Envisioning My Future – Day 2

After having slept on the questions from VizBot regarding the arrangements on day 1, I began the process for day 2. Here is my write up from day 2:

Dear VizBot,

Thank you for your responses. It is remarkable how your canned responses feel like they are meant for me. I also appreciate the inspirational video on creativity. I have some of that blackness in my mind.

Looking at your annotated image,

the row of pencils feels like a palisade that I may fall and impale myself upon if that single rope from which I hang breaks. Yet as you say, there is all that energy and cooperation in the swirls of the fish moving toward the aspirational tenure. If I were only to reach my window washing arm out a little further I could pull myself into that swirl. Tenure is traditionally such a competitive and lonely sport. That is a choice I am trying to reject. Yet, for some reason, I continue to feel the pressure to adhere my perception of the historical patterns. Why is that?

Now I will go downstairs and rearrange those images.

I did not head down stairs. Instead, I cleared a space on the desk to my right, turned over the visual ID sheet from the Reinventing University-Level Learning workshop on Monday, and in less than a minute had the same set of images rearranged as shown below:

I was amazed and energized by the new storyline that quickly and easily came out of those same cards.

Instead of placing tenure as the aspirational goal toward which I am working, I placed it as the historical antecedents from which the system that I am in has been designed. The reflective hands above are suggesting there is a new way that reflects how most of the useful work that we do today is done: instead of working alone I’m a part of a system of cooperating individuals doing the divergence and convergence thing to move forward together toward a shared vision. This team of people supports me in my work so that even if the single rope breaks, I will not fall. The window washer is hip deep in that system, indicating that I am part of that team. While I am doing some things as an individual, I am rooted in and supported by that team. It is interesting that I positioned myself above one of the vortices. Does this reflect the chaotic emergence of the current state of my research work, in which there is much more divergence than convergence as we generate new ideas and concepts, and start figuring out how to work together as a team?

In addition, the energy of the team creates such a powerful energizing wind that it is pushing me up a hill like a skier, and I am moving so fast that I am crouched like a fast skier going downhill. This hill up which I am skiing is formed from the diverse skills, experiences and perspectives that I have collected. It also includes those skills, experiences and perspectives from my team, as indicated by the violet and tan colors of the fish that are mirrored in the pencils.

For some reason, I placed the prow of the boat in front of me. It certainly implies directionality. As I look at this more, the boat also seems to be a container into which I fit. Perhaps this container is my tenure case, or, even better, perhaps it is the legacy of the things to which I have contributed and from which I will weave my tenure case.

Yesterday, I was discouraged after doing my images. This morning I am energized. This is such a much more enabling storyline for me.

I sent the above text and images to Christine, and awaited her reply, which said:

The Vizbot knows…..

Nice to see you were able to find a more inspiring  story! It will be sitting waiting for you when you start to make plans for how to move into action. Before you jump there, would you be willing to see if there is another story in there?

Any way you could tell the story with the individual images standing for different parts of the story?

Once again, it was time to sleep on it before doing another arrangement for day 3.

About davidsocha

In autumn 2010 after spending 19 years working in a variety of software organizations as a programmer, architect, manager, teacher, ScrumMaster, product designer, change agent, and agile coach, I finally listened to what everyone had been telling me I should be doing and joined the University of Washington Bothell as an Assistant Professor in Computing & Software Systems. My interests are how to create and maintain great teams, particularly those in software development organizations. I am most interested in distinctions that dramatically increase the effectiveness of teams, such as systems thinking, design thinking, biomimicry, and human centered design. I am a pragmatist, a collaborator, and an optimist.
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