Clarity First Newsletter, December 21, 2018


Clarity First

A notebook about how we work, and learn, and love and live. 

Today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Such short days make me feel quiet and pensive. All three of our adult kids are visiting for the holidays, and that makes me feel very sentimental and appreciative. My seasonal wish for you, dear reader, is that you find the time and space to notice and celebrate your own feelings. Happy Friday. Happy Holidays.


Systems Thinking, Sustainability Thinking
System dynamics can help sustainability thinkers to better understand the issues they study.

Carlo Cuijpers is a sustainability/corporate social responsibility consultant based in the Netherlands. He observes that sustainable thinking by its very nature is, in fact, systems thinking.
Article: Systems Thinking and Sustainability: A Logical Connection


Personal Development, Leadership Development, Mindfulness
Cultivating mindfulness can change your life.

Photo by Jim Harrison for Harvard Magazine

Ellen Langer believes that most people are much more capable than they think they are. Her research suggests that the way people think is what holds back their capabilities. She is known for her “cheerfully blunt insistence on two basic premises: First, inattention is the source of most (or all) problems faced by the world’s leaders today. Second, an organization that provides a context that enables people to be mindful on the job will reap the benefits of innovation and effectiveness.”
Article: Ellen Langer on the Value of Mindfulness in Business


Personal Development
The “I can’t” mindset is a hurdle we can cross if we’re willing.

“‘I can’t’ is often the hurdle that separates problem recognition and imagination. However, if we can get past “I can’t,” we enable wonder, curiosity, creativity and, sometimes, groundbreaking innovation.”
Article: Using Imagination To Stop “I Can’t” Thinking


Design Thinking, Learning
How storytelling supports the design process

“Stories generate questions and questions expand the breadth and depth of stories, leading to lots of innovative thoughts and ideas. Storytelling becomes an important tool for feedback, which is the basis of the iterative process of prototyping that lead to solutions. Stories and prototypes are intertwined, explaining and repositioning experiences through a multitude of potential interpretations, which allow researchers to test new solutions before committing exclusively to a particular policy, program, or service.”
Article: Design Thinking and Storytelling


Presentation, Persuasion
Taking an audience-centric approach to your communication

“When it comes to communicating, we tend to fall victim to two tendencies: We suffer from the “curse of knowledge,” and we explain things in ways that work best for us, not our audience.”
Article: 6 Ways to Communicate Challenging Concepts to Your Target Audience


Teaching, Learning
Using words as teaching and learning tools

“Bloom’s Taxonomy’s verbs–also know as power verbs or thinking verbs–are extraordinarily powerful instructional planning tools. In fact, next to the concept of backward-design and power standards, they are likely the most useful tool a teacher-as-learning-designer has access to. Why?
They can be used for curriculum mapping, assessment design, lesson planning, personalizing and differentiating learning, and almost any other “thing” a teacher–or student–has to do.”
Article: 100+ Bloom’s Taxonomy Verbs For Critical Thinking


Human centered research requires that we are aware of our human biases.

“Since we have come to rely more and more on quantitative and qualitative research to take informed product/business decisions, it’s also important to ensure that the data and its method of collection is not impaired by an ignorance of cognitive biases, so as to provide meaningful value to end customers. There are more than a 100 of them (188 according to this exhaustive infographic), but for the context of User Research, I’m going to focus on 10 of them and give examples/anecdotes on why and how to avoid them.”
Article: 10 Cognitive Biases to Avoid in User Research (And How to Avoid Them)



This week the crew who curate and make NPR’s World Cafe radio show released a playlist of songs that caught their ears this year. Any list that starts with a song by Parquet Courts has me at hello.
Article: World Cafe’s Best Music of 2018 Playlist
Spotify Playlist: World Cafe’s Best of 2018 Playlist


Image of the Week

The image the week is titled Baiana in Yellow and Blue. It was shot on an iPhone 6s by Swiss photographer Alexandre Weber. About the image the artist said: “The picture was taken in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, spontaneously, after a truck drove by. The woman with traditional clothes of a “baiana”, was looking after the truck, during her work break.” The image won him the honor of Photographer of the Year in the 2018 iPhone Photography Awards.


What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by me, Mitch Anthony. I help people use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as a tool of transformation. Learn more.

If you get value from Clarity First, please pass it on.
Not a subscriber? Sign up here.
You can also read Clarity-First on the web.

Leave a Comment