About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How times have changed

Classes began this week for me and my nephew just left for college. Those of us old enough to remember, were reminiscing about the dreaded registration process. Years ago, we would be given a day to report to the gym. Armed with a 10 point catalog of courses and a list of at least 10-15 potential courses you wanted to sign up for, you would begin the day long ordeal called registration.

A lot of the registration process was strategy. You would try to determine before going in where each department was located in the gym (inevitably you would need one course at one end of the gym and another perhaps even in another building). Next you would need to predict which course and section you wanted would be the most popular. There were two possible strategies: go directly to the popular course, wait in line a long time, and possibly get closed out of the other courses you wanted or get the other courses, hope there was an opening for the course you wanted, but make sure there was back-up with the chances being you would not get in.

Of course, sometimes you would make a mistake in your prediction, so a course you thought would be a shoe in was the first to close. This would probably happen as you were the next or two away from registration, at which time they would post the closed section. Then you would hear the groans as everyone left the line to regroup. Once the punch cards (computer card) were gone, you could put your name on a waiting list, but chances were that was it! The registration process did not allow you to register for the class unless you had that computer card.

Registration today

Today, the registration process is at least faster and requires less than a day to sign up for the classes. However, there are other little quirks to the systems. At our school (and I am sure others), your registration is "dumped" if you have outstanding holds due to unpaid bills, parking violations, lack of medical documentation, or sometimes, the computer just doesn't like your name.

I had a health hold put on my records because the medical office was audited and my records were flagged for my not having a mumps vaccination. What the doctor and auditors did not do was to look at the records from my pediatrician (the smartest thing I ever did was to get a copy of my records when my pediatrician retired--my kids' records are now put into a central repository so they will be available even if the doctor is no longer around). You see, I HAD the mumps as a tootler. My oldest sister started school the year I was born, so my mother had 4 children under the age of 6 with mumps, german measles, and chickenpox within a year. Fortunately for me, I have no memory of my childhood illnesses, but I do have a record!

When students' registrations are dumped because of holds, it really causes a headache for the department administrators, as they scramble to get graduating students into required courses. Of course, this also means that, just like the old system, many students take your class, not because they want it, but because it fits into their schedule. This happened to me last year and I ended up spending much of the class motivating the students on the topic. I must have done a good job, however, as I received high marks on my class evaluations.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The quick fix

Tony Karrer blogged about Jay Cross's post on performance support systems. He quotes Jay as saying:
Performance Support empowered novice employees to get up to speed rapidly, to perform with a minimum of outside coaching or training, and to do the job as well or even better than experienced workers.
I am surprised that Tony did not take exception to organizations believing that they could "program" new workers to work quicker, thus discounting the importance of social interaction. Hopefully by now, organizations understand that people are not machines in which a new model or cartridge can replace an older model or older knowledge.

As I have been collecting information on my dissertation, my participants have indicated that a slower process, in which the group is developing their own materials has created better processes in the long term, even giving them a structure on which to replicate programs than having been given a document to begin their work which does not address any of the situations they have been faced with. In fact, they found when they scraped someone else's document all together, their service and work processes became much more efficient.

This leads me to conclude that up front planning and training, which may take a bit more time consuming initially, has much better long term pay-back. This reminds me of the times when I was doing marketing research for the newly deregulated natural gas industry. I got myself in trouble because we were supposed to contact a minimum amount of participants per hour. While initially it appeared that I was not productive, as I began to understand the various connections, hot topics, and players within the natural gas industry, I was able to pick up on little pieces of information others overlooked. I encouraged those that did not want to divulge information to have a discussion with me, which helped me to actually identify information others had not gotten (including a new pipe line being built in a major market that had yet to be tapped). In creating a relationship with those I interviewed, I was able to complete or at least partially answer the most questionnaires by end of the time frame we had been given. Those who initially were the star players (over the quota per hour for contact), tended to have a very low completion rate.

It is important as companies design training programs that they incorporate time into their costs. While start-up costs might be high, long term returns might be even higher.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Olympics, organizations, and the first day of class

I had my first day back at school today. What struck me as I walked about the campus was the diversity I saw. This is the first time I have really noticed the different people that make up the campus. Perhaps it comes from watching the Olympics.

I started thinking of the parallels between the Olympics and the first day of school. We start the semester with such hopes, but by the end, many are overwhelmed, elated, disappointed, and everyone is ready for the semester to end.\

Open Communication vs. Keeping a Lid on Communication

Speaking of the Olympics, there were many comments on the "openness" within China. Many complained that China did not allow the openness that many expected. However, this got me to thinking of the openness that western companies have. While our society advocates openness and discussion on paper, the fact is that many organizations (as was claimed by critics of China) make it very difficult for desenting voices to be heard.

How many times have you heard: "we have an open door policy" yet those who open the doors are asked to pass through outside (forced out of the company)? How many times has the messenger been killed? How often are desenters asked to show support for an idea so there is a "show of strength", disagreement being a sign of weakness?

We should be working on creating a more open workplace where a diversity of opinions can coexist. For this to happen, organizations need to open the reigns of control, start treating their workers with respect, create an environment in which workers feel a reciprocal sense of loyalty (they are loyal to the organization which is loyal to their employees), and have true interaction vertically as well as horizontally.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sense of Entitlement

I have discovered that blogging is probably one of the best sleeping aids anyone can have. For the last couple of weeks I haven't really been able to blog because I was on vacation and then I was preparing for the start of the semester. As a result, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts racing through my head (which is why I am now typing this at 5:30 in the morning).

The main thought came out of my son's soccer tryouts this week (football for those of you reading outside of the US). There are some parents that feel that their children should not have to follow the same rules or their children are entitled to different treatment than the rest of us. I found it very unfair that when a parent made a big stink to the coach, their sons got special treatment. Since entering high school (secondary school), I have respected my son's request to stay out his interaction with coaches unless it directly effects me (i.e. verifying procedures for picking up my son, getting details on equipment I need to buy for him). I believed I was making him into a better person who is able to stand up for himself and that those whose parents were running the show for their kids were doing their kids a disservice.

I have had to reconsider this over the year, however, as my son was humiliated by basketball coaches who made the second string bench warmers run errands for those who got to play (go fetch water, get the towel to wipe off their face, etc...) and be yelled at in front of the spectators whenever a play went wrong whether it was their fault or not (after all, it couldn't be the starter's fault for not running the play as it was laid out in practice because then why would they be starting and the others have to sit on the bench). When parents went to the principal of the school, their sons began to play, but those of us who felt our sons should work it out suffered. This was then repeated in lacrosse when my son was bumped down to a lower level when one of the "richer" and more influential parents spoke to the coach. The coach used to leave the playing field with his head down, as if he were running the gauntlet, trying to avoid parents that would ask for special privileges for their sons.

So this week, when this scene was repeated in soccer, I began to question if I am doing my son a disservice. I always assumed that by letting my son handle these problems on his own would make him a stronger person. However, I find that he has begun to lose his confidence, get angry at an unfair system in which people with influence or money, and developed a desire to quit a sport he has always enjoyed playing (although he has to work hard at it as he is not a natural at it).

I thought back to Karyn Romeis's posting a while back on entitlement that those from richer backgrounds felt. So here is what I am thinking: if the workplace has become the same way in which promotions, hiring, etc... are based on the "politics" of the workplace, shouldn't we be teaching those from underprivileged backgrounds how to use the system as those from privileged backgrounds do? Should we be focusing on teaching parents how to "hoover" in order to get what their children need? How can we teach our young people to just go ahead and take what they feel they are entitled to without getting arrested? Should we be teaching them how to create influential networks before they begin to "take" from others? At the same time, shouldn't we be exposing and speaking out against the entitlements that those with power and wealth feel are theirs for the taking? Shouldn't we teach our students how to use the internet to get around the current power structures to create a more just society?

I still wrestle with balancing the unjust system we currently have with morality of excepting that system and teaching those without access to it to manipulate the system to his or her own advantage. It is hard to go through it myself, but seeing my children suffer because of my morals is even harder.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A new way of listening?

Michele Martin's post last week on 21st Century presentation literacies was timely as I prepare for my Speech Composition and Presentation class which begins next week. I have taught this course for the last past 4 years (during Fall semester). What I have had trouble with is teaching students how to listen, and to create speeches for today's audiences (who also tend to have trouble listening).

All week long I have tried to define how listening skills have changed and thus how presentation skills must change to address this. Below is a preliminary list of my thoughts:

Listening in Soundbites: Due to the media explosion and an explosion of sound stimuli (think ipods, cell phones, powerpoint sounds, video/DVD in the classroom at one time) it is hard to keep a listener's attention. Fighting for attention through this multiple stimuli, it is important to keep messages direct and short. I feel that journalism probably has some good ideas on how to capture the attention quickly and get an idea across in short 30-60 minute soundbites without loosing the complexity of an issue. No doubt, visuals and other sounds (music, mood sounds) aid in this (see below about Visuals).

Monitoring as Listening: When I was being trained as a foreign language teacher, my professors pointed out how native speakers are able to cut in and out of conversations (internally) and still be able to understand what others had said, filling in words that are logical for the context. (Non-native speakers don't have this ability until they are very proficient in the language as they are unable to fill in the language patterns). Some cultures (languages) that are polychronic expect listeners to monitor multiple conversations, cutting in and out of multiple conversations simultaneously. English has traditionally been monochronic, meaning that we expect listeners to listen and participate in one conversation at a time (although this is not true in some of the subcultures such as Latinos, Italian-Americans, and African Americans).

I have noticed in the last few years, however, that we are moving to a more polychronic culture, especially for the younger generation. If this happens within the next generation, our students will need to learn how to monitor other conversations effectively, listening to key words and paying attention to multiple inputs, sifting through them, and giving cues to those speaking. As a teacher in Costa Rica, I became very adept at doing this and still have this ability (which my students and children are always surprised at--yes, I did hear that!). However, it takes practice. I would like to learn more about how to develop these skills as, coming from a large family, I feel I had some of these skills before going to Costa Rica. Therefore, I learned them instinctively. Teaching will be more difficult.

Visual Reinforcement: The beginning of the summer I went to the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, IL. I found it interesting that a man who was known for his oration skills had a multi-media production to get across the impact of his words. I seriously doubt Lincoln had visuals when he debated Douglas. However, this points out how our culture has changed over the last 150 years. I have actually had different information on a visual than what I said in a sample speech to my students, and they retained the visual information over the oral information.

However, integrating visuals into an oral presentation is different than creating a visual. It requires creating a visual that will reinforce the message, but not
be the message. I look at the visual as containing the data, but the presentation explains what the data means.

Story-telling and Getting the Listener's Attention: A colleague of mine, who has received numerous "best professor" awards gave me the key to her success: good story telling skills. She explained that she begins each class with a story which gets her students' attention. I was thinking of how my mind often wanders during mass (hey, it's the only quiet time I have during the week these days), until our priest will say something that catches my attention. Usually, he tells some engrossing story, but the style always changes. I would like to find more information on what gets people's attention. I have to admit that this is an area in which I am weak. I can use my "mommy" voice when necessary, but that does not guarantee that their attention will be sustained.

It is obvious, just from these few observations, that there is a shift in how people listen and how presentation skills will need to accommodate these shifts. I am sure there are many other issues that I hope to investigate over the semester.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Formulating the new work literacy framework

Tony and Michelle's
comment on my blog about "simplifying" a framework to make it accessible reminded me of the comments members of a group of researchers I belong to are always saying about my models/frameworks: They are very complex.

On the left is an example of one of the more complex ones which took research on community building and created a model of online community building. Needless to say, this is a framework in which many felt overwhelmed by the model!

However, I guess one of my problems is in determining how this framework for identifying work literacy will be used and for which audience. I found Tony's model as one of "information search", or even information literacy (which those in the field of library science have really been doing a good job on formulating), but not work literacy. I think it is important also that we distinguish between "knowledge work literacy" and "work literacy" which requires new knowledges in the 21st century.

Knowledge Work Literacy vs. Work Literacy

Knowledge work literacy (as I see it) is the understanding of the underpinning knowledge, organization, environment, and skills needed to accomplish work that is knowledge based (as opposed to material based). Michelle has outlined some good ways to categorize knowledge work. However, I would use different variables to format knowledge work: people to people knowledge work (customer service, social worker, mediator, consultants) technology to technology knowledge work (ITS, programmers, technicians, network developers), technology supported people interaction (retail, instructors, e-commerce, e-learning, radiologists, lab technicians), and information reformulators who, today, usually use technology to reformulate (analysts, librarians, journalists, web developers, instructional designers).

Work literacy, however, requires a broader vision of what is needed in today's work place. Our work processes have become much more sophisticated and complex in more traditional industries (i.e. manufacturing) which requires a higher level of thinking and access to information if a company is going to maintain a competitive edge. This makes categorizing "knowledge work" a bit more difficult. However, I think we can still apply the above categories used in knowledge work to the type of duties required by the worker. For example, within a manufacturing company, you have the personnel department who work primarily in people to people jobs. They are also information reformulators, however. Production supervisor duties are computer supported people interaction, but may also require technology to technology tasks.

Applying the new work literacy framework to the categories of workers

Now, applying the skill sets I identified previously to the category of knowledge work, we can identify which skill sets workers need to be proficient at or need training in to be "literate" in their job. This allows a more flexible and systematic way to analyze a position and what is needed to be literate for the position (rather than one size fits all). A personal assistant to the CEO in a Manufacturing plant will do both person to person duties, information reformulation, and, in many cases, computer supported person interaction. In the first case, he or she will need to have good social skill sets and good socio-cognitive (or collaboration) skill sets. In the second case, he or she will need to have good cognitive (or thinking) skill sets and socio-cognitive (or collaboration) especially at such a high profile job in order to network and put information into context for both senior management and outside stakeholders. In the final case, he or she will probably be evaluated on his or her ability to communicate and prioritize information using technology skills (such as typing X words per minutes), so performance skills will need to be used.

Process for Developing the Framework

Obviously, this is a complex idea which can't be accomplished overnight (and will probably take several years). As the comments and additions to Tony's original post suggest, there is a lot of information out there, but little work done in trying to make sense of the pieces and bring it into an accessible framework for trainers, educators, and management to use. On the one hand, it is important to make any framework we establish accessible to trainers, human resource personnel, elearning specialists, managers, educators, etc...On the other hand, it is important that there be a framework that can be used for ALL knowledge work and flexible enough to capture the complexity of today's work environment.

I would suggest that we begin by:

  1. Defining who the frame work is for. Are we looking at workers in the knowledge industry or are we looking at the new knowledge needed for workers regardless of the industry. This might take on a different look depending on which one we are developing the framework for.
  2. Once we have identified who the framework is for, we can begin to identify what type of duties workers do and develop categories to distinguish the various types of jobs and job tasks.
  3. We then will need to identified the duties and categories of jobs, we need to have an exhaustive list for each of the skills needed to accomplish these duties and categories.
  4. I would then suggest that we categorize those skills into skill sets which can be used to develop an inventory which users of the framework could then use to identify needs.
  5. Once gaps are discovered in the skill sets, we can begin to identify solutions, insuring workers are prepared for their jobs.
One note of caution: the job duties and skills needed to accomplish them will change. That is why it is so important that we identify categories that will be general enough to capture the essence of the work, but not so specific that it will be outdated in a couple of years. We need only look at the Boston Consulting Firm's 4 categories of market placement (the cash cow is still useful today as when I learned about it 20 years ago) or Roger's stages of adaptation (still used 40 years later).

Accessible, not necessarily simple

Tony and Michelle are right in wanting to develop a framework that is accessible to anyone. My graphic above is an example of something that is too complex for most to follow. At this point, though, I think we need to first make sure we have all the pieces before we begin to oversimplify the framework. As someone who tends to write too directly, it is easier to edit and consolidate, than it is to add on and create.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A new framework: Part II

As I have been thinking through the framework I mapped out in yesterday's post, I began to think of how this might be used (see the questions I asked at the end of the post). It has been my contention that workers at different times in their career may have different needs in terms of work literacy.

Using the diagram I created, I thought how these categories might be used to assess training and technology needs and how different groups might use different tool sets.

New Workers as New Hires

Coming out of school, I think most new hires are used to using cognitive and performance skills. Organizations often hire based on performance skills, and evaluates new hires during probation areas using performance skills objectives. Universities use cognitive skills, so these are the skills most new graduates use to navigate the knowledge business environment. As a result they need to develop socio-cognitive and social skill sets.

Veteran Workers as New Hires

Knowledge workers that come into a new organization, bring the social network and knowledge needed to do their job, but need to understand the new social situation they are in. As a result, they are more apt to use their social or socio-cognitive skills to accomplish their work. While performance skills may still be used to hire them, they are less apt to worry about new performance skills that will not affect their immediate job. As a result, they will resist training that is "teaching" them something for which they will not be evaluated or they will only learn the minimum level of performance to maintain their job.

This group may also need to work on their cognitive skills as they may not see the need to learn new things, instead relying on their social or social cognitive skills. They may also not be confident in their cognitive skills as they have increasingly been required to rely on their social skills to accomplish their work. However, coming into a new social climate, they will most likely want to focus on the social skills as they try to learn the "new organizational culture" of which they are now a part. It will be important for them to learn the new communication structure, the management structure within the organization, and the organizational norms while maintaining ties within the various communities of which they are a part. They may be more open to learning or using new tools that will help them to maintain these social ties. Is it any wonder why consultants are more apt to use social networking tools?

Veteran Workers within the Organization

Veteran workers within an organization will have a deep understanding of the social network and will base much of their work on the social and social cognitive skill sets. Unlike those that have moved to a new organization, though, their social skill set may, in fact, not be stretched as they become entrenched in their organization's social structure. As a result, they would be less likely to see a need in becoming a part of a new community, relying on old ties and structures. This group, therefore, may need some periodic "retooling" of their social skill sets so as not to be outdated in comparison to the changing environment. Likewise, they may also need a Performance skill set retool, as external pressures require new performance skills (i.e. video conferencing instead of just telephones, mobile technology use).

These workers also will see a need for cognitive skill set retool only for specific instances. However, they may be resistant to new ways of learning unless they are required to do so. For the most part, these veteran workers will rely on (and have a high level of ability in) socio-cognitive skill sets for their learning. They will take their cue on what to learn through interaction in teams and participation in professional organizations.

Next Topic

I think this same framework can also be used to address the different types of knowledge work, with some skill sets more important than others dependent upon the type of work and tasks workers must do. I will try to blog about that later.

An interesting statistic

Today, on the Today show from Beijing, they gave an interesting statistic:

In 1999, China had 500,000 internet users
Today, there is about 253 million.

Just think of the impact this will have on the global workforce and work literacy requirements.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Skills for Knowledge Workers

On the work literacy blog, Tony Karrer posted a framework, that I was not really satisfied with. I thought it was too simplistic, too "cookbook" like with a follow the checklist type mentality. Tony agreed, but pointed out that he really hadn't come across anything better. So I tried to come up with a "better" framework.

I'm not sure I acheived better as much as different or something that is closer to what I see are the new skills needed for knowledge workers. Some of this is based on work that I have been doing in distance learning over the last 4 years. One paper in particular which I gave at AERA in 2006 (you can find a copy on my website) is the basis for the cognitive, social, and social-cognitive skills. This came out of work I did with Dr. Hae-Doek Song in which we looked at cognition and social aspects of a distance learning course. As we developed the codes we would use for cognition and social, I felt there was a third dimension: socio-cognition.

4 Categories of Skills

Looking at the mind map I developed, you will see I have 4 categories of skills: cognitive, social, socio-cognitive, and performance. I have a note in each of the category with gives a brief description of what I think are these skills. In the case of the last skill, I think there is a type of skill, which fits more into the traditional idea of "learning" and still has a place in today's workplace.

For lack of any other term, I called it the performance skill as it is the skill that is developed and is the basis for most "performance" evaluations. These skills can easily be tested and often are learned through repetition on the job. Each individual will develop their own heuristic to accomplish these skills, but they will be evaluated on the performance rather than the "heuristic".

Framework is more Complex

While this framework, I think is more complex than
the one presented by Tony, I also think it allows for less defined skills, and more types of skills. I have put in specific skills that I think will fall into each category, however, these skills (and the categories) might change given the job, organization, or even technology over time.

This is also my first attempt. I think there can be more definition to the model in terms of the interaction between the skills (for example, what happens if the organization stresses performance skills, customers social skills, from a worker that is more comfortable with cognitive skills--such as happens with help-desk personnel?). Can this framework be used to identify types of organizations, knowledge work, personalities, or tasks? Can we then over lap these skills with technology attributes or affordances to develop an even more complex model that helps to match skills with technology or skills with affordances or outcomes?


I used a collaborative mindmapping tool (
wisemapping) to develop this mindmap. If anyone would like contribute to it, let me know and I will give you access to it. I tried to include skills we have been discussing on the workliteracy blog. There are others I have been reading lately, which I might add or might allow to give me another dimension to the map.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Time, technology, and the younger set

This post is actually going to be a series of questions that have arrived this week as I spent time with my kids and niece, leaving me with snippets of time to read some blogs (but that was about it).

Facebook and our youth

I am living in the land of You-don't-understand-I-can-do-it-because-I-know-best: in other words, a house full of teens! Imagine my shock when I found out that unbeknownst to me, my son has had a facebook for 2 months. Part of the shock was not that he wanted one, but that he didn't tell me. Of course, he got his own shock when he discovered that I had a facebook account myself. And my reaction was not to forbid him from facebook, but to friend me so I have access to his wall. There are two reasons for this: 1) I see what he is up to, and 2) his friends see that I am there--sort of like having a chaperon on the school trip. They'll still try to sneak things, but at least they know they have to be a bit more careful when they do so, because they might get caught. My son is not happy that I visit his wall and read what is on it. But I am still his parent, and he is not old enough yet to handle problems on his own when they come up. This does not mean I will handle the problems for him, but rather, I will be there to walk him through as he makes mistakes (which I am sure he will do) and not allow him to panic. Mistakes are made when we panic (Tom Haskins has some interesting insights into that) and teenagers especially tend to do stupid things when they panic.

I did notice however, that facebook provides a valuable service for teenagers. Research has shown that this is the age in which people develop socially and the social world is very important to the teenager's development. As many of my son's friends live about an hour away, he is able to maintain ties that would be difficult otherwise. He feels a part of a group. While it would make my life simpler if he was not a typical teenager, and liked to just sit at home, not succumbing to peer pressure, and growing up to be the perfect adult, I also know this would be a bit creepy. So, as any parent knows, I live in a constant state of anxiety (thankfully, I have one more year before he can drive). However, I know he is a normal kid and find that facebook helps him to feel less isolated. We did come to an agreement, though, that he is allowed only one hour a day on facebook.

Interesting Language use

Another aspect to being with teenagers for the week is the need to watch your language. The slightest thing leads to a snicker (whatever you do, don't try to discuss Lacrosse with a group of boys that don't play the game--the terms send them into gales of laughter and sexual innuendo). This lead me to something I want to work on more this year in my communication classes: the differences in register when communicating with different groups. I find many students (especially undergraduates) have difficult in changing registers. My idea is to maybe have them give a speech, then have them change the speech for a different audience (i.e. a group of your grandmother's friends, government officials, police officers, a Mother's group, a sports fan group, etc...). I'm open to any suggestions.

While I'm on the topic of language, I normally don't notice differences in the different terms used between American and British language. However, Karen Romais had the following in her blog on a very serious subject:

There is a pedestrian crossing (with traffic lights) across one section of the road, and an elevated pedestrian bridge across another, so that the boys can cross in safety. Nevertheless, many of the boys choose to ignore both these provisions and cross the road in between the heavy traffic. Many is the time I have had to slam on anchors to avoid a tragedy. The boys themselves make no effort to look before crossing - they simply step out. They make no acknowledgement of those who have had to stop for them. They seldom bother even to look in the direction of the motorist. On one occasion, when it had been a little too close for comfort, I hit my hooter. The child in question laughed at me.
Okay, I admit, I chuckled when I saw the last part about "I hit my hooter" (which I assume means car horn). I thought, yes, you have been spending too much time with the teens! But then I began to wonder how others perceived my own use of the English language. What terms might I have used that would take a second for my readers to say "oh, I think she means..."

The Time Crunch

I marvel at how people are able to maintain their blogs on a regular basis. I wonder, for example if Vicky Davis and Karyn Romeis ever sleep!

For me, the most difficult thing about summer and full-time with my children is that I don't have time to think during the day. As a result, I find I think at night when I should be sleeping. I wonder if we were given more time during the day to think, if we would be more productive at our jobs. I don't need quiet to think, but rather time when I don't have to pay attention. My kids are pretty good about "letting me get my work done". But they will still start talking in the middle of my "thinking" and even if I tell them to wait, I become guilty because I should be interacting with them. I wonder if we do the same in the workplace, interrupting work. This is especially true for those that work in open spaces or cubicles. Should we have a thinking space in offices, where those in the thinking space are not to be disturbed? I wonder sometimes if that would increase productivity. Likewise, I think there should be a "social space" in the workplace which could be a physical or a virtual space. This is were many new ideas are generated and problem solving can take place. Something to think about.