Randy Nelson on Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age | Edutopia

Randy Nelson on Learning and Working in the Collaborative Age | Edutopia (video link)

I haven’t blogged in about two weeks (sorry!!!) because assorted real-life issues have been a distraction.  Last time I posted, I wrote about the importance of infrastructure in making a space in which creativity and innovation can occur.  The link above is to a video interview with Randy Nelson, who at the time was Dean of Pixar University (and who now heads the newly created Apple University).

Like other innovative enterprises, Pixar encourages every employee to be actively engaged in lifelong learning and to spend up to four hours a week taking classes onsite.  Here is a New York Times article from 2006 that describes Pixar University and its philosophy.

The video linked to at the top of the page is fascinating.  Nelson talks about his background in comedy improv and describes a “team” approach he calls  “amplification,” which is quite different from – and, to my way of thinking, far more attractive than – the collaborative group work required by most schools (and probably, by extension, most companies).

In addition, Nelson talks about the importance of “resilience” in the creative process of innovation.   A couple months ago I posted about “success through failure,” an essay inspired by an article by Ken Bain, whose most recent book, What the Best College Students Do, argues that one of the key predictors of a student’s success in college is an ability to recover from failure.

The links I’ve included today will give you real food for thought if you have time to watch and read.  The best collaboration may result only when people are allowed to work individually.  The greatest success may be achievable only for people who have failed often.

Who knew?

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
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