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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Project Plan for Online Website Program for Adult Educators and Learners

Final Project
Julie Malone
October 31, 2009
Jones International University

Abstract

Adult learners inherited an evolutional maternal or paternal behavior of wanting to teach and share knowledge between themselves and future generations. Some adult learners have the opportunity to teach their children while others would rather share knowledge with the world. When adults have the instinct or desire to share information, facts, past experience, or discuss current issues, there needs to be a place to share. When technology combines with the Internet adult learners get an instantaneous learning and teaching environment; this is what this project plan entails. When considering a project plan, I evaluated the parameters of what purposes needed to be served for adult education. The structure of the project plan, type of project, focus, audience, need, goals and benefits need to involve adult learners, globally, to interact and learn from each other using technology and education.

Introduction

This project plan is a model for the purpose of designing an online website program for adult educators and learners solely based on the education in different areas of our lives. What people know or want to learn is vital to the education of the current and future generations and information provides the catalyst for the formation of the educational industry. By combining technology with educators and learners, this plan can fulfill a need for people worldwide to find solutions to their educational desires by having a program available. The following plan is described through six components: 1) Self-Reflection (adult learner self-portrait); 2) Portrait of an adult learner; 3) Adult education learning environment; 4) Teaching philosophy; 5) Teaching strategies; 6) An assessment. This plan initiates from my personal experience as an adult learner, builds through a portrait of an adult learner, my views on teaching philosophies and strategies, and closing with an assessment plan.

Component 1

Self-Reflection (Adult Learner Self-Portrait)

In this segment, self-reflection looks at one of my memorable experiences, the context of adult learning, and my teaching situation. Adult learning can prove to be an exhilarating and challenging adventure, yet frightening when learning a new subject. When enrolling at the University of Phoenix, contemplating on which degree and concentration to achieve was a bit daunting considering a degree should have a purpose, substance, and prove beneficial to my future career goals. This decision would alter and transform my educational beliefs considering it would be a life-changing experience and require years of focusing on a particular type of adult learning.

Memorable Experience

After carefully contemplating on a memorable experience as an adult learner, the main focus of my business degree came to mind. When selecting a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Organization Innovation I felt I could be part of a new transformational (Mezirow’s theory) learning theory and create vital changes within adult learners. This theory is about examining essential changes in the way a learner can see themselves through a mirror (self-reflection, past experiences, and examining one’s own Truth) and the world in which they live. This theory questions if adult educators have the right to ask learners to examine and change the basic life assumptions as part of the educational system. The theory questioned if I could examine who I was and what I stood for as an individual (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 58). Since innovation is a “frame of mind”, the act of developing an idea in its physical form (new product, service or process), and finding solutions to problems, this theory fits well within my degree.

Being an individual leaner, knowing my personality is based on being logical, analytical, and investigative, and realizing that learning happens internally, organizational innovation would prove to be the perfect choice for a degree (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 56). This focus can be categorized as an innovation of a product, process, or service, and can be implemented through idea selection, development, and commercialization.

After attending the five focus classes on innovation (innovation, design, and creativity for a competitive advantage; business management and the principles of design; the innovative organization; disruptive business practices: management and technology; and management of intellectual capital); the realization that classes teaching about organizational innovation would provide a valuable memorable learning experience for me as an adult learner.

Context of Adult Learning

Organizational Innovation provides an environment and framework to teach the adult learner how to bridge the gap between traditional business thinking, innovative and design focused philosophy, while learning how innovation, design, and creativity could be used for a company to use for a competitive advantage. Within the courses, I learned that a company can have a huge impact on today’s economy by educating employees through adult learning, such as participation, training, and motivation, to introduce how innovation, design, and creativity through strategy, process, product, and services of any product can create a profitable and growing company.

Organizational innovation was a learning experience to realize creativity can be used as an essential part of innovation considering it assists with the development of an idea, inspires thinking and being different, thinking laterally, and making new connections. Being creative is not just limited to a few selected individuals; it can be stimulated and supported through training, education, and utilization in the right work environment and atmosphere. Creativity cannot be controlled since it relies on basic motivation, enthusiasm, inspiration and knowledge. Companies must rely on raw data, but creativity and innovation only occur when data is combined with intuition (von Stamm, 2003). This new concept of learning would be considered the theory of experiential learning since it threatens how individuals normally think and persuades self-initiating learning and using past experiences to find solutions to a present problem. My adult learning process could be described as an andragogy (Knowles’ theory), since it is self-directed and my instructors expected students to take responsibility for decisions when writing papers (Kearsley, 2008).

Teaching Situation

Having this type of adult learning experience provided me an in depth opportunity of realizing that there are new ways of learning about how an organization can work. When attending the classes, I experienced teachable moments that I found to be transferable to certain teaching situations. By using the adult learning theories (transformational learning theory, experiential learning theory, and Knowles’ theory) I could educate adult learners by taking an opportunity to ask the students their opinions about a situation, have they ever gone “out on a limb” during a situation using faith, how decisions impacted people around them, how can they learn from past mistakes, trust their decisions and not be controlled by others, and use past experiences, skills, and knowledge to write essays. The idea is to have the adult student learn about themselves and the world around them.

After completing a self-reflection about my memorable and teaching experience, I interviewed an individual with a similar educational background and career focus in adult education of training and development. Below is a portrait of Stori Hybbeneth, her views on the theories of adult learning and development, along with the types of multiple intelligences she uses while training adult learners.

Component 2

Portrait of an Adult Learner (Stori Hybbeneth)

Stori Hybbeneth compliments her background in adult learning by combining a 10-year history of education and work-related experience with receiving a M.Ed. in Education/e-Learning: Global Leadership and Administration, followed by a series of positions to assist her with a focus on adult learning. Stori was a Volunteer Instructor/Lead Teacher where she supervised, coordinated and trained volunteer instructors; facilitated testing for all students; taught English skills to adults to assist them in communicating in an English-speaking society; created curriculum supplements with real-world examples to establish relevance; initiated educational activities in the classroom to maintain a fun, interactive and open environment.

Stori was the Training and Development Manager, Bilingual Education Counselor at Jones International University (JIU). She managed and developed on-boarding and ongoing training programs, including the Gagne ISD method (described below) creation of support materials for Admission and Academic Service Counselors; maintained an online portal for collaboration and reference repository; represented the needs of Admissions Counselors for implementation of new Student Information System; coordinated requirements gathering, testing, training and implementation of the Student Information System for Admission; consulted with prospective students to help identify educational goals and correlating to program requirements and areas of interest; presented information at educational fairs to expand public awareness of JIU.

Currently Stori is an eLearning Consultant/Project Manager, in the Advanced Services Group (under Customer Advocacy) at Cisco WebEx. Stori offers consulting services to customers. When customers (ranging from small and home business to large enterprises) purchase the company’s web conferencing software called Training Center (as a service), her company offers a range of services to help them make the transition from a traditional classroom to a virtual classroom. Stori primarily works with the training organization at the client’s facility. The training organization can be within the business unit, under Human Resources or wherever the service is needed. Training can come from different avenues such as learning straight feature functionality of the product, while at other times they do instructional design for the virtual classroom, and at other times it is the roll out strategy or a combination of the services.

Since Stori is both an eLearning consultant and project manager, she combines responsibilities for adult learning including facilitating on-site client meetings and deliver on-site discovery workshops; develop and manage multiple ongoing projects, schedules, resources, and associated project deliverables from initiation through delivery utilizing MS Project and project-related software; plan and manage service schedules, project resources, budgets, and revenue; develop job aids, help text and other documentation required to meet the client's business requirements.

Stori also shares her time volunteering as an instructor as ACCION International, a non-profit micro-lending company in Latin America. She develops and teaches a live ESL (English as a Second Language) (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 441) class over the web, described as an Knowles’ theory of the andragogy learner where online/distant learning is directed towards the non-traditional adult learner in which students learn globally instead of at a local school campus (Kearsley, 2008).

Adult Learning and Development Theories

Stori uses the Gagne ISD (Instructional System Design) method when teaching instructional design to her customers. She believes this method encompasses aspects of experiential learning (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 76) and behaviorism (Baumgartner, 2001). The method is experiential learning since methodology requires the participant to practice and apply the new information (content) along with past experiences and education. This method has elements of behaviorism because there is a set pattern/rhythm to the session and there is also feedback positive and negative reinforcement) given based on the participant practice went.

Gagne ISD consists of four phases: analysis, design, development, and implementation, with evaluation flowing throughout each step. ISD in the basic model is simple to understand and easy to use in almost any training environment and production for training adult learners. Analysis involves research (thoroughness, objectivity, and a systematic approach) and determines training needs and expresses them as information useful for training development through needs assessment, job analysis, and target audience analysis. Design involves planning and converting relevant information into concise, behavioral objectives, and creating the instructional "blueprint" with the end product of training materials, tests, visual aids, handouts, and methods. Development involves writing the lesson plans by using objectives, instructional approach, and media selections from the design phase, and produces course materials for the trainer, course materials for the trainee, and evaluation instruments. Implementation focuses on the training delivery, training facility, preparing an agenda, and setting up the training environment. The evaluation phase flows throughout each of the other phases to ensure that the training material is developed in a timely manner to achieve training goals, evaluates strengths and weaknesses through the stages, and ensures that the material improves performance of the adult learning situation (Air War College, 2009).

Multiple Intelligences

When Stori teaches adult learning at her company, she uses four of Howard Gardner's intelligence theories including linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and intrapersonal intelligence. Due to the nature of Stori’s adult learning methods, linguistic intelligence (poet) is used in order to communicate and express her thoughts to adult learners when training them on a particular product. Logical-mathematical intelligence (scientist) is used to analyze and investigate training and client needs, and the ability to detect the adult learning patterns, reasoning, and logical. Since Stori is a motivator, leader, and educator, interpersonal intelligence (salesman or teacher) gives her the opportunity to work effectively with adult learners. Stori uses intrapersonal intelligence (self-reflection) since she has the capacity to understand her motivation, feelings, fears and thoughts (Infed, 2009).

After writing a self-reflection about me, and interviewing Stori Hybbeneth about her philosophy and teachings on adult learning methods, my project plan became clear and adaptable. Education could be fun, learners could come from different avenues of the world, and learning could be functional. The next step would be to explore the possibilities of a project plan.

Component 3

Adult Education Learning Environment (Project Plan)

When researching for a project plan for adult learners, technology and globalization came to mind. The project plan had to be centered on the Internet and education since this is our future. Adult learners, globally, need to have discussion forums and related groups to discuss ideas and educate each other on a variety of topics within the educational world, and find themselves in a situation where they need general or specific knowledge or expertise about a certain subject.

This section answers questions about the project plan such as show context of the project plan, who the program will serve, the characteristics of adult learners, how theories from this course will help construct the learning environment, who are the stakeholders for the program, and who will be involved with the project and what their role is in the organization.

Context of the Project Plan (what organization will the plan serve?)

When interviewing Shaun Manzano, Chair of Business for ITT Technical Institute (ITT-Tech, 2009), he introduced me to a new website he is building called, “757 Empowerment Group” (Manzano, 2009), based on education and networking for adult learners. When asking him about developing a project, he recommended building a social network as a tool for the learning environment where adult learners can post concepts and theories on adult learning. The project can serve the local community about educational events, free memberships, jobs, and advertise.

Who the program will serve, describing the characteristics of adult learners
The program will serve every adult learner and educator globally who are self-directed, problem-centered, results-oriented, creative, logical, bring past experiences (work and education), open-minded, and wish to share knowledge. Adults can also become the student-teacher and visa versa.

How Theories from this course will help Construct the Learning Environment
The learning environment will be based on self-directed learning in order to become independent learners. Constructivism (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 255) can be used by individual adult learners in the forums to motivate each other through an educational issue. People are able to post questions if they need expertise in a certain area. Others will be encouraged to use past experience and knowledge in this adult learning forum. Critical Social Theory is helpful to obtain trust and respect from other adults. Hopefully, people will use patience and passion when dealing with others who are learning about a new concept or idea.

Cross' adult learning theory (Week 1, Theme 3) will be useful when using technology and interaction between adult learners across the globe to help understand the importance of Internet communication and education, and obtaining trust from other group members. Experiential Learning theory (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 76) will be part of this project by providing adult learners the ability to participate in surveys and questionnaires on different avenues of education such as personality and learning style. The learners can identify the benefits of knowing their individual learning styles and create a strategy of their own on how they can use this knowledge to maximize learning opportunities.

Psychological/cognitive (Baumgartner, 2001) approach can be used in this project for adult learners to transform their current knowledge and expertise, while learning about education, knowledge management, and innovation to increase their levels of educational development. Mezirow’s theory will be used during discussions between adult learners as part of the adult learning and development process. The atmosphere in this project will be geared towards trust and respect in which adult learners can feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concepts, and experiences.

The Contextual/Sociocultural theory will provide an opportunity for adult learners to increase cultural awareness and to observe how cultures have impacted education globally (Baumgartner, 2001). Adults will be given an opportunity to question, comment, and share ideas on how societal inequities are reproduced in an adult learning situation.

The integrated approach theory (examines development of mind, body, spirit, and sociocultural outlook) will be used in the project so that adult learners can use various approaches to education (Baumgartner, 2001).

Stakeholders for the Program

Me (website creator), adult learners and educators (locally or globally) who joins the website and educational forums, local community, advertisers, career advisors, employees in the educational field, and professional bodies.

What kind of needs assessment has been done or needs to be done
• Are there enough websites and forums for adult learners to discuss education on
any subject?
• Is current information on the Internet understandable or digestible for the
average adult learner?
• Is education undervalued in this country?
• Create a place where adult learners can discuss any topic to educate each other?
• Will combining all educational subjects be helpful to the site?

Who will be involved with the project and what their role is in the organization
The project will be initiated by me. I will author a website and blog to create an education forum and discussion groups. Once created, the website will be introduced globally through various Internet sources to get the news out about the website for adult learners.

By introducing the origination and context of my project plan, who the program will serve, the stakeholders, assessments, and who is involved with the project, the project will show the important education needs to be distributed globally. In the next section I will narrate a survey that I took, The Principles of Adult Learning Scale (PALS) to determine what type of instructor might teach adult learners in an online classroom setting, my philosophy through the paradigms from Theme 2, a description of my teaching strategies as I would use in my adult education program, followed by discussion of how my philosophy will be an integral part of my adult education program.

Component 4

Teaching Philosophy (PALS Survey)

The results of the PALS inventory survey (Week 4, Theme 1), were of no surprise to me; I could consider linking my results to practicing as an adult education and could teach by the results of this inventory survey, given my background as a student in adult education.

Factor 1 (learner-centered activities) had the highest sum of 37, mean of 3.08 (due to number of the sum), standard deviation (“SD”) of 1.67, and based on negative items. I believe in a minimum of disciplinary action when needed, provide a curriculum for educational objectives, and prefer not to use written tests to evaluate students’ progress.

Factor 2 (personalizing instructions), had a sum of 22, mean of 2.44, SD of 1.87, and based on a mix of positive and negative items. I believe that all students are treated equally, using the same curriculum, and abide by the same assignment deadlines. I think that adult learners should not compete, but rather cooperate and share ideas as a group.

Factor 3 (relating to experience) had the second highest sum of 30, mean of 5, SD of 0, and based on the positive items. This means that adult learners are encouraged to use past experiences, growth, independence, ask questions, and discuss issues of everyday living. The remaining factors showed average to low, depending on the question.

Factor 4 (assessing student needs), had a sum of 11, mean of 2.2, SD of 2.2, based on positive items. I did not score high in individual counseling, but I do believe in helping students to identify educational needs and developing short and long range objectives. Factor 5 (climate building), had a sum of 18, mean of 4.5, SD of 1, and based on positive items. I encourage dialogue between students, use existing competencies, accept errors as a learning process, and allow breaks for students to refresh their minds.

Factor 6 (participation in the learning process), had a sum of 12, mean of 3, SD of 1.63, based on positive items. I somewhat agree that students should participate in developing the criteria for evaluating their performance in class; I think that students should be able to interact with each other in class and discuss current issues; however, I believe that students should be somewhat limited to the topics of discussion in the classroom.

Factor 7 (flexibility for personal development), had a sum of 11, mean of 2.75, SD of 0.95, based on negative items. I would stick to the instructional objectives from the beginning of the program, maintain a well-disciplined classroom to reduce interferences of learning, and avoid some controversial subjects that involve judgments.

Philosophy Paradigms

My PALS inventory scores lined up with progressive and humanistic paradigm (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 75), with a slight influence on behaviorist theory (Week 4, Theme 2) (p. 182). The progressive paradigm, similar to the learner-centered style (Week 4, Theme 1) and Factor 3, is based on the learner’s needs, experiences, and interests (including promoting change in a democratic society). As an instructor, I prefer to be organized, set up learning situations, assist students to explore different subjects and allow them to test theories and make decisions through active participation in the learning process.

Humanistic paradigm is education based on experiential learning (Wilson, 2000, p. 75) and is a way that learners can achieve self-actualization and live up to their full potential as human beings, as in Factor 1. The adult learner is self-motivated and self-directed as they explore their educational future. The behaviorist theory is similar to Factor 7 by focusing on the curriculum objectives, controlling and monitoring classroom activity, providing student feedback, and maintaining a well-disciplined classroom to reduce interference with learning.

Teaching Strategies used in Adult Education Program

My teaching strategy is known as cooperative learning (George Mason University, 2009), since it will encourage adult learners globally to work together for a common goal of teaching various topics in education to each other. My program will be based on Factors 1 and 3 and both progressive and humanistic paradigms since adult learners will bring both questions and answers, experiential learning, skills, and knowledge to the forums and discussions.

My philosophy as an Integral Part of my Adult Education Program

My philosophy has a foundation of progression and will have an integral part in my adult education program considering every adult learner will play an important role in my program. I want adults to express their thoughts, ideas, and comments about educational situations of all types and be able to freely share their knowledge with anyone who wants to absorb it. We have a democratic society where everyone needs to share and transfer important information.

I found the above inventory survey, philosophy paradigms, teaching strategies’, and philosophy on an adult education program to be educational and positive, as it proved that by being an online adult learner that I could teach in the same manner as an instructor in a distant learning environment.

The next section will show student learning objectives, explain which teaching strategies that will be used in my program and how each strategy will help students to achieve the learning objective; a sample lesson plan using one of the teaching strategies; and a description of how technology will match my learning strategies.

Component 5

Teaching Strategies (Student Learning Objectives)

Student learning objectives focus on the audience (who is the target), behavior (learners demonstrate need for this website), and conditions (how will students learn through the website such as graphs, imported images, or attached information) (Clark, 2004). After researching the Internet, I noticed that adults crave education, self-direction and motivation, can offer a rich variety of life experiences, and want to learn more about what the world has to offer.

My adult education program is focused on sharing current and future educational information in a fast changing world (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 224), and to help society, from all demographic areas, get anxious and excited about learning. The audience will include anyone with the desire to want to learn about education. Student learning objectives for the adult education program involve sharing knowledge globally (though a self-directed online forum and discussion questions) which is vital to the growth of our globalized human society. This knowledge is shared through skills, expertise, know-how, problem solving, and specialization.

The program will assist the audience by providing an educational website where adults can demonstrate their knowledge, understanding and specialization of various areas in politics, social-economic and cultural issues that affects adult education. The program will supply a source for adult educators to share knowledge of research methodology and studied case studies such as real-world scenarios, attaching data and documents, and having open-ended discussions (JIU, 2009).

The Bloom’s Taxonomy (revised version) can assist with the student learning objectives through cognitive learning (domain) by remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating (Forehand, 2005). Students will recall previous experiential experiences and relevant knowledge and write about an event. Understanding will initiate from reading other learners’ written reports and interpret, summarize, compare notes, and apply how their experiences are related. Students will have the opportunity to analyze each others’ work and experiences, organize their thoughts, and discuss options to the discussion question. Students will have to opportunity for self-evaluation when discovering solutions to issues during discussion questions. Students will have the chance to create original discussion questions on the topic of choice once they are comfortable with the format structure.

Teaching Strategies

My adult education program involves teaching strategies that will help students achieve the learning objectives by providing an instructional delivery method and tool for an online educational environment where adult learners (globally) can come together to converse on education. The program will provide an area for case studies on subjects like knowledge management, innovation, and education for adult learners to focus on solutions to different problems. Adult educators can post lectures for discussion, case methods that were used in the workplace (experiential learning), and problem-focused discussion in order for adults (globally) to use cognitive skills to solve a particular issue (Background of problem-based learning, 2006). In this manner, the adult learner can learn and understand this new application and use it to troubleshoot a particular issue in the workplace or home life.

Sample Lesson Plan using one of the Teaching Strategies

In my adult education program, a sample lesson plan may be composed of an initial discussion of a case study, such as the healthcare system, that can expand through conversations. Students can reply by talking about their life or work experiences (negative or positive) within the healthcare system, what they need from a new system, and how their families’ have been effective by the current system. In this type of discussion, students can educate themselves on other students’ opinions towards their own healthcare system without negative politics getting in the way. The website is about sharing information, not for students conducting themselves in an unprofessional manner with arguing about an issue.

Technology Plan when Teaching Learning Objectives

My adult education program will require the use of a computer and the Internet to access the website. This delivery mechanism will give adult learners access to other students worldwide. The program will provide user-friendly tabs to assist the adult learner in navigating through the site, including locating forum(s), discussion questions, and chat rooms to post educational information. Educators will be given an opportunity to post graphics, presentations, videos, word documents, spreadsheets, and databases through an attachment or link button.

According to our text (Wilson and Hayes, 2000), computers are expanding in the rural areas where 6% of the community have access to the Internet. Communication and I.T. can reduce the barriers of distance that disadvantages rural areas. These adult learners are able to gain access to my program, learn, chat, and create discussions of their own. Learners have the freedom of posting a viewpoint of their living and educational circumstances and educating others on what it is like to live in these communities.

After reading about student learning objectives, teaching strategies, a sample lesson plan, and a description of how technology will match my learning strategies, the next section will outline the student learning objectives, supply specific assessment strategies used to measure student progress, and give an example of an assessment plan that incorporates the assessment cycle. The assessment plan is an important part of designing an adult education program since the plan provides data to interpret whether or not learning objectives are being achieved and if the program needs to be adjusted.

Component 6

An Assessment - Student Learning Objectives
(Relating to the above section)

Our society craves knowledge, learning, self-direction, and motivation. The student learning objectives of my adult learning program are for educators and learners worldwide to come together on one website to discuss educational topic, through a self-directed online forum and discussion questions, by sharing current and future knowledge, upload reports, graphs, imported images, and other attached documentation (Wilson and Hayes, 2000, p. 224). This knowledge is shared through methodology, case studies, skills, expertise, know-how, problem solving, and specialization of various areas in politics, healthcare, social-economic and cultural issues that affects adult education. By using the Bloom’s Taxonomy (see above) my program can assist with student learning objectives through remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating (Forehand, 2005) different ideas and concepts through the forum and discussion questions. Students will bring previous experiential experiences and relevant knowledge to the table, apply the new knowledge to their workplace, self-evaluate themselves, and begin to create synopsis of their own on the forum.

Specific Assessment Strategies to Measure Student Progress

To test whether student learning objectives are being met, an assessment needs to be conducted. Since my adult learning program is based on a formative structure (JIU, 2009) the assessment strategy will be different from the traditional student learning process.

Assessment strategies used to measure student progress for my program will consist of classroom assessment techniques (CATs) based on observation (through case studies), attitude surveys, concept mapping, weekly reports, and Kirkpatrick’s Model of Assessment (JIU, 2009). By students posting case studies, the program can assess what students are learning and absorbing throughout the forum and discussion questions. Attitude surveys will provide information on opinions, viewpoint, type of questions asked, and what students agreed and disagree upon in a particular area (Florida Center for Instructional Technology, 2009). Concept mapping, such as a graphic organizer, can evaluate whether or not students understand and relate to the material. Weekly reports can prove what students are learning from replies and comments to discussion question and forums, and clarify any unclear material (JIU, 2009).

The Kirkpatrick model of assessment can be useful during the assessment process. The program can review and measure student reaction and what they learned through surveys conducted at the end of a particular discussion question session. Behavior can be obtained through conducting a survey three to six months after a discussion question or forum has completed. This assessment could prove if the student retained information from and learned from the experience, or if future classes are needed. Results can be assessed by having the students evaluate if a particular lesson has assisted them in the workplace or home environment.

Assessment Plan Incorporates Assessment Cycle

The assessment cycle consists of nine steps: 1) student learning begins with educational values, 2) is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time, 3) works best when the programs it seeks to improve has clear, explicitly stated purposes, 4) requires attention to outcomes and to experiences that lead to those outcomes, 5) works best when it is ongoing, not sporadic, 6) encourages wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved, 7) makes a difference when issues are involved that affect society, 8) leads to improvements or change, and 9) through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to society (JIU, 2009).

An assessment plan that will incorporate the above assessment cycle for the adult learning program will include 1) focusing on student and educator needs globally and can incorporate the assessment cycle by asking people what they value in education; 2) since the program is online, the learning atmosphere will be multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time through assessments; 3) the objective is to provide the best clear, explicit online program for people of all demographics to enjoy learning; 4) the program will need specific assessment strategies (see above strategies) to measure the outcome and experience of each session; 5) considering this is an online forum with discussion questions, the program is geared for ongoing issues and concerns, rather than random discussions; 6) the program encourages students, educators, employers, employees, and the general public to get involved in this educational community; 7) the plan will makes a difference when educational issues are involved that affect society; 8) this type of program is geared for improvements or change considering it is an ongoing Internet educational site; 9) through this assessment plan, student and educators can learn from each other to meet educational responsibilities that are needed globally.

Conclusion

The project plan outlined in this paper provided proof that it will be a program developed for adult educators and learners and solely based in an online environment in order for adults, worldwide, to combine their knowledge and experience and learn from each other. The foundation for this project is to show how vital education is to the world, now and in the future. This analysis provided information to the background of my project plan through a description and who the program served, the stakeholders, assessments, and who is involved with the project. The analysis showed results of my PALS inventory survey, philosophy paradigms and teaching strategies used, and my philosophy towards my adult education program.

When designing my adult education program, I needed to consider the accessibility to this program. Since adult learners come from all types of backgrounds, skill levels, age brackets, and geographic areas of the world, technology was an important concern. My program can help with these issues by providing a pleasant, user-friendly environment for all adult learners to come and enjoy their educational ride. The above plan provided information towards learning objectives, described which teaching strategies will be used in my program and how each strategy will help students to achieve the learning objective. This analysis supplies a sample lesson plan using one of the teaching strategies, along with a description of how technology will match my learning strategies. This analysis also provided specific assessment strategies and a plan to carry out the intention of educating society using the Internet. By using this technological method of learning, this program provides a means to assess the current and future needs of education.

References

von Stamm, B. (2003). Managing Innovation, Creativity and Design. Unites States: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Wilson, Arthur L. and Hayes, Elisabeth R. (2000). Handbook of Adult and Continuing Education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Innovation Guideline

Innovation Guideline Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 463 The Innovative Organization
Eric Hogan
September 1, 2008

Abstract

When it comes to rules, every company needs some type of direction on what to expect from upper management down to the employees on innovation needs. This report introduces seven different guidelines of innovation (exert strong leadership on strategy and portfolio, integration into business mentality, align with strategy, manage creativity and value capture, neutralize organizational antibodies, establish networks, and use metrics and incentives) that companies need to focus on to make a growing and thriving organization succeed in this competitive global society, along with the samples of how each guideline effects the Siemens Corporation.


Innovation Guideline Paper

In the book Making Innovation Work (Davila et al., 2006), the authors say that a key to successful innovation is for the CEO of a company to perform a periodic health check to determine exactly what part of the organization needs attention. In order to achieve results within a limited time frame and resources requires the ability to focus on the parts of the innovation effort that need the most attention. What is surprising is how few companies have effective diagnostics for the overall innovation activities. Without solid innovation diagnostics, managers have a hard time knowing where to begin, and when the innovative process can become entangled making the task of separating the symptoms of the problems from the root cause. In addition, without periodic diagnostics, a sense of complacency builds lack of focus on maintaining the right mix of innovation. While conducting research, the authors located a short list (known as the Seven Innovation Rules) of the most important aspects of innovation in which senior management should examine.

1. Exert strong leadership on the innovation strategy and portfolio decisions: Managers need a clear direction from the top of the organization and saturates down to employees in order to motivate, support, and reward the activities that encourage innovation (Davila et al., 2006). Siemens offers management training programs that teach managers how to leverage effectively and develop the talents of its employees across the entire spectrum of similarities and differences (Siemens, 2008).

2. Integrate innovation into the company’s basic business mentality: Innovation is not a magic trick on special occasions or a “nice to have” element, but an integral part of the way a company operates every day and is essential to the continuation of the organization. Innovation encompasses two established activities – technological (research and development) or new product development and is strategic (defining the business model) (Davila et al., 2006).

Since 1847, Siemens offers technological advancements in information and Communication (telegraphy, telecommunications and microelectronics), power (power plants, circuit breakers, and gas turbines), transportation (electric railway, subway, and electromagnetic levitation with the Transrapid), healthcare (x-ray apparatus, echocardiography, and cardiac pacemaker), lighting (various lamps), and household appliances (washing machine, television, and dishwasher). For over 150 years Siemens has been a technology powerhouse in electronics. The factors that drive the company’s success include a clear portfolio policy, long-range financial planning, an international setup and strong employee orientation.

3. Align the amount and type of innovation to the company’s business: Innovation may or may not be the key to success for the overall business strategy; management has to determine the types and amounts of innovation needed to support the business strategy and more is not necessarily better. A company’s business strategy is focused on winning innovation is a fundamental element of long-term success. The importance of innovation depends on timing of the last innovation, the nature of the competition, and the overall business strategy. The CEO and senior management team decides which innovation strategy best fits the external competitive and market situation and the company’s internal condition is the responsibility (Davila et al., 2006).

Since 1847 Siemens has always been an innovative company; but in the 1940s and during the final years of World War II, numerous plants and factories in Berlin and other major cities were destroyed by Allied air raids. To prevent further losses, manufacturing was moved to alternative places and regions not affected by the air war. The goal was to secure continued production of important war-related and everyday goods. Siemens was operating almost 400 alternative or relocated manufacturing plants at the end of 1944 and in early 1945. Germany’s political, military and economic collapse led to the closure of Siemens’ plants in Berlin on April 20, 1945. By the time the war came to an end, the greater part of Siemens’ buildings and industrial installations had been destroyed.

4. Manage the natural tension between creativity and value capture: A company needs strength in creativity and profit; innovation requires processes, structures, and resources to manage significant levels of creativity (developing new concepts and ways of doing things) while executing (transforming creative concepts into commercial realities) (Davila et al., 2006). In April 1994, Siemens Medical Systems suffered about a $140 million decrease in sales as a result of suspended production at three manufacturing facilities which manufactured patient monitors, ultrasound equipment, radiation therapy devices, pacemakers, hearing aids and other devices were not manufactured in conformance with the FDA's Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). The FDA determined that Siemens did not adequately address consumer complaints and that the company's quality-assurance programs were inadequate (findarticles, 2008).

5. Neutralize organizational antibodies (resistance): Innovation necessitates change, and change stimulates explicit routines and cultural norms that act to block or negate change. When people have experienced success for a long time, there can be a tendency to become complacent and resist change. In order to innovate, senior management must create a culture that has the ability and the courage to change, explore, and innovate at the same time can be stable enough to deliver on its innovations. Part of an innovation-friendly culture is recognizing that what brought success in the past does not necessarily bring success today. This requires a culture that is open to questioning assumptions and to debating alternatives to the current approach to business. Managers must also understand that only by taking risks (preferably small risks where the cost of failure is low), closely observing results, learning from them, and trying again, can innovation occur (Davila et al., 2006).

In the 1900s, Siemens changed from a company dealing mainly with public customers in regulated markets to a global competitor increasingly due to pressure from the shareholders. To meet these new challenges effectively and efficiently, the company introduced programs that represented a radical change of approach, based on the strategic pillars of productivity, innovation and growth. The company had to optimize its business portfolio through divestments, acquisitions, the formation of new companies, and the founding of joint ventures.

6. Recognize that the basic unit (or fundamental building block) of innovation is a network that includes people and knowledge both inside (R&D, marketing, manufacturing) and outside (customers, suppliers, partners, and others) the organization: A successful organization excels at combining its internal resources with selected portions of the vast resources of the world’s capitalist economy. Innovation requires developing and maintaining this network as an open and collaborative force, which is no easy task considering the complexities of relationships, differing motivations, and differing objectives. Some companies choose to isolate innovation efforts from the organization to avoid its antibodies, through stand-alone departments or incubators. These approaches can be successful but only if they establish and maintain a rich network with the critical resources in the company and with outside partners. These stand-alone or incubator innovation initiatives often fail because, in an attempt to isolate the innovators from organizational antibodies, they sever critical links with key resources and ideas (Davila et al., 2006). Today, Siemens has 66,000 employees in the US and 400,000 persons working in 190 countries worldwide. Siemens builds and strengthens the world's infrastructure in everything from energy and transportation to healthcare and water technologies to communications and lighting (Siemens, 2008).

7. Create the right metrics and rewards for innovation: People react to positive and negative stimuli, and a company’s innovation is no exception. A manager will never achieve the level of innovation that is needed if people do not have the proper rewards to drive performance. Often these rewards focus on meeting budgets and avoiding risk. Rewards of this type cause managers to invest in safe products to prevent big loss but also little chance of a big profit; these rewards totally block whatever motivation there may exist to explore riskier paths. A badly designed measurement or reward system will mute the rest of the rules, even if optimally designed. The question then becomes: What should a company measure and what type of rewards would best motivate employees to get the innovation results that management needs? In some companies, the measurements are a big part of the problem (Davila et al., 2006). Siemens has a tendency of looking at the rewards system from the top downward; upper management receives praise and yearly bonus and the hourly wage-earner receives a small raise if the budget permits. If the company needs to downsize due to economic conditions, the hourly white-color and administrative workers are the first to exit the company.

Conclusion

Organizations need systems in place that provide the proper measurement, motivation, incentives, rewards to foster innovation that is aligned with the innovation strategy, and need to create an environment where taking risks on breakthrough innovations is recognized as valuable to the company. The first innovation rule is leadership since it is where a company needs to start, metrics and rewards is the seventh and last innovation rule since it closes the circle, and creates the motivational and behavioral links to all of the other innovation rules (Davila et al., 2006).

References

Davila, T, Epstein, M .J., & Shelton, R. (2006). Making Innovation Work. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing.

Design Audit Model

Design Audit Model
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 462 Business Management and the Principles of Design
Ray S. DePuy, PE
December 15, 2008

Design Audit Model

Design can be a key competitive weapon that companies and managers can examine in their own corporate use of design to address problems in corporate competitiveness. A design audit can be used to help a company identify the design capabilities of the business and identify where and how design can be most effectively applied to boost the company’s competitive advantage. A properly performed design audit reviews the company’s purpose and vision, the competitive and organizational strategy, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), and the organization’s positioning, product, people, and process capabilities.

Design audit consists of four different levels: environmental issues, corporate culture, design management, and the physical implementation of the design (strategy, process, products, and services). This report will focus on the corporate culture of Siemens Corporation for its design audit model. The corporate culture includes corporate design strategies’, design awareness/understanding (values and vision), design and other function integration, and design activities undertaken (Cooper and Press, 1992).

An employee opinion survey was used as a design audit for the quality of human resources. This company-wide survey audit can provide the company with important information about the employees’ opinions, thoughts of the company, and personal values and visions. The audit’s objective is to gain knowledge of how employees feel about the company, the job, pay and benefits, work environment, management, training, communication, corporate culture, overall satisfaction, and general overall opinion of how the company is being conducted.

The employee opinion survey found a general sense of lack of communication and feeling of involvement by employees in the aims and goals of the company. This analysis provides information leading to the following recommendation to help the company improve in the overall quality and find ways to re-energize and re-commit employees in order for them to feel a sense of loyalty to the company. The problem identification depends on if the feedback is positive or negative. I would make the following recommendations for improvement:

1. Siemens can improve on communicating with employees by offering conference calls to update them on company updates and changes, values and vision, and to invite employees for their opinions and comments as to the current and future direction of the company.
2. Employees should have the opportunity to express their ideas on how they feel the company could strategize more efficiently, be innovative, and use the SWOT more productively within the company.
3. Employees should be able to express ideas about their current job function (possible re-design the company into a learning culture for employees to share information and knowledge company-wide), additional training and education to expand on the value as an employee, and how to lower the employee turnover rate.
4. Pay and benefits could be improved by adding incentive programs to employees such as extra projects for overtime and offering flexible benefits.
5. The work environment could improve by offering flexible work schedules and telecommuting to the employees.
6. The middle management could take additional leadership training to be a more effective leader to its employees and how to loosen hierarchy constraints in favor of teamwork and employee empowerment.
7. Siemens should improve technology through updated software and computer systems to improve faster technical support assistance to the customer.

If the above recommended improvements were used as a tool and implemented within Siemens Corporation, the communication between the company and the employees could improve the corporate culture and help the employees understand the aims and objectives of the company in order to contribute effectively and to show a general overall satisfaction throughout the company. In the end the company’ management team needs to strategize and execute good management practice to make improvements and change the current conditions.

Reference
Cooper, R., and Press, M. (1995). The Design Agenda. West Sussex, England: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Design Process Models

Design Process Models Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 462 Business Management and the Principles of Design
Ray S. DePuy, PE
November 24, 2008

Abstract

A design process model consists of a series of activities and methods drawn together in a way which meets the requirements of a problem or project in order to achieve an intended purpose, goal or outcome. Although, the models have similarities within companies, models can have different design processes which vary depending on the size, scale and nature of the problem. This report describes four different design process models and distinguishes between their similarities and differences. In addition, the report identifies a model that best fits a company known as Pixar Animation Studios.

Design Process Models Paper

Designers play a central role in shaping the world around us. People, products, and places are all touched by a design that was created and produced by a company. Design at any company can be an innovative and ambitious undertaking especially when building on the existing strengths of the current structure. Different designers manage the process of design in different ways. Following are four ways that companies use the design process models, including a sample of a familiar company known as Pixar Animation Studios.

Internal Creative Process of Design

When the design process becomes a creative act within a company, it presents a five-stage model called the internal creative process of design that describes what designers do when working on a problem consisting of defining, understanding, and thinking about the problem, developing an idea, and detail, design, and testing the final product. This model focuses on how designers can think through a problem (reason for the model name).

The creative process is rarely linear since new information or insights may require designers to return to an earlier stage and amend the definition or design at any stage. When problems emerge within the organization, the designer’s results are evaluated and developed further elsewhere in the company. A new product or corporate identity will be launched having an effect on the company’s environment and creating new design problems.

This particular model recognizes the difference between the process used by the individual designer, design skills use to solve a problem, and the design process as the strategic planning of product development. The model demonstrates the design process as it occurs from the individual’s perspective and describes the thought process as the problem is addressed, which is often personal and based on education and experience (Cooper and Press, 1992, p. 36).

External Productive Process of Design

In contrast, on a corporate level the process called the external productive process of design (reflects two key activities of planning and production) has a much broader scope and incorporates external factors such as finance, marketing and tangible measurable aspects of business. The external productive process of design includes:
• Concept: Developing concepts that fulfill given objectives.
• Embodiment: Structural development of the most suitable concept.
• Detail: Confirming precise specifications and production processes.
• Production: Manufacturing the product or providing the service.
This model succeeds in reflecting a combination of the corporate design process and the individual designer’s process, and its more structured methodology and process to design activities can help to anticipate problems and manage risk (Cooper and Press, 1992, p. 38).

Total Process of Design within Management

In the total process of design within management model, objectives are set within each phase, planning procedures are established, and methods of evaluation implemented. The input to the concept phase is a design brief, which defines the nature of the problem (market research) to be solved. The output from the production phase is a product or service which meets the requirements of the brief. This is distributed and advertised, performance evaluated, and a new or amended brief may be set depending on if market research if required.

Hollins and Hollins (Cooper and Press, 1992, p.38) compared their concept of the total design to Walker’s and came to the conclusion that the total design should include an indication of market pull or technical push, emphasize the multidisciplinary and iterative nature, and to explain that the purpose is to produce a product or service, and goes beyond the start of production, including the issues of product disposal. Total design integrates market research, marketing strategy, engineering, product design, production planning, distribution, and environmental monitoring within one cyclical model. Both theories see design as internally applying new technologies, developing product concepts and externally meeting the needs of the market and the wider environment, and guided by planning process. Both see design as a process involving more than just design skills. The difference between the two theories is that Walker’s design process contained on one side by planning and production on the other side.
The total process of design within management model is based around the internal and external environment of a company. The Internal and external part of the environment include the brief, proposals, product launch, market test, and research. These five areas encompass objectives, concept, embodiment, detail, production, advertising, distribution, use, perceived value, and reassess. Planning, design and development, production, and market response surround everything (Cooper and Press, 1992, p.39).

Design as a Planning Process

Design as a planning process, begins with the design process, extending out to information collection (markets, technological innovation and competitor activity), strategy (product, distribution, marketing, and production), and specification (product performance characteristics, product image, production processes and allied activities) that develops strategic planning on new product development (Cooper and Press, 1992, p.41).

Similarities and Differences

Each design process model of internal creative process of design, external productive process of design, total process of design within management, and design as a planning process all have the similarity of sharing the basic process of defining a problem, developing an idea, design, and testing the final result. The difference between all four is the expansion of the process. The internal creative process of design works internally and uses the basic process; external productive process of design goes beyond the basic process and uses external factors such as finance and marketing; total process of design within management uses both internal and external parts of the environment and the process is extremely thorough from conception to production; design as a planning process tends to “plan” the design by using product specifications and gathers information for research.

Design Process Model at Pixar

Pixar Animation Studios (filmmaking process) can be described as an internal creative process of design since designers define and contemplate a problem, develop ideas, provide a detailed design, and test the particular piece of artwork. The artwork may require designers to return to an earlier stage and amend a design at any stage. When problems emerge with a particular piece, the designer’s results may be evaluated and developed elsewhere at Pixar. Each designer used personal education and experience during the process. Pixar’s design process is based on a few simple approaches, traditional skills (drawing, painting, sculpture and storytelling, and low-tech (rather than high-tech). The designers work as a team and ideas are developed slowly using an iterative process that adds value to everyone’s work (Pixar, 2001).

Conclusion

The above report introduced four types of design process models and how each worked within a company, a comparison of how each model offered similarities and differences, and provided Pixar Animation Studios as a sample of a model. As one can see, each design originates as the basic process, but then expands with the process needs of the company.

References

Cooper, R. & Press, M. (1992). The Design Agenda: A Guide to Successful Design
Management. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Design Definition

Design Definition Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 462 Business Management and the Principles of Design
Ray S. DePuy, PE
November 17, 2008

Abstract

Design can basically be perceived as the conception of a product that meets specific human needs and where the development of strategies, processes, products, and services within an organization begin. Design is about the function, nature, and appearance of things and involves communication, problem solving, and creativity (Cooper and Press, 1995). This report provides a definition of design, introduces six different perspectives on the way design is used in an organization, and provides examples of how design can impact the organization.

Design Definition Paper

Design covers many different disciplines and perspectives and is recognized as being essential to an enterprise that goes beyond individualism (painting or sculpturing) to globalization by reaching across traditional boundaries within organizations to create innovative business ventures. This is achieved through a corporate planning process to meet market demands through focus on discrete activities, management functions, and cultural phenomena industry-wide. Design has a multi-faceted impact and provides value in several areas such as organizational, economic, competitive, cultural, and social values. By applying design principles universally, an organization can effectively meet its strategic and operational needs, objectives, and operations through reduced costs and improved quality and branding.

Compare and Contrast Six Types of Design

Design offers six perspectives: artistic, problem solving, creative acts, family of professions, an industry, and a process. As one can see, while each perspective can be part of the organization, each type of design offers its own personality and individualism as to what design can offer an organization.

When design is an art, it expresses ideals and expression like in a painting, sculptor, play, musical, or a combination of art, crafts, and advanced technology with the result of a visual product. Consumers look to art to communicate value, find personal truth, and that shows an interest in culture, rather than just amusement. A CAD drawing or mock-up made of ceramic or wood can be used for a marketing strategy at an architectural firm when building a model of the finished product. In the text, The Design Agenda: A Guide to Successful Design Management (Cooper and Press, 1995), Dieter Rams, designer of domestic appliances, believed that products should manifest their purpose and a good design means as little design as possible. Design can be viewed as a visual barometer to the cultural perspective due to changing times since products evolve value and aspiration to future designers. Presenting design as art can be a marketing strategy, but the nature of design is changing as the boundary between art and culture expands since consumers are looking for products to symbolize their personal values.

When design is a problem solver, a need to fulfill a specific function or problem the currently exists including balancing a range of requirements determined by technology and materials, production constraints, market considerations and human factors (physical and psychological characteristics of the user). Problem solving is based on understanding the human factor that determines how easy or difficult a product is to use. When a product is poorly designed or includes a safety concern or an obsolete fashion, it can create a problem and an organization needs to research, strategize, and combine specialty knowledge in order to problem solve for a new product.

When design is a creative act it consists of 98% common sense and 2% creative, which means creating an environment to encourage creative thought consisting of combining previous unrelated structures into a new innovative structure which proves valuable in a project. The creative process includes five stages: first sight (formulating the problem), preparation (understanding the problem), incubation (relaxation to allow subconscious thought), illumination (emergence of the idea), and verification (idea development and testing) (Cooper and Press, 1995).

Design can be a family of professions such as different divisions or departments of a graphic design company. This type of design is also known as a design family tree, along with roots in traditional skills and methods such as drawing, modeling, and simulation; the tree can grow into disciplines (trunk) such as graphics or fashion that rely on artistic abilities, to engineering and electronics, which rely on science. The branches of the tree combine art and science such as CAD, fabrics, ceramics, tools, photography, along with product, environmental, information, and corporate identity design.

Design as an industry can be telecommunications, fashion, cosmetics, or automobiles. An industry can develop when business opportunities emerge for college students majoring in design. The role of the designer first materialized as a consultant rather than as an employee since the market was driven by need. Later companies created in-house design teams and based them within the engineering department. The role of industrial designer was created when the government required the specialized knowledge during wartime. The industry has played an important part in history with the creation of decorative streets, magazines, fashion, to decorated retail stores.

Design can be viewed as an individual creative activity or strategic planning process that applies the innovative potential of the enterprise with the changing requirements of the market when the product solves the consumers’ needs. The internal process of designing involves defining, thinking, and understanding the problem, developing an idea, reviewing the details, and testing the products. The external process of a design includes the concept (fulfill given objective), embodiment (structural development of the most suitable concept), detail (confirm specifications and production process), and production (manufacture the product or provide a service (Cooper and Press, 1995).

Design’s Impact on Organizations

Design has an impact on every organization since every product starts with a “design.” Design as an art lets individuals express lifestyle in the fashion industry; art affected Levi 501’s jeans by giving consumers the expression of rebellion and freedom. Design as a problem-solver can be shown through Seventh Generation, one of the country's first self-declared "socially responsible" companies and authentic, safe, and environmentally-responsible products for a healthy home. The product is making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, keeping toxic chemicals out of the environment and making the world a safer place for this and the next seven generations (Seventh Generation, 2008).

Nike uses design as a creative act when the co-founder, Bill Bowerman, made an observation of the endless possibilities for human potential. Their response was to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world by developing products that help athletes of every level of ability reach their potential, and to create business opportunities that set Nike apart from the competition and provide shareholder value (Nike, 2008).

The automobile organization is an example of design as a family of professions, an industry, and a process and has impacted the entire world economy. Management and employees focus on the manufacturing of a particular line of vehicles, use management teams with expertise and design skills of every part of the vehicle and who know the process of completing a vehicle in its entirety.

Conclusion

This report supplied a definition of design, introduced six different perspectives in which design can be used in an organization, and presented examples of how design can impact the organization through art, problem solving, creative acts, family of professions, industry, and process. It was interesting how organizations often combine methods when creating and designing a product to distribute to the public.


References

Cooper, R. & Press, M. (1992). The Design Agenda: A Guide to Successful Design
Management. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Organizational Transformation

Organizational Transformation Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 461 Innovation, Design, and Creativity for a Competitive Advantage
Brandon S. Smith
March 22, 2008

Organizational Transformation Paper

Siemens Corporation is a world leader in industry, energy, IT, and healthcare. Each division offers a variety of benefits and opportunities to the employees. Some of these benefits include the following: Incentives, training, and education in promoting innovation and leadership roles in creating, managing, and sustaining innovation. Siemens Corporation considers the ethical implications of an individual reward system which involves all employees. We will also look at whether Siemens could be considered an innovative or non-innovative company.

Incentives, Training, and Education in Promoting Innovation

Siemens Corporation wants to create an atmosphere where employees can feel secure while occupying their minds creating new idea for the company using incentives, training, and education to promote innovation with the company.

Incentive

An incentive for upper management can be a yearly bonus, while an hourly wage worker may receive extra paid time off. There are equal incentives such as offering employees medical/dental/vision insurance, life insurance, long term disability, PTO coverage, retirement, Employee Assistance Program, flexible work schedules, tuition assistance, service anniversary program, and matching gift program for higher education. Siemens offers a Development Promotion Reward (EFA) program that believes that performance and success must be rewarded for every employee. The EFA system puts an employee in charge of their own professional development by letting the employee suggest what training courses that will enhance their skills and negotiate individual targets for the coming year with the line manager and the HR manager. Siemens promotes open communication by offering regular development and mentoring sessions, in addition to the annual employee survey. This management dialog is an employee’s opportunity to give feedback to the line manager (Siemens, 2008).

Training

Siemens offer over 1800 types of online training programs such as NetG Learning (online specific training) if an employee wants to learn Oracle, Remedy, Microsoft Office, Accounting, Project Management, Lotus Notes, Six Sigma, just to name a selected few courses. By learning the above software programs or managing a project, an employee can learn innovative skills to assist the company in a more productive manner. Other types of training are geared towards managers. Management training programs teach managers how to effectively leverage and develop the talents of employees across the entire spectrum of similarities and differences. The Fast-Track Management Training program is a rotation program which develops key leadership talent through cross-operating company rotational assignments in designated functional areas (Finance, HR, IT, Project Management, Procurement). The objective of the program is to strategically place program graduates into future functional leadership positions as needed by Siemens USA.

Siemens offers an intern program called “The Siemens Intern Experience”, which targets the top Siemens US Interns (as identified by each operating company) and is composed of an annual meeting and dedicated website, newsletter, and web chats. The objective of the annual meeting is to initiate and maintain relationships with the interns on a corporate level and assess the intern talent pool to identify high potentials. The overall objective of the program is to increase the conversion rate of top talent interns into employees and facilitate placement across the operating companies.

Leadership Excellence, an integral part of Siemens’ strive for People Excellence as part of our ongoing business strategy, was established to support Siemens top executives in their current and future challenges. The courses are designed to align leadership and value standards, impart corporation-wide business management tools, give an impetus for new approaches, strategies, and tools, and facilitate a global, cross-business network of management leaders.

The Emerging Leaders Forum provides a unique learning and networking experience for the future leaders of Siemens USA. Meeting content is designed to help participants learn from the senior-most ranks of Siemens leadership, address major culture change issues like post-acquisition integration, prepare to inherit leadership positions, network and share best practices with other program participants, understand and apply the Siemens value proposition, and navigate their career path within Siemens.

Siemens Professionals Engaged in Active Communications (S.P.E.A.C.) was established to help identify high potential communication managers, and provide professional development opportunities. During the 18-month program, members learn about the various Siemens business units through plant tours and presentations as well as networking with their peers from Siemens companies in the US and Europe (Siemens, 2008).

Education

Siemens offers education assistance to help employees better themselves in obtaining a degree in order to move upward in Siemens by using new ideas, thoughts, and creativity. The company allows employees to study any course and reimburses up to $5,500/year.

Role of Leadership at Siemens

The various Siemens Divisions provide different roles of leadership in creating, managing, and sustaining innovation with the organization. Below are some examples of how Siemens transforms the world with its global network of innovation that spans 190 countries.
• Siemens Building Technologies won the 2006 Ohio Governor's Award for Excellence in Energy for its work with the St. Elizabeth Health Center and the Humility of Mary Health Partners
• The 2007 Fortune AMERICA'S Most Admired Companies list ranked Siemens number three in the country's electronics industry
• The 2007 Fortune WORLD'S Most Admired Companies list ranked Siemens AG number two in the global electronics industry
• Siemens manufactures one out of three traffic signals used in the United States
• Siemens Water Technologies serves more than 90 percent of the Fortune 500 manufacturing companies as well as approximately 100,000 industrial clients
• Siemens was granted 1,622 U.S. patents in 2006. We're the top-ranked German company on that list and ranked higher than General Electric.
• Every business day in the U.S., radiation therapy systems from Siemens treat more than 30,000 cancer patients and Siemens' systems process more than 164 million U.S. healthcare information transactions
• Power generation systems from Siemens Power Generation supply more than one-third of the nation's electricity
• Seventy-five percent of cars on U.S. roads rely on Siemens-Sylvania lighting technologies
• Siemens PLM Software creates and manages more then 40 percent of the world's 3D data (Siemens, 2008).

Ethical implications of an individual reward system

The company that rewards all employees as a group promotes team work, great growth, high moral, creativity, and motivation. Individual recognition and rewards have both positive and negative aspects; on the one hand, they may spur friendly competition within a company to achieve greater levels of creativity and innovation. On the other hand, in many companies, executives and upper management are still treated differently than middle managers and wage earners by receiving often undeserved yearly bonuses, awards, trips or promotions, while employees in the lower rungs may only receive a $.35 raise once a year and free donuts in the break room on occasion.

Siemens: innovative or non-innovative?

Siemens can be both innovative and non-innovative, depending on the division. My division, IT Solutions and Services, is generally non-innovative. It is tightly structured (following established policy versus seeking creative ways to meet new problems), very management-heavy (relying on managers and executives to make all the decisions based on endless reports, meetings and minutiae, without involving the “people on the ground” in the process), and focused on squeezing the bottom line (nitpicking contractual details ad infinitum rather than doing everything possible to ensure the overall satisfaction of the customer). Other divisions, however, exemplify innovative thinking and more horizontal structuring. Examples of innovation are shown in the above section of Role of Leadership at Siemens. The company overall views innovation as the key to entrepreneurial success by providing a rigorous innovation management and invests more than $6 billion in research and development. Siemens generates more than 30 inventions a day and works in cooperation with customers to transform ideas into new products, systems and solutions. Each day Siemens, located in the U.S., dedicates nearly 8,000 employees to research and development.

Organizational Impact

Organizational Impact Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 461 Innovation, Design, and Creativity for a Competitive Advantage
Brandon S. Smith
March 8, 2008

Abstract

Innovation can be defined as a “frame of mind” and the act of developing an idea in its physical form such as a new product, service or process. It means finding solutions to problems and can be categorized as a product or process innovation, product or service that an organization offers, and the way in which they create and deliver the product. The impact in innovation can be dramatic on society globally if the product helps with customer service, health, and service. We examine three companies, Shinfin, Colgate and McKinsey & Company, to discern their unique application of innovation processes.

Organizational Impact Paper

When examining a company’s impact on innovation, one can find reasons on how the product impacts the organization and society, and what strategy and process they utilized to achieve success. Three companies, Shinfin, Colgate, and McKinsey & Company, are introduced below, providing information on how each of their companies have impacted society with their innovative products. Each of these companies provides a different service using four different but complimentary processes of innovation: architectural (basic configuration of product and process); market niche (innovation that opens new market opportunities); regular (change that builds on established technical and production competence); and revolutionary (disrupts and renders established technical and production abilities obsolete, yet can be applied to existing markets and customers) (vonStamm, 2003). Shinfin designs and distributes unique swimming fins, Colgate provides improvement to the quality of life, and McKinsey & Company assists companies with performance issues.

Shinfin

Shinfin™ is a company that created a unique type of swim fins product, an evolution from foot flippers, and an impact on the innovation of the swimming fin. The fins enhance the enjoyment and benefits of swimming and other water sports. Marc Lee, inventor, conceived and designed a swimming fin for a natural streamlined kick to assist a swimmer with their freestyle, backstroke and butterfly stroke. The swimmer kicks from the hips with only a little knee-bend and very little ankle stress (unlike foot flippers which require much more knee-bend and impose large stresses on the ankles). His process was to correct swimming biomechanics, allow fins to be utilized in a variety of swimming activities, and avoid foot flipper problems such as on-land safety. The inventor designed fins that are comfortable and flexible, fitting to the front of the legs with straps fit securely just above the ankle. They are adaptable for various types of legs kicks, allowing a great deal more muscle power from the thighs and torso, and a comfortable bend at the ankles and the soles of the feet free so walking… or even running… is possible while wearing them. The fins were designed to be utilized in swim training, fitness, aerobics, snorkeling, bodyboarding, kneeboarding, and even surfing, and are especially attractive to people with disabilities and amputations. The inventor wanted to avoid foot flipper problems such as sore feet, good fit, tripping and falling, weight, stress and strain, and tear and rot. The impact of the product appears to be successful for the company due to customer satisfaction ratings and complements ranging from lack of cramping, better workouts, and feet comfort (Shinfin.com).

Colgate

Colgate® originated as a small soap and candle business that William Colgate created in New York City back in the early 19th century. The people at Colgate work globally, share a commitment to the company’s three core corporate values: Caring, global teamwork and continuous improvement. As a leading consumer products company, the company is deeply committed to advancing technology which can address changing consumer needs throughout the world. The goal is to use technology to create products that will continue to improve the quality of life for consumers wherever they live (Colgate.com).
One of the products that has impacted innovation is the Colgate 360˚ ® original toothbrush, a revolutionary new toothbrush specially designed for sensitive teeth and gums, with less wear on sensitive tooth areas compared to a regular soft, flat-trim toothbrush. Its unique design features clean the teeth, tongue, cheek, and gums by removing more bacterial; this is why it is more than just a toothbrush. The company discovered that 80% of the bacteria in your mouth are not on the consumer’s teeth and formulated a way to create a toothbrush that gives a gentle yet superior clean with a unique cheek and tongue cleaner that removes over 96% more bacteria and produces less wear on sensitive areas of the tooth with multi-functional bristles (Colgate.com).

McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm consisting of a global network of offices, is a trusted advisor to the world’s leading businesses, governments, and institutions. The firm’s process is to help leaders make distinctive, lasting, and substantial improvements to the performance of their organizations and undertake their most difficult issues and serious challenges. The firm is about world-changing impact, developing exceptional leaders, and finding innovative solutions. The firm is not a corporation tied to earnings pressures or bound to increasing returns to the shareholders. Instead, the firm is constantly measuring new ideas, opportunities led not by one person, but by the partnership group.

The firm’s product: Associates. Associates at the firm have the a scale, scope, and knowledge which allows them to address problems that no one else can and consist of a network of people who are passionate about taking on immense challenges that matter to leading organizations, and often, to the world. Associates are the trusted advisors and counselors to many of the most influential businesses and institutions in the world, serving more than 70 percent of Fortune magazine’s most admired list of companies. Associates are problem solvers, analytical, creative, intellectually curious, have the ability to work with people at all levels of an organization, and are highly collaborative with a passion for excellence. The firm does not regard individuals based on their title, but their competence and leadership. The firm believes in the power of one consistent set of high standards for service and people so that they can always attract and bring together the best team of minds from around the world, along with the broadest range of industry and functional experience. McKinsey & Company believes in teamwork, coaching, and collaboration. Associates develop better solutions in teams than as individuals, so as to eliminate competition against each other and share a structured problem–solving approach, in which all opinions and options are considered, researched, and analyzed carefully before recommendations are made.

Conclusion

Innovative companies can play a significant role impacting individuals, organizations and society globally. When examining all three companies’ impact on innovation, it was easy to see the motivations that drive them and how their products impact humanity, as well as the strategies and processes they utilized to achieve success. When each company utilized one or more of the different forms of the innovation process, their products became successful globally and helped mankind achieve vital goals.

References

von Stamm, B. (2003). Managing Innovation, Creativity and Design. Unites States: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd

Mental Process

Mental Process Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 461 Innovation, Design, and Creativity for a Competitive Advantage
Brandon S. Smith
March 15, 2008

Abstract

When understanding the creative intelligence, they consist of four styles such as intuitive, innovative, imaginative, and inspirational. People can have one main style or share two with one dominant and the other submissive. Society is also offered five forces that influence the mental models/mind sets that include education, training, influence of others, rewards and incentives, and personal experiences.

Mental Process Paper

When examining both the four styles of creative intelligence and the five forces of mental models/mind sets, one can see the intense and in depth these concepts are to society, and yet how simple they can be viewed once understand. Following are descriptions and examples of each type of both creative intelligence and the five forces of mental model/mind sets. There is also information provided about my personal experience with dealing with the mental model/mindset in the workplace.

The Four Styles of Creative Intelligence

The four styles of creative intelligence include intuitive, innovative, imaginative, and inspirational. The first style of intuitive focuses on results and relies on past experience to guide actions and decisions. An organization can revitalize a stagnant company by focusing on action and results; it can be fair, but tough on competition. This philosophy can turn an organization into a highly successful and profitable business. Intuitive means bringing out creativity and potential and describes resourceful individuals and is typical of managers, actors, and politicians. It emphasizes on achievement, hard work, results, common sense, past experience, and the ability to find good answers quickly (Rowe, 2004). An example of an intuitive personality would be Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi considering his philosophy of civil disobedience and non-violence, as well as his personal spirituality, struck a deep chord with Indians and can best be understood as a logical outgrowth of this type.

The second style of innovative concentrates on problem-solving, inquisitive, persistence, experimentation, and careful analysis, systematic, relies on data, willing to work hard, and insist on precise and careful experiments. This style is typical of a scientist, engineer, or an inventor. One’s qualities are perseverance in the face of difficulties, can be absorbed in their work, and handles complexity with ease. Although the working environment often affects how people perform, truly creative people transcend physical discomfort and inconvenience to pursue their goals and visions (Rowe, 2004). An example of an innovative style person is Arthur Schnitzler. Mr. Schnitzler is one of Austria's literary heavyweights and received extensive training in medicine and was especially interested in psychology, an interest that influenced his writing a great deal.

The third style of imaginative is able to visualize and identify opportunities, artistic, take pleasure in writing, open-minded, risk-taker and thinks “out of the box.” This style describes insightful individuals and is typical of artists, musicians, writers, and leaders. Steven P. Jobs is an example of an imaginative style personality. Mr. Jobs is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of The Apple Computer Inc. and brought digital technology to the world. As a visionary, he saw that computers could be more than just a plain productivity tool and they could help unleash human creativity and sheer enjoyment. A marketing genius, he conceived of elegant products that captured consumers' imaginations. Due to his relentless perfectionist, he came up with creations that actually delivered on their promise and raising the bar for rivals. A quarter-century later, he rocked the music business with Apple's iPod music player and iTunes online store. This created a blueprint for the music biz in the Net era. His Pixar Animation Studios was the first to show that computer animation could be used to tell imaginative, touching stories (Businessweek, 2008).

The final style is inspirational which focuses on social change, has a positive, act on instincts or feelings, action-oriented outlook on societal needs and is willing to give of self to achieve goals. This style is concerned with introducing change that helps others. This style describes visionary individuals and is typical of educators, leaders, and writers. Senator Barack Obama is an example of the inspiration style personality. This man is proving that he is capable of having the opportunity to becoming the first African-American to sit in the Oval Office as president of the nation where black slaves were once considered property. He gives people hope to take a chance to fulfill their dreams and desires and to look beyond color and ethnicity.

When comparing the four styles, the intuitive style responds quickly to operational problems, innovative individuals rely on a considerable amount of information and take time to study and gain insight into problems, imaginative style use value judgments as the basis for their decisions, and the inspirational style are concerned with the welfare of others rather than their own. In an emergency, the intuitive style makes good, quick decisions, but when it comes to understanding the far-reaching effects of certain problems, the imaginative style will generally be more effective. Although each of these styles describes a specific creative intelligence style, a majority of people have more than one creative style. The level of intensity for each style results in a guide for each individual. This approach to creativity expands the possible number of creative intelligence styles. The importance of having many styles of creativity is that one is able to more fully and accurately describe an individual’s creative intelligence (Rowe, 2004).

Five Forces Influence Mental Models/Mind sets

Along with having four styles of creative intelligence, we also have five forces that influence the mental models/mind sets. At first glance, mental models may seem intangible and insignificant; however, they cannot be dismissed as optical illusions, parlor games, academic curiosities, and all in the mind. These models affect the quality and direction of our lives and they have profit-and-loss and even life-and-death implications.

One of the most enduring and perhaps limiting illusions is the belief that the world seen is the real world. Individuals rarely question their own models of the world until forced to. One day, the television seemed attractive and full of information, the next day it was ugly and dramatic. The broadcasted information did not change and yet in one instant society saw it as a vital piece of informative and the next minute it was literally garbage. Society was hit with the “gestalt flip.” The lines and data points are the same, but the picture is dramatically different. Does one wonder what changed; the information did not, but how society currently viewed it did. The same information suddenly produced a very different perception. This perception is called “mental models” (or “mindsets”) and describes the brain processes that are used to make sense of the world (Wind et al., 2005).

In the past, science and technology have progressed to the point where scientists can observe the brain resulting in the transformation between philosophy and neuroscience. Instead of just thinking about thinking, scientists can now monitor brain processes as society thinks and observes. This research is generating an enormous amount of experimental data while confronting the incredible complexity of the brain, resulting in a range of neuroscience theories that has emerged to explain what is going on inside the brain. In business and other organizations, these interactions become even more complex as individuals with their own mental models interact through group decision-making or negotiation, and they are susceptible to biases such as “group think” that can limit flexibility and constrict options. The ways people make sense of the world are determined to a large extent by the internal mind and to a lesser extent by the external world. It is this internal world of neurons, synapses, neurochemicals and electrical activity, with its incredibly complex structure functioning in ways society have only a vague sense of that is called the “mental model.” This model inside the individual brains is the representation of our world and ourselves (Wind et al., 2005).

Mental models are broader than technological innovations or business models, and represent the way one looks at the world. These models or mindsets can sometimes be reflected in technology or business innovations, but not every minor innovation represents a truly new mental model. For example, the shift to non-hydrogenated butter was a tremendous innovation in the butter industry, but it represents only a minor change in mental models. Our mental models are much deeper, and often so deep that they are invisible. Mental models affect every aspect of an individual’s personal and professional lives, and our broader society including these five forces of education, training, influence of others, rewards and incentives, and personal experiences:

• Education: Education shapes people’s mental models very broadly and forms a foundation that molds the world view. A scientist learns to approach the world in a different way than an artist. This broad education is often the least visible force shaping the mindset. People surround themselves with people of similar background. A liberal arts education is intended to give people a common language and world view from which to operate and makes it easier for this educational foundation to blend into the environment for any type of career path.
• Training: Is a specific learning related to education in that people learn to deal with transitions or handle new tasks. A data entry person may learn keyboarding or a musician may learn a particular instrument. This training is more specific and visible than education, and can be easily transferred.
• Influence of others: Society can be influenced by mentors, experts, books, family and friends. These individuals, their philosophy of life, and approach to problems affect people deeply in how they approach personal challenges. For example, a child who constantly reads about Thomas Edison may grow up to be a scientist. Society is also influenced by the mass such as in the 1960’s with drugs and rock and roll. Society is can be influenced by the result of a transition in television shows such as American Idol. People watch singers from all walks of all perform and actually win a recording contract.
• Rewards and incentives: The mental models and actions are shaped by the rewards people receive for holding them in the hands. These rewards can be tangible such as direct financial gain like a raise, or less tangible ones, such as social approval.
• Personal experience: Some artists and scientists are self-taught since they create their own style through personal experience which makes it easier to think outside the box.
• The tradition of apprenticeship is also based on a process of combining learning from both experience and a mentor or expert craftsman. People also develop capabilities for learning how to learn that help them to make sense of our experiences such as past successes and failures which dramatically shape the view of the world. Severe traumatic ordeals such as prison or abuse may affect how a person views the world.
• Today’s experience quickly becomes tomorrow’s theology. Military leaders are often fighting the last war. They have shaped the policies based on past equipment and military strategy, carefully learning lessons from debriefings on the last battlefield that may no longer be relevant to the current one (Wind et al., 2005).

Although the above mental models/mind sets are wonderful individually, they might limit the decision-making process due to the fact that need to work together in order to be effective. Education alone in not an effective decision-making tool since an individual needs influenced through mentoring, rewarded, and personal experience to provide leadership and be a team player in any organization.

Personal Most Commonly Used Mental Models/Mind Sets

While working as a Help Desk Analyst, I utilize personal experience from the performing the job function for two years, observing, and analyzing what is successful and failure with the performance. By observing and analyzing data, I can make clear decisions on what strategy to take to perform the job to my best ability.

Conclusion

The above information and examples provided an examination of how the four styles of creative intelligence and the five forces of mental models/mind sets affected society in the thinking process.

References

Rowe, A.J. (2004). Creative Intelligence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education publishing as Prentice-Hall.

Wind, Y., Crook, C., & Gunther, R. (2005). The Power of Impossible Thinking. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Wharton School Publishing.