is another man’s engineering said the American sci fi author Robert A Heinlein.
I was reminded of this last week when I sat in on a webinar with Harold Jarche and Carrie Basham Young about Making Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) a success. I was looking at it through the L&D lens (obviously) and there was some great conversation both in the webinar and the accompanying twitter chat that have prompted some thinking. These have included adoption of ESN, assumed practice and the ‘perfect storm’ of circumstance to make ESN work.
What interested me most was a comment that Carrie made where she was talking about ROI of ESN and referenced a phrase I’d forgotten; the clothesline paradox.
First coined by Stephen Baer in 1975, the clothesline paradox was his explanation about measurement of the value of solar energy. Take some wet clothes and they can be hung on a washing line to dry. Alternatively, they can be put into a tumble dryer and they’ll also dry. In the latter example we can measure the energy to produce the tumble dryer, the cost of the design, the time to produce, the energy to work it and the time it takes to dry the clothes. In the former example, we can’t.
Does this value the tumble drying more? If we can measure something does it mean more?
Going back over the 50 big ideas which I posted last time, I was surprised by how many of them are about creating environments, extending clotheslines, warming a space, allowing freedom of movement.
So, a few questions:
- If you have a washing line, do you need to continually update your tumble dryer?
- Does not having a tumble dryer put you at a disadvantage?
- Is this a problem that learning technology suppliers have – how to sell us a more efficient tumble dryer?
- Does knowing which clothes dry best in which circumstances make THAT much of a difference?
Comments, as always, very welcome. Normal service resumed.
9 thoughts on “One man’s magic…”
Another thought provoking piece. Continuing the analogy – using the appropriate drying method for the clothing is key as this impacts the quality of the output and thus any further input or effort…. e.g. ironing!
[…] the way we’ve done things but, more importantly, our beliefs. If you’ve thought that replacing your L&D tumble dryer on a regular basis is a waste of time then these big ideas aren’t so big – you already […]
[…] @AndrewJacobsLD – One Man’s Magic … […]
I hadn’t heard of the clothesline paradox but I’m definitely going to use it but put it into Australian contexts (not that it matters) and call it the Hills Hoist paradox. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hills_Hoist. Lots of Aussie backyards have these. The only difference between a normal clothesline and a Hills Hoist is ours go around in circles. So a fitting metaphor really.
[…] the best. That means helping managers realise the value of informal learning experiences. I wrote about this previously referencing the clothesline paradox and asked the question […]
[…] to my approach. L&D can no longer be a provider, a supplier of content, an oracle of knowledge. We need to create environments and spaces for people to learn on their […]
[…] written about the clothesline paradox before and I see its relevance more and more in the work we do in L&D. Are we creating […]
[…] I’ve mentioned before, building the environment for people to choose to learn is the most effective way that LnD can […]
[…] we need to design for is interactivity with the material. This isn’t solely content; we need to avoid pushing ‘stuff’ and recognise that learning material is as much the output that others produce. The facilitator who […]