I have just finished reading the excellent book ‘Adapt – Why success always starts with Failure‘ by Tim Harford and in it he highlights the 3 different types of error (I think attributed originally to James Reason):
- Slips – or fat finger errors
- Violations – which are deliberate wrong doings
and then the third most dangerous of all
3. Mistakes – where the error is done on purpose because your mental model of the world is wrong
Over the years I have delivered many knowledge sharing, community building and after action reviewing workshops and along with Dave Snowden, David Gurteen, and many other presenters and trainers I admire, we had come to the conclusion that powerpoint slides should be used in moderation and that it is often important to disrupt linear thinking and change things around a bit. Lately I have been working more with engineers and I had little evidence to suggest that they thought that much differently.
It was therefore interesting to receive recent feedback on my training session that said:
I wasn’t sure about the ‘as few slides as possible’ idea, I like the philosophy, but there was a lot of talking around the first slide with the 4 quadrants. I was finding it hard to concentrate after a while and that maybe we were going around the same content in circles, so I guess more slides also helps the presenter to stay more focussed.
then after an anecdote circle complete with my twisted hazel talking stick [introduced to make the experience memorable, fun and emphasise the traditionality of the method]:
I’m quite passionate about TRIZ not being viewed as another airy fairy creativity tool, I think the hippy style native Indian ‘talking stick’ wouldn’t go down well with a more cynical crowd – I’d say maybe replace with a sleek bit of carbon fibre tube or a nice tube of precision turned black steel that that an engineer would desire some interaction with : )
It just goes to show:
- one size does not fit all.
- My mental model of how to facilitate and share learning is flawed, so it is a mistake to assume everyone dislikes PowerPoint slides or will really enjoy passing round the furry ended, feathery, talking stick.
- Feedback loops like the course assessment sheets are vital to pick up weak signals, different perspectives and highlight possible mistakes.