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Posts Tagged ‘graph

I thought of tweeting a response to this tweet. But I realised that a short form reply might send the wrong tone and not provide enough fuel for thought.

For the record, I wanted to caution against taking that particular adaptation of a Kübler-Ross curve seriously.

First, how valid is applying the original concept for stages of dealing with grief to organisational or systemic change? Just what, if any, transfers from the stages of grief as a result of the personal loss of a loved one to a complex system of seemingly disconnected parts?

Next, the curve is an over simplistic representation of how change works. The graphic illustrates assured directionality (left to right), and clear and fixed phases. Change is not that straightforward or guaranteed.

It is also one thing to describe possible patterns in various forms of change, it is another to prescribe the graphic as a model. I cannot imagine any well-read change leader taking all the graphic seriously.

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This reminds me of another oft-cited visual: The Gartner hype cycle for technology adoption.

Critics of the Gardner cycle point out that it is not actually a cycle (duh!). However, it has better utility than the adapted Kübler-Ross curve — one can slide forward or backwards on the Gartner curve.

For example, a technology like Second Life was in the trough of disillusionment, headed for higher ground, and then firmly slid back.

Both representations of change do not seem to have been rigorously tested. Both are devoid of contexts where other factors might dictate the rate and processes of change.

One example of a non-represented factor is change in leadership, and along with it the changes in policy. The actions that follow can seem quick and drastic.

My takeaway is a reminder to be skeptical within reason. Visuals can captivate, but they can also misrepresent. It is tempting to simplify; it is more important to embrace nuance.


Ever since I started facilitated MLS118/125 (Managing ICT-Mediated Change), I have been collecting data from my participants to get insights on how best to design lessons around them.

One thing I collect from participants is their preferred mobile operating system.

Participants in my elective are typically more tech-savvy as they are more likely to be heads of ICT in their schools.

In Jan 2011, I was merely interested in how many of them had smartphones. Thereafter, I wanted to know what proportion were on what operating system.

The change is obvious and I make instructional decisions based on the data. For example, I used to be able to rely mostly on iOS-only apps for the mobile learning components of my course. Now I have to make sure there are options on both major platforms.

I can also make inferences based on their choice of platform. For example, recent market buzz or device cost might be foremost factors and this in turn could reflect mindset of use.

All these add up to the principle of making data-informed decisions instead of ones that merely feel good or ones based on bias.

The image below was taken from Nancy Pelosi’s Flicker stream. Pelosi is the  Speaker of the House of Representatives in the USA.

The graphic needs little explanation, but if you need details, click on the link above.

Whether you are a visual learner or not, visuals often say things more loudly than words.

Click to see all the nominees!

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