Learning & development – Funky Thinkers

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Dr Aaron Smith PhD – What does it take to make a good school?

Dr Aaron Smith started with the question

"What does it take to make a good school?"

Like most Funky Thinker questions - it is harder than it appears at first glance.

It requires some sit down and talk time - Funky or what?

After a quick trip round the size of aircraft carriers at Norfolk Virginia and Portsmouth (UK), we decided that the worst place in the world to be was on the flight deck of one on 4th July.

The temperature is 110 degrees. (That's 43 Celsius - or very hot) and you are cleaning rust off. Nice

We got to talking about education and things which are required for a good school - that it is very hard to measure and therefore articulate in simple terms.

Like culture, the way things are done. Relationships between school and home and more.

I often wonder if the desert island question still has a place in the world.

Turns out it really has - not for the few minutes we allow it on the show - but for a wider group or team discussion.

aaron smith

Too busy to listen to the full episode?Watch these insights?

How to really detox from social media

Is testing in schools the only success measure?

What does it take to make a good school?

Shannon Evans – Arrogance is an ignorance

shannon evans
shannon evans

Shannon Evans - Contact via https://www.thescholarcoach.com/​The scholar coach​​​

As often is the case  - guests come up with something which either - by accident or design - drills right to the heart of Funky Thinkers.

Shannon said Arrogance is an Ignorance.

Arrogance - caused by ignorance is probably one of the biggest threats to mankind - aside from the whole in the ozone layer.

Shannon is writing a book - which may now have a title - aimed at young women going to college.

We talked about catch phrases, leadership and self starting.

Shannon was probably one of the most organised people ever to go to the Funky Thinkers desert island - you will have to listen to find out why.

Too busy to listen to the full episode - watch the extract below.

Other episodes I refer to Dave Blum - Everett De Morier and Diana Bianchi


Dave Blum – Team building that is actually FUN…

Dave Blum - Team building that is actually FUN...

Dave Blum
Dave Blum

Dave Blum - Contact via www.drclue.com

Hands up anyone who has been on one of those corporate team building sessions.

Now keep your hands up if you wanted to strangle your fellow team members at the end of the session...

Not so with Funky Thinker 112 - Dave Blum.

Dave runs team building events as scavenger hunts. Anywhere in the world. Solving puzzles, riddles and more. Better than planning to build a dam wall with a few old newspapers and some sticky tape. right?

Also cropped up - trail running & change of lifestyle generally.

Dave would like to get stuck in a lift (or elevator) with Gene Wilder. (Willy Wonka, Blazing saddles and a whole stack more).

Bruce Springsteen cropped up - I think for the first time - as did Elvis Costello - definitely the first time and definitely definitive 1977 cool.

Dave Blum Tattoo 112

Too busy to listen to the full episode ? Watch the extract below.

Never seen Elvis Costello ? Now is your chance

Tapping into original Funky Thinkers with Julio Briones

Tapping into original Funky Thinkers with Julio Briones

Julio Briones
Julio Briones

Julio Briones

Contact via answermanspecialtyservicesllc.com

After a brief trip round Bruce Springsteen album names, we settle down to business.

Capitalism - the running of business for a profit tends to focus on the cool stuff.

Very little focus and attention is placed on what happens when someone is unable (or unwilling) to carry out their job.

Julio Briones has thought of that.

Answerman Speciality Services can provide help, advice and consulting when family members or employees have been arrested, got into trouble with drugs, legal issues or anything which is likely to take their mind off the issue of working or being productive.

We talk about punk rock - not this modern new fangled stuff - the original 1970's acts. The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned, The Stranglers. 

Which is interesting - because recently, there was a big thing in the news about Madonna at 60. 

Well, I have to say - there would be no Madonna (or Spice Girls or Girls Aloud or Rihanna or Lady Gaga any of those without an original Funky Thinker - Siouxsie Sioux. There is a video at the bottom of this page.

Remember - Funky Thinkers is about getting an idea or an insight that you wouldn't ordinarily have got - by hanging round with "the usual crowd."

You went where?

#Funky Thinkers - Stephanie Hubka

stephanie Hubka
stephanie Hubka

Stephanie Hubka - Washington DC

Stephanie Hubka wants to live in a world where learning is exciting and inspiring and training is recognized as a natural driver of an organization’s strategy. As the managing partner at Protos Learning, her work focuses on learning innovation and technology, training design and delivery, and evaluation. During her career she has designed, developed, and delivered hundreds of instructor-led and online learning events for global audiences. She is also the co-founder and travel writer for Road Unraveled, a website that encourages people to use their vacation time.

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Stephanie is a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP). She is a past president of the Metro DC Chapter of ATD and serves as a National Advisor for Chapters for ATD, and she is the communications chair for the International Association of Continuing Education and Training (IACET). Her passion for training is equaled only by her love of exploring the globe; an avid traveler, she has visited all 7 continents, 60 countries, and all 50 US states.

tina fey

Tina Fey would play Stephanie Hubka in a film.

Contact Stephanie via StephanieHubka.com

(By the way - if you are into learning and development, you should also listen to funky thinker Helen Blunden).

I know which one I would take home to meet my mum…

I know which one I would take home to meet my mum...

helen blunden

Helen Blunden - Melbourne, Australia

From Navy Blue to Corporate Grey, after 10 years in military (& additional 11 years in the Reserves), I went into corporate into Training departments only to realise that 'knowledge workers' were not being prepared for changes in their jobs, work and life. Focus is now helping people to learn how to learn so that they can manage information, build networks, engage in communities and build their own professional identity and reputation online through social networks and platforms.

Who would play Helen Blunden in a film?

elaine benes

Elaine Benes from Seinfeld ?


Fran from Blackbooks. ?

I know which one I would take home to meet my mum...

Not just management as usual

Not just management as usual


David Holzmer PhD

Dr. David Holzmer is researcher, consultant, and leadership innovator who has pioneered new, more effective strategies for helping businesses awaken workforce engagement, creativity and resilience. Through evidence-based approaches, he teaches companies how to break free of "management-as-usual" and the outdated practices that actually stifle intelligence, creativity, and initiative.
Instead, he shows organizations how to develop cultures that are better equipped to navigate continuous change and align with the critical forces now driving value-creation in the 21st century.

Raised in a small family business, David understood early on the struggles organizations go through to work together and be successful. At the family's hardware store, David learned quickly that this process was never easy. For example, despite his family's best efforts, David saw that one of the hardest parts of business was keeping workers and management on the same page.

As the technology transformed the world of business and the job of managing a workforce, the hardware store struggled to keep pace. Around the time the hardware store closed, David was ready for a change. Seeking work more aligned with his people-centered values, David began what would become a 16-year career in the human service industry.

While the work with clients very gratifying, David was soon encountering the same us-versus-them workplace dynamic he saw in the hardware store. His frustration grew as, once again, he saw how these divisions make the job more difficult, kept morale low, and lowered the quality of service experienced by end-users.

Now a supervisor and desperate for solutions, David thought that more education was surely the answer! This led, in 2006, to a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Leadership. While this training offered David a broader range of management skills, he eventually realized that even the "newest" management thinking was basically a gentler version of the same ineffective top-down strategies he learned at the family hardware store.

In fact, now fully-convinced that most mainstream management approaches actually stifle workers' intelligence, creativity, and initiative, David decided to go further in his education in the hopes of finding more effective alternatives and becoming part of the solution.

In early 2017 David earned a Ph.D. in Ethical and Creative Leadership. His original research helped to expand mainstream understanding of how, even under the most turbulent conditions, organizations are able to keep their workforces creative, resilient, and--most importantly--engaged. David found that the key factors had little to do with traditional supports such as compensation, training, or resources. David's findings indicated that the key was in creating supportive work environments that leaned less on formal rules and control measures. Instead, the most effective team environments were those in which managers were consistently focused on creating collaborative work environments high in psychological safety, interdependence, coherence, and shared experiences.

David's findings are now creating something of a buzz in both academic and mainstream circles. This has included opportunities to present his original approach to management and leadership in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Through his consulting practice David is now sharing his ideas through trainings and keynote presentations to organizations across the globe.