I've heard a saying in the leadership and management consulting arena. You can provide reminders as an example of effective time management skills and the value of creating checklists and systems, but you will encounter those who see these reminders as your commitment to managing their time. Choose wisely.
Three years ago, I began the process of searching for a meaningful initiative to recommend to a client - a technology association undergoing mission transition. After much research, meetings, emails, and calls, I chose CoderDojo and led a junket to the nearest chapter to see one in action. This could be a much longer post if I shared more extensive thoughts about our experience since then. instead, this is one of the more comprehensive articles to cover it. Another good one can be found here.
Fast forward to now for my thoughts and observations...
When we attended DojoCon 2016 in Dun Laoghaire (Dublin, Ireland), we were floored by the level of community engagement the other non-USA dojos exhibited (only one other USA dojo attended - I think from Indiana). In their dojos parents were mentoring, doing marketing and social media, coming up with projects and tutorials, handling registration and check-in, bringing snacks, volunteering to speak at Rotaries, schools, and clubs to raise funds or expand across their territories. Just phenomenal. I described the difficulty of achieving that with ours, and how the majority of parents just see it as something we host, and they either show up or don't. Very little engagement beyond that.
The feedback we received is this might be because CoderDojo launched in Europe, although we were hearing from dojos in Africa and Asia who were engaging at that level, even in remote areas where they were meeting in huts. The co-founders of CoderDojo suggested we talk to the largest dojo in our state to see if they were experiencing what we were. The champion has some help through the mentors and project or tutorial development, but the bulk of the outreach and engagement we see still has him front and centre.
One of my conclusions is we're in affluent areas with an exploding tech economy, and many believe computer programming or coding is an inevitability. We also live in an environment where food can be grabbed on the go or through drive up. The art of planting seeds, harvesting crops, then preparing a meal together is more difficult to achieve, although the farm-to-table movement is on the rise. Most who have attended our coderdojo say they love it, but the idea of actively shaping and growing it isn't a cause many take up no matter how often we attempt to recruit them. Instead, it's more of a drive up, where the meal is prepared by a handful of dedicated champions and mentors...and everyone else just shows up to eat or grabs a bag at the window on the way to the next stop. Even those who want more legacy teaching structure, different tutorials or projects, a quieter place to code, better snacks -- instead of harvesting and bringing those crops (ideas) and incorporating them into the feast at the table, the response is more along the lines of what 'we don't provide' at the drive-up window.
Growing pains. Lessons learned. Regroup...and well worth mentioning that the overwhelming majority of this experience has been positive and immensely rewarding.
2018 will be an important year for sharing the virtues of heightened 'roll up your sleeves' engagement as we recruit other communities to launch their own dojos -- Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and something in Port Orchard or Manchester. After all, farmers markets are brilliant. And anything worth doing is worth the effort.
Some things don't require description, but in case you want to read more...here's the blog.
I recently collaborated with Rodika Tollefson on an article about West Sound CoderDojo, an initiative I co-founded with West Sound Technology Association in March 2015. The first dojo session launched that May and we've been going strong since then.
CoderDojo is an exciting global movement. Open source, free, inclusive...and where kids ages 7-18 learn code -- but also leadership, presentation skills, peer collaboration, computational thinking, and so much more. Parents attend and work alongside their kids in a self-paced, interactive, and problem-solving environment.
We're on the cusp of expanding the movement across our region. And hopefully some day, across our state and nation. Read the below article to learn why.
[November 22, 2016] - Like most of their peers across the country, the majority of Washington youth don’t have access to any computer programming in school — less than a quarter of high schools offer computer science classes. Faced with an estimated 45,000 unfilled STEM jobs in the state — a number that continues to grow — lawmakers are pushing for more computer science education.
But two West Sound leaders in the technology and business sector didn’t want to wait. Charles and Doña Keating also wanted to encourage the interest and involvement their daughter has had in coding since kindergarten.
“In a 21st century innovation economy, coding is a second language that everyone should speak,” Doña Keating explains. “We wanted to make coding more accessible to other kids, including underrepresented areas like West Sound.”
The result of the Keatings’ vision was West Sound CoderDojo (WSCD), a volunteer-led, community-based initiative that is part of an explosive worldwide movement. Since the launch of West Sound CoderDojo in May 2015, nearly 2,000 Kitsap and Olympic Peninsula youth and parents have learned programming through the free workshops.
Why Every Community Needs CoderDojo
The CoderDojo movement is not just about education, but learning. In a fun, interactive, and inclusive environment where kids are taught to be leaders and mentors. Where they can become creators of technology and not just consumers.
It’s also not just about technology or getting a degree and a job.
“It's about our lives in this century and beyond,” Doña says. “It's how we think and solve problems, and how we'll be interacting with artificial intelligence.”
Unlike structured classroom instruction, CoderDojo sessions are self-directed and collaborative. Kids and parents learn together, and the young coders help each other. Volunteer mentors, usually parents or others within the community, are on standby to facilitate should students get stuck.
It’s this kind of interaction — collaborative problem solving and critical thinking — that inspired the Keatings to join the movement. And it’s what drives them now to grow it across the Kitsap region and even Washington State.
Some parents contact WSCD and say their kids are not interested in coding, are intimidated by it, or don’t want a career in computer science. It’s true that programming professions don’t appeal to everyone. But computational learning and language are used to improve and facilitate progress across all industries, including medicine, aviation, business, agriculture, energy, automotive, graphic design, architecture, and law. They’re also used in numerous applications, from smart homes and smart cities to video games and entertainment.
“Everything we do will require an understanding of code,” Keating says.
It’s not unusual, however, for a youngster first exposed to programming at a CoderDojo to become interested in a STEM career. Just ask Bill Bandrowski. His daughter, Rose, recently took an advanced placement computer science class, tapping into the DigiPen and CoderDojo experiences the Keatings brought to the region under WSTA's umbrella. “She has made the decision to head into STEM, most likely engineering,” Bandrowski says.
Washington state ranks as No. 1 in the country for STEM jobs. The state also has the second fastest-growing gap between available jobs and skilled workers to fill them. Why not use CoderDojo as a springboard to help fill that gap?
Lary Coppola, the executive director for Port of Allyn, says the results of efforts like this will take some time to come to fruition, but they’re a positive step toward economic development. Which is why the Port is co-hosting and co-sponsoring a coderdojo on Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
“Pragmatically, we understand that not every kid is going to go to college, so this can be viewed a lot like vocational-type training for the 21st century,” he says. “We also know that a certain portion of these kids will become tech entrepreneurs, creating good-paying jobs for others down the road.”
He says it’s important to attract these kids early and to get them interested in coding by making it fun.
“We will also be teaching them a 21st-century skill that will get them a good-paying job with unlimited potential by the time they’re ready to go to work,” he says.
Being Part of a Global Movement
When 18-year-old James Whelton — an Irish geek with exceptional talent — kept being asked by his school mates to teach them programming, he looked for a way to fill the void in computer science education. He approached venture capitalist Bill Liao with an idea, and within a year, CoderDojos had sprouted all over the world.
Five years later, the movement has spread to 65 countries, with more than 1,100 clubs formed by leaders like the Keatings. From kids of Hollywood celebrities to kids in Africa, CoderDojo has inspired a new generation of coders.
Each CoderDojo is led by a Champion and that community. While they can tap into resources such as registration platforms, tutorials, and more, it’s up to each dojo to coordinate volunteers, mentors, and outreach for its particular effort. In other words, each community owns the program — it’s not simply a matter of showing up or not.
As Liao likes to say, “CoderDojo is free. It is not a free ride!"
Read full article
This dropped in my inbox a week or so ago. Enjoy - DK
On the Day I Die
February 29, 2016 / John Pavlovitz
On the die I day a lot will happen.
A lot will change.
The world will be busy.
On the day I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended.
The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.
The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me.
All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard.
The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or capture anymore. They will be unable to touch me.
The arguments I believed I’d won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.
All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered. Their great urgency will be quieted.
My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past, where they should have always been anyway.
Every superficial worry about my body that I ever labored over; about my waistline or hairline or frown lines, will fade away.
My carefully crafted image, the one I worked so hard to shape for others here, will be left to them to complete anyway.
The sterling reputation I once struggled so greatly to maintain will be of little concern for me anymore.
All the small and large anxieties that stole sleep from me each night will be rendered powerless.
The deep and towering mysteries about life and death that so consumed my mind will finally be clarified in a way that they could never be before while I lived.
These things will certainly all be true on the day that I die.
Yet for as much as will happen on that day, one more thing that will happen.
On the day I die, the few people who really know and truly love me will grieve deeply.
They will feel a void.
They will feel cheated.
They will not feel ready.
They will feel as though a part of them has died as well.
And on that day, more than anything in the world they will want more time with me.
I know this from those I love and grieve over.
And so knowing this, while I am still alive I’ll try to remember that my time with them is finite and fleeting and so very precious—and I’ll do my best not to waste a second of it.
I’ll try not to squander a priceless moment worrying about all the other things that will happen on the day I die, because many of those things are either not my concern or beyond my control.
Friends, those other things have an insidious way of keeping you from living even as you live; vying for your attention, competing for your affections.
They rob you of the joy of this unrepeatable, uncontainable, ever-evaporating Now with those who love you and want only to share it with you.
Don’t miss the chance to dance with them while you can.
It’s easy to waste so much daylight in the days before you die.
Don’t let your life be stolen every day by all that you’ve been led to believe matters, because on the day you die, the fact is that much of it simply won’t.
Yes, you and I will die one day.
But before that day comes: let us live.
A new coalition was announced yesterday morning. The Computer Science Education Coalition (CSEC) will encourage Congress to invest $250 million in funding for a crucially needed investment in K-12 computer science education.
At launch, CSEC has 43 members including Facebook, Microsoft, Accenture, Yahoo, Code.org, HP, Amazon, Google, Dropbox, STEM Education Coalition, TechNet, and IBM. I am proud to say that my company, Professional Options LLC is a co-founding member of the coalition.
“This coalition will build on a strong movement across the country supporting computer science education,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “We need this movement to ensure that today’s students have the opportunity they deserve to develop the skills that will be foundational for the future across the entire American economy.”
What You Can Do
Wall Street Journal
ROSABETH MOSS KANTER: If your company is doing well, look in inside. If your company is slipping and falling, that might be a sign that the company has done too much looking inside. Companies that become insular, ignore dissenting voices, and fail to anticipate market trends might want to look outside for new talent and fresh views.
Finding a CEO from within the company is associated with strong performance, as research by my Harvard Business School colleague Joseph Bower shows. This certainly offers the virtues of continuity, smooth succession handoffs, and in-house knowledge. Smooth succession is a winner’s advantage that helps keep a company on a winning streak. For example, I’m impressed by the way Verizon handled the succession from Ivan Seidenberg to Lowell McAdam. There was a long board-led selection process, a long period of Seidenberg and McAdam working together, and then a seamless transition to McAdam as he took on the CEO role and later added Chairman.
Companies in trouble—on losing streaks and in need of turnarounds—benefit from experienced outsiders who bring fresh perspectives, put the facts on the table dispassionately, and craft new strategies without feeling that they must defend past actions. In my book, “Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Being and End,” I describe many companies that had long promoted from within but realized that declining performance required an external hire as CEO—Gillette is one example. Insiders who thought they were next in line for the CEO job are certainly disappointed, but they can be persuaded to stay if the upside is compelling enough. And one of the actions of a great turnaround leader is to empower people throughout the company to increase their own leadership potential, thus improving performance and making it more likely that one of those insiders can be CEO next time around.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter (@RosabethKanter) holds the Ernest L. Arbuckle professorship at Harvard Business School, where she specializes in strategy, innovation and leadership for change.
Many of my firm's clients are not only private sector businesses, non-governmental organisations, or public agencies - but also nonprofits. The latter includes charities, foundations, or professional or affinity associations, each in an ongoing search for strategic efforts to remain relevant in a quickly changing world. Previously reliant upon peer-to-peer meetings, seminars, workshops, or conferences, these offerings are now being supplanted, in part, by the increased availability of webinars, knowledge bases, and other information exchange forums on the internet.
In 2007, Christine Stephenson wrote Educational technology associations as change agents: a case study as her Doctoral Dissertation while at Oregon State University. It addresses the role of educational technology associations as change agents within education with particular emphasis on issues of advocacy and leadership. The research addressed a single research question: How do the various stakeholders (staff, volunteers, and members) in an educational technology association describe the organization’s contribution to the educational system in terms of its role as a change agent? Data for this research were collected over twelve months and were taken from four main sources: the researcher’s journal, individual interviews, observations, and association publications (both internal and external).
Data from the interviews, observations, and documents were analyzed over the course of the year-long data collection process using a modified constant comparative method. Among other things, the participants believe that the association offers a number of benefits that make membership worthwhile and at the same time, provides important benefits to the discipline and to education as a whole. They also perceive their association as a leader and an advocate for educational technology, not just as a teaching tool, but as a medium for transforming teaching and learning.
“According to the American Society of Association Executives, professional associations provide a social context in which people can find others who share a common purpose. Within this shared context they can develop relationships and make professional contributions. While associations can evolve their purpose over time or even outgrow their original purpose and still remain successful, the key to sustained success is allowing members to find meaning together and to keep the organization’s sense of purpose vital and relevant. In short, “…professional associations have a major responsibility through active leadership, strong advocacy and marketing, and timely professional development to enhance and expand the learning environment for their members”.
If the abstract is any indication, it looks like an interesting read which applies to any organisation reviewing its value proposition or assessing its ability to influence.
How is your entity leading the charge as a change agent?
It's been a while since I've blogged. No excuses beyond being busy. What compelled me to do so today was an article I read on LinkedIn by Dr. Travis Bradberry, the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and the cofounder of TalentSmart, the world's leading provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries. Dr. Bradberry has written for, or been covered by, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes, Fast Company, Inc., USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.
Emotional intelligence is dissected and explored with increasing frequency, particularly as many discover that academic success or (the standard definition of) intelligence aren't sufficient indicators for productivity, high performance, or all around excellence.
The long and short of it is you really want to read the article.