This post about our founder Asha Murphy and her ideas makes interesting reading. Apart from educational insights it provides advice on how to take a start-up to the next level.
Believing that the politicians who set the agendas for schools know best, we leave education of our children to our schools. Is that wise?
In the many discussions I have with parents the feelings of concern and frustration are widespread. What parents can see is that most of the jobs that exist today will not be available for our kids in five to ten years’ time. Yet we are training them for a yesterday’s world. For example, how often do you sit a test at work? The education system is not keeping up with the ever-changing dynamics of our business landscape. Actually, it is going in the opposite direction.
Asha Murphy, a teacher of 40 years of working with children aged from 3 to 18, has created the perfect solution that prepares our children for a world that is dynamic and ever changing. Her approach is to ensure that the main operating system, The Brain, uses its neuroplasticity to enable thinking processes that are adaptive and geared for problem solving and curiosity. Her solution comes in the form of an app and has been built for convenience for parents to augment their children’s learning.
Asha came to me with her work and together we have been developing her product ready for market. Let’s find out more about her journey and discover what she sees as the benefits in students who work with the app and how their learning approach has changed.
How would you describe what you do?
You know how the world is changing faster and faster, so that no-one can predict what will happen in five years let alone when today’s kindergarten children leave school? Yes? I’ve been saying it for over twenty years and now some powerful researchers are shouting about it:
- Check out Sir Ken Robinson’s 2010 TED talk: “Changing education paradigms” where he links 3 troubling trends: rising drop-out rates, schools’ dwindling stake in the arts and ADHD;
- Read John Baker’s “Industrial Age Education is a disservice to students” in the Huffington Post; and
- Even some out-of-power politicians talk about it: “Labour calls time on ‘exam factory’ approach to schooling” in the Guardian.
It is clear we are not training our children to cope with the future. Although we are supplying dangerous, cocaine-like medication such as Ritalin to get more and more kids through it. Yet another warning that things are not right. We must change.
To our children, our current educational methods are alien and don’t work. If we are honest, we recognise this too. That’s why some educationalists are turning to the model of “Neurodevelopmental Framework for Learning”. What this approach focuses on is the way the brain works in each individual child.
What I have created is a way to give today’s children the neurodevelopmental framework friendly instruction they need so they can quickly assimilate relevant knowledge and processes when they need them. This neurodevelopmental framework will enable them to take advantage of the move towards “Just In Time” education anticipated by the University of Pennsylvania in 2000.
With the right neurodevelopmental framework, our children will thrive and deal with the new world problems in a nimble and confident way.
There is no reason why our children should not have the right neurodevelopmental framework scaffolding “installed” by our education system. But it’s not. Changing this is what gets me out of bed energised each morning.
My mission is to take the anxiety out of learning and development for parents and children and give them the right hardware to navigate this changing environment. The results are extraordinary.
When did this start?
For over two decades, I have been ahead of the education wave with my neurodevelopmental framework (“neuro framework” for short) insights into educating children. As a teacher I learned of failings first hand and published a book “Mathematical Journey” about applying my ideas to Maths in 2001.
While waiting for the world to catch up, I gathered some local supporters and implemented a practical demonstration of my solution. The first app was a moderate success, but I knew it wasn’t achieving the goal of helping hundreds of thousands of children. I had to aim bigger but wasn’t sure where to start.
I was so close to my project and so passionate about it that I got deep in the detail and lost the external perspective that would help me present my ideas to others. I realised that I needed support and assistance. That’s when I came across the process of Lean Commercialisation and Brian Dorricott.
What impact did Lean Commercialisation have?
There were many impacts that applying the process of Lean Commercialisation has made to my project but I’d like to concentrate on the two that had the biggest impact for me: Value Proposition Design and Building Presentations.
Value Proposition Design
Though I’d read Alexander Osterwalder’s book on “Value Proposition Design”, read blogs and listened to podcasts but I was unable to translate the theory into practice. How did I apply the “Value Proposition” model to “Neurodevelopmental Frameworks”?
Brian presented the concepts in a clear, simple way that was pertinent to my experience. The fact that we worked on my proposition made it all possible. The persistent, intelligent questions (done with humour) helped me concentrate on articulating the essence of my proposition. I realised I had been hiding one of the key values of my proposition: my extensive knowledge and expertise in education.
Brian provided a process for creating a compelling story to generate the impact that I need both from a technical and emotional point of view. Until now, I had always been reticent about presenting my ideas because I felt I lacked a good structure and confidence. Being a thought leader of neurodevelopmental frameworks in education is not enough – I must be prepared to do presentations whenever and wherever they are needed.
I’ve used the techniques for three completely different situations:
- Potential Partners. For the first time, I’m in the process of engaging strategic partners who have the same core values.
- Fund Raising. Taking the concept of the “company journey” through past, present and into the future has allowed me a create a compelling fund-raising proposition which I’ll be using in the New Year (currently it is likely to be filled by friends and family – let me know if you want to know more).
- AGM. To date my Annual General Meetings have been a simple gathering where I gave a progress update and felt somewhat underwhelmed. Applying the process to the meetings has dramatically improved their impact.
In fact, “Clarity” and “Impact” have become two of my key words! I now know the meaning of Mark Twain’s “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
What one bit of advice would you have given yourself a year ago?
“Value yourself more.”
It’s easy to say and the problem with this advice is that I only understand what it means now I do value myself more. Brian’s constant reminders of what I’d achieved and all the external validation I had received helped me understand my value – my recent Masters, getting an App written and in use, writing a book, creating a cohort of likeminded followers to name a few points. I think it is something I shall always be working on. I realise that leadership is about standing out and making a difference – you can’t do the latter without the former!
How can you help anyone reading this?
My personal goal is to see all our kids being bright, intelligent individuals who have the capability to solve the problems they will face in the future. This is what version two of my app will do. Version 2 builds on all my knowledge, my partner’s knowledge, and experience from version 1 to be much more efficient at aiding the building of neurodevelopmental frameworks for children. In fact,
Version 2 will engage your kids so that they develop their neurodevelopmental framework while doing what comes easiest to them: playing.
You don’t have to wait for my app to be published in the next few months to start having some impact though.
You can start right now. Spend time with your children and do three things:
- Know they are smart even if the system says they are not. Never put them down verbally or emotionally for not fitting into the school system that is failing them. This tends to shut down the learning brain.
- Treat them as the intelligent individuals that they are. Set the expectation and set it high. This powers up the brain.
- Always answer the “Why?” questions. Curiosity means the brain is turned on to the max. When kids stop asking “why” you know that something is wrong.
Finally, I’d like you to sign up to my newsletter to hear more about my new app that I’m creating to improve your kids’ future by using the form below.
Join me on the journey.