When the two young social entrepreneurs decided to start the Orange Sky mobile laundry service for homeless people in 2014 they had no idea where it would take them. Initially operating on a shoestring budget, Orange Sky now has an income of over $6 million. From just one location in Brisbane, there are now 250 sites offering weekly services to homeless people throughout all Australian states and mainland territories, plus the first Orange Sky mobile laundry van in Auckland, New Zealand.
Wisdom, Analytics and Wicked Problems: Integral Decision Making for the Data Age by Ali Intezari and David Pauleen, 2019. Routledge.
I’m not sure what prompted me in 1994 to suggest we needed to go beyond teaching about computers and information systems and be teaching wisdom (Farrell, 2019). There wasn’t much support for the idea and, except for one colleague, no one I knew at the time expressed any interest. Things have changed over the last twenty-five years and now calls are common for wisdom to be included in management education. The latest resource exploring this area is this excellent book on practical wisdom for today’s managers and leaders by Ali Intezari and David Pauleen.
My uncle, Tom Farrell, was first diagnosed with shell shock in September 1916. A trooper in the Australian Light Horse, he had taken part in the bloody Battle of Romani in the Sinai desert in the previous month and had been in the hell-hole trenches of Gallipoli for much of the previous year. Little did Tom know that he would have to endure the nightmare of recurring debilitating episodes for the rest of his life.
Sir John Monash had one more campaign to fight in 1927 before planning to retire gracefully. For over a decade there had been a groundswell of public support for a memorial to be built in Melbourne to commemorate the 19,100 Victorians who lost their lives and for the 89,000 who served in the First World War. But the form it should take and where it should be located had not reached a consensus. Monash was determined to break the impasse, just like he had broken through the stalemate on the Western Front. Having Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance built would be another defining event in his life and a project most dear to his heart.
When General Sir John Monash was appointed corps commander of Australian forces on 31 May 1918, he was determined to change the way the First World War was conducted on the Western Front. Within weeks he would execute a winning strategy in the Battle of Hamel showing how the war could be won and changing the way future wars would be conducted. This is the story of how he did it.
The Can-Do Wisdom Framework for Change shown below didn’t appear overnight. The Knowledge Visualization model I developed is the result of many years of study and builds on the work of many individuals. This is the story of its origins and development over the past twenty years.
On Friday June 10, 1994 I woke up around 3am with a sudden thought, “We should be teaching students about wisdom, not just about computers.” This point in my life would be the start of a long journey to explore the concept of wisdom.
Aristotle taught his pupils about ethics, virtues and communities some 2300 years ago. Much of his teaching is still valid for overcoming today’s crisis of leadership.
When sociologist professor Barry Schwartz gave his TED talk on Practical Wisdom in February 2009 he didn’t think there would be much interest in what he had to say. He was wrong—there have been more than 3 million views of his talk in the years since.