This is the first of a series of blog posts on different ways to use the lessons learned from The PhD Project (www.phdproject.org) model. Each blog post will present an implementation idea as well as an excerpt from my book titled Growing Systems of Success published by The PhD Project.
My son, Ananth Raghunandan, is now implementing a project planner and storyboard on a paper plate. Ananth has been folding circles for many years using a unique approach called Wholemovement. We are now using The PhD Project model on a paper plate daily!
I am glad that Ananth has been part of my Growing Systems of Success (GSS) journey for many years. His interest in using hands-on tools has catalyzed the development of a simple tool to demonstrate the broad applicability of The PhD Project model.
Systems of Success
Ananth's project planner is organized by elements of systems of success. Systems of success are people, activities, and resources that create the conditions for long-term success. Under the Growing Systems of Success (GSS) approach, systems of success are viewed in terms of the Six Cs: 1) Connections, 2) Conversations, 3) Clarity, 4) Choice, 5) Competence, and 6) Coordination. Throughout our lives, we grow these Six Cs but we may not explicitly consider these elements as we go about our daily lives.
The simple, inexpensive, hands-on tool has enabled us to make The PhD Project model visible and actionable! We continuously reflect on the role of systems of success in shaping our present activities and future possibilities.
Playing it Forward
Paper plates provide a unique modeling approach to render The PhD Project model in different ways. For example, Ananth created this tetrahedron recently to show important relationships between GSS elements. The way we manage moments and live our lives is influenced by and influences the Six Cs. We have captured the essence of our emerging Managing Moments implementation approach based on the Growing Systems of Success framework with one paper plate!
Benefits of Hands-on tools
While I use many technology-based tools (spreadsheets, mind-mapping tools etc.), hands-on tools will play an important role in disseminating the GSS model. It has been fascinating to discover that I can use one paper plate to render a rich systemic model that has been developed and tested for 25 years! Further, hands-on modeling provides insights for the development of technology tools. Hands-on tools can be used in face-to-face conversations with individuals and in groups. We have also discovered that many people who find the model useful (e.g., parents, teachers) respond better to presentations with hands-on tools. Finally, visual and tactile tools will enable us to reach diverse individuals (e.g., individuals with autism).
Excerpt from the Growing Systems of Success Book
Since 1994, The PhD Project has successfully implemented their program for mentoring minority doctoral students. Bernard Milano, President of The PhD Project, asked me to address two questions:
What is the value received by The PhD Project participants?
How do The PhD Project participants pay forward what they receive to others?
The Six Cs model was developed in response to these questions. The PhD Project creates opportunities for participants to make connections by participating in conversations. Participants clarify the Ph.D. process and outcomes. They are better prepared to make choices throughout their Ph.D. program, and to coordinate with faculty and peers in their Ph.D. program. In turn, the capacity to coordinate with others facilitates knowledge and skill acquisition (competence).
The PhD Project has a long history and the meaning of The Six C’s was clear in this context. However, I needed another phrase to communicate The PhD Project design and outcomes to varied audiences. I introduced the term “Systems of Success” to describe the meaning of Six Cs to external users with limited knowledge of The PhD Project model. Further, this concept makes it easier to apply lessons and insights from The PhD Project in a systematic way in other organizations.
I am grateful to The PhD Project for encouraging and supporting this work. This work would not have been possible without the opportunity to study The PhD Project model for an extended period of time. I thank Bernard J.Milano for his ongoing support and guidance. I appreciate the time spent by Marie Zara, Tara Perino, Cristina Pazos, Myrna Varner, and Ned Steele in helping me find information and in connecting me to individuals in The PhD Project network. I am grateful to Dr. Martin Dias, Dr. Kenneth Henry, Dr. Lucy Reuben, Dr. Laura Trevino, and other PhD Project faculty and students for their insightful comments and suggestions. Boaz Branding played an important role in helping me move from a conceptual design to a practical model as well as for helping me create a website and social media presence that has made it much easier to engage others in “PhD Project for All” conversations. Finally, I am grateful to those outside The PhD Project who have spent much time discussing The PhD Project model. I appreciate the insightful comments and suggestions of David Braden, Dr. Deanne Butchey, Idania Cater, Bradford Hansen-Smith, Nicole Jobson, Peter Jones, Michael Josefowicz, Yves MuyaBenda, Ganesh Subramaniam, Esteban Trev, and Rajiv Vasudevan. I hope to continue engaging these individuals and others as I continue on this journey!
About the Cover
PhD Project logo courtesy of The PhD Project. Its use does not constitute endorsement of or participation in the preparation of the contents of this book.