Leading through Visualization

Two weeks ago, Bonnie Stewart invited me to speak to #Ed6170: a faculty summer course in educational leadership sponsored by the University of Prince Edward Island. Bonnie focused her curriculum around leading under complex and changing conditions, because (1) it’s relevant and 2) it’s challenging.  In a move that I find particularly admirable, she created assignments that require her students engage with the content through multiple modalities.  Among other tasks, they will be making concept maps and infographics.

Bonnie and I went back and forth for several weeks on how I might contribute to the curriculum, and we finally settled on the idea of leading through visualization because it hit on strategies for leading teams through complex problems and contexts while also providing her students with some concrete tips on how to complete their visual assignments.

Creating this presentation required me to connect pedagogy, leadership, and information visualization, so I drew a direct line through constructionism (Papert) to learning communities  (Wenger) to reflective practice (Schon) to quantitative data visualization principles (Tufte).  It was fun to build the scaffolding for what is intuitive for some people, but not for others.  This presentation is about pointing out the obvious. I think simplicity is underestimated.  Sometimes, you just have to say things.

I have a summary of the presentation on my Messy Thinking blog site if you would like to see.  If you’d like the complete slide deck, it’s on slideshare.net.

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