Ep. 29: Collaboration—Crime, Corporate Culture, and Chaos

This week’s episode title uses alliteration to the max. We do begin our words with other letters once we start talking. If you listen to the end, you’ll hear another audio bonus Stephanie pulled out while editing. Enjoy!

Episode notes: 

Ep. 29: Collaboration — Crime, Corporate Culture, and Chaos

  • A conscious decision or just instinct?
  • Process discipline vs. collaboration
  • Cooperation vs. collaboration
  • Organization and discipline in crime rings
  • Do crime rings thrive because of ideology or market demand?
  • The electronic silk road
  • Cybercrime groups: collaborating against vs. for something
  • Commercial: The PFL Threadless Store
  • How to incentivize collaboration
  • Do you prefer a collaborative culture or people with collaborative traits?
  • Collaboration within diverse groups
  • Collaboration vs. chaos
  • First-ever “debunking bunker”: are crowds naturally chaotic or collaborative?
  • The dark side: groupthink
  • Machine-to-machine collaboration
  • Artificial intelligence vs. Internet of Things
  • Bonus: Ray’s laugh

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1 Comment

  1. I’ve just started actually listening to this podcast (though I’ve been aware of it for months!) and I’ve managed to listen to at least four episodes in the past 24 hours, so way to go on getting my attention and engaging my interest (at least until the next Five Kingdoms or Magnus Chase books are published). The discussions often make me wish I could actually sit in and contribute, but since I can’t, here’s what I’d like to add to episode 29:

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned that organized crime rings collaborate and cooperate not only to supply the means to fill a demand, but also the circumstances that CREATE demand. Drug dealers especially play a role in getting people hooked on their product, and outside of organized crime, every good salesperson does the same thing. (Facebook has got to be one of the top sellers this century—2 billion addicts… I mean customers… I mean users!!!) Everyone is trying to sell products or ideas that further their ideologies, and the products and ideas range from genuinely beneficial to surreptitiously destructive. People whose ideologies focus on money (organized crime, for example) will try to sell anything to anyone, and will create a demand if one isn’t already in place.

    I admit that as a middle school math teacher, a large part of my job—perhaps the most important part—is convincing my students to demand something they often don’t believe they’ll ever need.

    Speaking of my work…

    Education, education, education! Collaboration and cooperation! The worst part of my job is knowing that my involvement in professional collaboration would improve my teaching and students’ learning but not being able to find people in my school who are willing to collaborate: they like their strategies and aren’t interested in trying some of the newer (like, from the 1970s) ideas coming down the pike. And wouldn’t you know? A lot of those ideas are about student collaboration and cooperation. I’m currently reading a book about orchestrating student-led/teacher directed discussions in a math class. I’m loving the implications, but lacking a collaborative community who is either experienced with this method or willing to work with me to learn it. Phew!
    But last week I attended an MTSS conference: Multi-Tiered Support Systems. Someone mentioned in this episode that a good system doesn’t require everyone or even most people in the system to have that talent, while another of you argued that talent created the system. So the interesting thing from that conference is this: both are correct, though really good systems help those in them to develop their talents to a higher level: they create a culture where more is expected and a framework is provided so that everyone who is willing to improve can meet those higher expectations, i.e., the system necessitates talent development.
    As for the talented folk who develop the systems—YES!!! The keynote speaker at this conference was Dr. Tiffany C. Anderson: a teacher-turned-principal-turned-superintendent who has completely turned around the poverty-entrenched schools and districts where she has worked. She is an amazing and dynamic educator—the things she has done for kids are just way above and beyond!—but the most important thing that she’s done is create a system that can and does function without her. The schools she has left are still succeeding because of the system she left in place—a system that was adopted by (cooperation) her subordinates and successors.


    One more note: something was said about reward vs punishment and the role that plays in collaborative and cooperative communities, particularly that systems with both rewards and punishments did better than systems that only had one. Im curious to know if “punishment” is the correct word, largely because there is a difference between punishment and discipline that is often overlooked. Punishment is about revenge; discipline is about improving (not avoiding) behaviors.

    So I guess I’m questioning the presentation of that idea. Would it be correct to say that systems operate better when there are rewards that encourage continued behaviors and penalties that teach constituents to improve their behaviors? Or does the world outside of education not care so much about improvement—if you don’t comply, you can be replaced? (I’ve seen that attitude, and the way it hampered the operations of that particular workplace. Ugh!)

    Anyway, great episode, keeping me focused on my work even when I’m not actively engaging with kids, and keeping me out of my oh-I-have-a-day-off-this-summer? induced catatonia.


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