Show Your Work! Review:
Another delightful read based on Austin Kleon’s winning formula: short, direct chapters; humor throughout; illustrations to help crystalize concepts; quotes from a variety of people and genres; stories from the experience to add even more of a “can-do” feel.
As much as I enjoyed this quick read however, it didn’t sit with me as well as the previous book of Kleon’s that I read: Steal Like an Artist! I believe it had everything to do with the perspective from which I was reading this book.
Being an educator, I read Steal Like an Artist! and found many connections to lessons and experiences that I’ve either created or participated in for learners – young and adult. I opened up this book, eager with the same anticipation, but found it much harder to find ideas that I could directly apply to my educational audiences.
Please don’t think there is no value here; there are a great number of ideas between the front and back covers for folks that are trying to more with self-promotion and discovery, And I don’t doubt that there are some ideas in here that need to percolate in my head, like a slow hunch, before they find different ideas to collide with and become more than they were on their own. They just haven’t yet.
So while I wait for that to happen, I’ll at least capture the educationally-connected ideas that did jump out at me personally during my first read through. And following Kleon’s lead, I’ll make a list… :-)
1. You don’t have to be a genius.
Instead be part of a “scenius” – a group of creative people (perhaps a scene of geniuses?). This connects to me when I consider how IDEO often talks about creating teams of diverse learners to work through their design challenges.
2. Think process, not product.
Becoming a documentarian is something that I try to encourage in all my #MakerEd work, particularly on my own Tales Not Yet Told section of my site. This is particularly important for my learners when I ask them to reflect on their work, either to become intentional about their metacognitive processes or to remember how they did something that they want to do again :-)
3. Share something small every day.
This is particularly easy to grasp, especially if you are thinking about #2. Twitter is probably my personal goto for my #MakerEd and #dtk12 work, but I would love to consider this as a part of the logbook idea from the Steal Like an Artist list. I do wonder if they should be separate however, especially if you consider a logbook as an end-of-day summary and sharing something small part of the in-process work. For my learners, this might look like a moment to display their current prototypes for critique and feedback from peers.
4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities.
This is the struggle for me, even though it has curiosities in it. Pursuing curiosities is a huge part of my educational philosophy, which is why I’m upset I don’t see the immediate fit. I understand the dangers of hoarding, especially with sharing needing to become the new default. I often talk about how open source is a phenomenal boon for innovation, especially to my learners. But I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one for learners… maybe it’s because my cabinet is already open?
5. Tell good stories.
This one was right on. If you do any work with design thinking, and how finding and sharing via stories is clutch, then you’ll know where I’m coming from. The other delightful find in here were examples of behavior over time graphs that I’d recently found out about at a summer conference. It was great to see one in use in both an “academic” setting to help make a its usage in a reflective context more concrete.
6. Teach what you know.
For me, this is more about sharing what you’ve learned, not so much what you’ve done. There are parts of nearly all the other list elements this one.
7. Don’t turn into human spam.
This is a fear of mine. As I continue to share my work, it is important to make sure that I engage with others work too. Making time to comment, retweet with quote, and engage via reply are something that I know I need begin putting into my workflow. The graphic of a faded line turning to a solid line as it went from “hoarder” to “contributor” to “spammer” on the Sharing Continuum was particularly powerful.
8. Learn to take a punch.
This for me is simply about feedback, particularly in creative problem solving sessions and design thinking work – but don’t think it is limited to there. There is a vulnerability component here that one must over come in order to make ideas better. Remember, it’s not about falling in love with your solution, it’s about falling in love with your user/problem.
9. Sell out.
Another tough one for me to connect with.
10. Stick around.
A lesson in perseverance really. You always have something to contribute to a team, even if it isn’t the team you are currently on.