Monday, February 27, 2006
world cafe as fresh start (Nancy M)
IN RESPONSE TO JUANITA'S LETTER I have been thinking a lot lately about the power of TWC to engage people who are accustomed to "doing battle" in meetings. I plan to invite them to see each other and themselves in a new light.
My next Café will be with a group of elected officials who have a history of fighting among themselves that is so engrained that they don't want to spend time together in the same room. They will be running against each other in up-coming elections. Yet, they need a day together if they are to develop goals and plans. Their staff feels strongly that an outside facilitator is critical to keep them from "killing each other".
My plan, if the group will accept any outside facilitation, is to use Café in order to offer a clear break in business as usual. The first round will be one where each person introduces himself by stating one of his personal assets (competencies) and identifies one asset of each person at the table of four. If someone can't think of an asset for themselves or another, the table group is asked to help out.
The assumptions the group will operate with that day include: everyone here shares some of the same strongly held values and concerns such as wanting more for our community, wanting our ideas to be heard and considered by others, feeling deep concern for the future of our community, wanting to make a positive contribution, etc. My hope is that the group as a whole can generate examples such as these. Also we will review beliefs such as we have all the wisdom we need, we will learn more if we honor diverse points of view, listen with the intention to learn, etc. I am going to suggest that this day together can not only be productive but fun. One of my goals is to introduce "Asset Based Thinking" where which, much like appreciative inquiry, keeps the focus on what gives one hope. More on Asset Based Thinking: http://www.assetbasedthinking.com
With approaches such as these I believe we can come to the table to meet in the place Rumi called "Beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing". This is not to deny the real and present danger posed by some of our present policies and industries. Rather, this approach is an invitation to move beyond our usual stances on one side or the other to stand in the middle. Thich Nhat Hahn, went confronted in the 1960's with the question, "Are from North Viet Nam or South Viet Nam?" replied:"Neither. I am from the center."
Café tables might be just the place to occupy when looking as issues from the "center".
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Intangibles and measurability -- musings
wall street and accounting systems count only that which is convertible to cash. likewise, bankers lend only to those with liquid collateral. liquid means easily convertible to cash or "same as cash." most intangible assets are illiquid. hence, wall street doesn't factor intangibles into quarterly earning reports, accountants value them at zero, and banks refuse to make loans against them.
measuring things was easier in the industrial age. most assets were tangible. you could see them. you could measure what went into a product and how many products were produced; everyone could agree on how to measure productivity.
you can't manage what you can't measure. this is total b.s. do you manage knowledge workers? and how do you measure them?
furthermore, measurement is deceptive if you use a broken measuring stick. ($)
David Bohm, Donald Factor, Peter Garrett, (Richard Burg)
We are proposing a kind of collective inquiry not only into the content of
what each of us say, think and feel but also into the underlying
motivations, assumptions and beliefs that lead us to so do.
Dialogue, as we are choosing to use the word, is a way of exploring the
roots of the many crises that face humanity today. It enables inquiry into,
and understanding of, the sorts of processes that fragment and interfere
with real communication between individuals, nations and even different
parts of the same organization. In our modern culture men and women are
able to interact with one another in many ways: they can sing dance or play
together with little difficulty but their ability to talk together about
subjects that matter deeply to them seems invariable to lead to dispute,
division and often to violence. In our view this condition points to a deep
and pervasive defect in the process of human thought.
In Dialogue, a group of people can explore the individual and collective
presuppositions, ideas, beliefs, and feelings that subtly control their
interactions. It provides an opportunity to participate in a process that
displays communication successes and failures. It can reveal the often
puzzling patterns of incoherence that lead the group to avoid certain
issues or, on the other hand, to insist, against all reason, on standing
and defending opinions about particular issues.
Dialogue is a way of observing, collectively, how hidden values and
intentions can control our behavior, and how unnoticed cultural differences
can clash without our realizing what is occurring. It can therefore be seen
as an arena in which collective learning takes place and out of which a
sense of increased harmony, fellowship and creativity can arise.
Because the nature of Dialogue is exploratory, its meaning and its methods
continue to unfold. No firm rules can be laid down for conducting a
Dialogue because its essence is learning - not as the result of consuming a
body of information or doctrine imparted by an authority, nor as a means of
examining or criticizing a particular theory or programme, but rather as
part of an unfolding process of creative participation between peers.
However, we feel that it is important that its meaning and background be
Our approach to this form of Dialogue arose out of a series of
conversations begun in 1983 in which we inquired into David Bohm's
suggestion that a pervasive incoherence in the process of human thought is
the essential cause of the endless crises affecting mankind. This led us,
in succeeding years, to initiate a number of larger conversations and
seminars held in different countries with various groups of people which in
turn began to take the form of Dialogues.
As we proceeded it became increasing clear to us that this process of
Dialogue is a powerful means of understanding how thought functions. We
became aware that we live in a world produced almost entirely by human
enterprise and thus, by human thought. The room in which we sit, the
language in which these words are written, our national boundaries, our
systems of value, and even that which we take to be our direct perceptions
of reality are essentially manifestations of the way human beings think and
have thought. We realize that without a willingness to explore this
situation and to gain a deep insight into it, the real crises of our time
cannot be confronted, nor can we find anything more than temporary
solutions to the vast array of human problems that now confront us.
We are using the word "thought" here to signify not only the products of
our conscious intellect but also our feelings, emotions, intentions and
desires. It also includes such subtle, conditioned manifestations of
learning as those that allow us to make sense of a succession of separate
scenes within a cinema film or to translate the abstract symbols on road
signs along with the tacit, non-verbal processes used in developing basic,
mechanical skills such as riding a bicycle. In essence thought, in this
sense of the word, is the active response of memory in every phase of life.
Virtually all of our knowledge is produced, displayed, communicated,
transformed and applied in thought..
To further clarify this approach, we propose that, with the aid of a little
close attention, even that which we call rational thinking can be see to
consist largely of responses conditioned and biased by previous thought. If
we look carefully at what we generally take to be reality we begin to see
that it includes a collection of concepts, memories and reflexes colored by
our personal needs, fears, and desires, all of which are limited and
distorted by the boundaries of language and the habits of our history, sex
and culture. It is extremely difficult to disassemble this mixture or to
ever be certain whether what we are perceiving - or what we may think about
those perceptions - is at all accurate.
What makes this situation so serious is that thought generally conceals
this problems from our immediate awareness and succeeds in generating a
sense that the way each of us interprets the world is the only sensible way
in which it can be interpreted. What is needed is a means by which we can
slow down the process of thought in order to be able to observe it while it
is actually occurring.
Our physical bodies have this capability but thought seems to lack it. If
you raise your arm you know that you are willing the act, that somebody
else is not doing it for or to you. This is called proprioception.. We can
be aware of our body's actions while they are actually occurring but we
generally lack this sort of skill in the realm of thought. For example, we
do not notice that our attitude toward another person may be profoundly
affected by the way we think and feel about someone else who might share
certain aspects of his behavior or even of his appearance. Instead, we
assume that our attitude toward her arises directly from her actual
conduct. The problem of thought is that the kind of attention required to
notice this incoherence seems seldom to be available when it is most
Dialogue is concerned with providing a space within which such attention
can be given. It allows a display of thought and meaning that makes
possible a kind of collective proprioception or immediate mirroring back of
both the content of thought and the less apparent, dynamic structures that
govern it. In Dialogue this can be experienced both individually and
collectively. Each listener is able to reflect back to each speaker, and to
the rest of the group, a view of some of the assumptions and unspoken
implications of what is being expressed along with that which is being
avoided. It creates the opportunity for each participant to examine the
preconceptions, prejudices and the characteristic patterns that lie behind
his or her thoughts, opinions, beliefs and feelings, along with the roles
he or she tends habitually to play. And it offers an opportunity to share
The word "dialogue" derives from two roots: "dia" which means "through" and
"logos" which means "the word", or more particularly, "the meaning of the
word." The image it gives is of a river of meaning flowing around and
through the participants. Any number of people can engage in Dialogue - one
can even have a Dialogue with oneself - but the sort of Dialogue that we
are suggesting involves a group of between twenty and forty people seated
in a circle talking together.
Some notion of the significance of such a Dialogue can be found in reports
of hunter-gather bands of about this size, who, when they met to talk
together, had no apparent agenda nor any predetermined purpose.
Nevertheless, such gatherings seemed to provide and reinforce a kind of
cohesive bond or fellowship that allowed its participants to know what was
required of them without the need for instruction or much further verbal
interchange. In other words, what might be called a coherent culture of
shared meaning emerged within the group. It is possible that this coherence
existed in the past for human communities before technology began to
mediate our experience of the living world.
Dr. Patrick de Mare, a psychiatrist working in London, has conducted
pioneering work along similar lines under modern conditions. He set up
groups of about the same size, the purpose of which he described in terms
of "sociotherapy". His view is that the primary cause of the deep and
pervasive sickness in our society can be found at the socio-cultural level
and that such groups can serve as micro-cultures from which the source of
the infirmity of our large civilization can be exposed. Our experience has
led us to extend this notion of Dialogue by emphasizing and giving special
attention to the fundamental role of the activity of thought in the
origination and maintenance of this condition.
As a microcosm of the large culture, Dialogue allows a wide spectrum of
possible relationships to be revealed. It can disclose the impact of
society on the individual and the individual's impact on society. It can
display how power is assumed or given away and how pervasive are the
generally unnoticed rules of the system that constitutes our culture. But
it is most deeply concerned with understanding the dynamics of how thought
conceives such connections.
It is not concerned with deliberately trying to alter or change behavior
nor to get the participants to move toward a predetermined goal. Any such
attempt would distort and obscure the processes that the Dialogue has set
out to explore. Nevertheless, changes do occur because observed thought
behaves differently from unobserved thought. Dialogue can thus become an
opportunity for thought and feeling to play freely in a continuously
engaging movement. Topics of a specific or personal nature will become
entwined with areas of deeper or more general meaning. Any subject can be
included and no content is excluded. Such an activity is very rare in our
PURPOSE AND MEANING
Usually people gather either to accomplish a task or to be entertained,
both of which can be categorized as predetermined purposes. But by its very
nature Dialogue is not consistent with any such purposes beyond the
interest of its participants in the unfoldment and revelation of the deeper
collective meanings that may be revealed. These may on occasion be
entertaining, enlightening, lead to new insights or address existing
problems. But surprisingly, in its early stages, the dialogue will often
lead to the experience of frustration.
A group of people invited to give their time and serious attention to a
task that has no apparent goal and is not being led in any detectable
direction may quickly find itself experiencing a great deal of anxiety or
annoyance. This can lead to the desire on the part of some, either to break
up the group or to attempt to take control and give it a direction.
Previously unacknowledged purposes will reveal themselves. Strong feelings
will be exposed, along with the thoughts that underlie them. Fixed
positions may be taken and polarization will often result. This is all part
of the process. It is what sustains the Dialogue and keeps it constantly
extending creatively into new domains.
In an assembly of between twenty and forty people, extremes of frustration,
anger, conflict or other difficulties may occur, but in a group of this
size such problems can be contained with relative ease. In fact, they can
become the central focus of the exploration in what might be understood as
a kind of "meta-dialogue", aimed at clarifying the process of Dialogue
As sensitivity and experience increase, a perception of shared meaning
emerges in which people find that they are neither opposing one another,
nor are they simply interacting. Increasing trust between members of the
group - and trust in the process itself - leads to the expression of the
sorts of thoughts and feelings that are usually kept hidden. There is no
imposed consensus, nor is there any attempt to avoid conflict. No single
individual or sub-group is able to achieve dominance because every single
subject, including domination and submission, is always available to be
Participants find that they are involved in an ever changing and developing
pool of common meaning. A shared content of consciousness emerges which
allows a level of creativity and insight that is not generally available to
individuals or to groups that interact in more familiar ways. This reveals
an aspect of Dialogue that Patrick de Mare has called koinonia, a word
meaning "impersonal fellowship", which was originally used to describe the
early form of Athenian democracy in which all the free men of the city
gathered to govern themselves.
As this fellowship is experience it begins to take precedence over the more
overt content of the conversation (sic). It is an important stage in the
Dialogue, a moment of increased coherence, where the group is able to move
beyond its perceived blocks or limitations and into new territory, But it
is also a point at which a group may begin to relax and bask in the "high"
that accompanies the experience. This is the point that sometimes causes
confusion between Dialogue and some forms of psychotherapy. Participants
may want to hold the group together in order to preserve the pleasurable
feeling of security and belonging that accompanies the state. This is
similar to that sense of community often reached in therapy groups or in
team building workshops where it is taken to be the evidence of the success
of the method used. Beyond such a point, however, lie even more significant
and subtle realms of creativity, intelligence and understanding that can be
approached only by persisting in the process of inquiry and risking
re-entry into areas of potentially chaotic or frustrating uncertainty.
WHAT DIALOGUE IS NOT
Dialogue is not discussion, a word that shares its root meaning with
"percussion" and "concussion," both of which involve breaking things up.
Nor is it debate. These forms of conversation contain an implicit tendency
to point toward a goal, to hammer out an agreement, to try to solve a
problem or have one's opinion prevail. It is also not a "salon", which is a
kind of gathering that is both informal and most often characterized by an
intention to entertain, exchange friendship, gossip and other information.
Although the word "dialogue" has often been used in similar ways, its
deeper, root meaning implies that it is not primarily interested in any of
Dialogue is not a new name for T-groups or sensitivity training, although
it is superficially similar to these and other related forms of group work.
Its consequences may be psychotherapeutic but it does not attempt to focus
on removing the emotional blocks of any one participant nor to teach, train
or analyze. Nevertheless, it is an arena in which learning and the
dissolution of blocks can and often do take place. It is not a technique
for problem solving or conflict resolution, although problems may well be
resolved during the course of a Dialogue, or perhaps later, as a result of
increased understanding and fellowship that occurs among the participants.
It is, as we have emphasized, primarily a means of exploring the field of
Dialogue resembles a number of other forms of group activity and may at
times include aspects of them but in fact it is something new to our
culture. We believe that it is an activity that might well prove vital to
the future health of our civilization.
HOW TO START A DIALOGUE
SUSPENSION of thoughts, impulses, judgments, etc., lies at the very heart
of Dialogue. It is one of its most important new aspects. It is not easily
grasped because the activity is both unfamiliar and subtle. Suspension
involves attention, listening and looking and is essential to exploration.
Speaking is necessary, of course, for without it there would be little in
the Dialogue to explore, But the actual process of exploration takes place
during listening -- not only to others but to oneself. Suspension involves
exposing your reactions, impulses, feelings and opinions in such a way that
they can be seen and felt within your own psyche and also be reflected back
by others in the group. It does not mean repressing or suppressing or,
even, postponing them. It means, simply, giving them your serious attention
so that their structures can be noticed while they are actually taking
place. If you are able to give attention to, say, the strong feelings that
might accompany the expression of a particular thought - either your own or
anothers -- and to sustain that attention, the activity of the thought
process will tend to slow you down. This may permit you to begin to see the
deeper meanings underlying your thought process and to sense the often
incoherent structure of any action that you might otherwise carry out
automatically. Similarly, if a group is able to suspend such feelings and
give its attention to them then the overall process that flows from
thought, to feeling, to acting-out within the group, can also slow down and
reveal its deeper, more subtle meanings along with any of its implicit
distortions, leading to what might be described as a new kind of coherent,
To suspend thought, impulse, judgment, etc., requires serious attention to
the overall process we have been considering -- both on one's own and
within a group. This involves what may at first appear to be an arduous
kind of work. But if this work is sustained, one's ability to give such
attention constantly develops so that less and less effort is required.
NUMBERS: A Dialogue works best with between twenty and forty people seated
facing one another in a single circle. A group of this size allows for the
emergence and observation of different subgroups or subcultures that can
help to reveal some off the ways in which thought operatives collectively.,
This is important because the differences between such subcultures are
often an unrecognized cause of failed communication and conflict. Smaller
groups, on the other hand, lack the requisite diversity needed to reveal
these tendencies and will generally emphasize more familiar personal and
family roles and relationships.
With a few groups we have had as many as sixty participants, but with that
large a number the process becomes unwieldy. Two concentric circles are
required to seat everybody so that they can see and hear one another. This
places those in the back row at a disadvantage, and fewer participants have
an opportunity to speak.
We might mention here that some participants tend to talk a great deal
while others find difficulty in speaking up in groups. It is worth
remembering, though, that the word "participation" has two meanings: "to
partake of", and "to take part in". Listening is at least as important as
speaking. Often the quieter participants will begin to speak up more as
they become familiar with the Dialogue experience while the more dominant
individuals will find themselves tending to speak less and listen more.
DURATION: A Dialogue needs some time to get going. It is an unusual way of
participating with others and some sort of introduction is required in
which the meaning of the whole activity can be communicated. But even with
a clear introduction, when the group begins to talk together it will often
experience confusion, frustration, and a self-conscious concern as to
whether or not it is actually engaging in Dialogue. It would be very
optimistic to assume that a Dialogue would begin to flow or move toward any
great depth during its first meeting. It is important to point out that
perseverance is required.
In setting up Dialogues it is useful at the start to agree the length of
the session and for someone to take responsibility for calling time at the
end. We have found that about two hours is optimum. Longer sessions risk a
fatigue factor which tends to diminish the quality of participation. Many
T-groups use extended "marathon" sessions which use this fatigue factor to
break down some of the inhibitions of the participants. Dialogue on the
other hand, is more concerned with exploring the social constructs and
inhibitions that affect our communications rather than attempting to bypass
The more regularly the group can meet, the deeper and more meaningful will
be the territory explored. Weekends have often been used to allow a
sequence of sessions, but if the Dialogue is to continue for an extended
period of time we suggest that there be at least a one week interval
between each succeeding session to allow time for individual reflection and
further thinking. There is no limit to how long a Dialogue group may
continue its exploration. But it would be contrary to the spirit of
Dialogue for it to become fixed or institutionalized. This suggests openess
to constantly shifting membership, changing schedules, or other
manifestations of a serious attention to an implicit rigidity which might
take hold. Or merely, the dissolving of a group after some period.
LEADERSHIP: A Dialogue is essentially a conversation between equals. Any
controlling authority, no matter how carefully or sensitively applied, will
tend to hinder and inhibit the free play of thought and the often delicate
and subtle feelings that would otherwise be shared. Dialogue is vulnerable
to being manipulated, but its spirit is not consistent with this. Hierarchy
has no place in Dialogue.
Nevertheless, in the early stages some guidance is required to help the
participants realize the subtle differences between Dialogue and other
forms of group process. At least one or, preferably two, experienced
facilitators are essential. Their role should be to occasionally point out
situations that might seem to be presenting sticking points for the group,
in other words, to aid the process of collective proprioception, but these
interventions should never be manipulative nor obtrusive. Leaders are
participants just like everybody else. Guidance, when it is felt to be
necessary, should take the form of "leading from behind" and preserve the
intention of making itself redundant as quickly as possible.
However, this proposal is not intended as a substitute for experienced
facilitators. We suggest, though, that its contents be reviewed with the
group during its initial meeting so that all the participants can be
satisfied that they are embarking upon the same experiment.
SUBJECT MATTER: The Dialogue can begin with any topic of interest to the
participants. if some members of the group feel that certain exchanges or
subjects are disturbing or not fitting, it is important that they express
these thoughts within the Dialogue. No content should be excluded.
Often participants will gossip or express their dissatisfactions or
frustration after a session but it is exactly this sort of material that
offers the most fertile ground for moving the Dialogue into deeper realms
of meaning and coherence beyond the superficiality of "group think", good
manners or dinner party conversation.
DIALOGUE IN EXISTING ORGANIZATIONS
So far we have been primarily discussing Dialogues that bring together
individuals from a variety of backgrounds rather than from existing
organizations. But its value may also be perceived by members of an
organization as a way of increasing and enriching their own corporate
In this case the process of Dialogue will change considerably. Members of
an existing organization will have already developed a number of different
sorts of relationship between one another and with their organization as a
whole. here may be a pre-existing hierarchy or a felt need to protect one's
colleagues, team or department. There may be a fear of expressing thoughts
that might be seen as critical of those who are higher in the organization
or of norms within the organizational culture. Careers or the social
acceptance of individual members might appear to be threatened by
participation in a process that emphasizes transparency, openness, honesty,
spontaneity, and the sort of deep interest in others that can draw out
areas of vulnerability that may long have been kept hidden.
In an existing organization the Dialogue will very probably have to begin
with an exploration of all the doubts and fears that participation will
certainly raise. Members may have to begin with a fairly specific agenda
from which they eventually can be encouraged to diverge. This differs from
the approach taken with one-time or self-selected groupings in which
participants are free to begin with any subject matter. But as we have
mentioned no content should be excluded because the impulse to exclude a
subject is itself rich material for the inquiry.
Most organizations have inherent, predetermined purposes and goals that are
seldom questioned. At first this might also seem to be inconsistent with
the free and open play of thought that is so intrinsic to the Dialogue
process. However, this too can be overcome if the participants are helped
from the very beginning to realize that considerations of such subjects can
prove essential to the well-being of the organization and can in turn help
to increase the participants self-esteem along with the regard in which he
or she may be held by others.
The creative potential of Dialogue is great enough to allow a temporary
suspension of any of the structures and relationships that go to make up an
Finally, we would like to make clear that we are not proposing Dialogue as
a panacea nor as a method or technique designed to succeed all other forms
of social interaction. Not everyone will find it useful nor, certainly,
will it be useful in all contexts. There is great value to be found in many
group psychotherapeutic methods and there are many tasks that require firm
leadership and a well-formed organizational structure.
Much of the sort of work we have described here can be accomplished
independently, and we would encourage thi Many of the ideas suggested in
this proposal are still the subjects of our own continuing exploration. We
do not advise that they be taken as fixed but rather that they be inquired
into as a part of your own Dialogue.
The spirit of Dialogue is one of free play, a sort of collective dance of
the mind that, nevertheless, has immense power and reveals coherent
purpose. Once begun it becomes continuing adventure that can open the way
to significant and creative change.
"You cannot manage what you don't commnicate"
:Wise words from John W. Thompson, CEO of Symantec, speaking at the ETL Seminar Series.
It is an old management theory which goes back to the time of 'time and
motion' studies in the Detroit car industry and the basis of this theory is
that you cannot manage what you cannot measure. It definitely makes sense,
you need to have information on the number of units you have sold, the
performance of the sales people, the cost of all units, the number of units
manufactured per hour per shop floor employee, the number of tickets punched
per hour, number of defects per 1000 widgets, etc. If you don't know these
figures, you cannot improve on them, you cannot identify the problem, you
cannot think about resolutions and solutions and you certainly cannot do any
kind of forward planning.
recently wrote: "It has long been said you cannot manage what you
cannot measure. Nowhere is this more true than on the Web -- where
examining what works and what doesn't directly influences the bottom
That history leaves many executives wondering
what their IT organizations actually own, he says. And with good
reason. "You cannot manage what you cannot measure," says Murphy, an analyst at Forrester Research.
The old management adage says: "You cannot manage what you don't measure." Common measurement tools are sales targets, league standings, satisfaction surveys, click-thru rates, and in project work, "percentage complete", "estimate to completion" etc. Consulting Academy You Cannot Manage What You Do Not Measure Federal Buildings Initiative - Audit Standards Guidelines<
You can't manage what you don't measure: Collecting data with Tivoli Web Site Analyzer
The foundation of any sound sourcing strategy is creating an inventory. One cannot manage what one cannot measure. Telwares
Thursday, February 23, 2006
It includes all the capacities we use to solve problems and conflicts, to recognize opportunities and dangers, to create ideas and initiatives, to sustain healthy relationships and lives, and to respond in every other way that works.
We can think of intelligence as a whole toolbox of capacities we use to continually create a "fit" between ourselves and the world around us. On the one hand, we often change our ideas, our desires, and our lives to better fit the conditions we encounter. On the other hand, we also change the world we live in to better fit our ideas, our desires and our lives. The elegance and success with which we do both of these things is the proper measure of our intelligence.
Once we broaden our vision of intelligence, we realize that groups, organizations and whole societies respond in workable -- or unworkable -- ways. So they can be intelligent (or not) just as individuals can.
Furthermore, the intelligence we apply can be merely clever or it can be wise (more or less). It can also be more or less in tune with the patterns and intelligences around it -- including larger forms of intelligence that function in and beyond the natural world.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Short courses by phone
ADD Courses by Phone
Relationship Self Defense for Women (Mar. 13 - Sari Solden)
The Care and Feeding of the ADD Brain (Mar. 16 - Dr. Ratey)
The Biology of Attention and the Brain (Mar. 20 - Dr. Ratey)
Courses About Marriage and Relationships by Phone
Relationship Check Up (Monthly - Dr. Hallowell or Dr. Ratey)
The ADD Marriage for the ADD Spouse (Mar. 6 - Dr. Hallowell)
The ADD Marriage for the Non-ADD Spouse (Feb. 28 or Mar. 28 - Dr. Hallowell)
At first I couldn't figure out why each entry had a graphic stating "By Phone" -- with an option to see it larger BY PHONE!! Then I realized the good doctors were using the same cheesy electronic store software as I.
Monday, January 23, 2006
Sueroweki & 2.0 & open
Notes from James Surowiecki's Talk at Intelligent Television
Intelligent Television conference info here.
1. Openness bridges all of these mechanisms: open source, p2p, shared work.
2. Intelligence is distributed rather than centralized: the knowledge is spread out in many locations
3. Bottom up works better than command and control mechanisms
-- people are better at understanding their own needs than the top
4. We are better off casting wide rather than narrow
-- don't know where the info is much of the time
5. Open access to creativity, knowledge -- benefits are greater the more people are involved
-- when people learn more, we learn more.. it's anti-rivalrous
6. Be very hesitant to filter who belongs to community
-- don't keep people out
7. People act better the more info they have
8. The internet allows us to become technically able to do so much more
-- distributed info and aggregation are so much more powerful
-- possibilities are immense
9. Different ways to tap into open systems
--obviously people using open systems to make money
-- Innocentive.. people go to register as a 'solver' where 10. You then get access to a problem set
----- if you solve a problem, you get a prize, but he company owns your solution
11. Systems that allow people to give ideas and innovation a piece at a time are interesting, because lots of people contribute. Prediction markets and prices work this way.
12. Can profit from an open content system.. leave everything open and free and then make money from talking about this stuff..
13. People find pleasure from the value of competition
-- from contributing to the growth of the pool of knowledge
14. Many of these systems are inefficient, because in a strict sense, they are redundant..
but the point is that even though this is the case, if we expand our ideas of efficiency, it's tremendously efficient.
15. What are the challenges to these systems?
-- problem with model in that a network or self organized model, it's difficult for individuals to contribute due to echo chamber effects...army ants .. work in ways where they do just what the ant is doing ahead of them.. if they start walking in a circle.. they actually die.. worry that if humans imitate others.. we will degrade because nothing new happens.. group loses collective intelligence.. drawing knowledge from just a few
-- challenge is to keep the ties in the networks loose.. and open and flowing
-- profound counter to our most deep seated ideas around authority, knowledge and expertise -- people have a fundamental desire to pick "the expert"
-- traditional need to develop a product, and then show it after it's out.. instead of working with people all along..
-- traditional needs to develop IP are challenged
16. Arthur Miller in the Harvard Law Review just wrote an article saying that what we need now is 'common law' for ideas.
17. Tom Bergeron -- host of dancing with the stars on why people like this.. because it is about
"wholeheartedly uniting our skills is the basis for all human interaction"
18. Collective systems may work better when there is an answer people think they can find, verses when a lead user or expert may be better at finding the right thing.
19.. Our imagining of the 'genius' is the failure to see that works of art are actually based on others ideas ... works of art always borrow from other works of art.
Posted by Mary Hodder at January 23, 2006 08:12 AM
KM supplanted by community
Wall Street Journal (01/23/06) , P. B1; Thurm, Scott
Despite the transition of the work force to "knowledge workers," not many
organizations have proven themselves adept at sharing knowledge among
employees or pass it on when an employee leaves a post. There are many
solutions on offer from business gurus, most of them involving technology,
but there have not been many successes with them so far. Rather, it is
important to keep in mind the human aspect of knowledge
management--something discovered by London's water supplier in the early
1990s when it provided its inspectors with handheld computers eliminated the
central dispatch office. The problem with this is that the dispatch office
had filled an informal role as a place where inspectors could learn tips and
tricks from each other about doing their jobs, a resource so vital that
inspectors started meeting on their own at a restaurant and writing down
tips on a notebook stashed behind the counter. After Xerox heard similar
stories from copier technicians, who often learned more from each other than
from their manuals, and Xerox ended up providing technicians with radios so
they could confer with one another. Still, this sort of informal
knowledge-sharing is limited in scope and could be seen as somewhat
old-fashioned, which is why companies have been trying to collect tips in
central computer databases; the drawback with this is that it can be hard to
get together the critical mass to make this worthwhile. Xerox managed to
make this strategy a success through various means--including seeding the
database with headquarters engineers' tips, offering rewards for submitting
tips, and featuring the names of contributors so they could get recognition
from their peers--and today the Xerox "Eureka" system has about 70,000
suggestions and saves millions of dollars a year for the company. Other
companies are taking different approaches; for example, highly technically
knowledgeable employees of Raytheon's missile-systems unit are passing on
what they know with the assistance of a coach.
Sunday, January 08, 2006
essence of wikis
What makes a wiki a wiki? (Or, not everything is a wiki!)
(I love the hunt for "essences." The "essence" of a very long comment thread like the one on this excellent posting is that it becomes less about the posting and more a continuing expression of comment-thread-ness.)
Recently, I've been using wikis furiously, and not because of the hype, but because of a need to work irregularly at a fine-grained level with separate sets of others. It's about having so much to do, and surprise, no great expanses of time for it all. It is about capturing combined effort, quickly turning rooms into pages. Not as things to do that get stuck in email, but as word-thought-action-stuff that gets riffled in the right direction over time. It's about drafting and finishing many small pieces and few larger ones through iteration, about holding the state of simple tasks and longer activities and so on. A little while ago, I cornered these same turns on wikis.
It's not hard to see the essence of a wiki in this, at least if you already know it. (It'd be equally not hard to sense the essence of blogs of an account I'll spare you.) Essences aren't about semantics or definitions. Essences aren't about all the whys, or the detailed mechanisms, but about whyness and howness in a, well, essential kind of way. They are about a sense for the heart of the matter and of its primitive beating.
Another essential point, I understand by now, that many people don't give a damn about essences.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
business blogs help reputation says sun
Interviewed at the Syndicate conference, Jonathan Schwartz, President and COO of Sun Microsystems said that blogging had played a major role in the revitalization of Sun's reputation. Like many other tech companies, Sun felt the backlash of the dot-com crash and has only recently started to recover.
"Imagine a company that had e-mail the day it started 24 years ago. When blogs took off, there was never a discussion of whether we should do this ... just how," Schwartz said.
Blogging allows you to look into a company, meet its people and see how it functions. It puts a human face on the corporation and makes it real. Schwartz said that this window into the company and the direct interaction with its employees is what builds the trust factor. And he emphasized that authenticity and transparency are keys to blogging success.
Sun has gone from the 99th to the 6th most popular server company, largely because it has embraced authenticity and transparency in its communication initiatives. “Companies that fight transparency will confront a competitive deficit,” said Schwartz.
“We've moved from the information age to the participation age, and trust is the currency of the participation age”, he said. “Companies need to speak with one voice and be authentic. Blogging allows you to speak out authentically on your own behalf, and in the long run people will recognize that. Do it consistently and they trust you.”
Blogging done right can be a positive force in building and maintaining a reputation in today’s competitive marketplace. But it has to be done in the spirit of open communication and with a willingness to let go of the “corporate message.”
BENEFITS OF CORPORATE BLOGGING
* Increases search engine visibility and thus brand awareness
* Offers a direct communication channel to the public
* Builds credibility and trust
* Allows you to tell your story, uncensored by the media
* Makes your organization more “real” to the public
ARE YOU READY TO BLOG?
Take a look at the culture of your organization:
* Can you let go of the controlled ‘messaging’?
* Are you willing to be authentic and transparent?
* Do you have the resources – writers, time, budget - to create the content for a blog that others will find compelling?
If so, it may be time to start thinking about your corporate blogging guidelines.
Friday, January 06, 2006
from the CP Square Web 2.0 discussions
I think its almost essential that corporations adopt social computing
We've been collectively working on this whole problem of getting the organization to actually "know" what it knows. Its pretty clear at this point that there's only so much that structured approaches can do. While they work great for some things, they are truly poor at detailing all the "good stuff." Lessons learned, common, preferred and best practices, task oriented guidance, overview information and the rest of the stuff which hangs off a knowledge domain don't really work all that well in a structured environment unless the organization is willing to devote big bucks to a back-end knowledge support staff. Worse, even if well done, most are still divorced from the practitioners and experts which provide this stuff.
The social computing movement provides a different answer, one where the interaction is collaborative and self-organizing. This, I think, is a far better approach for detailing what an organization knows.
The big issue most larger scale corporations are dealing with is the massive growth in unstructured data (documents, presentations, emails. etc.). All organizations know that leveraging expertise, both in people's heads and in their information structures, is critical to success, but it turns out to be a very hard problem. I put a document in the resources section that provides an overview of some of the technology solutions organizations are using, including service-oriented architectures, portals and enterprise content management systems.
Trust seems to be the biggest barrier to adopting a collaborative view of an organization's information and knowledge. This involves a number of dimensions, including:
1. proprietary information: organizations have a hard time opening up their information infrastructure. for fear something important might leak out, so they tend to hoard their information instead, even if this means that they themselves aren't benefiting
2. Individual trust of the corporation: getting the key experts in an organization to participate in sharing their expertise online in a free-flowing manner requires the individual to move away from the "knowledge hoarded" = "power" mindset. Frankly, in many organizations, its absolutely in their interest to hoard information.
3. Recognition that knowledge is supposed to be messy: There is this strange dichotomy in organizations. On the one hand, most file shares are best described as vast information junkyards, yet whenever information systems personnel design content management solutions, they expect the resultant information base to be pristine. There is a HUGE percentage of failed ECM (enterprise content management) systems installed, that run perfectly, but are never used.
On styles & endpoints
There may be other ways to characterize communities when thinking of support technology. How about endpoints?.
If you look across communities and organizations you may observe individual communities that tend to gravitate towards a finite number of endpoints in terms of their style, evolution, boundaries, trajectories and interactions. Here are my sightings:
1) Business intelligence: this group sets itself up as a filter and gathering mechanism for the organization (eyes, ears & nose), builds and cultivates relationships with primary sources and evaluates secondary material, supplying informal or documented reports on target competitors, technologies, processes or market shifts. Think social search / bookmarks, collaborative annotation, notification, subscription.
2) Problem solvers / helpdesks: the community come to see themselves as an internal resource for hard problems and issues, they thrive on really tough questions and finding good solutions for complex issues, e.g. printing over a LAN. Think FAQ, Q&A, escalation rules, subscription.
3) Continuous learning: these groups exist to help and support the members learning. Insights are shared, awareness is generated and new knowledge may be constructed. Often this can become a sink hole, with little explicit return to the organization, most of the value is in the social capital or the tacit knowledge of the members. Think, wiki, web conference, collaborative concept mapping, visual thinking
4) Process keepers: groups that document, broker and arbitrate around large organizational processes. They particpate in negotiating meaning and deal in the boundary objects that move between the organizational silos. Think: CMS, business rules, expert systems?
5) Centers of excellence: the group strives to gain recognition through conducting cutting edge research, external publication, seeks patents and often spends more time in industry and scientific fora than facing internal customers. They may become a kind of intellectual ambassador and company status symbol. Think library systems, reference tools, ppt presentations, podcasts?, group blogs
This is not so much about how they interact as it is about who / what they believe they really are! - It is the group identity that drives technology selection, adoption / adaptation, user practice and tool mix selection.
Individual communities can arrive at their endpoint using, meetings, informal conversations, Q&A, f2f gatherings, meetups.......
Parables on Learning -- The Basic Principles
There are ten basic Principles of Learning that, when practiced, help us grow in understanding and make us successful in whatever we attempt to do. These ten basic Principles of Learning are really a series of actions that successful people people can take in their daily lives. In fact, since learning is such an integral part of living, these rules might more appropriately be called the basic principles of a good life.
Rules to Learn/Live By:
1. Ask questions
2. Collect wisdom (Esteem the learn-ed)
3. Don’t compartmentalize
4. Be free
5. Promote good character
6. Be open and clear
7. Have fun
8. See abundance
9. Embrace community
10. Be spiritual
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
josh - cost of wasting exec time
| q |
The largest group of respondents, 37%, reported spending four or more hours each week searching for information; 36% spent two to four hours each week on information searches.
"The most surprising finding in this survey is the large amount of time executives spend searching for information," said Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates. "At today's executive salary levels, four hours of search time can cost companies $1,000 or more per week -- not including the cost of lost opportunities, delayed decisions, or other work not completed. If you apply this estimated figure to Fortune 500 companies, the money spent adds up to $60M each year."
Other study findings include:
* 91% of executives routinely use the Internet when searching for business-related information. Respondents relied on the Internet more than any other source, including trade journals, books, newspapers, and webinars.
* 47% indicate that unproductive searches and the need to sift through "too much information" are primary challenges associated with using the Internet.
* A majority of executives spend four or more hours reading each week to stay informed and current. More time is spent reading at home or while traveling than in the office.
* 67.5% of respondents said they don't read books or articles in entirety but read summaries, skim, or read specific sections.
* 14.4% read seven to ten business books a year, 21.4% read four to six books, and 45.8% read one to three books. 74.9% of respondents said they'd like to read more, but are limited because of time.
"The highest, most mature level of corporate learning is learning on demand," said Bersin. "While executives would never use this phrase, that's exactly the way they learn. They want the ability to obtain highly specific, relevant information whenever and wherever it's needed. Companies should factor this need into the learning resources made available to their senior executives."
A copy of the full report can be downloaded at http://exec.books24x7.com/. Of the study's 202 respondents, 43% were over age 50 and 40% were between 36 and 50 in age. The vast majority, 84%, were male. 49% of respondents had C-level or vice president titles; 51% had director-level titles.
Monday, December 19, 2005
fun, play, engagement
Learning can, and should, be hard fun. It's fun, in the sense that you're engaged, there is a story that you care about, and you have the power to act; it's hard in that it's not trivial-there is sufficient challenge to keep you on your toes.
Here, engagement is the word used to describe the situation when learners are captured, heart and mind, in learning--or to use formal terms, are cognitively and affectively connected to the learning epxerience.
Jean Lave at the University of California at Berkeley (1988) cites work on Brazilian street kids who can't seem to be taught mathematics, yet are actually guqite good at doing calculaiton in the monetary tasks they perform to survive (showing movational effects on learning).
A Theory of Fun
Fun is all aout our brains feeling good--the release of endorphins into our system. The various cocktails of chemicals relased in different ways are basically all the same. Science has shown that the preasurable chills that we get down the spine after exceptionally powerful music or a really great ook are caused by the same sorts of chemicals we get when we have cociane, an orgasm, oor chocolate. Basically, our brains are on drugs pretty much all the time.
One of the subtlest releases of chemicals is at that moment of triumph when we learn something or master a task. This almost always causes us to break out into a smile. After all, it is important to the survival of the species that we learn--therefore our bodies reward us for it with moments of pleasure. There are many ways we find fun in games, and I will talk about the others. But this is the most important.
Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of soliving puzzles that makes games fun.
In other words, with games, learning is the drug.
Institute of Play
“It is the child in the man (woman) that is the source of his (her) uniqueness and creativity, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his (her) capacities and talents.”
We can turn that around by playing to learn. The components of play-curiosity, discovery, novelty, risk-taking, trial and error, pretense, games, social etiquette and other ever more complex adaptive activities– are the same as the components of learning. Humans are designed by nature to play, and have played throughout their evolution.
What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families, and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives.
What common denominator is shared by mass murderers, abused children, burnt-out employees, depressed mothers, caged animals, and chronically worried students? Play is rarely or never a part of their lives.
Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism:
most people believe that play is unproductive, and therefore inferior to “productive” activities. We all have our “To Do” lists at home and at the office. We're good at prioritizing our tasks by how productive they are, and when we run out of time, we trim our lists. If we're being “good” we cut the fun stuff and do the “productive” stuff. If we're being “bad”, we “play hookey” and feel guilty. Bosses, coworkers and even family members scold us for “goofing off” if we forgo work for a game of tennis, a walk in the woods, an hour of daydreaming, a juicy novel, a vacation cruise, or a hand of bridge.
Ideas are the Currency
of the New Economy
Numbers tell the story
By Linda Naiman
From the Creativity at Work ™ Newsletter
Genius level creativity
In 1968, George Land distributed among 1,600 5-year-olds a creativity test used by NASA to select innovative engineers and scientists. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age.
Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98%
Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30%
Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12%
Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%
"What we have concluded," wrote Land, "is that non-creative behavior is learned."
Why aren't adults as creative as children?
For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions.
We now have a talent shortage in North America. Organizations that understand the relationship between creativity, innovation and performance, actively promote creativity in their employees; will win in the marketplace. The root of invention and innovation is creativity.
Return on Investment
n The Wall Street Journal reported that a two year in-house creativity course at General Electric resulted in a 60% increase in patentable concepts.
n Participants in Pittsburgh Plate Glass creativity training showed a 300% increase in viable ideas compared with those who elected not to take the course.
n At Sylvania, several thousand employees took a 40 hour course in creative problem solving. ROI: $20 for every $1 spent.
n Hewlett-Packard invested over $2 billion in R&D in 1999, and generated more than 1,300 patent applications. Net revenue: $42.37 billion. (Source: HP 2000 Annual report)
I shall also use the word "play" in a wide sense, to stand for an activity that, because it is not directed to the satisfaction of wants, entails an attitude to the world that is not concerned to use it, to get something out of it, or to make something of it, and offers satisfactions that are not at the same time frustrations.
My main point has been to suggest that, apart from "work," the activity of using the world to satisfy human wants, mankind has devised or stumbled upon other activities and attitudes towards the world, the activities I have grouped together as "play." It is in these activities that human beings have believed themselves to enjoy a freedom and an illumination that the satisfaction of wants can never supply. It is not Homo sapiens and Homo laborans, the clever users of the resources of the world, but Homo ludens, the one engaged in the activities of "play," who is the civilized one.
Get Back in the Box by Douglas Rushkoff
Establishing a playful career or company isn't as easy as it looks. It doesn't require expensive consultants, trips to the woods, or the reinvention of a company's culture based on some abstract ideal. But it does mean going against much of what we’ve been taught about competition and survival - not just in business school, but for the past five centuries! Still, just as people have stopped relating as individuals to their brands and opted instead to become members of brand cultures, producers in a renaissance era must come to think of their companies as collaborative minisocieties, whose underlying work ethic will ultimately be expressed in the culture they create for the world at large.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
of course, there are security issues:
Researchers at Clarkson University fooled biometric systems with fake fingerprints made out of Play-Doh nine out of ten times, demonstrating a weakness of some computer security systems.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Let it be
Contemplating my living painting (it rustles in the breeze), a thought from Dwight Eisenhower flowed into my head: "Farming looks mighty easy if a piece of paper is your field and your plow is a pencil."
This morning I want to wrap up a chapter on cultivating the learnscape. The chapter will be advice for composing a productive ecosystem for work and learning. A month ago, I'd have called this Design. Now I cannot.
As a verb, design means:
- design something for a specific role or purpose or effect
- conceive or fashion in the mind; invent
- make a design of; plan out in systematic, often graphic form
- create the design for; create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner
- make or work out a plan for; devise
After two cups of good, strong coffee, I find the painting morphing into the redwoods in the backyard, with a Japanese maple in the foreground, backlit by the fog over San Francisco Bay.
Perhaps I could have designed the painting, but I could no more design those redwoods than I could plow a field with a pencil.
Ever see a redwood cone? They are tiny. About the size of a marble. Each cone contains sixty to a hundred tiny seeds; 125,000 seeds weigh about a pound. Sixty years ago, one of those seeds took up residence in my back yard. Several of my trees have grown more than a hundred feet tall. They weigh more than a million pounds. How the hell did this happen? The seed contained a blueprint but the seedling's relationships with its surroundings created the tree.
New workers are seeds in the business ecosystem.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Snips for the book
A fantastic issue dedicated to learning space design
As Malcolm Brown, of Dartmouth, states in Educating the Net Gen, "Net Gen students, using a variety of digital devices, can turn almost any space outside the classroom into an informal learning space."1 What, then, becomes the role of spaces such as faculty offices, hallways, plazas, courtyards, dormitories, and food service areas? Designers have traditionally studied courtyards, plazas, and hallways for usage and flow patterns. Learning space designers must now consider the instructional implications of these spaces. Although discussions about these spaces still need to be concerned with usage patterns, a more important issue is: What types of learning activities should be facilitated in these spaces, and what type of infrastructure is needed to support these activities?
If institutions are to achieve demonstrable gains in these five outcomes, students and faculty will need their facilities to support several fundamental activities that will occupy much of their time:
- They need space in which to practice such activities, alone and in teams.
- They need space in which to receive coaching and assessment.
- They need space in which to acquire knowledge—explanations gained through some mix of reading, listening, and watching.
A typology for such specialized learning spaces might include the following:
- Thinking/conceiving spaces (spaces for deliberating)
- Designing spaces (spaces for putting structure, order, and context to free-ranging ideas)
- Presenting spaces (spaces for showing things to a group)
- Collaborating spaces (spaces for enabling team activities)
- Debating or negotiating spaces (spaces for facilitating negotiations)
- Documenting spaces (spaces for describing and informing specific activities, objects, or other actions)
- Implementing/associating spaces (spaces for bringing together related things needed to accomplish a task or goal)
- Practicing spaces (spaces for investigating specific disciplines)
- Sensing spaces (spaces for pervasively monitoring a location)
- Operating spaces (spaces for controlling systems, tools, and complex environments)
New mind-sets for creating effective learnscapes:
- Realizing that learning is about situated action, collaboration, coaching, and reflection, not study and reading
- Thinking buildings as the beginning of an evolutionary process in a state of permanent flux and iterative change
The culture Job Aid: express concern by “playing this card.” (Boss warns to temper it with respect.)
Stephen, on learning 2.0
E-learning 2.0 (10/17/05)
What happens when online learning ceases to be like a medium, and becomes more like a platform? What happens when online learning software ceases to be a type of content-consumption tool, where learning is "delivered," and becomes more like a content-authoring tool, where learning is created? The model of e-learning as being a type of content, produced by publishers, organized and structured into courses, and consumed by students, is turned on its head. Insofar as there is content, it is used rather than read— and is, in any case, more likely to be produced by students than courseware authors. And insofar as there is structure, it is more likely to resemble a language or a conversation rather than a book or a manual.
The e-learning application, therefore, begins to look very much like a blogging tool. It represents one node in a web of content, connected to other nodes and content creation services used by other students. It becomes, not an institutional or corporate application, but a personal learning center, where content is reused and remixed according to the student's own needs and interests. It becomes, indeed, not a single application, but a collection of interoperating applications—an environment rather than a system.
“Ownership” because it’s our lives we’re talking about.
Work backward from results, not from top down.
Little girls run the distance. At end, motivational feedback: You did great! At the new beginning, normative feedback like “This time run a little faster.”
Managers get no feedback. It’s fluency vs competency.
Most problems are lack of clear instructions and direction.
Forced card sorts. What do you need to do every day to fulfill the promise to your customers? 2nd Sort: Which are you doing? Which are you vaguely aware of? Which are under the radar?
No gurus, no norms…. Just what you said you want to accomplish.
by Donald T. Tosti, CPT, PhD
There are two approaches to HPT, or improvement in any situation.
Quality efforts focus on reducing variation by finding its cause and fixing it.
Engineering approaches, such as early HPT, focus on what improves or hinders performance.
Both have there place, but as Don writes, "The biggest difference is that engineering improvement focuses on means and enabling it, and quality improvement focuses on cause and eliminating it. Engineering solves problems more through analysis and design than through troubleshooting and repair, although both are accepted as legitimate processes."
Quality is popular. It promises managers cost reductions and greater efficiency. Because it sells so well, the tendency within our field is to allow ourselves to be solely defined as “fixers” rather than “innovators.”
GREAT DESIGN RULES FROM OREILLY
Web 2.0 Design Patterns
In his book, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander prescribes a format for the concise description of the solution to architectural problems. He writes: "Each pattern describes a problem that occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that problem, in such a way that you can use this solution a million times over, without ever doing it the same way twice."
The Long Tail
Small sites make up the bulk of the internet's content; narrow niches make up the bulk of internet's the possible applications. Therefore: Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.
Data is the Next Intel Inside
Applications are increasingly data-driven. Therefore: For competitive advantage, seek to own a unique, hard-to-recreate source of data.
Users Add Value
The key to competitive advantage in internet applications is the extent to which users add their own data to that which you provide. Therefore: Don't restrict your "architecture of participation" to software development. Involve your users both implicitly and explicitly in adding value to your application.
Network Effects by Default
Only a small percentage of users will go to the trouble of adding value to your application. Therefore: Set inclusive defaults for aggregating user data as a side-effect of their use of the application.
Some Rights Reserved. Intellectual property protection limits re-use and prevents experimentation. Therefore: When benefits come from collective adoption, not private restriction, make sure that barriers to adoption are low. Follow existing standards, and use licenses with as few restrictions as possible. Design for "hackability" and "remixability."
The Perpetual Beta
When devices and programs are connected to the internet, applications are no longer software artifacts, they are ongoing services. Therefore: Don't package up new features into monolithic releases, but instead add them on a regular basis as part of the normal user experience. Engage your users as real-time testers, and instrument the service so that you know how people use the new features.
Cooperate, Don't Control
Web 2.0 applications are built of a network of cooperating data services. Therefore: Offer web services interfaces and content syndication, and re-use the data services of others. Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely-coupled systems.
Software Above the Level of a Single Device
The PC is no longer the only access device for internet applications, and applications that are limited to a single device are less valuable than those that are connected. Therefore: Design your application from the get-go to integrate services across handheld devices, PCs, and internet servers.
BLOGGING at MICROSOFT
Microsoft used to be a black hole from which no information escaped. Then they hired Bob Scoble. Scoble's popular blog didn't convert to an in-house adjunct of Microsoft marketing. In fact, it is still his personal deal, not a Microsoft publication. Scoble called it like he saw it, sometimes admitting that his company had blown it. He got anwsers. He began to put a human face on "the evil empire." Other employees set up blogs. Like Scoble, but unlike Sun, IBM, and Intel with their corporate-sanctioned blogs, three out of four Microsoft blogs are external. The prime directive to Microsoft bloggers: don't be stupid.
STOPPED at process thinking, an important post
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Learning chez Jay
Bias alert. I find Don Norman's work awesome. The Design of Everyday Things lifted the burden of clutziness from my shoulders. Emotional Design added concepts from Drucker and Ted Leavitt that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My concept of the augmented learner shared a perspective with Don's Things That Make Us Smart. I was already chock full of Silicon Valley marketing concepts, so I didn't get much from The Invisible Computer. Turn Signals Are the Facial Expressions of Automobiles opens with a bunch of parents watching a school play. The dads will never see the real thing, because they are all looking at the tiny screens in their video cams.
I had talked with Don at conferences long ago, me talking to the celebrity, he would never have recognized me. Jerry Michalski and I had dropped by Ideo after hours to hear a presentation by Dan Pink. Perhaps three dozen people, maybe four, were in the audience, Don among them. Afterward, I explained that I was writing a book on informal learning. Could he spare me time to talk a few months hence? Sure.
Three months later, I arrived at Don's condo in downtown Palo Alto. I explained that I was having a hard time getting my arms around the topic. He quizzed me thoroughly. After 90 minutes, he diagnosed my dilemma. My topic was too big to get my arms around. Damn.
So I drove home somewhat dejected because my topic felt like an integrated whole. At least in my head. The next day I wrote Don thanking him for his generous counsel and guidance. But I was too feisty to let go, so I said that somebody had to do this, and it might as well be me. If I fail, it's hardly the end of the world. Don offered his support.
Marcia Conner coaxed me to slim this baby down, as did George Siemens and Clark Quinn. I was on that path until the conference I'm been taking part in the last three days. What had I learned? Messing with an entire nation's historic K12 education system is a head-twister of the first order. This time there are social, cultural, and religious issues. The first Sheik Nayahan settled in Abu Dhabi in 1793, but recent archeological finds suggests people have lived here for more than five thousand years. One anomaly is the distribution of wealth. The poor (mostly Indian and Pakistrani ex-pats) live a miserable existence.
How can I describe the wealth here? Remember Goldfinger and his gold covered Rolls Royce. If you could slap half a ton of gold on a big Rolls, how many cars could one Sheikh's riches buy? I figure it's three to four thousand cars.
There are more things I have just learned floating around in my head, but I've got a book to write. An hour ago I wrote an introduction for conferences attendees to sign up for our maillist. This may not fly.
At eMerging eLearning 2005, we began a conversation about some very big
issues. Our conversations focused on helping the UAE revolutionize its K12
education system. Thank you for taking part.
We unearthed some thorny topics, things like unwise uses of funds, low teacher morale, pockets of administrative incompetence, uninspired students, the status of women, and others. Segregation of genders is black and white here. Literally. Men wear all white; women wear all black.
I don't mean to complain. The UAE is one of the only places on earth where leaders are not thinking about next year, or the next election, or popularity contests, but rather a breath-takingly far-sighted vision of the future. The spirit of Sheikh Zayed continues to guide the nation.
At our World Cafe, borrowing from Bedouin hospitality, we welcomed visitors to join us in conversations that matter. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Please join me by taking your first step now. Cam will tell you how to "subscribe." Then you will automatically receive each day's messages by email. And of course, you can write and send messages of your own.
Give it a try. If you don't move out of your comfort zone, you will never adapt to future conditions.
At lunch today, perhaps intoxicated by a whiff of the Alba white truffles on my plate, I jotted down a list of potential chapters for the book. Tell me if you spot any real turkeys:
- Time inflation
- Elearning ha!
- Content and IP
- Change management
- Internet platform
- Free-range learners
- Learning 2005