Collecting insights

September 26th, 2012

There was a lot happening at the Applied Improvisation Network Conference in San Francisco. As well as the pre-planned sessions, and the open space offerings, the one-on-one and small group conversations, and the serendipitous moments, there was the Twitter and Facebook back channel, photos being posted on Flickr, videos being made, drawings made, and people blogging. I tried to capture a small slice of the whole conference using Storify. It was the perfect opportunity for me to try this platform for myself. You can see for yourself here.

Wish I’d thought of that!

September 7th, 2012

Doesn’t really matter what it is, when I see something I really like, a great idea, a new use for something, I invariably wish I’d thought of that.

I do understand that most good ideas are crowd sourced, or group generated – Keith Sawyer did a great job in his book Group Genius in debunking the myth of the lone genius. Still, it’d be nice to think of something that no-one had ever thought of before. Maybe our tribal origins (that’s pre-internet, pre-technology for those who are wondering) means we are always inventing and re-inventing for our own context. I’ve always thought this might be a reason why learning from others’ experiences is a bit dodgy – our own experience is a much more reliable source of learning, hence we need to make the same mistakes as those who came before us.

My latest target for idea envy is Nancy Duarte’s book Resonate. The hard copy version is bad enough (for envy, that is) – taking one of my favourite adaptations of the Hero’s Journey by Christopher Vogler and applying it to presentations, but the on-line version, the one I just downloaded onto my iPad is frigging awesome.

Until now I’ve been happy enough to live with a foot in both the analog and digital camps when it comes to books. This on-line book with it’s videos, and interviews, and ‘behind-the-scenes’ notes, capacity to highlight and take my own notes, and to apply what I’m learning as I go, has probably tipped me right into the digital camp.


November 14th, 2011

Thanks for your patience while I was doing some tweaking on my web site. There’s a few minor changes that you’ll notice – a menu for easier navigation, and a little less clutter. More posts coming too.

What a difference three decades makes

October 20th, 2010

When I last visited London, nearly 30 years ago (yeah, I know, way too long between drinks) this was the only way to contact people back home (back home being Australia).

Now I have options, which then, would have sounded like they came straight out of a science-fiction novel. It’s easy to forget how useful these tools can be, to stay connected, and to connect, to share good and bad news, and to feel simultaneously, part of a small, select group of good friends, and the global community.

Here’s what I’ve used on this trip: my iPhone, my MacBook Air, Skype, Twitter, e-mail, Facebook, Amplify, my blog, and text messages. And also my digital camera and iPod have had a workout.

And I don’t even own an iPad – yet!

Digital habits*

March 27th, 2010

*With apologies to Nancy White for commandeering the title of her latest book

It’s Saturday afternoon here at Bells Beach. It’s not a particularly pleasant day – it’s grey, drab, damp and uninteresting. Friends who were here for a cycling event have left, the paper’s been read, the dishwasher loaded and gym done. The dodgy hamstring needs icing so I’m sitting on the couch with  an ice pack strapped to my leg. The radio is droning on in the background. Hawthorn versus Melbourne. I think Hawthorn is winning.

And I’m nursing my laptop – cruising a few web sites I haven’t visited for a while and following interesting-looking links. I’ve found some marvellous stuff to read. I’m sure you do the same thing.

Got me thinking about this whole surfing thing (the electronic version, not the stuff that happens on the waves a few hundred metres away at the Bells Beach). And the differences to reading the newspaper. I’ve always read newspapers. Once, I used to buy three different daily papers and I used to watch the news on the telly – often on a couple of different channels to compare. Not any more. I barely have patience for televised news, and not much in the newspaper really catches my attention anymore. Why?

Most of what I read in the newspaper is well, not new. And much of it doesn’t interest me either. And I become increasingly frustrated at the process of the news – where a gatekeeper has determined what it is I should hear or read, who uses statistics and audience segmentation to determine what I should be interested in. In this era of ‘publish then filter’ I am responsible for what media I consume rather than the approach of ‘filter then publish’ where experts make decisions on our behalf of what’s readable and what’s not.

I’m learning to become internet literate. Just as I had to learn a new approach to ‘literacy’ when I took up birdwatching, so I am still learning the new digital literacy. I’m learning how to find trusted sources, and where great writing, photography and illustration lives. I get a thrill when I discover a great new blog, when I read something that stretches my thinking or challenges my perspective. I also find stuff that is appalling, outdated, boring, dull or full of hubris. Some things I don’t ‘get’ and others make me laugh out loud. I’ve made friends on the net – people who I’ve never met – and I’ve developed and deepened existing friendships. I’ve got work and I’ve shared my thoughts and ideas. I’ve helped others and others have helped me. I have access to a huge variety of ideas, thinking, perspectives, possibility. And I’m no longer contented to be a consumer. I see something I like, such as the Hungry Beast segment, and I want to know how it’s done. I want to be able to do it myself. And the really cool thing is that I can do it myself. We all can now. That’s exciting.

And here’s what I love about this photo. It combines wireless internet and live streaming of a conference half a world away, a now out-dated landline telephone, and a similarly outdated radio/CD player, a wireless temperature gauge and the never-outdated skill of baking.


Open data movement afoot

March 18th, 2010

At last year’s TED conference, Tim Berners Lee called for the an open data movement with the free sharing of raw data and all the benefits that would come from that. You can watch the original talk here.

Last month, he gave an update in this six-minute talk. He shows how mashable maps are being produced from the raw data. What I found most interesting was the way information was gathered and shared about the Haiti earthquake. It’s about 4 mins in.

Hat tip to Johnnie Moore and Ton Zylstra

Connection and intimacy

January 21st, 2010

I like this summary of how the internet enables us to stay connected. It’s also a good follow-up from my previous post. No surprises, but a good reminder of how the work landscape has changed in such a short time and how individuals are streets ahead of organisations. No surprises there, either!

Me too!

August 5th, 2009

IMG_0166Nancy White has a great post about how she uses social media. Here’s a summary with some of my favourite choconancy comments in italics.

  • online community

“Eminds” was where I learned that online relationships can be real, how they get real, and  how they break and fail.

  • online learning together

But regardless of the technology, how we use it always matters.

  • communities of practice and learning

…social media has changed what it means to “be together.” It has changed our experience and understanding of being part of a group, a community or a network. It has created a massive multiplier of the options we now have to be with other people.

  • global networks and knowledge sharing

When the door to connection is open, watch who walks through and follow them, not those who stand at the doorway and naysay!

Social media offers us incredible intellectual capital opportunities to link up the best and often most diverse minds to address a problem or opportunity.

  • weaving across silos

Social media keep networks, their content and activities knitted together.

  • (drawing) pictures
  • blogging and doing business

The second great value blogging gave me was a place to “think out loud” with my network, to offer half-baked ideas and solicit help to finish baking them. It is the easy-bake oven of learning. Write, hit post, and you are in the learning lab.

  • writing a book
  • liberating my inner geek

Particularly as a woman of 51 years of age, this enormous software playground has given me a way to bend stereotypes of middle aged white women and technology. I look proudly at my mom who at 79 is rediscovering high school friends on Facebook and enhancing volunteerism through web tools.

Nancy concludes with the patterns she’s noticed:

  • learning
  • getting work done
  • finding and connecting with people
  • getting stuff
  • exploring and pushing my boundaries

She says: “My practices have been radically changed and shaped – yes, even transformed – by social software.”

And I’m going to conclude by breaking one of the rules of social media. I’m not as far into my social media journey as Nancy, (and someone is sure to remind me that I still haven’t written that book) but nonetheless, ME TOO!

TED Talk: Communicating real news

June 22nd, 2009

If you are still in any doubt that we are in the midst of phenomenal change, watch this. It’s Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organising Without Organisations, talking about the impact of new technologies. The events in Iran during this last week is the latest in a series of examples of the ‘tranformation to amateur media’ as Shirky describes it. Even President Obama mentioned in a talk on the weekend the ‘professional and amateur reporters’ from Iran. We are now all capable of bypassing ‘mainstream media’ and/or censors.

If you are in the business of communication (and who isn’t these days?) and if you want your messages to be heard, then an understanding of how these changes fundamentally affect how and what we communicate and, importantly, the channels of communication, will help make the most of your communication.


April 10th, 2009

Last week my skype account was hacked which meant I couldn’t log in. After no response from skype support (and a hilarious email from them wanting feedback on their customer support!) I gave in and created a new account. Now the sidebar with the green ticks is back and I’m gradually reconnecting with my contacts.

It was interesting just how disconnected I felt without skype – how that list of names reminds me of people near and far who I connect with often or just occasionally. More than twitter, more than email.