intellectual craftsmanship

I was recently referred to a most interesting article, Intellectual Craftsmanship, via Nicole Martin who had recently completed my PKM Workshop. It is a part of C. Wright Mills’ larger work, The Sociological Imagination (1959).

“Hailed upon publication as a cogent and hard-hitting critique, The Sociological Imagination took issue with the ascendant schools of sociology in the United States, calling for a humanist sociology connecting the social, personal, and historical dimensions of our lives. The sociological imagination Mills calls for is a sociological vision, a way of looking at the world that can see links between the apparently private problems of the individual and important social issues.” —Google Books

The above description aligns with the personal knowledge mastery framework: PKM is a unified framework of individually-constructed enabling processes to help each of us make sense of our world, work more effectively, and contribute to society. (more…)

friday inventions

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

“There are two different types of people in the world: Those who want to know, and those who want to believe.” —Friedrich Nietzsche, via @othertwice

@njbowden: “Imagine if cities put as much thought, effort, and incentives behind home-growing 1000 new companies with 50 employees as they have with the Amazon Request for Proposals”

@tomothycsimons: “Same origin story for every tech startup; I went into a store, saw someone with a job and thought ‘what if that person didn’t have a job?'”

A guide to the things silicon valley invented that already existed, via @edwsonoma

  • Juiceroo (juicers)
  • Bodega (vending machines)
  • Lyft Shuttle (public busses)
  • Soylent (SlimFast)


The Copenhagen Letter

I signed The Copenhagen Letter. Perhaps you should too, if you think that all people should control the technology that runs the world, not just the surveillance capitalists. Well, at least read it, please.

To everyone who shapes technology today.

We live in a world where technology is consuming society, ethics, and our core existence.

It is time to take responsibility for the world we are creating. Time to put humans before business. Time to replace the empty rhetoric of “building a better world” with a commitment to real action. It is time to organize, and to hold each other accountable … We who have signed this letter will hold ourselves and each other accountable for putting these ideas into practice. That is our commitment.


our collective learnscape

In 2009 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that journalism is no longer the sole domain of professionals [my highlights].

[96] A second preliminary question is what the new defence should be called.  In arguments before us, the defence was referred to as the responsible journalism test.  This has the value of capturing the essence of the defence in succinct style.  However, the traditional media are rapidly being complemented by new ways of communicating on matters of public interest, many of them online, which do not involve journalists.  These new disseminators of news and information should, absent good reasons for exclusion, be subject to the same laws as established media outlets.  I agree with Lord Hoffmann that the new defence is “available to anyone who publishes material of public interest in any medium”: Jameel, at para. 54.

Source: Grant v. Torstar Corp., [2009] 3 SCR 640, 2009 SCC 61 (CanLII), par. 96, <>, retrieved on 2017-09-19.

It is not just our perception of what is news and what makes a journalist that has changed but our collective understanding of what is literacy and what should be the focus of education. Our relationship with knowledge is changing as we move into a post-print and post-channel era. It is becoming critical for democratic societies to have educated and engaged citizens sharing their knowledge, given this new age of ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity (UCaPP) to our digital surround. This new literacy makes us all journalists. The network now decides who has the authoritative voice once reserved for professional journalists.


a convenience truth

Probably one the greatest barriers to positive change is convenience. For example, we know that automobiles contribute significantly to pollution, obesity, and greenhouse gases. However, most of us own at least one car and many of us own more than one. Why? Cars are extremely convenient. Having lived car-free in a rural North American town for the past three years I can attest to how inconvenient it is to not own a car. We are even thinking of buying a car since our car share program shut down this Winter.

Drugs, as in pharmaceuticals, are also convenient. It’s easy to take antibiotics, just in case. Pain relief is only a tablet away. As a result we are so over-prescribed that: “Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today”, according to the World Health Organization. (more…)

preparing for perpetual beta

The latest technology gadget or silicon valley ‘disruptive’ business model is merely incremental change. But I am convinced that we are living in the middle of an epochal change. I use David Ronfeldt’s TIMN model (2009)  to explain that we are shifting from a tri-form society, where markets dominate, to a quadriform society, where networks dominate. This new societal form will be one of working and learning in perpetual beta. (more…)

top tools 2017

Jane Hart compiles a list every year of the Top 100 Tools for learning. This is the 11th year!

Voting closes on 22 September 2017.

Here are my top tools this year, with the past five years shown below. It’s interesting to note that my preferred tools have not changed that much over the years.

Please add yours! (more…)

“people are for caring”

Christian Madsbjerg concludes in his book, Sensemaking: “What are people for? Algorithms can do many things, but they will never actually give a damn. People are for caring.”

How can we understand the complexity of human networks, especially when they are massaged by algorithms that drive our social media? Empathy can put us in other people’s shoes. We can try to understand their perspective. Empathy is a requisite perspective for the network era. Empathy means engaging with others. The ability to connect with a diversity of people is the human potential of the internet: but it takes effort.

B.J May shared his story on ‘How 26 Tweets Broke My Filter Bubble’, which enabled him to see the word beyond a workplace that he described as, “All men, all heterosexual, all white”. He decided to follow Marco Rogers’ advice to use “Twitter as a way to understand viewpoints that diverge from your own”. At the end of this experiment, which turned into a permanent practice, May concluded that you can learn when your mind is open, but it can hurt.

“Every one of my opinions on the issues at hand had been challenged, and most had shifted or matured in some way. More importantly, however, was this: The exercise had taught me how to approach a contrary opinion with patience and respect, with curiosity and an intent to learn, with kindness and humanity.” —B.J. May


hunters in the jungle

The challenge for workers in what is becoming a freelance & gig economy is to survive in the global jungle. Work is moving toward temporary, negotiated hierarchies. The challenge for the modern organization is to have a flexible enough structure to let people move in and out of the jungle. Workers can also find short-term informal communities which can function like game preserves to develop skills necessary for the jungle, but in a safer environment.  Staying too long in an organization (a zoo) destroys their jungle instincts and disconnects them from the world of their clients. Read more at life in the jungle. (more…)

thinking critically

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

“Experience plus reflection is the learning that lasts.” —Charles Handy, via @olliegardener

On internet privacy, be very afraid [including the canvas fingerprinting on this link] via @courosa

“Unfortunately, we live in a world where most of our data is out of our control. It’s in the cloud, stored by companies that may not have our best interests at heart. So, while there are technical strategies people can employ to protect their privacy, they’re mostly around the edges. The best recommendation I have for people is to get involved in the political process. The best thing we can do as consumers and citizens is to make this a political issue. Force our legislators to change the rules.”