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How to Solve Difficult Problems

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Presentation delivered 14 October 2019 at the HighEdWeb 2019 Annual Conference.

Published in: Career
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How to Solve Difficult Problems

  1. 1. How to Solve Difficult Problems #heweb19#str1
  2. 2. #str1 Sven Aas Head of Web Services and Application Development Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts
  3. 3. #str1 @SvenAas#str1 @SvenAas Head of Web Services and Application Development Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts
  4. 4. #str1 @SvenAas
  5. 5. #str1 @SvenAas So you get a request…
  6. 6. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas organization logo
  7. 7. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas team logo
  8. 8. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas committee logo
  9. 9. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas committee mascot
  10. 10. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas committee Twitter account
  11. 11. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas mascot Twitter account
  12. 12. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas flower pot Twitter account
  13. 13. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas flower pot WordPress site
  14. 14. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas Drupal site WordPress site
  15. 15. Our needs a“ ” #str1 @SvenAas Drupal site Drupal site
  16. 16. #str1 @SvenAas How do you react?
  17. 17. #str1 @SvenAas NO
  18. 18. #str1 @SvenAas If I have to.
  19. 19. #str1 @SvenAas What’s behind this request?
  20. 20. #str1 @SvenAas Let me tell you a story
  21. 21. What problem are you trying to solve?
  22. 22. #str1 @SvenAas Here’s another story
  23. 23. It’s not a technology problem. It’s a people problem.
  24. 24. #str1 @SvenAas#str1 @SvenAas
  25. 25. It’s not a technology problem. It’s a people problem.
  26. 26. It’s not a design problem. It’s a people problem.
  27. 27. It’s not a campaign problem. It’s a people problem.
  28. 28. It’s not a Facebook problem. It’s a people problem.
  29. 29. #str1 @SvenAas Not everyone can do what you can do
  30. 30. #str1 @SvenAas Not everyone gets what you do
  31. 31. #str1 @SvenAas Not everyone understands what you do
  32. 32. Our colleagues are experts too. Often just in something else.
  33. 33. They’re just as smart as you.
  34. 34. #str1 @SvenAas People vs. People
  35. 35. #str1 @SvenAas Designers think Programmers have no aesthetic sensitivity
  36. 36. #str1 @SvenAas Programmers think Designers put style above function
  37. 37. #str1 @SvenAas Faculty think Communicators don’t care about their professional reputation
  38. 38. #str1 @SvenAas Communicators think Faculty don’t care ab0ut the institutional reputation
  39. 39. #str1 @SvenAas Administration think that IT wants to build everything from scratch just because it’s fun
  40. 40. #str1 @SvenAas IT thinks that Administration wants to customize everything that’s perfectly good out of the box
  41. 41. #str1 @SvenAas Who are we missing?
  42. 42. #str1 @SvenAas Consider the Requester
  43. 43. Maybe they’ve already done their homework
  44. 44. #str1 @SvenAas Bringing Problems
  45. 45. The Lessons of “No”
  46. 46. The First Lesson of “No”: There’s not always room for yes.
  47. 47. The Second Lesson of “No”: You shouldn’t be afraid to say no.
  48. 48. The Third Lesson of “No”: Don’t say no right away.
  49. 49. #str1 @SvenAas How Do You Feel?
  50. 50. Be Mindful of How You Feel
  51. 51. Remember that everyone is dealing with challenges of their own
  52. 52. Be kind.
  53. 53. #str1 @SvenAas Look Around
  54. 54. No one has it all figured out.
  55. 55. You’re just as smart as them.
  56. 56. Trust each other.
  57. 57. #str1 @SvenAas Limits and Boundaries
  58. 58. #str1 @SvenAas Lessons • What problem are you trying to solve? • It’s not a technology problem, it’s a people problem.
  59. 59. #str1 @SvenAas Lessons • Our colleagues are experts too. • They’re just as smart as you. • Maybe they’ve already done their homework.
  60. 60. #str1 @SvenAas Lessons • Remember these lessons when bringing problems to others. • Make it easier for them to remember.
  61. 61. #str1 @SvenAas Lessons • The lessons of no: 1. There’s not always room for yes. 2. You shouldn’t be afraid to say no. 3. Don’t say no right away
  62. 62. #str1 @SvenAas Lessons • Be mindful of how you feel • Remember that everyone is dealing with challenges of their own • Be kind
  63. 63. #str1 @SvenAas Lessons • No one has it all figured out • You’re just as smart as them
  64. 64. #str1 @SvenAas How to Solve Difficult Problems • Listen to each other. Trust each other. Be kind to each other. • Treat each other with respect from the beginning. • Assume good faith. • Help each other learn and grow and prove yourselves.
  65. 65. You know how sometimes you just can’t even?
  66. 66. Together we can, even.
  67. 67. #str1 @SvenAas Acknowledgements •Dave Cameron, for “Human at Work”, HighEdWeb 2014 and “Share Human”, HighEdWeb New England 2016, HighEdWeb 2016. •John Wagner, for “Be Kind, for Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle”, HighEdWeb 2015. •Sarah Ryder (@sarah_ryder), for her proactive and positive framings of workplace assumptions and misunderstandings. •My colleagues, for their trust, encouragement, and patience. •My family, for everything.
  68. 68. #str1 @SvenAas Questions?
  69. 69. Thank You Please stay in touch @SvenAas @Sven_Aas
  70. 70. #str1 @SvenAas Credits •Playfair Display font by Claus Eggers Sørensen via Font Squirrel •Twitter and Instagram icons by EDT.im via Iconfinder •“Take a Number” system image via Alzatex on Amazon.com

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