My Notebook

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#DesignForward Day 09 – Podcast Inspirations: Reflecting on Innovative Thinking

Podcast Insights and Personal Reflections

Listening to Simon Sinek’s podcast today, I was struck by how it describes my work approach and the way I help people elevate their courses. Similarly, Thomas Heatherwick (Heatherwick Studio) talks about the importance of thinking differently.

This echoes the first step of my ‘5i Impact Cycle’ framework beginning with me immersing myself into your course or program, working closely with your teams, and experiencing the excitement and frustrations of an outsider or new participant. This perspective allows me to imagine how others will perceive and interact with your course as they progress through your welcome and onboarding sequences.

There are numerous course creators who guide you through their framework or process to build a course in a set number of days or to quickly get a course out there. They promise a transformation from your current state to a desired outcome. This is great for structuring your process and system implementation. However, truly delving into the content, understanding where your participant is at, and guiding them to an end result with milestones and successes along the way – this doesn’t fit into those standardized course structures that are designed to be completed within rigid or quick timeframes. Deep engagement is necessary, as discussed by both Simon and Thomas, and it reflects the process I use myself.

Reflecting on my past year transitioning to full-time entrepreneurship, I’ve often felt like I’m navigating a labyrinth, going in circles, yet not returning to where I started. It’s been about digging beneath the surface of the problems presented, both by myself and my clients. So, whether it’s been about assisting with a course, figuring out why participants can’t find their path, why they’re questioning their next steps, why they aren’t making progress, or why they drop off at a certain point. The issue typically isn’t where the dropout occurs; it’s something that needs to be identified much earlier in the journey.

Deep Dive into Quality and Sustainability

Simon and Thomas brought up some intriguing examples in the podcast, which I’ll paraphrase here. One is about quality clothing. For instance, I have a wool jacket that I value highly and would repair if needed, reflecting an investment in quality. In contrast, a less durable item, like a comfortable sweatshirt, might be easily discarded if damaged.

Another example relates to quality food. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, my family had a garden, and my mother spent time canning produce each fall. We’re now seeing a return to this garden-to-table approach, moving away from the processed foods that dominated for a while. These examples highlight the value of investing time and effort upfront for lasting quality.

The Unique Harmony of Music & Course Design

The podcast also touched on the subject of music. Thomas discussed how limiting it would be to only listen to one sound or beat style. However, it is the diversity and uniqueness in music make it enjoyable, a concept that applies to course design as well. 

We need a balance between process-oriented and creative elements. This mirrors the principle in heart rate-based training I shared earlier this week: a balance of stress and recovery is necessary. In course design, this balance prevents participant overload (especially cognitive overload) and discouragement.

Teaching, Creativity, & Course Design

Simon’s emphasis on teaching children to invent resonates with my experiences as a teacher and course designer. Whether it was teaching scientific research through interactive projects or programming through music, fostering creativity and thinking beyond conventional frameworks has always been a priority. This approach not only engages students but also equips them for real-world demands.

In one of my roles, teaching computer science at a higher education level, I incorporated music into teaching Python programming. This approach, while unconventional and challenging for students familiar with traditional programming, opened up a new perspective on computer science, making it relevant and engaging for a broader range of students.

A Challenge for Course Creators

As course creators and designers, it’s crucial to reassess your course from a fresh perspective.

  • Could a child navigate and engage with your course?
  • Have you provided enough background knowledge, like explaining acronyms clearly?
  • Are resources like glossaries and handouts easily accessible?

It’s important to dig deep, approaching your content as if you’re unfamiliar with it, to truly understand and solve the core issues. 

This depth of understanding is crucial, especially if your goal is to elevate your courses and surpass significant revenue milestones in the upcoming years.

Ready to Elevate Your Course in 2024? Let’s Dive Deep Together!

Are you looking to transform your course into an engaging, impactful learning experience? I’m here to help. I invite you to join me for a dedicated 2-hour deep dive into your course. Together, we’ll develop a comprehensive roadmap tailored for 2024, ensuring your course not only meets but exceeds your and your participants’ expectations.

Let’s make your course the standout success of the year. [Contact me/Book your session] now and take the first step towards unparalleled course excellence!