Culture Change: Will you Bake The Best Cake with the Best Recipe?

The rising obsession with methods, frameworks and methodologies is rotting the Learning Culture. Perhaps it is time for Learning Culture Change.

For the longest time I looked for blogs, articles and books that could teach me a method, structure, pattern or a framework of doing something that interests me. For example a method to craft a story. However, recently I have formed a completely different point of view on what learning should be. If you have 3 mins ( estimated reading time for this blog) have a read.

As a story practitioner nothing frustrates me more than coming across an individual who is only interested in the recipe of crafting a story aka a structure or a method that can teach him/ her how to craft a story.

You may wonder what is wrong with structures, patterns and frameworks ?

Let us try and understand this with a some examples

Example 1: Baking a Cake
You bought the best recipe book on baking and decided to bake a cake.
You followed the recipe to a T but what you have baked looks and tastes very different to the cake you really wanted to bake. You tried again… but still not getting the result you desire.

Now, the recipe is like a structure, method, process and pattern that tells you exactly what steps to take to bake a cake but if you had learnt to think and expand your knowledge beyond just the recipe you would try a few different things

1) change your oven settings ( one of the most common reasons why cakes do not turn out according to the recipe, is because the oven settings vary )
2) you may add a little more baking soda
3) may be the eggs you used were smaller than the one in the recipe book and you increase the quantity from 5 to 6
and you keep experimenting until you get it right.

The key here is you are able to think beyond the recipe.


Example 2: If Alexander Fleming had followed a process
On 28 September 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming noticed a Petri dish that had been mistakenly left open was contaminated by blue-green mold from an open window, which formed a visible growth. There was a halo of inhibited bacterial growth around the mold. Fleming concluded that the mold released a substance that repressed the growth of bacteria. That is how we got Penicillin

Imagine if Fleming did not think more than was required.

Learning tips, techniques, frameworks, methods, patterns and structures dont teach you how to think. It is like a recipe that tells us what to do step by step, we just love the ease of it and we get that instant gratification

*This is exactly the reason why child prodigies rarely become adult geniuses who change the world. The reason is they are excellent at following a method, structure and all things a school wants them to be. What holds them back is that they don’t learn to be original. *They become doctors who heal their patients without fighting to fix the broken medical system or lawyers who defend clients on unfair charges but do not try to transform the laws themselves.

Have you ever wondered why author, entrepreneur, marketer, and public speaker Seth Godin never gives you a framework on how to market something? Yet, every single day he teaches via his blogs thousands of people by provoking them to think.

Magic happens when you take a structure, framework and method and marry it with your own thinking, and widen your knowledge on a discipline.

Go to a course, learn a structure, method, framework but just don’t stop there because that is the start to your learning not the end.

You may eventually learn to bake a cake with a recipe but you will never come up with a recipe if your thinking is limited to just following structures and methods.

* Originals, Adam Grant

This article was originally published on Huffington Post on 14 Feb 2017

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