Treat Your Career as a Series of Stepping Stones

From The Guardian

Graduates: Don’t hold out for the dream role straight away, but treat your career as a series of stepping stones, with each role enhancing your skills and experience.


Also be open and seize career-making opportunities as they occur rather than sticking rigidly to a mapped-out career.

A recent Careers Talk highlighted that graduates are perceived as lacking in communication, critical thinking and business skills.

So, take on roles for their skill-building value. Even non-graduate roles in retail or service industries build customer-facing and problem-solving skills — useful additions to any CV…

With a little planning, every role you take, contact you make, or project you complete can help edge you towards your dream job.

The Language of Human Thriving

In a TEDx talk, the late Peter Benson, a leader in the positive youth development movement, once said,

I like to ask adults: “What is your highest aspiration for our young?” 

Some interesting things happen.

No one has ever said, “This child of mine, my fondest wish is that they will ace statewide benchmark math and science test when they’re 16.”


I’ve never heard anybody say, “Oh, my fondest wish is that this young person will help make America more competitive in the global economy.”

No, when you actually listen to people’s statements about their dreams for our kids, you hear a very different language. 

“Kids who experience joy, kids who are connected and engaged. Kids who fall in love with their life and all of life, kids with kindness, and generosity. Kids who are happy, kids who contribute.”

That is the language of human thriving.

The best, deepest learning facilitates personal and societal transformation.

We proposed a model to help young people to thrive by finding stepping stones from curiosity to career, building on Peter Benson’s work, as part of our work in Leadership Maine in 2012.

UNE program tackles growing need for skilled health IT specialists

From MaineBiz

Supported by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the new health informatics program, which launched in January, is UNE’s first “competency-based” degree offering. It’s part of an emerging trend in higher education that recognizes there are millions of working adults who need to complete their first degree, earn a second or simply update their skills but can’t afford to put their lives on hold to do so.

Tim Greenway Left to right, Megan Landry, UNE Health Informatics program manager, Martha Velerie-Wilson, dean of the UNE College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Jay Collier, director of Computational and Digital Programs, and Ellen Beaulieu, vice-president for Strategic Initiatives, in the UNE Online Marketing office at the UNE Portland campus on February 11, 2016.
Left to right, Megan Landry, UNE Health Informatics program manager, Martha Velerie-Wilson, dean of the UNE College of Graduate and Professional Studies, Jay Collier, director of Computational and Digital Programs, and Ellen Beaulieu, vice-president for Strategic Initiatives, in the UNE Online Marketing office at the UNE Portland campus on February 11, 2016.

UNE’s online health informatics graduate program allows students to work at their own pace, completing course work in an online curriculum developed with input from key stakeholders in Maine’s health care industry. UNE President Danielle Ripich considers it an essential step in the university’s ongoing effort to meet the needs of both students seeking meaningful careers and Maine businesses that are clamoring for skilled workers.

“We need to continue to look for ways to provide access, to keep costs for students contained and to creatively educate the next generation,” she says in a commentary about the new program published in the most recent newsletter of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions. “It is an exciting time for higher education, and we can be leaders in many ways as we use our strengths to keep our programs engaged in these challenges and opportunities.”…

Jay Collier, previously the program director of Project>Login, a workforce development initiative of Educate Maine for the computing and information technology fields, recently was hired to coordinate UNE’s computational and digital programs. He sees the competency-based approach of the new health informatics programs as one that could easily apply to other disciplines as well.

“The core of this new degree program is making sure we are teaching our students to make decisions that are grounded in critical thinking,” he says. “The core competencies at the heart of the health informatics field are the same skills required by other industries as well.”

Event in Westbrook for IT professionals emphasizes skills, not degrees

[I served as lead for pursuit of the TechHire designation for Maine.]

From the Portland Press Herald – August 26, 2015

Idexx workers share their nontraditional resumes at a celebration of Maine’s TechHire designation.

Atypical IT professionals took the stage Wednesday at an event to recognize the region’s growing technology reputation and the opportunities it presents to people without college degrees.

Sen. Angus King speaks at Wednesday’s event at Idexx Laboratories. He said, “We have people with talent who are looking for jobs and we’ve got businesses looking for people with talent, and the whole idea of this initiative is to put them together.”

“We’re committed to creating opportunities for talented people wherever they gained their knowledge and skills,” said Ken Grady, Idexx’s chief information officer, at the veterinary diagnostics company’s Westbrook campus. “All of us here today agree that there are many more people in Maine who are interested and aspire to careers in digital technology, who could excel in these careers, but don’t know of the many pathways available to them.”

“We’ve got two problems: We have people with talent who are looking for jobs and we’ve got businesses looking for people with talent, and the whole idea of this initiative is to put them together, to break the barriers down,” King said.

Grady himself comes from a nontraditional background in IT. He left college after two years to join the Army, where he served as a translator and an Arabic linguist. After being discharged, he moved to San Francisco and worked the night shift on the help desk at a library automation company, “which is as exciting as it sounds.”

But while he was there, he learned enough to pursue a career in information technology.

Other Idexx employees shared their nontraditional backgrounds. Christian Ratliff, for example, grew up in inner city Pittsburgh and never graduated from college, though computers fascinated him from a young age. He began working at low-end computer jobs, but slowly built up experience and taught himself new skills. Today he’s a software development manager at Idexx and in a position to help others find their way into the technology field without a college education.

“When you’ve come up through a nontraditional path and you’ve been independent and you’ve learned from other people and really worked hard to achieve, you begin to look at resumes and interview people in a very different way because you know you’re obligated to help people in a like situation,” he said.

He’s worked at other companies where the human resources department filtered out job candidates without college degrees. He said he asked them to stop.

“I want to see those resumes, I want to talk to those people because that may be what we’re looking for,” he said.

The TechHire designation will provide Project>Login and Maine businesses a network of resources, such as partnerships with national corporations. LinkedIn, for example, could potentially help Project>Login improve its online job board and connect people with potential employers. King said he’s heard there’s $100 million in potential funding for TechHire initiatives, though nothing is set in stone.

“But frankly I think the important part is the recognition. It’s one more step in putting Maine on the IT map,” he said.

Besides Idexx, other companies have pledged to hire based on demonstrable skills, including Axiom Technologies, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Kepware Technologies, Maine Medical Center, Tyler Technologies, WEX Inc. and the state’s Office of Information Technology.

President Obama created the federal TechHire initiative in March to encourage employers to recruit and hire individuals based on technology skills regardless of where or how they obtained them. Maine was one of 30 TechHire-designated communities in the nation and one of only three states.

Toward the Integral Internet

The Cluetrain ManifestoTwelve years ago, I was sparked by The Cluetrain Manifesto, a prescient book by Rick Levine, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger. This is from the introduction:

What if the real attraction of the Internet is not its cutting-edge bells and whistles, its jazzy interface or any of the advanced technology that underlies its pipes and wires? What if, instead, the attraction is an atavistic throwback to the prehistoric human fascination with telling tales? Five thousand years ago, the marketplace was the hub of civilization, a place to which traders returned from remote lands with exotic spices, silks, monkeys, parrots, jewels — and fabulous stories.

In many ways, the Internet more resembles an ancient bazaar than it fits the business models companies try to impose upon it. Millions have flocked to the Net in an incredibly short time, not because it was user-friendly — it wasn’t — but because it seemed to offer some intangible quality long missing in action from modern life. In sharp contrast to the alienation wrought by homogenized broadcast media, sterilized mass “culture,” and the enforced anonymity of bureaucratic organizations, the Internet connected people to each other and provided a space in which the human voice would be rapidly rediscovered.

So, if Web 1.0 was the “published Web” and The Cluetrain Manifesto predicted what was to become the “social Web” (Web 2.0), I believe the next iteration, Web 3.0, will be the “Integral Internet,” where the noosphere of virtual knowledge gets better and better at interacting with fundamental human needs, values, and experiences.

Web 1.0 was “It.” We consumed what was delivered to us and our value to the marketplace was measured with demographics and psychographics.

Web 2.0 was “Us.” Now, we could easily create and share our own media with friends and strangers alike, and marketers measured our worth via the social graph of our connections.

Web 3.0 simply “is.” The deepest Integral Internet interacts with the realm of spirit, of breath. We breathe ideas and experiences, and the Internet carries them and amplifies them to others, no matter where they are. See how fast collective experience flows around the world through Twitter and Facebook. As devices become more powerful, more ubiquitous, and more miniaturized, the boundary between virtual and physical will become even more permeable. The Internet itself begins to breathe.

We’re moving toward an era of the hyper-global and the hyper-local. Joyce wrote, “In the particular is contained the universal.” Through our nearest neighbors and neighborhoods — indeed by becoming more present within ourselves — we can experience the universe more deeply.

“Here” and “away” are being inverted for our children. “Exploring” no longer means going to a new part of the world physically first, for we can learn as much through Wikipedia, Google Earth, and local blogs, than we ever used to through travelling as tourists. The greatest unknown to be explored is now within us, the mysteries of who we are: the “who” that sees the world through our particular eyes.

In the past, gatekeepers were required to intermediate our experience of the world — mostly due to less powerful technologies like papyrus and illustrated manuscripts and printing presses. They are no longer needed. We can now experience the universe more directly through the noosphere (Web 3.0, the Integral Internet) and within ourselves.

So, good bye to recorded media production conglomerates, corporate news paper delivery systems, educational institutions that glorify the life of the mind at the expense of the heart and spirit, arbitrary national governments created for stage-coach era communication.

We set our life priorities based on how we see the world. We now have new priorities for new worldviews. Perhaps we can protect that world so our children may steward it with deeper awareness and respect.

This is one of my presentations from 2009. Still relevant.

Designing an Agile Learning Culture for Teams and Organizations

CultureCon 2012I was fortunate to attend CultureCon in Boston, which focused on designing workgroup practices that embrace agile, nimble learning. This is the world into which our students will be growing.

(I’ll be processing all the conference insights for a long time. In the meantime, here are my raw tweets.)

One of the most exciting sessions led to the adoption of a set of definitions, drafted by Jim McCarthy, for Culture Design and Culture Hacking, intended as a first step toward the Agile Manifesto principles which have been applied in software development and beyond.

Until Jim posts the “official” version, here’s a sneak preview:

Culturecon 2012 Lexicon

This is a V0.1 lexicon to enable us to speak coherently with each other and others interested in this work during the dawning era of culture design. It is difficult to foresee what language we will need in its entirety, but here are a few terms we know we need right now.

We are some of the riders of the Happy Bus from Philly Culturecon to Boston Culturecon from September 12-September 14, 2012 or other culture tech leaders who were involved in or leading up to those seminal community creating events.

A Culture is the collection of behaviors, values, commitments and practices that both defines and gives expression to a group. Those components are Culture Elements.

Culture Design is the act of specifying culture elements — along with whatever collateral materials are needed — in order to enable third parties to produce intended cultural effects reliably in their own cultures of interest.

Culture Hacking is culture design that does more than one of the following in notable, admirable ways:

a) Respects/promotes/extends personal freedoms.
b) Increases personal/group democratic powers.
c) Protects personal, psychological, and/or creative safety.
d) Improves the world and/or sets it on a course of continuous improvement.
e) Subverts illegitimate authority.
f) Is especially admirable for one or more of its elegance, cleverness, beauty, efficacy, humor, and other design values of its implementation.

Culture Tech is the whole spectrum and marketplace of designed cultural innovations.

This document was written by Jim McCarthy, and had about 20 signatories. (He has the original and will, I am sure, be posting the entire list.)

Toward Learner-centered Education in Maine

To illustrate learner-centered instruction in action, the Maine Department of Education funded a series of videos focusing on students and teachers at schools that are leading the way. I’m pleased to have crafted the creative strategy, selected the production agency, coordinated the location schedule, and provided post-production feedback. Gum Spirits Productions in Portland did all the phenomenal production work.

This playlist automatically plays all 6 videos in the series.

The Maine DOE has subsequently published case studies about how these schools are navigating the transformation to learner-centered models.

Learning for change

The New Brunswick Department of Education has captured the shift toward learner-centered education with this energetic video.

This video was produced to stimulate discussion among educators and other stakeholders in public education in the province of New Brunswick. The 21st century presents unique challenges for education worldwide. In order to keep pace with global change we must focus on 21st Century Skills and public education must adapt to keep students engaged. Rigor and relevance are key.

Great resonance with the work underway within Maine’s Education Evolving initiative.

Learning in a wisdom economy

Elementary school robotics challenge
Elementary school robotics challenge, by Candace Wright

I have been involved with learning media for over 30 years, from promoting American public television programs, to producing learning resources for school districts and regional non-profit organizations, to communicating innovations in research and academics within higher education.

For me, this is the most exciting time of all to be working in this field, as creative technologies are beginning to allow students to pursue their interests, learn at their own pace, and connect with other learners, anywhere, anytime.

I am excited for my 9-year-old daughter, growing up in these fascinating times. For her, knowledge is at her fingertips, her interests are becoming a primary frame for learning both in school and out, and she is making connections between her everyday life and the generations of learners who have discovered these paths before us.

Like all parents and children, we are navigating through a new set of digital citizenship skills that are helping us thrive. With that opportunity, however, comes responsibility, and we are learning, and relearning, how to live in this new world safely, everyday.

Although we can now easily access knowledge and integrate it into our lives, what really matters is how we make choices based on that knowledge. We’ve moved from an information- and knowledge-based economy toward a wisdom economy, where every decision, small and large, is based on a deeper awareness of connections between people, places, and ideas.

Life itself is the ultimate interdisciplinary classroom.

Toward learner-centered education in Canada

IT4K12 logoI was honored to make a keynote presentation at British Columbia’s first IT4K12 conference in Vancouver this week. I met many education technology leaders who are working toward a learner-centered education system, and several demonstrated inspiring successes.

I also met Robert Martellacci of the e-learning technology consultancy Mind Share Learning; be sure to listen to his excellent interview with Susan Mann, CEO, Education Services Australia.

Through Robert, I learned more about the C21 initiative: Canadians for 21st Century Learning and Innovation which recently brought together 50 leaders from across Canada to “discuss their ideas on 21st Century learning and the changes needed to move the country’s educational system forward.”

The president of C21Canada is John Kershaw, former Deputy Minister of Education for New Brunswick.