Lunch with Christian Long, DesignShare
I was very fortunate to be able to take Christian Long to lunch Thursday while he was in Charlotte on business. For those of you who don’t know Christian, he’s the man behind Think:Lab, and he recently became CEO of DesignShare, a forum and clearinghouse for anyone interested in the impact of design (broadly defined) on learning.
Christian is an incredibly sharp guy, and he wears his passion for education – on his sleeve. And while I’m fascinated by the potential for DesignShare, and anxiously await news as to his plans for the future of this organization, Christian kept me on my toes with his questions about the Business/Education Partnership Forum.
Debating ideas with Christian is a little bit like diving headfirst into a blender – not a great analogy, as it’s all spinning and no blades (ie, dizzying but not painful). It was a great experience: you can’t generate strong ideas without having someone playing devil’s advocate, pushing back on your assertions, questioning your assumptions, and then finally pulling back to the big picture and asking “so what?”
He gave me a lot to think about, such as:
- What am I trying to accomplish – not only with the Biz/Ed Forum, but with my business and life?
- What does business want from education?
- Can businesspeople and educators talk? Can they really understand one another? Will they ever agree on outcomes and methodology?
- Why frame it as business/education? Why not a more holistic view of the community?
- Where’s my passion? What keeps me up until 3am? What do I want to be THE authority on?
Perhaps the most important question is the last one. It’s so, so easy to drill down into the day-to-day things, closing this project or completing that deliverable, that you can quickly lose sight of the big picture: why you’re doing it all, and how it all fits into the grand scheme of things. It was an excellent reminder to revisit the vision that launched DeHavilland, update it, and find some way to turn it into an everpresent compass that can guide everything I do.
So thank goodness for Christian, and for people like him. I have no doubt that DesignShare is bound for great things with him at its helm.
(If you’re interested, you can see Christian’s notes on lunch here.)