OCI Week 9: The best/worst class ever

"I could go back home, but what would I do in a town of 280 people"
"You could be Sheriff Darl!"
"But we don't have any crime, once someone broke a window but we know who did it"

- Darl Kolb
Interesting title yes, and since my day was so dichotomous, the post will reflect that. Didn't want to spoil the mood and the awesome lecture. Lets go.

Best. Class. Ever.

Today was fun, for some heaps of people rocked in quite late, so unless you're a member of the new all nighter Wednesday club (seriously) then you don't really have an excuse. We started out with a oddly structured debate over Thomas Friedman's popular theory: The World is Flat.

It was odd because the harder angle (Negative) was given a huge numbers advantage against those who rocked in late on the affirmative, but they also had Darl, ironically one of the only people in the room capable of arguing the negative.

Personally I side with Friedman for the most part, I see the world being flat as a construct that is inherently useful for us to make sense of our international state. We can continue to argue that the the world is simply "flattening" and that it can never be truely flat. But then again neither is a sports field ever perfectly flat, but its still useful for us to be able to describe it as such.

On the other hand though it would be an academic fallacy to write about it as such, and I certainly agree with Darl's work on on connective gaps and our need to redefine distance. But I guess that's why he gets published in Organizational Dynamics and Friedman has to stick to the New York Times, each to their own I suppose. At the end of the day, academia very quickly teaches you that it's good to be able to think about things from multiple perspectives and some how believe both of them.

New Zealand 2.0
We went on to have a discussion and break into groups on what we thought New Zealand 2.0 might look like if we were to be competitive. Duane came up with the idea of thinking of the world through the metaphor of an organisation, where here at the edge of the world, like at the edge of the organisation, innovation can best occur. For that innovation however we need focus, and resource allocation in line with that focus.

In line with these thoughts we saw New Zealand focusing on several key industries (E.g. Ag Tech, Bio Tech and Hi-Tech) thereby engaging in predominantly weightless economy goods and stressing activities that are not dependent on economies of scale. It quickly became obvious that to do this we would really need a major cultural shift in New Zealand. New myths, new stories, new attitudes.

What's other peoples opinion on this? I know you're reading this I see the stats :-) If New Zealand is to move up the OECD rankings (It's harder to go down much further) how do you see this being done? What will a successful New Zealand look like. And by the way, I don't mean winning the next world cup.

Worst. Class. Ever.

Darl dropped the bomb yesterday, one many of us wish he'd done a long time ago. Basically the grades were put out today for the first assesment. It was an academic essay worth 30% of the course (A double points paper) which translates to the most heavily weighted assessment (1st equal) in the entire department. The catch is it's only 2000 words... They were not pretty (the grades, the words as well I guess)

I thought about it for a while but decided that actual grades weren't something I thought should be online. But I will say that it was the lowest grade I've received in any assessment at Auckland University, and I'm not saying I didn't deserve it because I couldn't do that without reading everyone's essays and seeing their marks. But I do know that I'm in trouble now.

What's more people are worried now; when I went back to the lab around 7 last night, there was a very sorry feeling. We all felt it and it wasn't good. I'm really concerned about motivation in class, sometimes a shock to the system inspires people to work harder but other times it demotivates them. At the moment I feel that the class, at least in discussion, is being carried by a few key individuals. When these people stop participating it's going to be bad for everyone, I certainly need the conversation to learn this stuff and I get the feeling Darl and Deb need it as well to teach it.

On the bright side, it was bitter nice to get a taste of my own medicine tonight. I generally the one comforting people and helping them figure out a way to get out of the mess. So it was good to hear people turn around just be honest with me. "It will be OK, do what you can about it and move on", they would tell me. And there right, It's one hell of a hole to dig my way out of if I'm going to meet my goals. But All we can do is try.

So fellow class mates and casual observers, it's time for us to lift our game so high they can't catch us. Don't show up next week with just the 10 pages + 10 Slides x 10 Refs, bring everything you've got. Get started on your team reflections and bring those, challenge them to keep up with how hard we're trying. Get started on your tech challenge now and ask them about it. Talk to each other and for crying out loud start talking in class more. Read and argue, that's all you have to do. First time I've ever drunk beer on my own writing this post. This is what the end of a shit day looks like at my desk, not the tidiest.