collecting broken images

Do you remember that piece of research that informed your thesis 18 years ago? I do, it’s called the SPATIAL model and is no longer online, except on this blog (part of it).

I was asked by a friend if I could recommend some online resources for students to help with research and studying. It took me one click: my social bookmarks on Student Resources.

Could you write a 10,000 word paper, with citations, on a subject you know fairly well: in the next 24 hours? I can and I have done it for clients. I can do it on Leadership, Social Learning, Innovation, and several other topics. I have thousands of half-baked ideas that can be transformed into a coherent narrative, given a serious editing effort with a clear objective.

Could you quickly recommend the core people who are influential in one of your professional areas? I can, with my Twitter list of people who talk about the New World of Work.

These examples show how PKM is a discipline that makes my professional life easier and my work more effective. As Stephen B. Johnson says, “chance favors the connected mind”. We all have the tools available to create our outboard brains and offload some of the cognitive load of the network era, or as Dion Hinchcliffe recommends, “let the network do the work”. (more…)

PKM in the Summer

This is the third year of conducting my Personal Knowledge Mastery 40-day online workshops. The idea was to provide enough structure to get started on developing a PKM routine, some guided support, and time for reflection. Several people have found 40 days too little time and have taken the workshop more than once. This Summer I am initiating an experiment to see if a longer period of time makes a difference. The PKM in the Summer workshop will be 60 days, starting on 27 June 2016. There will be two activities per week, over nine weeks. This should accommodate any conflicting work and vacation schedules. As this is an experiment, the workshop is offered at a special price of $(US) 279.

We have had participants from around the globe over the past two years: AU, BE, CA, CH, CN, DE, ES, FR, IE, IN, IT, KR, NL, NO, UK, US, & ZA. Given time zone issues, having more time between activities may help people stay up to date. I find it valuable for everyone to get different cultural and geographic perspectives from the varied cohorts. My experience has also confirmed that doing these activities as a cohort is more effective than an individual self-paced program. (more…)

improvise for complexity

The premise of A Useful Idea is that improvisation acting principles can help with the creation of something new, and perhaps innovative. The five principles are:

  1. Assume complexity and only control process choices, not the outcome
  2. Nourish ‘ensemble’ to let go of safety and dive in with openness [improv activities help]
  3. Design skillful rehearsals & adaptive performances [perpetual beta]
  4. Tap into source [half-baked ideas]
  5. Think publicly [learn out loud]

I would strongly recommend this video and the approach it promotes. (more…)

“We made up these rules, and we can change them”

Now is the time for a serious rethinking of how we organize in our society: from businesses, to schools, and as communities. We need to base all of our organizations on the principle of temporary, negotiated hierarchies. In this way, citizens can freely cooperate and from time to time, as required, collaborate to get things done. This requires a new approach to organizing work, abolishing the separation of employer & employee, as well as the artificial and unequal division between labour and financial capital. Simultaneously, our educational systems need to phase out teachers and curriculum and focus on everyone becoming a better learner.

Top down leadership, including teaching, is no longer necessary in the network era. As Donald Clark notes, “We have fetishised ‘Leadership’, we’re all leaders now, rendering the word meaningless”. I have noted before that smart cities need smart citizens. The smart citizen is connected: to communities of practice, extended social networks, the community, and society. In the network era rigid hierarchies are counter-productive, as they shut off opportunities for serendipity and innovation, which is why self-organization must be the basis of new organizational models. The market era is ending. The emerging network era needs new operating principles. Now is the time to create these. (more…)

practice, creativity, and insight

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

Ray Bradbury : “I define science fiction as the art of the possible. Fantasy is the art of the impossible.” – via @DavidBrin

@HughCards: “As the Internet makes everything cheaper, access to real networks (Harvard, Wall St., Silicon Valley etc) gets even more expensive.”

@nielspflaeging: “Remember: In complexity, steering collapses. Bosses cease to be the boss, outside becomes the boss. Self-organization becomes inevitable.”

Noam Chomsky: The Purpose of Education | The highest goal in life is to inquire and create – via @leadershipABC (more…)

and what do you do?

When my wife is asked what I do for a living, she usually responds that it’s best to ask me directly. My initial response, in my mind, is: should I give the short or the long response? Depending on who is asking the question, the short response could be something like:

  • I help organizations adapt to the network era
  • I focus on new ways for connected organizations to work & learn
  • I connect working and learning, especially with digital technologies


PKM: to learn is to do

I have called #PKMastery a swiss army knife for the network era because the concept is simple but the ways it can be used are almost limitless. Multinational companies, like Domino’s, are using the PKM framework for leadership development, ensuring senior staff improve their sense-making and media literacy skills. It is used in schools, universities, and by practitioners in many professions. While the concept of Seek > Sense > Share is relatively simple, developing mastery takes time. PKM is a discipline that requires practice. (more…)

fortnightly quotes

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“Torture the data, and it will confess to anything.” – Ronald Coase, Economics, Nobel Prize Laureate, via @BigDataGal

“the stuff that can be done by technical people today will be provided by some application for everyone tomorrow” – @downes

“When experts are wrong, it’s often because they’re experts on an earlier version of the world” – @axelletess

“being a student is not a disease, and education is not a cure” – @gbiesta

“Spend less time criticising others’ work and spend more time creating work that others criticise.” – @DecaSteve

“Wages have stagnated to such an extent that it’s impossible for labor to insure itself.” – @YanisVaroufakis, via @RWartzman

“The demagogue is one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.” – H.L. Mencken, via @normsmusic (more…)

self-organization is the future

If we as a society think it is important that citizens are engaged, people are passionate about their work, and that we all contribute to making a better world, then we need to enable self-organization. Central planning and hierarchical decision-making are just too slow and ineffective, especially for complex situations involving lots of people. In my network learning model, people constantly navigate between social networks, communities of practice, and work teams. Personal knowledge mastery is the individual discipline that can enable this, while working out loud is how groups stay in touch and learn. It all hinges on individuals taking control of their learning, and organizations giving up control.

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” – Isaac Asimov


learn like an artist

How do gamers learn? They try things out and usually fail: lots of times. They learn from these mistakes and look for patterns. If they get stuck, they check out what others have shared, in online forums. They may ask a friend for help. Sometimes they will look for a ‘hack’, or a way around an impasse. Once they learn something, they might record it and share it, so others can learn. What they do not do is look for the rule book.

Artists are like gamers as they too have to fail many times as they master their craft. Today, we all need to think like gamers and artists. But being an artist is not easy. Scott Berkun says that, “it’s a discovery all artists make: the most interesting and bravest work is likely the hardest to make a living from.” There are no simple recipes to become an artist. (more…)