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  • Firefly News Flash, January 2014, The Firefly Group
    advantage is This simple statement fuels much of Malcom Gladwell s David and Goliath It underlies Gladwell s explanation of the diminishing returns on increases in power and frames the conversation about how apparent deficits can be advantages Our concept of what is an advantage or a disadvantage is also key to how we structure our society and its institutions John McKnight a professor at Northwestern University and founder of the Asset Based Community Development Institute has been studying community what makes it how it grows and why we often feel it has been lost He notes that a big swath of society is organized to fix people and their problems There are hospitals therapists and social service agencies of all sorts available to help people in need people who have a problem people who are disadvantaged in some way These institutions McKnight explains have a role in our community but they also miss something important They see each of us as a glass half empty They see our faults problems and deficits but miss our potentialities Institutions end up defining people by their shortcomings A self fulfilling prophecy emerges when we also begin defining others and naming ourselves by our imperfections We judge others by what they cannot do and we criticize ourselves for the ways we fail to measure up We define a large section of the population as underdogs simply because they don t match a narrow definition of positive characteristics Through his research McKnight noticed that the community organizers who were most successful were those who focused on the gifts and assets that people had It was those positive characteristics that would ultimately contribute to building a community These organizers were less concerned about people s deficits and more concerned about their abilities interests and the passions that drove them to take action on the issues they cared about McKnight says that we can make more lasting social change and build stronger communities when we accept the part of each person that is half full when we accept people for who they are and for the gifts they bring to the situations they are in I once heard about a man who used to have a big problem He couldn t keep a job He was rejected from social situations His problem was swearing He couldn t or wouldn t stop peppering his language with four letter invectives that people simply could not abide Imagine how his speech habits must have clashed with the yellow smiley face culture of WalMart one of his many employers Yet no amount of logic pleading teaching bribing or threatening would make him change Finally someone gave up trying to fix him That person said Maybe we should change the situation Maybe he s spending time with the wrong kind of people So that person took him down to the harbor and helped him get a job with some fishermen There he worked with a whole boatload of people who didn

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  • Firefly News Flash, December 2013, The Firefly Group
    stick Where can you find more examples of discrepant events Here are a few that Becky Puckett You can contact Becky by email puckettb whitecastle com shared in her NASAGA session Drops of Water How many drops of water can Lincoln balance on his head http www stevespanglerscience com lab experiments penny drops Three Hole Bottle What will be the effect of opening different holes in a bottle of water http www indiana edu ensiweb lessons threehol html Stroop Effect How will your brain function when input data and output expectations are scrambled http faculty washington edu chudler words html Jumping Flame Can you re ignite a candle without relighting the wick http www umanitoba ca outreach crystal Grade 207 Cluster 202 7 2 08 20 20tHE 20jUMPING 20FLAME 20 20Discrepant 20event doc Additionally you can find many examples of discrepant events and how to use them in books like Brain Powered Science by Thomas O Brien ISBN 10 1935155105 on the web with a search of discrepant events or on You Tube http www youtube com playlist list PL7F82281E7CF467AB And as the 99 Word Story suggests you can find discrepant events in your daily activities whenever there is a mismatch between expectations and what really happens You can turn discontent into teachable moments Conduct your own exploration of discrepant events Then when you use them in your next training your startling results Ideas Learning that s On Track I never knew whether it was to tease us or torment us but one of my friends in college consistently mispronounced the word discrepancy Instead of placing the usual emphasis on the second syllable he intentionally stressed the third resulting in dis cre PAN cy The effect was humorous and disconcerting It gave me a bit of a jolt a sudden slight bump in my smooth train of thought This is the value of discrepant events We think we know what will happen in an experiment but when the outcome is a surprise our smooth thinking abruptly jumps the track In order to get things running again we have to revise our previous theory or devise a new one Discrepant events are the key to real learning Typically we think that learning has happened when a person knows a lot of information So we lecture assign books and search the internet All this information produces knowledge but knowledge doesn t always result in wisdom or changed behavior For deeper learning to occur we need to challenge our mental models shake up our world view change the focal length of our personal perspective All learning should include discrepancies Learners should experience some degree of cognitive dissonance They should be challenged to resolve differences between their own world view and another They should feel a bit uncomfortable until they resolve the inconsistencies between those dissimilar but valid perspectives And they should be inspired to change their behavior to do something new as a result Sure the purpose of some meetings or trainings is

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  • Firefly News Flash, November 2013, The Firefly Group
    cold are so extreme as to cause physical damage or even pain by themselves In fact the two cancel themselves out so that the person s hand does not change temperature at all However the person does experience a sensation of extreme pain Our neural pain centers can light up when watching someone else even a toy dinosaur being mistreated And burn patients can be distracted from the pain of treatment by playing video games If you like the brain twists you find in Illusions 187 Ways to Trick Your Brain you will also appreciate The Best Illusion of the Year Contest at http illusionoftheyear com where you ll find an array of illusions spanning nearly 10 years of competition Illusions 187 Ways to Trick Your Brain Scientific American Mind Volume 22 Number 3 Fall 2013 Sharon Guynup Issue Editor ISSN 1936 1513 www Mind ScientificAmerican com Ideas Filling in the Details The study of illusions reveals that nothing is absolute as far as our brain is concerned Whether size color shading temperature pitch volume taste or emotion our mind only perceives relative differences not absolute values All the data our senses pick up is compared to something else For example black is only black when next to something lighter In fact the amount of light reflected from the white space on a newspaper under indoor lighting is the same amount reflected from the black print on the same page in direct sunlight Yet we have no trouble distinguishing white from black in ether context Scientists have learned that our senses gather data to create a broad understanding about the world Then our brain fills in the details Sometimes as in my interpretation of a license plate in the 99 Word Story we make things up Most of the time however our subconscious does the fabrication before we even realize it Illusions shed light on this process of sensing and perception Here is an illusion that is particularly revealing At this link you ll see a picture of Albert Einstein But step back a few paces and look at his image from a distance and you ll be astonished to see that he has transformed into someone completely different This is an example of a hybrid image It plays upon the difference between cells in our retina that specialize in seeing details and those that specialize in a broader view The detail perceiving cells take over at close range identifying specific aspects of the image But at a distance the peripheral viewing cells capture the big picture to reveal a totally different portrait Though we use both types of cells to understand any image it s very difficult to see both Einstein and his counterpart at the same time You can see other examples of hybrid images at this link http cvcl mit edu hybrid gallery gallery html Whenever we encounter a problem or when something doesn t turn out the way we expected we can ask ourselves What are

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  • Firefly News Flash, October 2013, The Firefly Group
    is the variety of ways our subliminal mind sanitizes the data it passes along to our conscious mind We all have gaps in perception as a result of our anatomy For example everyone has an area of their field of vision that they cannot see It occurs at the point where the optic nerve attaches to the retina You can t see this blind spot because your unconscious mind activates your eye muscles to make many micro shifts each second The resulting images are stitched together so that your conscious mind perceives a complete picture Similar imperfections occur in the way we perceive sound taste touch and smell Our unconscious mind is constantly cleaning up our sensory data so that our conscious mind can interpret it But this subliminal data shaping is subject to manipulation In one study people were asked to taste different wines In blind tests they rated the two samples as tasting the same However when people were told one wine cost 90 a bottle and the other 10 they consistently preferred the more expensive wine What people didn t know was that all the wine they tasted came from the same 90 bottle Because they expected a pricy wine to taste better it did What s more when people knew the price an fMRI scan of their brain activity showed increased activity in the pleasure center of the brain Knowing the price of the wine changed how people perceived its taste Mlodinow describes how in a similar fashion our unconscious mind revises our memories generates our feelings dictates our reactions to others and constructs our own self image After reading Subliminal you ll gain a new appreciation for the working of your own mind even if you are never consciously aware of what it is really doing Subliminal How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow Pantheon Books New York 2012 ISBN 978 0 307 37821 7 Ideas Question Your Perception Perhaps you ve seen the bumper sticker Question Authority After reading Mlodinow s book Subliminal Question Your Perception seems more apt Our subconscious is working constantly to protect us and make interpretation easier for our conscious mind Since we never have all the data our brain simply fills in the holes with what will be most convincing We fake it and end up with a manufactured reality that we swear is true Subliminal describes how false memories can be generated and why eye witnesses are unreliable It explains why you and your partner might disagree about the story of your first date And it makes clear why it s often so difficult to explain our feelings In one study researchers wanted to learn about the role of subconscious thinking in the hiring process They asked people to review resumes from a woman and a man for chief of police a stereotypically male position The subjects considered two resumes One showed the male candidate as being streetwise while the other showed the female candidate

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  • Firefly News Flash, September 2013, The Firefly Group
    in all sorts of situations Now a new book will help focus my continuing experimentation with both Glenn Hughes engineer turned trainer and Sivasailam Thiagi Thiagarajan master game designer and facilitator have combined their talents and creative minds to produce a book of 51 activities using a set of Photo Jolt cards The cards developed by Hughes are a deck of colorful provocative photographic images that evoke emotions and spark stories The book the two have written is a collection of activities and games with titles such as A Thousand Words Black Sheep Ethnographer and Sunny Monkey Each activity has a complete description with synopsis purpose related training topics variations for participant groups timing supplies room set up preparation flow and debriefing questions But the book goes beyond the expectation one might have of these typical components Readers will also find options for virtual facilitation a play sample demonstrating each activity and two to three variations There is even a table that cross references activities to multiple topics This is perhaps the most thorough training resource I have ever used As I studied each activity I was inspired to be more inventive and I became curious to learn the next creative twist Hughes and Thiagi might devise This book is a highly detailed flexible multi purpose resource for trainers team leaders coaches mentors and individuals who want a fun way to engage brains and cultivate conversation Photo Jolts is available from Amazon or at SMARTasHell http smartashell com blog photo jolts Ideas Growing a Metaphor In describing Photo Jolts I mentioned my interest in using metaphors to augment learning Metaphors create a mental short cut to learning retention Make a connection between the training topic and a seemingly unrelated object and neural pathways are created New synapses are strengthened and the likelihood of finding that memory again is increased Interestingly the more you have to work to make connections the more likely they will stick longer If someone explains all the nuances and connections of an analogy it is less powerful than if you had invented the metaphor on your own Devising your own metaphor makes it personally relevant Its impact multiplies This is exactly the strategy of Photo Jolts All the activities challenge participants to create their own analogies compare them to what others have devised and connect the best interpretations to what is most relevant in their workplace Maximum participation and application are the result Hughes and Thiagi demonstrate the incredible flexibility of images in creating analogies Throughout the book each activity includes a demonstration of sample metaphors that participants might create To accomplish this the authors provide three Photo Jolt cards These three images selected at random from the Photo Jolt deck are used to derive analogies that show similarities contrasts dualities and emotions about a myriad of topics such as qualities of leadership communication skills team building essentials diversity branding sales goals travel ethics etc etc The topics list in the book runs for four pages

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  • Firefly News Flash, August 2013, The Firefly Group
    my perception that while many people in the developed world understand that you need a good education to get ahead most people do not realize that the way we learn can be used to keep employees in their place or to control children in school Why is it we are not making those broader connections to work and relationships Michael Culliton This is such an insightful and profound question However I cannot answer the why I am personally fascinated by the persistence of what many organizational development people call the command and control approach to management and training Much of organizational life in the West seems dominated by a management and education style akin to a military model For me this Dialogue Education is an antidote Valerie Uccellani Brian just from your question I can tell you would love Dialogue Education Why Because you are aware of what we know to be true education in all its forms is political It is evident in the kindergarten class and in the public charter school that my daughter attends I sat in that classroom as a quiet observer nearly jumping out of my seat because I could see how the teacher through her closed questions outlined in her state mandated curriculum essentially told students what they should believe about war From my years of Dialogue Education work I could easily see an alternative approach through which some essential and valuable information from the curriculum would have been provided to the students combined with a few truly open questions that invited their own thoughts about war In fact many children had their hands waving in the air wanting to share their thoughts but they never got the chance I ve worked in 18 different countries over 30 years This scene is one I ve lived in many training rooms of many organizations and in many workshops in many communities It s insidious We pretend to ask questions but really we are telling people to think like us We don t want to hear information or perspectives that counter ours because that would shake our world So yes education is controlling And yes dialogue education is a sincere effort to undo that Thus our tagline Revolutionize your learning transform your world Christine Little I am not sure that I agree that it has taken hold in developing cultures more than in our own Patriarchy is a strong model and powerful influence over the way we operate in institutions all over the world It is persistent because it feels safer for everyone and because we have embedded that model into our systems and even into our own psyches We look to our teachers to tell us how to think and what to believe We look to our bosses to tell us what to do and how to do it We look to our politicians to solve our problems We resist when they push that responsibility back on us We penalize teachers bosses and politicians when they admit they don t know We set systems up to reinforce this paradigm grades demerits performance reviews poll numbers And yet In many institutions groups and communities there are pockets where people are experimenting with a new kind of paradigm This is our choice each and every time we enter a room with a group whether we are the teacher or the student the leader or the team member the politician or the citizen Brian Having a dialogue between educators and learners implies equality between the two Yet there are always differences of power between teachers and learners How do you reconcile that For me being in dialogue means I recognize the need to listen I expect to find value meaning or worth in what I hear and I plan to change my actions based on what I learn What I am curious about is how one gets to that place where one is ready and willing to have that kind of dialogue Michael Culliton In Dialogue Education I think we see all involved as learners the participants and the teacher During a given learning event we do assume temporary and distinct roles Those assuming the role of teacher are accountable in dialogue with the participants for selecting relevant content designing learning tasks that have people doing something meaningful with the content and then facilitating the learning event in a way that invites and respects the experience and wisdom that each learner already brings to the content while meeting the learning objectives As you astutely observe in this approach the teacher needs to listen to learners and their experience and then use this to shape the content and process in ways that will maximize the learning Valerie Uccellani Thank you Brian for the chance to speak to this because as Michael said the roles are distinct and we must recognize that When I m in the role of teacher and it s why we intentionally use that word I do indeed have skills information experience insights around a topic that most learners in the room will not have I want to embrace that difference and live up to it I want to work hard to figure out what I can offer the group that might be relevant and immediately applicable for them Otherwise adults won t want it But being a teacher doesn t give me the right to be manipulative or superior or to dismiss what the learners bring It is simply to recognize that I have something that might be of value to them and they have something complementary skills information experience and insights that will be valuable to the group I design for all of that to come forth Christine Little In a teaching environment what I know my expertise is one valuable resource of many in the process of learning It is important to own that as teachers We can go to the other extreme of being stingy with that and the results are not good But it is only one valuable resource The other resources include the learners experience context knowledge and real lives They are the experts on that So if my teaching is about leading change in an organization I will bring some useful processes some interesting research or some core values The people who come will bring a clear picture of their own situation and their stories what they have tried what has worked what has not worked for them etc Their stories may be the element that actually stimulates a colleague to try it out Brian What suggestions do you have to help facilitators maintain an attitude of dialogue and not slip into old patterns or hierarchical relationships I use facilitator to describe the person who offers a process a question or a technique that will provide the just right challenge so people can accomplish the hard work of learning Is there a tip attitude or frame of mind that you can suggest Michael Culliton Jane Vella the founder of Global Learning Partners offers an anecdote that summarizes this for me A man in New York hails a taxi When the taxi pulls over the man opens the door and asks the driver Say how do I get to Carnegie Hall The driver replies Practice Practice Practice When I took my first course in this approach on day three I found myself feeling depressed because I realized that although I had been committed and talking about so many of the principles behind this approach I was awful at practicing them It s easy to say Oh yes it s important to respect the learner Yes we must design a session so that people can actually engage with each other about the content and then actually do something with it before they leave It s quite another thing to actually do it Over and over again I have been in conversations with people who agree with the principles and practices we employ in this approach respect engagement transparency dialogue etc However like me it is another thing when they go to teach there is often faint evidence of these principles in practice and the learning suffers as a result In this approach we design learning tasks a written clear activity for the learners with all the resources they need to complete it If we design well during each task our role as teachers is to set the task and then get out of the way being available as a resource as the people engage with the content Jeanette Romkema Here are a few tips Use open and digging deeper questions These sorts of questions when asked with genuine curiosity invite learners to share their doubts stories questions ideas and experiences Be silent and wait As trainers and facilitators of learning events and meeting we often jump in to fill the space way too soon Learners need time to think process formulate what they want to say and sometimes collect the nerve to speak The best thing that can happen when we wait is cross talk when learners start to answer challenge and question each other bypassing the trainer Jane Vella calls this the death of the professor that s what we are looking for Invite solo pair and group work When learning and an application of new content happens outside of the large group everyone finds and shares their voice and ideas makes personal meaning and feels valued We need to break the traditional model of only working as a large group teacher student Personalize Since the event is for the learners and the content is what they want and need it makes sense to continuously invite them to think about how they can use it how it is different or similar to what they do and apply it to their real lives and work Of course we can help the learning by offering our own story or a scenario from time to time However the critical next step is to have learners also bring themselves there Invite input into planning and execution of the event By connecting with learners before and during the course event or program you are saying Your ideas and needs matter Of course this also means you need to respond to what you hear either something is added or changed or you explain why we won t be doing it Brian If an employer says I want my employees to know X or if a school board says We need students to attain a proficiency of Y in math how do you reconcile that with a dialogue approach Michael Culliton I would turn the question around How can you help people learn well without being in dialogue with them A teacher or trainer can gain so much from inviting and being curious about how a learner is understanding content especially a learner who may be struggling with a concept This is as true in math or science as it is in art or communications In the traditional approach we often confine our responsibility as teacher to delivering the content We think Okay I ve told the learners about it Now it s up to them sink or swim In the Dialogue Education approach the teacher is accountable to the learning We observe Can the learner do what she is learning If not then we need to be in dialogue to understand how she is thinking about the content to offer additional tasks that lead to success in the doing Christine Little If an employer says I want my employees to know X I say Great Why What s going on that tells you your employees need to know X That is the beginning of a dialogue It can grow from there Brian What reactions do you get from clients when you ask to include learners in the design of a meeting or training Michael Culliton We don t typically design with learners but we do seek important input and information to inform a design We all seem so pressed for time these days that there are often questions or some resistance to this stage which we call a Learning Needs and Resources Assessment However all of us have been to THAT training or workshop where we spent a day in a course we could have taught or perhaps in a class that started way above our heads In this approach we talk to people up front so that we get a clear sense of what they already know about the content and to get their feedback on the proposed learning objectives This pre session dialogue is invaluable to the design stage Brian Many times one doesn t have the luxury of access to participants and end users during the design process What then In other words how with whom and when does dialogue inform the design of a learning event Michael Culliton Honestly with technology these days we can usually be in dialogue with learners in some way before we design The luxury mentioned sometimes has to do with time If an organization totally resists this idea and this occasionally happens then it becomes clear that the Dialogue Education approach is really not compatible with the culture of the place Valerie Uccellani You know that s a great point A dialogue based approach to collective learning has to be in line with the culture of a place For example if the place wants a training tomorrow and doesn t have time to invest in examining fundamental questions beforehand then this approach is not for them If an organization wants to create learning materials for the community around a topic but doesn t have a deep understanding of that community and doesn t allow me to work directly with people who do then this approach is not for them Like Michael said it doesn t need to be a huge investment of time For example if we are creating a workshop for staff of an organization a simple optional survey and a few telephone calls might be enough But if we are going to create something of lasting value like a set of story based materials for national use around HIV prevention or a personal finance package for low income families throughout New York City then we ll need to invest our time and energy in understanding what will really make a difference Christine Little There are so many ways to do some exploration before you design It always pays off It is like designing anything It is expensive to trot out a new shopping cart design only to discover that it doesn t work for shoppers Same thing with a learning event If you can t talk with everyone can you talk with a sample if you can t do that what could you do to get a clearer picture of who they are and their unique situation A colleague who was designing a learning program about nutrition said she gained her best insights by going shopping with food stamps Brian The eight questions that you pose in order to design a training or meeting have me a little confused Number 2 Why seems a lot like number 7 What for and number 6 What is similar to number 8 How What can I do to keep this all straight Do the steps of design need to be followed in order What flexibility is possible in using them Jeanette Romkema I know what you mean I think the attempt to simplify the steps to W words has not always served us I find it easier to talk about and use this language The people The learners stakeholders trainers and anyone else involved somehow The situation that calls for this event program Paint the picture of why this event is need at this time for these people The desired change What you hope will be different as a result of this event program The place and space The time and timing The content to be taught The new skills knowledge and attitude the learners need and or want The achievement based objectives What people will do during your event to learn the new content The plan All the learning tasks instructions you will use during the event Michael Culliton The Eight Steps of Design are a discipline for most of us we are thinking about all these questions as we plan and design So we might be taking notes on all these as we engage in a planning conversation The discipline comes in backing up and making sure we have really done each step For some practitioners there are three foundational questions and steps that get primary focus up front Who The people learners teachers any other key stakeholders Why Reason for the course or workshop So that What change is anticipated both immediate realistic change and the bold audacious change to which this session will contribute The answers to these three questions profoundly influence the remaining steps We have some great templates for these planning steps on our website so that you don t have to work hard to keep them all straight Valerie Uccellan Brian the first thing I d like to share is that these steps all influence each other in such a way that when you change one you might change any of the others So yes they are more of a collective description of what you are planning then a series of questions you answer in some set order For example I m using these steps now to think through the design of a counseling approach to be used in a workforce development program We are thinking through the people the clients the counselors the purpose why have counseling as part of this program at all the intended change what do we expect clients will gain from these counseling relationships the place and time where should counseling happen at what point in

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  • Firefly News Flash, July 2013, The Firefly Group
    the process easier to understand for people new to the field Each element of the kite is further detailed so that designers are encouraged to include introductions transitions materials and activities By stringing related kites together Muir explains how a longer training event can be built in a modular fashion The two books have many similarities Both give a nod to the traditional steps of instructional design known as ADDIE Analysis Design Development Implementation Evaluation But both diverge from ADDIE s linear approach to offer a simpler model of design that allows for spontaneity and the messiness of the creative process Both books also acknowledge the importance of adult learning theory advocate the use of experiential learning activities address the question of when training should be used and include tips and suggestions for teaching without lecturing A valuable feature the books share is their workbook format Each provides provocative questions worksheets and whitespace for readers to build their training design as they read the book This encourages readers to assimilate the books lessons as they are being read It s like being tutored by the author Whether you are a seasoned subject matter expert or a young English teacher these two books contain valuable how to information for anyone entering the foreign culture of training Ideas The Same but Different I am pleased to know both authors highlighted in this month s Discovery column All three of us share a commitment to active learning and we are also members of the North American Simulation and Gaming Association NASAGA So for me there is no surprise that though there are similarities in Susan s and Guila s books about training design the differences in their approach to design hinge on their personal interests Susan Otto has gained a reputation as a designer of ready to use training packages Her business Training Modules com http www training modules com has focused on the development of training units that anyone with a modest amount of comfort in front of a group can present seamlessly As a result the advice in her book Designing Business Training for Fun and Results tends to be weighted more toward the writing of solid training plans There are suggestions for formatting handouts increasing legibility of PowerPoint slides and creating job aids for optimal usability On the other hand Guila Muir is well known as a coach for public speakers She publishes a blog http www guilamuir com train the trainer articles with tips and suggestions for better performance for anyone who might be asked to speak in front of a group Her book Instructional Design that Soars places more emphasis on designing training so that you the presenter can be more comfortable while on your feet Subject matter experts especially will find her book helpful to avoid the trap of trying to teach everything they know Instead SMEs can make the transition to become a trainer who helps people learn what they need to know My grandfather full

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  • Firefly News Flash, June 2013, The Firefly Group
    Doug Though most of the games from this company are intended for a very young audience Suspend is a fun challenge for people of any age who want to test their dexterity Typically players role a die to determine which rod to hang on the construction The goal is to hang all your pieces without causing others to fall But it s not as easy as it sounds As soon as you place one piece the center of gravity shifts and the rods swing around each other as they find a new equilibrium The pieces invite the invention of new rules and other types of play Suspend is a great solitaire game of dexterity as you experiment with different ways to combine the pieces It s also fun to play with several people and award points based on the size of the pieces you are able to hang Suspend is the kind of toy that you never really put away Either it s ready for the next game or it stands as a kinetic sculpture and conversation piece Search for it online or find it at Trainer s Warehouse Ideas Holding Up Good Ideas Among its many connotations suspend can mean to hang or to hold up It can also mean to stop adjourn or discontinue We suspend disbelief when we walk into a movie theater for the latest science fiction or fantasy flick We suspend judgment when we agree to hear another point of view before deciding whether to agree or disagree We suspend our assumptions prejudices habits and cultural norms anytime we want to take a mental time out to consider the validity or relevance of another point of view In the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook author Peter Senge describe the importance of suspending one s beliefs as a way to examine the lens through which we interpret the world As Senge writes suspending assumptions means actually hanging one s ideas up for the group to scrutinize their validity By holding an idea up for examination people can identify the context supporting it and decide its truth and relevance It s an opportunity to reduce the emotional impact of a statement and identify the concerns beliefs and values that are connected to it The table top game of Suspend can serve as a metaphor to describe these attitudes When someone places another wire hanger on the evolving sculpture it is as if they are adding a new concept to the group s thinking When new ideas are hanging out for everyone to examine from all sides we can begin to see how they influence each other and how they interact as a whole With this new perspective we might ask several questions Are we suspending our ideas so everyone can see them more clearly Do we use our ideas to suspend the conversation and hold up the group s progress Or like Laura in the 99 Word Story do we suspend our innate tendencies toward criticism and accept people

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