Friday, 10 February 2012

The V&A Moment

Eric Gill - 'Mankind' as seen at the V&A Museum London

I recently spent a couple of indulgent hours at the V&A.  It was the first morning of our Creative Industries module on the MICL (Masters in Innovation, Creativity and Leadership at City University London) and we were to look for inspiration for our 'artefact' assignment and to begin our Reflective Journals.

For a business person with a business family life who lives out of London, this felt very special and exciting, if a little daunting. I hadn't visited for years and I was required to equip myself with drawing and writing materials.  In the stationers the day before, I had taken my time to choose, like a child in a sweetie shop.  I selected an A4, hard-backed sketch book with black pages, metallic pens and a box of oil pastels.  This was something new for me and I was excited.  My choice of materials was my way of pushing myself into a new space.  Black, plain pages rather than white, lined.  Coloured pens rather than a black ballpoint.  A pencil case!  Hadn't had one of those since school.

I loved those few hours in the museum.  We were asked to find something that 'sang' to us.  Perfect instructions.  I headed off to find a statue I had noticed on the way in, that had, indeed, 'sung' to me.
I sat on a fold-up stool.  No conversation.  No interruptions.  Just me and my thoughts, feelings and my self-expression on the page.  What a great way to start on a Reflective Journal...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Reflections on Reflection


I was asked recently to speak to Business Studies undergrads at Cass Business School on the topic of Reflective Practice.  Pulling strands together from my current academic endeavours, my career to-date and my busy family life, I realised just how important it is to being a fully rounded human being!  How I wish someone had introduced me to Reflective Practive as an undergraduate or even earlier in my education.  It seems to me to be a life skill we should all learn early so that it becomes second nature.

Being able to look back at an incident to examine what went well and what didn't is so important in many ways.  Recognising feelings, behaviour patterns and mental models is relevant to relationships, team working, leadership, creativity, innovation, self-awareness, confidence, motivation...

Why is it then, that very few organisations seem to encourage it?  Reflection requires time, space and a desire to discover how things really are.  Have I just answered my own question?!