Sunday, August 20, 2017

Brainstorming - Framework for Group Session

Brainstorm ( Geistesblitz in German) is flash of inspiration, brainwave, scintillation, flash of genius. Brainstorming makes every member of the organization feel important.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

Brainstorming - Class in Developmental Communication under the author, UST Faculty of rts and Letters.

Brainstorming is a popular group interaction in various settings - community, academic and business - in a workshop style. It is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem, or analysis of a situation.

Four Rules in Brainstorming

1. Encourage freewheeling expression.

2. Reserve criticism on anyone’s ideas.

3. Generate good, workable, profitable ideas.

4. Combine ideas for strength.

Code of Conduct

1. Encourage the ideas of others.

2. Make positive constructive comments.

3. Encourage the participation of all members.

4. Solicit input from others in the department.

5. Ensure that credit is given to those to whom it is due.

6. Maintain a friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere.

7. Attend all scheduled meetings.

8. Rotate tasks on a voluntary basis.

9. Mail the minutes of the meeting within a reasonable time.

10. Assist other group members as necessary.

11. Follow the rules of brainstorming.

12. Follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

13. Maintain equality among all members of the group.

14. Accept the decision of the majority.
Conduct of Session

1. A warm-up session, to expose novice participants to the criticism-free environment. A simple problem is brainstormed, for example, Prevent Dengue in the Community.

2. The facilitator presents the problem and gives a further explanation if needed.

3. The facilitator asks the brainstorming group for their ideas.

4. If no ideas are forthcoming, the facilitator suggests a lead to encourage creativity.

5. All participants present their ideas, and the idea collector records them.

6. To ensure clarity, participants may elaborate on their ideas.

7. When time is up, the facilitator organizes the ideas based on the topic goal and encourages discussion.

8. Ideas are categorized.

9. The whole list is reviewed to ensure that everyone understands the ideas.

10. Duplicate ideas and obviously infeasible solutions are removed.

11. The facilitator thanks all participants and gives each a token of appreciation.

The role of the rapporteur is vital. He is in charge of the proceedings, noting the salient points. Electronic recording may make the work easier. In either case, it is important that the proceedings are properly transcribed, edited and presented as minutes. This may serve as agenda material for follow-up meetings, or presented as reference for project development, and even policy formulation.

Now the most important thing. Things are easier said than done. Implementation is the proof of the success of the brainstorming. Ideas are translated to action.

Brainstorming is key to group decision and action, and collective responsibility, irrespective of whoever thought of the idea, or who did not agree with it.

In all its practicality, brainstorming makes every member of the organization feel important, although the process may not necessarily arrive at the best solution to a problem.~

References: The New Publicity Kit by J Smith; Philippine Journalism by J Luna Castro; Principles of Extension (Moshav and Kibbutz); Journalism for Filipinos, by A Malinao; Brainstorming, Wikipedia~ 

The 8 Dimensions of a Brainstorm Session
bright ideas.jpg

Most people think brainstorming sessions are all about ideas -- much in the same way Wall Street bankers think life is all about money.

While ideas are certainly a big part of brainstorming, they are only a part.

People who rush into a brainstorming session starving for new ideas will miss the boat (and the train, car, and unicycle) completely unless they tune into the some other important dynamics that are also at play:

1. INVESTIGATION: If you want your brainstorming sessions to be effective, you'll need to do some investigating before hand. Get curious. Ask questions. Dig deeper. The more you find out what the real issues are, the greater your chances of framing powerful questions to brainstorm and choosing the best techniques to use.

2. IMMERSION: While good ideas can surface at any time, their chances radically increase the more that brainstorm participants are immersed. Translation? No coming and going during a session. No distractions. No interruptions. And don't forget to put a "do not disturb" sign on the door.

3. INTERACTION: Ideas come to people at all times of day and under all kinds of circumstances. But in a brainstorming session, it's the quality of interaction that makes the difference -- how people connect with each other, how they listen, and build on ideas. Your job, as facilitator, is to increase the quality of interaction.

4. INSPIRATION: Creative output is often a function of mindset. Bored, disengaged people rarely originate good ideas. Inspired people do. This is one of your main tasks, as a brainstorm facilitator -- to do everything in your power to keep participants inspired. The more you do, the less techniques you will need.

5. IDEATION: Look around. Everything you see began as an idea in someone's mind. Simply put, ideas are the seeds of innovation -- the first shape a new possibility takes. As a facilitator of the creative process, your job is to foster the conditions that amplify the odds of new ideas being conceived, developed, and articulated.

6. ILLUMINATION: Ideas are great. Ideas are cool. But they are also a dime a dozen unless they lead to an insight or aha. Until then, ideas are only two dimensional. But when the light goes on inside the minds of the people in your session, the ideas are activated and the odds radically increase of them manifesting.
7. INTEGRATION: Well-run brainstorming sessions have a way of intoxicating people. Doors open. Energy soars. Possibilities emerge. But unless participants have a chance to make sense of what they've conceived, the ideas are less likely to manifest. Opening the doors of the imagination is a good thing, but so is closure.

8. IMPLEMENTATION: Perhaps the biggest reason why most brainstorming sessions fail is what happens after -- or, shall I say, what doesn't happen after. Implementation is the name of the game. Before you let people go, clarify next steps, who's doing what (and by when), and what outside support is needed.

Internet feature and photos 


The White Cross - A Short Story

In the middle of a local cemetery rises an immaculate white cross, and no weed grows around it.
Dr Abe V. Rotor

Mysterious white cross beside an old bangar tree, San Mariano, Isabela
He graduated from the famous Philippine Military Academy on top of his class. On the day of graduation his father, a general from the Philippine Air Force, and mother, a dean of the University of the Philippines, proudly pinned the Medal of Excellence on their only son and child. Nobody could be happier. God smiled at them. The world loved them. And they loved the world. What more did they wish?

There was none, although his mother said in prayerful whisper, looking up to heaven, “How I wish we are like this forever – happy and united.”

Secretly his father wished his son to become famous. He knew that a military career awaits many opportunities of greatness to one who adheres to his pledge to defend his country and countrymen. His thoughts gleamed with his medals he received for participating in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He treasured most a medal given by the President of the Philippines for serving as a military adviser during Martial Law.

Those were troubled times, he thought, and put away his fears that his son would be placed in a similar test.

The young Lieutenant was looked up with pride and praise. How many young men in the world are endowed with caring parents, good school, intelligence, good looks and excellent health? Heads turned as he walked. Young women saw him a knight in shining armor. Children looked up to him a model, a hero of sort. Would they grow up just like him? Dreams! Air castles!

But he was real. He dressed up simply. He was friendly. There was no air of arrogance in his actions and words. He liked people. And people liked him. Many times he would go to the village of his birth in Pangasinan – Bigbiga, near Anda. He talked to farmers and fisher folks for hours. At harvest time his presence alone was enough to draw people from their homes and other work just to help harvest the golden grains. How the field beamed with laughter and music and joyous company! It's reminiscent of Fernando Amorsolo's masterpiece, "Harvestime."

Surely there were many stories to tell, many pleasant memories to recall. Housewives on errand bringing baon to the workers would make up all sorts of excuses for returning late. Passersby who were not from the place, when they heard the name Lieutenant Carding Lopez, took off their hats in greeting - and always, they got their reward of recognition. Children playing nearby would caution each other not to be rowdy, and they would display their best to impress their special guest.

And months passed. The monsoon came and the young lieutenant joined the planters in the field as he did at harvest time. Came fishing season, and he would join the fisher folks pull in the daklis (seine) net to shore. And when they gave him his share of the catch, he would politely decline or give it to the old people in the village.

One time he stopped to greet a crew draining a nearby swamp, the lowest part of the village. While relating how the Panama Canal was built, people the next day came by groups armed with shovels, crowbars and all. The swamp was drained in a short time. Incidence of malaria and dengue drastically fell. Farmers planted melons and watermelons on the reclaimed mudflat and made a lot of money.

But it was the marketplace he was fond of visiting on Sundays. The barangay chairman saw to it that everything and around appeared clean and orderly. More vendors came to sell their wares and products. And more people came to buy them.

Once strolling on a dirt road, he paused to put some stones to fill up a rut. The next day a gravel truck came. With it were workers. What took an hour to reach the market, could now be reached in half an hour.

General Lopez and Dean Lopez who were living in a push subdivision in Manila began to wonder at the kind of life their son was leading in the province. Surely it is very strange to know of one who is full of dreams and raring to seek a bright future. Not for a young and ambitious man, and a Pemeyer. No, not their son and only child, Carlito.

“No, no, let’s talk to him,” the mother rose from her lounging chair. “Hush, hush, let him be,” replied her husband soothingly.

One day the young Lieutenant received a call to report for duty. In the next few days he was flying over Sierra Madre on a mission. But alas! His plane disappeared in the sky and crashed on a misty slope covered by forest, far, far away from civilization. No one witnessed the accident, but guesses are not rare for such news. The plane plunged into the sea where three islands make a triangle, ventured one mystic who knew about the Bermuda Triangle that mysteriously “swallow up” airplanes and ships.

Maybe it crashed on one of the Philippines’ tallest mountains - Mt. Apo or Mt. Pulag. That’s how high jets fly, said an elderly native who knew too well about the flight of the Philippine eagle. Oh, exclaimed an activist, who said the young Lopez was an idealist, who must have sought refuge maybe in Indonesia, or New Guinea - or somewhere else.

Guess turned into hoax, rumors died down, only the enigma on how a promising young man suddenly disappeared without trace persisted. General Lopez shook his head in disbelief. Even in times of peace, he realized, danger hangs like a Damocles Sword. You can’t rely on  technology, he muttered. Those planes – yes, those planes he remembered, they were very old. He knew it; they were donated by the US soon after the Vietnam ended. Mrs. Lopez had retired from the university, but how could you enjoy retirement if you were in her place?

It had been five years since the young pilot mysteriously disappeared. The village people of his birth put up a cross in his memory at the center of the village cemetery. At all times they kept it white, and not a single weed grew around it.

Tourists today come to Bigbiga, now a progressive community. It boosts of a model cooperative. It is a persistent winner of cleanliness in the whole province. A church has been built, around it is a park and playground. Not far is the cemetery. Classes are no longer conducted under the big mango tree. Floods that accompany the monsoon are a thing of the past. The market is a village mall of sort, attracting people from nearby towns. An institute of science and technology was recently inaugurated. Young men and women are returning and changing the concept of balikbayan, at least in Bigbiga. They call it brain gain, whereas before we called it brain drain. The fields are green and at harvest time under the moonlight, some people would swear, they would see a young handsome man inaudibly talking and laughing – men and women and children huddled around him.

The general and his wife did not live long in their grief. A new leadership had taken over the reins of command in the military. A new president has been installed in MalacaƱang. He is young and handsome, and there’s something they like in him - the way he talked, his actions, his friendliness and warmth. They trust him. Those who knew the late Lieutenant Lopez liken him to the new president.

One day there was a flash report that a community was discovered somewhere between Nueva Ecija and Aurora. It is ensconced in a valley shrouded by forests and clouds, accessible only on the Pacific coast. That is why it remained obscure for a long time. "There must be some mistake," a Manila-based government official commented. So a survey team was formed.

It is like searching a lost city in the Andes, or in the Himalayas. But it is true. There in the very eyes of the team unfurled a local Shangrila - the former Dakdakel, a remote barangay of San Mariano, Isabela, now transformed into a model community.

The people in that community are peace loving, self reliant, and respectable. They are farmers, craftsmen, many are professionals. They have children studying in Manila, and relatives working abroad. There is a cooperative and a progressive market. A chapel stands near a cemetery. In the middle of the cemetery rises an immaculate white cross, and no weed grows around it.

x x x

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Can you see the creatures in this painting?

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living Wall  in acrylic by AVR 2015

Where are the butterflies fluttering, midges hovering,
honeybees in their daily chore,
  mantises stalking for prey, ants scurrying,
carrying goods to their store?  

Where are the birds chirping, crickets fiddling, 
calling the members of their kind,
millipedes moving like train, snails gliding,  
camouflaged and hard to find?

You can't see them in this composite painting;  
only through imagination
do they exist - the art of make-believe working   
in the artist's solemn bastion. ~ 


The Phoenix reborn into a Devil Child

The atomic bomb has not only defiled the essence of rebirth and renewal as symbolized by the mythical Phoenix; it has usurped human dignity and the sacredness of life, casting a shroud of fear and gloom on humanity, and defying the Creator Himself. 

Dr Abe V Rotor

This blood-curdling photo appears like a child monster in the like of the fiction character in Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein.  Here civil defense officials watch an atomic bomb test on Yucca Flat, Nevada, in 1951, six years after the US dropped two atomic bombs, first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands people, mainly innocent civilians. To this day there are still people dying as a result of the radiation, notwithstanding physiological and psychological effects on both old and young generations. (Life photo.)

A phoenix depicted in a book of mythological creatures by FJ Bertuch(1747–1822)

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix symbolizes renewal in general, as well as the sun, time, empire, resurrection, and life in the heavenly Paradise. (Wiki)

                      Deadly nuclear mushroom cloud over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki  
                       Hiroshima before and after the atomic bombing, August 5, 1945                                                                    
                              Nagasaki before and after the bombing, August 9 1945 
                   Nagasaki WWII memorial, hypocenter of the atomic bomb

Acknowledgement: Life and Wikipedia for the photos

Dying Tower

Dr Abe V Rotor

Century old tree, HoChiMinh City, SRVietnam

You look for a friend
you sheltered and cared
you look for your kin
through life you shared.

Now you are left alone;
even the clouds drift by,
the birds sit but briefly,
then soar to the sky
as you wait
your final state. ~

12 Old Folks' Sayings

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog

1. Old man to young man: “I have eaten more rice than you had.” (Meaning the old man is more knowledgeable by experience.)
Typical rural scene by national artist Fernando Amorsolo

2. Old man to young boy: “Amoy gatas ka pa lang, hijo.” (“You smell of milk, child,” a sarcasm comparing ignorance with the innocence of a child.)

3. “Isang sigarilyo lang ang layo.” (It’s only a cigarette away, the distance covered by smoking a stick of cigarette.)

4. “Pumurao ton’ diay uwak.” (Ilk) Literally, “The black crow will turn white.” You cannot wait for the impossible.

5. “Hindi mo magising ang gising.” You can’t wake up one who is already awake.

6. “Agannad ka no saan mo nga kayat ti agtangad ti barsanga.” This is a cold warning on the face, which literally means “Beware if you don’t like to look up at the grass.” (barsanga is sedge, a relative of the grass growing on open field).

7. “Saan nga napan no saanna nga nayon.” (“It’s not there if it’s not part of it.” - referring for example, fly maggots in fermenting fish sauce or bagoong.)

8. “Di ka pay la nakuret.” (Better if you had died of kuret, a tiny poisonous crab that resides in the gills of big fish.)

9. “Matira matibay” It refers to Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest.”

Author (right) with senior friends Dr Domingo Tapiador and the late Dell H Grecia (center)

10. Nothing goes up that does not go down. This phrase refers to one who has reached the pinnacle of wealth or power.

11. “Aramid ti saan nga agdigdigos.” (“It a work of a hippie or bum.”)

12. “Balat sibuyas.” (An expression that refers to one who easily gets peeved.)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Green Rock

Painting and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor

Green Rock, in acrylic (37” x 22.5”) AV Rotor, 2013

What good is rock if it loses the essence
     on which life rises, so with dreams;
nurtures the living from birth to death,
     builds rills, rivulets and streams?  

What greater strength than to yield
     to the lowly moss and lanky vine,
to tall trees that live for a hundred years,
     once upon a rock now a shrine?

What greater gift than boys climbing
     a rock face, in pure adventure
to conquer the world, real or fantasy,
     and unveil the secrets of nature?

What greater drama than in the world
     of young Darwin’s and Jules Verne’s time,   
when imagination and reason are but one   
     to make a rock become sublime?