Thursday, 27 October 2016

JETO... Just Enough To Operate, Learning and projects and play

I had a long conversation with the mighty last night that started off as a discussion around homebrew CNC controllers but ended up being a fascinating talk about learning and approaches to projects. I talked about an idea I have used for a long time and it made me think maybe I should blog about it.

So years ago ardent followers may recall I was playing with rolling my own linux live CD's/Images using OpenSuse and Susestudio. It was good fun bundling stuff up and deploying it in a virtual machine before compiling an image you could burn to disc or make a bootable USB drive etc. If I recall correctly it started with numerous presets including an "everything you could ever bundle into the core" down to an intriguingly titled... JEOS... Just Enough Operating System, this option of course had the leanest setup, no windows manager, low GUI, no frills.

This struck a chord with me as it encapsulated my approach to projects somewhat. I tend to learn just what I need to learn at any given time towards a given project during the project. I note things I find interesting but don't necessarily need to know more about at the given time and then tend to explore these when the project they relate to is finished. Therefore learning Just Enough To Operate.

This approach could be considered lazy, an example of "Jack of all trades but master of none", however I don't use this JETO idea to avoid complexity, rather I use it as a governor that stops my mind focussing into learning abstraction that I don't need to realise the thing I am making. Rather like the second and less often quoted part of that phrase;

"Jack of all trades but master of none,  but oftentimes better than a master of one."

I've also used this in some facilitation work, creating activities which allow participants to consider and strip away what resources they actually need to realise a project can be very powerful. It always reduces barriers and increases peoples permission to approach complex projects.

So for me, my JETO concept is really useful combined with my ideas around Purposeless Play (another blogpost at some point) it gets me through most projects.

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