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Courage or compliance

Seth Godin posted an interesting blog today about the balance between teaching compliance and innovation; it prompted me to think about the fear-driven measurements that society has become so comfortable with using. Measuring what we know we can teach is wonderful for short term safety, yet doesn't teach many of the skills that will give us the innovation we need to find new, human-friendly ways of doing things.

It's good to aim for innovation, for sure, and before we get that, it's important to focus on doing some gardening. Grow some courage, commitment and passion - they're the food for innovation.

Here's the blog post:

"Compliance is simple to measure, simple to test for and simple to teach. Punish non-compliance, reward obedience and repeat.

Initiative is very difficult to teach to 28 students in a quiet classroom. It's difficult to brag about in a school board meeting. And it's a huge pain in the neck to do reliably.

Schools like teaching compliance. They're pretty good at it.

To top it off, until recently the customers of a school or training program (the companies that hire workers) were buying compliance by the bushel. Initiative was a red flag, not an asset.

Of course, now that's all changed. The economy has rewritten the rules, and smart organizations seek out intelligent problem solvers. Everything is different now. Except the part about how much easier it is to teach compliance."

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