Ken’s Presentation on the Developmental logic of the human venture framework

Hello Everyone,

As a way of letting the knowledge that Ken shared at the program committee be shared with everyone, I suggest that those people at the meeting post some of their notes and observations of the presentation and discussion. That way we will have many different views that will hopefully capture the whole picture. Below are my notes from the evening as a starting point.

These notes are the scattering of ideas as they hit me in the discussion. I have tried to create the links between ideas but others will help to flesh out the picture or correct my miss steps:

The core point of the Framework is to try and understand the nature of adaptive intelligence. How is this created and how can this be tested? How is it relaized and tested across a large number of agents and agencies – children, adults, communities, institutions, cities, countries, the planet.

In the thought experiments of seeing how this framework played out against these different agents and agencies it was always important to discover the gaps or redunancies that were present.

Another key was apaptive logic – how does the agent interact with the envorionment in a way that contiually meets the dynamic challenges facing them. Also how does the framework help to develop the adaptive capacities to meet the most pressing challenges of the environment?

An area of investigation that sought to address some of these questions became instructional design. The abilitiy to understand what the most pressing challenges were present and then develop instruction / education that meets those challenges.

Ken highlighted that the challenges in life are too varied in nature to ever develop a list of skills that could possibly address each situation. Instead there was a need to develop a set of meta – skills that can be adapted to evolving situaiotns.

To discover these meta-skill he began looking at areas of human endevour where the challenges were always beyond the level of traditional skills aquistion. Areas that required people to be continually in adaptive space; that required them to move their learning beyond rote exercise. These were people like military commanders who had to know strategy but them implement it into the real battlefield situations; inventors who were moving beyond the realm of existing knowledge, entrepeneurs who were creating new industires, etc.

Since humans adapt through our our use of design and knowledge, how do we move our culture beyond the levels of existing convention?

A Ken quote (which I don’t know if I got right but this is what I remember) “Frustration is the emotion you feel when you are learning beyond your capacities”

The talk then took on more of a dialogue nature with ideas being exchanged. Some of those points were :

  • The need to observe people / groups in a wide variety of situations and stress areas to gain a full picture of their behavoir and capacities
  • Confidence must be informed by adaptive or real world competence.
  • The connection between character / conduct and the abilitiy to develop adaptive learning capacities
  • Adaptive capacities must be developed by the individual first and then branched out to the community. The community cannot be adaptive in disconnection of the peolpe within. The good point is that we develop greater and greater adaptive capacities individually as we move to create more adaptive communities. The growth outwards develops the individual growth.
  • The need to capture / record the patterns that begin to emerge as you create. It doesn’t matter if you have the whole picture or if the pattern makes sense. If you capture it, you can discover the meaning when you have more pieces
  • Never truncate a learning or development process; even if you have to because of time constraints. Deliver what you have found, but mark it for further investigation. Keep the inquiry open and find the time to continue

That was all I had for the evening. I look forward to reading other people’s take on the discussion.

Becoming a Master

Bruce Lee Quotable

I often think of myself as a jack of all trades, but a master of none. I don’t consider myself a real hacker since I spend much of my spare time volunteering. I am not really an expert people person since my day job is about computers and I certainly won’t be starting my own dojo anytime soon.

For quite some time, I was quite satisfied with this state of affairs because I loved trying new things and experiencing the vast range of possible human experiences. At the least, it has kept me busy and engaged.

Lately though, I have been doubting my perspective. If I wanted to make a difference… a real difference, what kind of mastery would I actually need to do it? Could I even achieve the mastery levels of Bruce Lee or Louis Pasteur or Ghandi? Or am I not talented enough?
Fortunately, talent doesn’t appear to be the main obstacle according to this article from Scientific American.

Click here for Scientific American article on expertise

Here is one excerpt from the article:

“The one thing that all expertise theorists agree on is that it takes enormous effort to build these structures in the mind. Simon coined a psychological law of his own, the 10-year rule, which states that it takes approximately a decade of heavy labor to master any field. Even child prodigies, such as Gauss in mathematics, Mozart in music and Bobby Fischer in chess, must have made an equivalent effort, perhaps by starting earlier and working harder than others.”

I wonder… for what would I be willing to dedicate ten years of my life? Here in Canada, I feel fortunate to have a choice in the direction of my life. If I wanted, I could have it! Given of course that I would be willing to work hard at it.

The article continues to say that it isn’t about ten years of any kind of study… it is ten years of “effortful study”.

“…what matters is not experience per se but “effortful study,” which entails continually tackling challenges that lie just beyond one’s competence. That is why it is possible for enthusiasts to spend tens of thousands of hours playing chess or golf or a musical instrument without ever advancing beyond the amateur level and why a properly trained student can overtake them in a relatively short time. It is interesting to note that time spent playing chess, even in tournaments, appears to contribute less than such study to a player’s progress; the main training value of such games is to point up weaknesses for future study. Even the novice engages in effortful study at first, which is why beginners so often improve rapidly in playing golf, say, or in driving a car. But having reached an acceptable performance–for instance, keeping up with one’s golf buddies or passing a driver’s exam–most people relax. Their performance then becomes automatic and therefore impervious to further improvement. In contrast, experts-in-training keep the lid of their mind’s box open all the time, so that they can inspect, criticize and augment its contents and thereby approach the standard set by leaders in their fields.”

It is little wonder then that few people achieve this high level of discipline. Furthermore, becoming an expert at something physical is one thing. What about becoming an expert in our own thinking? What kinds of ways can we push the envelope on our own thinking and test that against reality?

What about you? What is your dream for “making a difference”? How will you become push yourself to the limit of your capacities?

What my intuition says…

Third-Eye Chakra

During the opening retreat, many groups raised the question of the role of intuition in our thoughtscape. What is intuition? It has been called that gut feeling, ESP, the sixth sense, the inner knowing, instinct… whatever it is, it has a powerful influence over us.

I will openly confess that I am not a believer of the supernatural or magical qualities of intuition. I feel that although there is much we don’t understand about our consciousness, it is possible to explore it, model it, and explain it.

Intuition, to me, provides a feeling of what action I should take. For instance, my intuition enables me to read a person when I’m coaching, or do just the right move playing soccer, or even sense the immediate situation around me. I have found, however, that one’s intuition can be as flawed or as adaptive as one’s thinking. My impression is that intuition, like many skills, can be developed and improved upon with practice and experience.

But then that is just me. Others may experience intuition very differently.

Now it’s your turn. I would like to know your theory of how intuition works. I am also curious, how do you know your intuition is adaptive? When is it maladaptive? And finally, what are the disciplines needed to develop your intuition?


P.S. – Here is a word document explaining my theory of intuition: Street Wise – A Theory of Intuition. Read it at your leisure.