beta conversation 2017-11-28

I will be hosting the next Beta Conversation on Tuesday, 28 November at 14:00 UTC. This will be the last one for 2017.

The subject will be understanding media for professional development, management, and leadership. The Harvard Business Review article, The Best Leaders are Constant Learners, provides some background reading. Participants can add their own questions in advance.

The session will be 90 minutes long. For participant confidentiality, these sessions will not be recorded.

our future is networked and feminine

TIMN is an explanatory model of how human societies have organized: first in Tribes, later with Institutions added (T+I), and in our current society where Markets dominate (T+I+M). As we enter an era where the Network form (T+I+M+N) gains dominance, most of the previous organizational forms will evolve to adapt to the new form. The Network form puts into question our current market dominated forms, including our institutions and our families. Consider that the nuclear family is no longer the dominant Tribal form in many developed countries. Fewer people have faith in our existing institutions and our capitalist markets are seen as inadequate in distributing wealth. One example is the move to establish a universal basic income in many countries because our markets are unable to effectively distribute wealth.


reading and understanding

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

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” —Charles Munger via @JimHays

@raesmaa “Don’t read everything you believe.”

“In our obscurity—in all this vastness—there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.” —Carl Sagan via @themadstone

“We shall soon be in a world in which a man may be howled down for saying that two and two make four, in which people will persecute the heresy of calling a triangle a three-sided figure, and hang a man for maddening a mob with the news that grass is green.”G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)

@EskoKilpi “The most underutilized resource still waiting for discovery may be our ability to cooperate.” (more…)

trust emerges

Paul Zak discovered eight key factors, or principles,  in promoting trust in the workplace. In The Neuroscience of Trust he describes the research over several years that yielded these insights and gives examples of companies who implement these principles. The return on investment is more energy and greater productivity.

“Ultimately, you cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see it through, and getting out of their way.

It’s not about being easy on your employees or expecting less from them. High-trust companies hold people accountable but without micromanaging them. They treat people like responsible adults.”

#1 Recognition: Trust improves when we are recognized by our peers and the organization. (more…)

professional learner’s toolkit

Jane Hart describes a Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit as having several components: resources, networks, devices, etc. I have used Jane’s framework to look at my own practice.

Browser & Search Engine: I use three browsers (Firefox, Safari, Chrome) and two search engines (StartPage & DuckDuckGo). Each browser has different security and privacy settings, depending on what type of resource I need to access. For example, some sites will not give you access if you use an Ad Blocker. On Chrome I have no extensions, and only use it to access LinkedIn and Google services, which I know track me. On Firefox I have several privacy tools.

Trusted Web Resources: CBC News provides me with a Canadian perspective while The Guardian and BBC give me different ones. I also read Spiegel in English. I ensure online security by using a password manager: 1Password.

Curation Tools: My aggregator of choice is Feedly and I keep social bookmarks in Diigo. Long reads go to Pocket.

Course Platforms: I have not taken a formal course for a very long time.

Social Networks: My preferred conversational and sharing network is Twitter. I am using LinkedIn more frequently but have stopped posting to its Pulse platform and keep all my posts on my blog. I left Facebook many years ago.

Personal Information System: My blog is my main personal information system, hence this post. Other sense-making and reflection is done offline, with handwritten notes or text files kept in an active folder.

Blogging Tool: This blog is built on WordPress open source software, designed and hosted by Tantramar Interactive.

Preferred Office Suite: I use the Apple iWork suite: Keynote especially.

Communication & Collaboration: Zoom for meetings and video conferencing is my preferred platform and I have a Pro account which is well worth the $15/month price. I am also active in communities of practice hosted on Slack and SocialCast.

Smart Device: I have one iPhone, and not even the latest. The most used app is the camera. (more…)

perspectives on new work – synopsis

Perspectives on new work: Exploring emerging conceptualizations, edited by Esko Kilpi, was released by The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra in August 2016. I received a copy last week and found it a comprehensive read on the future of work. The PDF can be downloaded for free at: Sitra.

It is a long read (132 pages), so I have taken the opportunity to capture some of it, for my own memory, and perhaps to save other readers some time. Here are a few of Esko’s observations [my emphasis added].

  • The organization is not a given hierarchy or a predictive process, but an ongoing process of organizing. The Internet-based firm sees work and cognitive capability as networked communication.
  • Creative learning is for us what productivity meant during the industrial age. Creative learning is the human edge that separates us from machines, also in the future.
  • Human life is non-deterministic, full of uncertainty, unknowns and surprises. Creative learning is the fundamental process of socialization and being human. For a human being, the number of choices or moves in the game of life, in any situation, is unlimited.
  • Perhaps, in the future, it will no longer be meaningful to conceptualize work as jobs or even as organizational (activity) structures in the manner practiced by the firms of today. Work will be described as complex patterns of communicative interaction between interdependent individuals.
  • If the (transaction) costs of exchanging value in society at large fall drastically as is happening today, the form and logic of economic entities necessarily need to change! [Ronald] Coase’s insight [that the firm exists to reduce transaction costs] turned around is the number one driver of change today! The traditional firm is the more expensive alternative, almost by default. This is something that he did not foresee.
  • A networked business increases its intellectual capital as the nodes of the network do the same. The network acts as an amplifier of knowledge, but the demands on the worker grow. Being skilled is not enough. The challenge for the knowledge worker is to take responsibility for the value and growth of her human capital and to plan her “investment portfolio” carefully. Work should always equal learning.
  • Post-industrial work is learning. Work is figuring out how to define and solve a particular problem and then scaling up the solution in a reflective and iterative way – with technology and alongside other people.
  • The future of work has to be based on willing participation by all parties, and the ability of all parties to protect their interests by contractual means.


how we learn – review

How We Learn by Benedict Carey is focused mostly on memory and learning for recall but it is a good read and there is likely something new about learning here for anyone. Carey is a journalist who went through much of the research on memory in order to make sense himself. By synthesizing and comparing the research on memory and learning, he has done a great service to the non-academic.

One of the first principles discussed is how memory works: “Any memory has two strengths, a storage strength and a retrieval strength.”

‘Yet there are large upsides to forgetting, too. One is that it is nature’s most sophisticated spam filter. It’s what allows the brain to focus, enabling sought-after facts to pop to mind … “The relationship between learning and forgetting is not so simple and in certain important respects is quite the opposite of what people assume,” Robert Bjork, a psychologist as the University of California, Los Angeles, told me. “We assume it’s all bad, a failure of the system. But more often, forgetting is a friend to learning” … Using memory changes memory — and for the better. Forgetting enables and deepens learning, by filtering out distracting information and by allowing some breakdown that, after reuse, drives retrieval and storage strength higher than they were originally.’

Carey, paraphrasing Louis Pasteur, says that, “Chance feeds the tuned mind”. When we are tuned to a problem or topic, our mind sees more related cues. “When we are working on a paper about the Emancipation Proclamation, we’re not only tuned into racial dynamics on the subway car, we’re also more aware of our reactions to what we’re noticing.” (more…)

nordic finds

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 Helsinki, via Oslo, and then off to Stockholm. So my selections may be influenced by my local surroundings.

“We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings.” –Ursula K. Le Guin via @HaymarketBooks

@MrAlanCooper: “The entire tech world is gonna be gobsmacked when they finally realize the solution is to take more time and think about people more.”

@EskoKilpi: “We are going to have a new kind of company that is to your data what your bank is to your money Storing it, keeping it safe and investing it.”

@White_Owly: “We can’t celebrate a shift towards a gig economy *and* complain about short-termism in the same breath.”

@Indy_Johar: “Societal Truths are a complex social product of linked & extrapolated scientific facts & correlations – dependent on high fidelity trust & governance. Where trust & governance has been destroyed – people return to making decisions on faith – be it Brexit or any other religion.”

democracy, data, and intelligence

Social media platforms may extend global participation and can be a force for better understanding but often emotions trump reason in an online world of constant outrage. The linear aspects of reasoning, a core part of a print-based society, are easily forgotten as is shown in the almost fatalistic acceptance that we live in a post-truth era. Identity politics have been retrieved so that one is loyal to one’s group, no matter what the facts. In addition, as these tribal forces are extended by the internet, we see a reversal of democracy into tyranny under populist demagogues.

Scientific American recently asked, ‘Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?(more…)

systems thinking

Leyla Acaroglu has an excellent post on Tools for Systems Thinkers: The 6 Fundamental Concepts of Systems Thinking.

“In this series on systems thinking, I share the key insights and tools needed to develop and advance a systems mindset for dealing with complex problem solving and transitioning to the Circular Economy … *There are way more than six, but I picked the most important ones that you definitely need to know, and as we progress through this systems thinking toolkit series, I will expand on some of the other key terms that make up a systems mindset.” —Leyla Acaroglu, 2017-09-07

These are practical tools to improve anyone’s practice of personal knowledge mastery and I look forward to the rest of the posts in the series [scroll to end]. I have taken the six tools and added how they can be used in PKM. (more…)