Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 13 - July 2006 - by Phil Chambers

TIME TO READ: 3 minutes (Average Reader), less than a minute (Speed Reader) - Word Count: 671. To learn more about Speed Reading Contact us.

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Welcome to the July issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter, Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

First of all my apologies for the lack of a newsletter in June. I was working in China for most May and then in Scotland in June. This month, as well as our regular quote of the month and Mind Mapping tip, we share some thoughts on creativity and innovation.

June's Quote of the Month

"The aim of life is self-development.
To realize one's nature perfectly -
that is what each of us is here for."

Oscar Wilde

For many more quotes click here.

Mind Mapping Tips of the Month

Try making the style of words reflect their meaning. For example, you could use shaky writing for the word 'fear'. Accelerated learning expert, Lex McKee often writes the word 'Review' in mirror writing to emphasise that it is looking back at something.

Combine words and images. For example the 'oo' in the word 'look' could be a pair of eyes or the 'O' in the word 'world' could be a globe. You can also use other symbols in words like 'MON€¥' or '$AL€$'. Play with rebuses (puzzles in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters).

For another 99 tips on Mind Mapping see "101 Top Tips for Better Mind Maps" by Phil Chambers, available from our online shop, click here.


July's Quote of the Month

"The problem is never how to get new,
innovative thoughts into your mind,
but how to get old ones out.
Every mind is a building filled with
archaic furniture. Clean out a corner
of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it."

Dee Hock  

(founder and former CEO of the VISA organisation)


Creativity and Innovation - Lessons from China.

My time in China set me thinking about innovation and creativity. The Chinese are very good at adapting technologies from other countries and often improving upon them. They aren't restricted by the dogma of "it's always been done this way" that often restricts our thinking.

For example, the humble traffic light is a straightforward system that you may think hard to impove upon. However, traffic lights in China have an added feature of a countdown display showing the number of seconds until the light will change. So as you approach a green light you know whether you need to brake or have time to go through. Equally, you know if a red light is about to change.

I was working in the Pudong district of Shanghai. A truly 21st century metropolis of wide roads, sky-scrapers and frenetic development. The city itself is another example of the adaptability of the people. They have embraced capitalism and melded it to the Marxist structure of government, typical to the new east-meets-west economy. Starbucks and KFC jostle with traditional Chinese cuisine. Road sweepers in fluorescent yellow jackets carry traditional besom brooms. So much is familiar but with a different slant.

Think about what restrictions you place on your own thinking. Challenge the things that have "always been done this way". Learn from the Chinese and think about how you can adapt and combine different concepts to come up with something better.

Next issue we look forward to the 2006 World Memory Championships taking place at Imperial College, London, England on 19th - 21st August. (If you're interested in competing or sponsoring the event contact Chris Day or visit http://www.worldmemorychampionships.com)

That's all for this month. Enjoy the sunshine, and the tennis at Wimbledon now England are once again out of the World Cup. (not that my Scottish fiends will mind!) If you have any comments or suggestions please feel free to contact me.