The following are introductory paragraphs that attempt to reflect what we think someone would want to know initially about the components and outcome options for this "exploration process.” The techniques of network analysis upon which this workshop is based are known as PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique – milestone-oriented) and CPM (Critical Path Method – activity oriented). These are complementary methods of planning and diagramming that show activities and their relationships in a sequential manner. The workshop is based on a combination of the PERT/CPM methods. It is a creative corollary of these techniques of network analysis and can be applied to any physical or intellectual project or challenge. Network techniques are universal in their application and are not limited to any particular field or industry. These methods of project analysis and planning enable one to efficiently plan, schedule and control projects of all types and complexity. In addition to this, as in this presentation, they can be applied creatively as powerful tools for all types of personal reflection, planning and goal setting as well as problem recognition and solving.
Framing the introduction of this process:
How I became interested:
As a university student in the late 60’s and early 70’s I experienced lucid visionary perspectives but experienced difficulty communicating my insights to others. Maintaining an overview orientation fascinated me in both abstract subjects and in physical construction projects. I experienced a certain amount of what might be called techno-phobia and distanced myself from the “white-collar conservative” walking alongside me on the street. At the same time I was attracted by the potential of the computer and space age technology being developed. In 1972 I was introduced to the PERT/CPM network diagramming method and I realized resistance was no longer needed. At first applying this method to facilitate management planning for construction projects I soon began to apply it to all aspects of my life. I found that through it the most complex problems were easily illuminated, strategies for reaching long-term goals were easily expressed, and the most difficult learning project became simply a road map to follow step by step. Use of this process and these techniques changed not only the way I was able to communicate my vision to myself and others but it changed my entire way of meeting life challenges. It has created a path of both joy and success (without underestimating the fact that I have had to deal with all the trials and tribulations that we human beings are required to experience in our lifetimes).
The technique has unlimited creative as well as professional applications. It is useful in all areas of new learning, self-improvement, planning, time management and education. It provides us with a new model for creatively mapping any project, goal or understanding. Network analysis is a creative and potentially unlimited tool that is easy to learn. Even children can benefit from learning how to use it. My son, who at the time was 7 years old, picked it up effortlessly and naturally. It has provided him with a powerful way of planning, generating insights and overviews ever since.
It is important to understand that after the initial stages of learning these techniques there is a shift in perspective that allows the application to take place without stopping to diagram every situation that occurs.
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