Sustainable Housing Sudan Project



Eunice Likoko’s Debate Article

Robinson Ken(2010)

Book Review: Out of our minds by Robinson Ken(2010)

Introduction: The essence of the book

“Out of our minds” is an interesting read that speaks about imagination and creativity (pgs.

139-166) and its role in development and providing relevant solutions to the world problems

and specifically in leadership (pg.219). The author talks of the evolution of imagination and

creativity in a human being from childhood to adulthood. He argues that while most children

believe they are creative, most adults do not consider themselves creative. He therefore goes

ahead to elaborate on the character and attributes of education that different education systems

have; and the effect of this on the creativity of individuals as they grow older (pg.49).

In a nutshell his arguments stipulate that education systems are tailored to produce labor for

the existing economy and this puts individuals in a mold that destroys their creativity (pgs.49-

108). The aim of this book is to challenge the readers to realize their true creative potential.

Robinson ends the book by saying that, “It is often said that education and training are the

keys to the future. They are, but a key can be turned in two directions. Turn it one way and

you lock resources away, even from those it belong s to. Turn it the other way and you release

resources and give people to themselves. To realize our true creative potential…we must learn

to be creative.”

Book review-Out of Our minds by Ken Robinson

As we celebrate Robinson’s literary achievement, first I disagree with the idea of creativity

as a goal which we need to pursue and an as a necessary end to embrace. Thinking about

education as Robinson’s main example of things that kill creativity, we need to remember that

even education as a concept was itself a creative idea once that was embraced and celebrated.

However with time, we are able to see the ills of an education system as elaborated by the

author. Therefore, by having creativity as a goal we run the same risk in the future.

Secondly, I disagree with the author’s generalization of the ills of education. Both formal

and informal educations have had tremendous success acting as custodians of important

societal information. Education acts as a working medium of passing this information from

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one generation to another. Furthermore, many new ingenious inventions have been discovered

through the education system that the author criticizes in this book, “Often we are educated

out of creativity.” (pg.49). Overall, as much as I would not throw out all of the books content

as that would be ‘throwing out the baby with the birth water’, I would recommend the readers

to read this book with a critical mind as some of the arguments are not entirely accurate- or it

may be a case of seeing two sides of the same coin.

Debate article

Out of our minds is an out of the norm book. It is a paradigm shift. Reading the book, I get

the urgency and spirit of the writer. I can sum up the arguments presented in this book into

one phrase, “Everything must change!” Essentially the book challenges us to examine and

question the current education system in relation to its relevance to our day to day lives.

Dan Roam in his book, ‘The back of the Napkin’ (2009) explores the use of pictures to aid

the process of problem solving. Roam’s book, validates the idea of creative thinking which

Robinson’s book, ‘Out of our minds’ is advocating for. Roam brings back pictures into the

boardroom and makes the process of solving a problem visual and fun. “In two minutes,

you’ve captured your own idea, shown it to others and passed it along. That’s how visual

thinking works, and that’s how to solve problems and sell ideas with pictures.” Roam (2009,

pg256) I agree with the call to creativity as it appeals to more of our senses making us more

engaged in our work process. The assumption here is that this will translate into an effective

decision making process in which the decision makers own the process more.

One of the education related themes that Robinson explores is assessment. He argues that

the role of assessment is dichotomous in nature; a description of one’s performance and a

comparison of one’s performance. He also says that assessment plays three roles- diagnostic,

formative and summative (pg.277). The problem is that while assessment tests one’s ability to

recall knowledge, it fails to take the creative side into account. “The net effect is to increase

the emphasis on some forms of learning and to lower the status of others.” Robinson (2010).

From my experience drawing, doodling and coloring despite being enjoyable and relatively

easy to enjoy, is a kindergarten thing. The boardroom is a place to PowerPoint slides, and

projector screens to maintain a generally intellectual theme. This is a social construct that

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shows the accuracy of Robinson’s arguments.

Looking at the myriad of challenges facing the world today, the challenge is to use these

learning paradigms to find solutions for the world systems both at a local or international

level. The greater challenge is how to ensure every individual is personally involved in the

process of looking for solutions and implementing them in order to deal with things like

pollution on a day to day basis.

Recently, while working on a project management class project on seeking for solutions to

the problem of lack of housing in South Sudan, my group and I had to brainstorm on possible

sustainable solutions. Part of our challenge was to integrate the knowledge we have received

in our university education while maintaining a ‘free spirit’ that will allow us to dream of new

and probably non-conventional solutions. We read widely and sought advice from different

quarters. The surprising thing is that most books and advice we received encouraged us to

look up what has already been done and pick a most suitable option that would be relevant

in the South Sudan context. While I appreciate the value of learning from others to avoid

re-inventing the wheel, it is interesting to note that there was hardly any encouragement

to dream of new ideas and seek new crazy and exciting ideas like building sustainable tree

houses in South Sudan or living in a sustainable hot air balloon! A serious indication that

what Robinson refers to as ‘creative culture’ has been eroded as we grew up and experienced

formal education.

Therefore in the ‘Out of our Minds’ spirit , the questions we constantly need to engage with

are; How do we learn from others while creating room for and encouraging a culture of

creativity? How do we exit the proverbial box and maintain a culture of “thinking outside the

box”? How do we maintain an education system that is not restrictive but frees everyone to

engage in the creative mess that gives unlimited chances for individuals to try out new ideas

both in school and in the workplace? How?

Mzia’s Assignment 4:The Purpose of the Psychological Picture of Actions in Project Management (Debate Article)

In order to create a data base requited for defining the essence of artificial problems and finding ways of their solution in any sphere it is necessary, and it is proven by practice, to preliminarily define the nature of man - the main causative factor - and his expected actions. This is really a guarantee for the successful implementation of any task. Implementation of the set task is possible by using empirical formulation (or already known facts). Formulation will be based on the psychological picture of actions. Here a significant fact should be noted:

Proceeding from the unique nature of men, notwithstanding the difference between their geographical location and cultural heritage, actions are similar and are repeated from one location of the development of actions to geographical locations with similar conditions. Accordingly, in similar conditions the psychological picture of the nature of men’s actions is similar.

In the process of project management it is possible and even necessary to use the above mentioned as an instrument for the preliminary definition of unforeseen events.

 

A question arises of where and how the fact of similarity of psychological pictures of the nature of men’s actions can be used.

 

To answer this question global society should be regarded as an aggregate system consisting of subsystems, where globalization “is the growing independence and integration between economies and societies around the world (Nichols, 2006).” In addition, several characteristic factors of subsystem should be singled out: location of subsystems is defined by the geographical location of the development of actions; the impact of global processes is revealed in four basic spheres: economic, social, cultural, and political; the system’s vital function is performed by man with his unique individual characteristics: Gifts, Passion and Purpose (Pollard, 2008); the psychological picture and similarity of man’s actions should be studied in economic, social, cultural and political spheres, but political factor should be attached a decisive role for a country’s vital function is performed by a healthy political environment. In practice, within the network of subsystems the process of operation of factors having an impact on a set task is characterized based on the above described characteristics, therefore the similarity of systems should also be defined by these characteristics. Proceeding from the above stated, if we know the similarity of systems’ “leverage points” or similarity of “places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem), where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything” (Meadows, 1999), then based on the known example already realized in one geographical subsystem of global system it is possible by the method of comparison to make a preliminary estimate of the scenario of the expected development of events around the project. This will enable us to defend the interest of party in project, envisaged by us in case of its implementation.

Introduction & Action

Introduction

Our group's project is centered around sustainable low-cost housing in South Sudan. The mission goal of this project is to create a template of a decent, sustainable, and low-cost housing for returnees of South Sudan. A template that can also be used in other geographic areas around the world.

Action

After we have created this template, our next goal is to communicate the need for low-cost housing that brings a diminished impact on our natural resource systems. We will reach out to various NGO's, concerned citizens of South Sudan, and the South Sudanese government.