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I enjoyed reading about a new surgical instrument that a parasitic wasp inspired. Not so much the parasitic wasp part 🐝, but the origin story of the innovation.


A team at Imperial College London are rapidly developing a robotic, flexible needle that can bend to reach difficult locations.

The mechanism is inspired by female parasitoid wasps, which use a bendable needle-like ovipositor to bore into wood to lay eggs in hiding host larvae.


Burnout is an organisational problem

The term “burnout” was coined in the 1970s by the American psychologist Herbert Freudenberger. He used it to describe the consequences of severe stress and high ideals in “helping” professions. (IQWiG)

This article explores the signs of burnout, the causes and some preventative measures.

What are the signs of burnout?

In May 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised burnout in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). Burnout is defined in ICD-11 as:

a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.

Three dimensions characterise it:

  1. feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  2. increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings…

Hi, welcome to the 219th edition of the newsletter. How has your week been? What has been on your mind?

Melbourne and Victoria are in COVID lockdown again. My thoughts go out to the educators and students switching back to online — and of course, those still grappling with extended lockdowns in other countries.

In this article I share provocations about assessment, learning and identity, I discovered on Twitter. I share some tweets and my reflections and thinking.

Toddle and Dance

My Prenatal Report Card

This got me wondering about how far back in our lives we are plunged into a system of assessment. …

Welcome to your Friday dose of curated thoughts; my name is Tom Barrett. You are reading issue 218 of the Dialogic Learning Weekly newsletter. Ideas, inspiration and insight about Leadership, Learning and Innovation.

In this week’s issue, I share creativity lessons from successful Japanese companies.

I stumbled on this mini-site by Chris Berthelsen called Patterns of Creativity in Japan during some recent research. Today I share three of the ideas that are part of the collection.

Job hoppers

Based on research originally produced for a Japan-focused research company, this website features short notes on how successful Japanese companies developed the creativity of…

Welcome to this issue of the Dialogic Learning Weekly. My name is Tom Barrett; thanks for taking a look at the newsletter. Every Friday, I curate ideas, inspiration and insight about leadership, learning and innovation. If that sounds like the stuff you are figuring out, too, you are in the right place.

Inspired by Bill Watterson, for issue 217, we have a little about time, creativity, and some ideas on leading a creative life.

The Hyppo

Bill Watterson on Creative Work

My current inquiry revolves around how I invest my time and the value I create. …

Hi, I’m Tom Barrett, and this article is from the Dialogic Learning Weekly. A Friday newsletter that explores ideas, inspiration and insight about Leadership, Learning and Innovation.

Which way?

Diverging paths of innovation

The speed that educators adapted to a 100% online teaching and learning experience was incredible. Digital transformation and strategy, originally designed to take years, compressed to weeks, if not days.

I saw first hand in the school partnerships I support in Australia, the rapid problem solving and collective ingenuity. It would be interesting to have seen how other industries would have coped with such a fast-paced practice change.

But it is the differences…

Hey there, thanks for taking a moment to pause and enjoy this issue of the Dialogic Learning Weekly. Today’s thoughtful foray explores ambiguity and how we lead in uncertain times.

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Before we start, let us note the context of this work. There are lots of abstractions and generalisations — which make things ambiguous! …

It is a beautiful day here in Melbourne. I hope you are well and your week has been fun. What have you been grateful for?

Thanks for exploring today’s issue. Three connected ideas, it is up to you to find your thread. 🪡🧵

When Measurement Collapses

Goodhart’s Law is a mental model I am sharing to add to your cognitive toolkit. The ideas were first shared by Charles Goodhart, a leader in monetary policy, at a conference in Sydney, Australia, in 1975.

During a presentation, he said:

“Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed upon it for control…

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What does it mean?

Learning elements of developmental psychology was a catalyst to my career. I chose teaching because of formative experiences in 1995 when studying how we think, develop and learn.

The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10,000 other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.

Michio Kaku

It seemed an incredible mystery we were all attempting to unravel. I recall conducting the Draw-a-person test with children at a local primary school or nursery. …

By Tom Barrett from Dialogic Learning • Issue #213

Today I share some great educational resources to support your work talking with young people about equity, inclusion and justice.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly. -R. Buckminster Fuller

The Underrepresentation Curriculum

Learning for Justice provides free resources and curriculum materials to educators, counsellors and youth practitioners “to inform their practices, and to create inclusive school communities where children and youth are respected, valued and welcome participants.”

Their publication The Underrepresentation Curriculum combines techniques to hold discussions about equity, inclusion and justice, with the rigour of the scientific method.

The curriculum resource provides lessons that help students “use the tools of science to…

Tom Barrett

Helping people re-discover the curiosity they had when they were 6 years old; designing learning that uses that curiosity to change the world around us.

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