisits children, her students, as adults to explore how it influenced their lives (around 20 minutes into the video). But keep watching – there’s a session where she’s working with correctional officers, adults, and listen to the language used. It’s fascinating and starts to reveal the deeper, systemised discrimination that we’re only now starting to address.

I recommend watching the three videos in order – Jimmy Fallon’s recent interview, The Eye of the Storm, then A Class Divided. Then revisit the question that Jimmy Fallon asked her: What can we do? Jane’s response: “Educate yourself. You were indoctrinated in school, not educated”.

A final reflection, Jane said to me, after the session I did with her in Sydney: You are privileged. You are white, highly educated, professional and an educator. Use your privilege to influence others. Use your access to the system to initiate change. I haven’t practised Jane’s teachings directly (Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes), however, re-connecting with her work has reminded me how we can all choose a pathway to walk in someone else’s moccasins to understand their experience, or we can impose our pathway on others with no consideration to the impact. Which pathway will you take?

Read and watch

Here’s how to make your virtual meetings more efficient

Jakkii says: I’m not going to lie, part of me shared this because of this adorable dog picture. But fortunately, it’s not just cute dogs, there are also some handy tips in here as well. The article starts off with an important point:

Not to be dramatic but… ineffectual meetings were a huge problem before coronavirus.

And, it’s true. Long before we were talking about Zoom fatigue, there were hundreds of articles about how to make meetings better. It seems all that’s happened during the pandemic with everyone working from home is we’ve taken our bad habits and put them on video – and maybe picked up a few more poor habits as well.

The article goes over a few common points, like questioning whether something even needs to be a meeting – or if it even needed to be in email! It then goes on to give these key tips for virtual meetings:

  1. End the sudden outbursts and awkward silences with a facilitator
  2. Cut them down until you find the right fit
  3. Keep your sanity and focus intact by embracing timeboxing
  4. Forget all the rules and create your own

It finishes by discussing the fact that the way we work and manage people will change. It’s not a long read, but it’s a good one to have a browse through either for some new ideas, or maybe some confirmation of ideas you’ve been thinking about trying. If you put any of the tips into practice, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Let me know in the comments or on social media.


Around the house

Jakkii says: I’m back yet again with your weekly round up of things you can do at home while we continue to transition through the phases of reopening.

Friday Funnies

Misinformation Friday Five

COVID-19 Friday Five

Work Friday Five

Tech Friday Five

Social Media Friday Five

Sydney Business Insights – The Future This Week Podcast

This week: #VanLife during the pandemic, going cashless and no more facial recognition. Sandra Peter (Sydney Business Insights) and Kai Riemer (Digital Disruption Research Group) meet once a week to put their own spin on news that is impacting the future of business in The Future, This Week.

The stories this week

06:46 – What happens to #vanlife influencers when the pandemic makes travel impossible

17:39 – Australia going cashless. Or is it?

28:19 – Companies stop working on facial recognition

Other stories we bring up

Thailand proposes to tax foreign internet companies

Greece slashes taxes to make flights and tourism affordable

Singapore’s Parliament is suggesting a move towards a 4-day work week

Nowra dairy farmers to turn manure into electricity at Australian-first biogas plant

COVID-19 impact on vanlife influencers

How a pandemic affects life on the road

COVID-19 is changing the game for travel influencers

Instagram influencers promote coronavirus lockdown protests and conspiracy theories 

Our previous conversation on owl thieves in cashless Sweden on The Future, This Week

Cash, robberies and the move to cashless Sweden

Alipay and WeChat allow foreign credit card

Amazon announcing a one-year moratorium on law enforcement use of its facial recognition platform

Why it matters that IBM is getting out of the facial recognition business

RoboBees: autonomous flying microrobots


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