What I learnt under lockdown (ii)

Stay home, stay safe

This is the sequel to a two-part series on what I learnt at home while my city under lockdown. As promised in the prequel to this post, here are some other things I learnt while under lockdown, beginning with…..

Creative thinking techniques

This was a seven-week online course on Coursera offered by the Imperial College, London. Just for the fun of it, and its intriguing name, I enrolled. Boy was it was worth every second of my time! A slew of creativity tools like brainstorming, SCAMPER, morphological analysis, and the six-coloured thinking hats was among the new things I learnt. Learning to address everyday challenges through some of the fun and creative methods taught in the course has been my biggest takeaway.

Social Innovation: becoming an agent of social change

This six-week masterclass from the University of Cape Town opened me up to how to tackle some of the complex problems that have always been in society. Learning to dig deeper into the causes of “wicked” problems, as described by Horst Rittel & Melvin Webber, has been the biggest revelation yet. One way of doing this is the five whys approach (some people call it the three whys or seven whys) which was developed by Toyota. This helps peel layers off of problems by asking insightful questions, thus unearthing even different dimensions of the problem.

Appreciative Inquiry

Still on the Social Innovation course, the theory of appreciative inquiry stood out as a new technique worth studying. Propounded by David Cooperrider and his colleagues, they observe that always asking ‘what is not working?’ in, say, an organization and finding ways to fix same isn’t all there is to making those organizations better. They argue that finding what works in such an organization, what potentials are available, and then focusing on the strengths rather than the weaknesses can go a long way to make a tremendous impact.

Finding hidden resources

Regardless of whatever next step you want to take, you’re going to need some resources to get you started. How many of these resources do you think are around you, ignored by you and everyone else? An old computer, a dusty garage, old items of furniture, parks and other public spaces, coffee shops? How about the retired professional next door, or the kids in the neighbourhood? The list of resources is endless. And you don’t have to break the bank to get them.

Getting out of your comfort zone

We’ve all seen essays and heard sermons on getting out of the comfort zone. I’d be preaching to the choir if I said anymore. But the slightly different twist to it in the course was about the different lenses through which change is viewed, namely the sociological, spiritual and psychological lenses of difference. Also contained in there was how to overcome and put aside one’s biases when taking that bold step out of the comfort zone to engage other people outside of our community. This includes being open to others’ perspectives and points of view.

There you have it. My only silver lining in the dark COVID-19 clouds over most of the world. How are you holding up under these times we find ourselves? Do share how you kept yourself engaged during the lockdown.

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