Tuesday, 11 April 2017

The unexpected benefits of open

Many people assume that being open is all about giving things away. Therefore it is about loss, not something that the business-minded would willingly engage in. I think it is important therefore that we share some of the unexpected gains that result from open practices. 

I was brought up in business, my parents were local business people and I wrote here about the importance of reputation to the business world. We are witnessing the power and influence of social media channels transforming the dynamics of business right now, Facebook and Instagram are good examples of how creating a successful brand does not rely on the cost of your product but rather on the value proposition it offers to its users. This can change quickly if the service or products you supply are no longer considered good value or if you undermine your brand through misuse or misbehaviour. Customers are always right, they can be notoriously fickle, that is their right. 

As a teacher, I choose to practise as openly as I can for ethical reasons. I belong to a community of practice (language education) and I value interaction with my peers and students beyond the immediate borders of classroom walls or institutional constraints. I need international interaction if it is to inform my teaching, languages don't stand still! I have a wide personal learning network who connect with me through twitter and other online open platforms, we contribute to our mutual learning. Education, like medicine, relies on sharing practice in order to reap benefits. 

And so back to unexpected gains of openness:
  • connections increase our influence and help us become aware of future possibilities
  • there is a huge cost to closed: just look at how much brands pay to legal teams to safeguard copyright in the digital age!
  • innovation and creativity flourish where ideas are shared and people collaborate.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Getting to know you!

CC0 Flickr 

I remember watching this movie when I was much younger. I remember the frustration of the female character who had no power or influence over the King and I was certainly impressed with how she managed to break though and find a way to make him appreciate her way of seeing the world. Of course, when I think of the movie now I find it hard to get past the rather dubious assumption of English cultural hegemony but in those days such matters were just part of how we saw the world!

I have chosen this metaphor when I reflected on a recent piece of research I carried out for our #wihea #knowhow project. I interviewed a staff member in order to reflect upon the barriers we face in the successful implementation of this project. It was a very useful little piece of action research which served to underline that we have a major task ahead. It has helped to clarify where we must start and how we can be of help immediately to both students and staff at Warwick. In short we will start by offering resources to support the location and appropriate attribution of images. 

If you are as yet unaware of our project, here's a little video introduction which I hope you will find interesting. And if you, your department or your colleagues want to know more about #knowhow do get in touch!