co-creation as a service

Most best practices are self-evident, whereas the problems that consume our time and efforts are usually complex. Instead of looking for best or good practices, we should take the time and money to invest in an experiment. What works for one organization often will not work for another. There are too many variables, and the environment keeps changing. However, examples of emergent practices can inform us, as long as we see them as guide posts, not rule books.

Currently, I offer online workshops on personal knowledge mastery and social learning. These have been highly successful and involve cohorts of participants from a wide variety of backgrounds. As one of the objectives is to learn from each other, this diversity increases the potential for serendipitous learning. Taking these workshops and running them inside an organization would not yield the same results. That is why I offer co-creation as a service. (more…)

the self-governance maturity model

“If we emphasize Autonomy, the Node Artifact, Autonomy as the core organizing principle, this will result in individuals, small groups and tribes, forming complex responsive flows e.g. through conversations and flexible ad hoc structures.” – John Kellden

In the triple operating system (Awareness>Alternatives>Action) work gets done by self-governing work teams with a degree of autonomy operating in temporary, negotiated hierarchies. Self-organizing teams are more flexible than hierarchical ones, but they require active and engaged members. One cannot cede power to the boss, because everyone is responsible for the boss they choose. Like democracy, self-organized teams require constant effort to work.  Hierarchies work well when information flows mostly in one direction: down. They are good for command and control. Hierarchies can get things done efficiently. But hierarchies are useless to create, innovate, or change. Hierarchies in perpetual beta are optimal for creativity and to deal with complexity. (more…)

a triple operating system

[Note: this is a repost from and a combination of two previous posts]

Governance, business, and learning models are moving from centralized control to network-centric foundations. For instance, coalition governments are increasing in frequency, businesses are organizing in value networks, and collaborative and connected learning is becoming widespread. In these cases, collaboration (working for a common objective) and cooperation (sharing freely without direct reciprocity) flow both ways.

There are advocates for a dual operating system to deal with the complexity of the networked era: one that is hierarchical and another that is networked. This may make more sense than an elaborate 8-step model but the duality misses an important connection between structured work and cooperative networks. That space is the community of practice, which is neither project team nor professional network. Networks provide new ideas and perspectives from their diverse weak social ties. Work teams often have to share complex knowledge, and this requires strong social ties. Communities of practice are the bridge between these two, where we can test new ideas in a trusted space. This trinity is not three separate operating systems. It is one, that without the others is ineffective. (more…)


Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds. I am currently in Toronto, returning from speaking at the Institute for Performance and Learning where my topic was ‘Humanity: the killer app’.

“One reason I find it a revelation to read newspapers, listen to radio: Human-curated news is tremendously more varied than machine-filtered.”@mims

“the people driving for Über are doing R&D for automatic cars!” says @rushkoff at #platformcoop – via @jerrymichalski

“I’m not a human resource. Certainly not an asset. Don’t even mention a human capital. I’m a human being, period.”@Mintzberg141 via @rachelbotsman (more…)

the bridge from education to experience

“Apprenticeship is the way we learn most naturally. It characterized learning before there were schools, from learning one’s language to learning how to run an empire.” – Cognitive Apprenticeship: Making Thinking Visible

In the apprenticeship model, novices learn under the tutelage of a master, but for the most part are assisted by journeymen, who are qualified in their trade but not yet masters. The amount of formal education in this model is usually around 10%.

“The journeyman license certifies that the craftsman has met the requirements of time in the field (usually a minimum of 8,000 hours) and time in an approved classroom setting (usually 700 hours).” – Wikipedia

A cursory look at several Canadian trades programs confirm this general ratio of 10% education to 90% field experience. (more…)

70:20:10 – a useful model

“essentially, all models are wrong, but some are useful” – George Box

The shift to the network era will not be easy for many people and most organizations. Common assumptions about how work gets done have to be discarded. Established ways of earning education credentials will be abandoned for more flexible and meaningful methods. Connections between disciplines and professions are growing, and artificial boundaries will continue to crack. Systemic changes to business and education will happen. There will be disruption on a societal level as we enter what is looking more and more like a post-job economy.

Learning is a critical part of working in a creative economy. Being able to continuously learn, and share that new knowledge, will be as important as showing up on time was in the industrial economy. Continuous learning will also disrupt established hierarchies as no longer will a management position imply greater knowledge or skills. Command and control will be replaced by influence and respect, in order to retain creative talent. Management in networks means influencing possibilities rather than striving for predictability. We will have to accept that no one has definitive answers anymore, but we can use the intelligence of our networks to make sense together. (more…)

farewell jay cross

I first got to know Jay Cross through his blog (it was before we even used the term) in the late 1990’s. I was one of the few people to comment on his posts and that was the beginning of our friendship. Several years later (2002) I got an email from Jay saying he would be in Moncton, New Brunswick, asking if that was near where I lived. Our first face to face face meeting was in a pub, 50 km from my house. Jay started the conversation saying that since we already knew each other so well, there was no need for small talk.  “Let’s figure out how we can work together”, he said. (more…)