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David Caton Roberts - Salford University

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Asking Great Questions!

Posted: Sep 03, 2011

 I think it was Alber Einstein that gave the advice about asking great questions. The ideas was that if the question was right then the answers would follow - 95% of the time and effort should go into asking the question. 

One of my favourite questions is to ask 'What is art?' my next favourite question is to ask 'What question did I ask these people that I met in Finland recently?' 

I invite you to answer either question :-)





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Sep 07, 2011 : alexf Says:

Nice post David! Off the top of my head, I think you asked them either 'what is work' or 'what is art'. To answer the latter off the top of my head, I would say that art is an extremely wide definition to encompass creativity, thought and physical objects. A quick Google tells me that the definition is 1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. 2. Works produced by such skill and imagination. I think this a huge and fascinating question though - as is, 'what is work'. Thanks for the mental work out as usual and look forward to another philosophy friday soon.

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Societal Innovation

Societal Innovation

Posted: Aug 03, 2011

Here is a post from a collaborative project that I  am involved with which works in the area of Societal Innovation


What is Societal Innovation? 

Societal innovation is about new ways of organising for an uncertain future.

Key themes emerge in society, and in the western world we are challenged as we move from a consumer society and a focus on short term gain to a society where the world of work has changed and is uncertain, we are living longer,  natural resources are limited, and our education system is geared around an industrial model which is no longer relevant.

societal innovation is about asking and finding ways forward to the challenges of work, worklessness, and how we are to make meaning from our work.  It asks ‘how can the future look for young people and those currently not engaged in meaningful work.’ It investigates ways in which work and working practices can accommodate all in society.

It investigates how ‘silver potential’ can be exploited for the benefit of society and its citizens –  retirement after 40 years farming the land or mining the ground was an inevitable consequence for a worn out body, yet today people in the prime of health and intellect are leaving our organisations. People thinking about  Societal innovation ask ‘how can the skills, wisdom, know how, and experience of all members of society co-create and co-operate for the good of all?’

Our education systems have served us well, however how will learning need to develop to meet the uncertain needs of the knowledge society. What skill and knowledge will need to be learned, when will in need to be learned, where will it need to be learned, and at what stage in life. Societal innovation asks the question “what will the school of the future be like, and at what age will the students attend?”

We see changes and examples from our own experiences which  highlight these issues and , at the same time, give a glimpse into the future: Some doctors are working in excess of 80 hours a week whilst in some families three generations have not worked; Ivan J Goldberg and Will Hopper –both octogenarians – write and publish insightful blogs about business, economics, and politics; Despite the best efforts of governments, University lecturers, and their students over 20% (probably much more) are unsuccessful in finding graduate work.

How can you contribute?


Please come an visit us at - we would like you to contribute and we would like to hear and see your comments.

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Aug 04, 2011 : alexfenton Says:

Fascinating post David, I've posted my thoughts from my subject area to your new website and to Creative Hive also.

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