BS: an introduction

BS is the title of a new series of articles on MontessoriEd, and while I like to think that BS stands for BrainStorming, I will concede it may equally represent BullS___.  

I love brainstorming, and have filled pages and pages of ideas about the Montessori Method and the Montessori Movement, not to mention all the ideas that evaporated before being memorialized on paper.  I have thus far been reluctant to share many of these ideas out of a concern that I may display areas of ignorance (hence BS as BullS___) or form a perceived need to present a more polished idea.

I now believe it is better to simply put forth the ideas and hope they flourish.

There is a story that has circulated through the field of professional group facilitation that best illustrates why this is a good strategy.  I don’t know if this story is true, or pure corporate myth, but it is enjoyable.  Below is a version of the story found at

There is a story about pacific power and light company in USA. they had a problem with ice forming on the electrical wires after snow storms. the ice had to be removed or over time, the weight of the ice may break the electrical lines. the manual process was slow, tedious and dangerous.

Pacific power and light therefore gathered some brainstorming teams to help solve the issue. the teams gathered were people from different departments in the company, there were linesmen, managers, secretaries and supervisors. it was said that even the mailroom personnel were invited.

during one of the breaks, one of the linesmen shared with some of the participants about how came face to face with a big, brown bear when he was servicing the power lines, and how he narrowly escaped being mawed by it.

when they returned for the meeting, someone suggested training the brown bears to climb the poles to shake off the ice from the wires. brown bears were very common in the areas that they were looking at and they are strong enough to cause the poles to shake when they climb the poles.

someone else then suggested putting honey pots at the top of the poles to entice the bears to climb the poles.

they then started to discuss about how to put the pots of honey at the top of the poles and someone threw out the idea of using helicopters to do the job.

as they were thinking about how much resources it would take to place pots of honey at the top of every electrical pole and whether it will work, a secretary in the meeting pointed out that the down wash from the helicopters could possibly break the ice and blow it off the wires.

there was silence then the team started to realize that it could work. they tested the idea and it proved to be a good one. today, all pacific power and light has to do to remove ice from the wires is to charter a helicopter and get it to fly at low altitude above the electrical wires and the down wash from the helicopter does all the work. linesmen no longer have to risk their lives to climb the electrical poles.

I am happy to suggest the honey pot if it leads to the better solution, and I hope that you enjoy reading my Brainstorms (BS).


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