seek > sense > share for cities

Two years ago, a number of members from UCLG (United Cities & Local Governments) participated in a personal knowledge mastery workshop. This was part of the organization’s search for “practical solutions to fulfill the citizen’s demand” acknowledging that “learning cannot be conducted alone but has to be part of partnerships”. One result was an initiative between Mozambique and Brazil that embraced my seek > sense > share framework in a unique way (PDF pp. 44 – 47).

“The methodology used throughout the project and the role of partners is described using Harold Jarche’s ‘Seek, Sense, Share’ learning framework as it seeks to facilitate the sharing of complex knowledge and foster a network built on trusted relationships.

Seek: Identify Partners, Cities, Technical and Political Leaders, and People
“The objective was to bring the actors together through triangular cooperation built around Brazilian cities’ experiences and expertise, European support and Mozambican leadership.”

Sense: Building Content and Results
“This methodology was an eye-opener for many mayors, who thus had a better understanding of the role and work of their technicians, which led to higher levels of trust.”

Share: Disseminate Results and Evaluate the Process
“Additional outreach included a blog to share the results and to connect to other stakeholders; a newsletter; radio interviews provided by Brazilian mayors; and strategic connections to other events and meetings in Brazil.”


a workable future

In the IFTF report Ten Strategies for a Workable Future, the authors highlight issues for the US labour force, which I believe are applicable to many other countries and economies. (full report PDF)

  1. Combine the best of investor-owned and commons-based platform models
  2. Solve for both transparency and privacy
  3. Integrate marginalized workers in a sustainable economy
  4. Ensure opportunities for workers to advance outside of traditional organizational hierarchies
  5. Support worker-owned identities
  6. Create ways for workers to bring their voices together
  7. Reinvent benefits to follow workers everywhere
  8. Integrate learning and work
  9. Prepare youth for “the hustle”
  10. Champion a good work code

I have discussed most of these issues on this blog, such as platform capitalism, integrating work & learning, and the limits of hierarchies. The triple operating system model for network era organizations aligns with these recommendations, particularly the need to operate as temporary, negotiated hierarchies and the requirement for safe places to work on alternatives (communities of practice). This model is based on the core principles of subsidiarity, wirearchy, and network management. (more…)

carpe diem

Arun Pradhan recently asked about my own experiences of learning and working. I decided to work and learn out loud and post my responses here. There were four questions, but my responses overlapped, so I have written a single, narrative response, below.

  1. Q1. In your working life, how have you learnt effectively from experience, please provide an example if possible? (e.g. how have you used intentional practice, learnt from failure, learnt from ambitious projects and/or used reflection)
  2. In your working life, how have you learnt effectively from people, please provide an example if possible? (e.g. how have you learnt from project teams, mentors, coaches and/or broader social networks)
  3. In your working life, how have you learnt effectively from courses, research or investigation, please provide an example if possible? (e.g. how have you learnt from reading on the web, reading books or attending courses)
  4. What’s your top advice for someone who wishes to develop faster and learn complex skills in modern workplaces?

The first twenty-one years of my work life were spent serving in the Canadian military. During that time I had four years of formal university education, followed by military courses and instruction totaling several years. I also completed a Master of Education degree part-time while working. I was a trained and qualified infantry officer, health care administrator, and training development officer. On leaving the military in 1998, I starting working in the field of learning technologies, where I had minimal formal education, other than a course in instructional design. My Master’s degree was in adult education and not much use in the field of knowledge management or human performance technology, the main focus of my work for my first two civilian jobs. (more…)

retrieving rationality

“The underlying social and psychological motivations that drive crowds have remained constant over time. But our new technological scaffolding has changed the way that they form and exist in the world. Today’s crowds can grow to unheard-of proportions and never dissolve. Their members are no longer equal. And for the technologically savvy, their power they embody is easier to wield, and the members are easier to manipulate.” – Renee DiResta on RibbonFarm

According to Renee DiResta, the new digital crowd that influences public opinion is “persistent and large & unequal and easy to manipulate”. Digital social media platforms are changing the influence that crowds have on society because once formed, they no longer need to disperse. I mentioned before that social media can reverse into constant outrage, in we are the media. (more…)

plantations, rentals & politicians

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

@BrentToderian – “ In my recent work with cities all over the world, this may be the message that’s resonating the most lately: The truth about a city’s aspirations isn’t found in its vision. It’s found in its budget.”

@JmalinowskiR – “Governance is one thing. Good democratic governance needs a sound basis, participation, transparency, accountability, political responsibility …” (more…)

hierarchy shift

“it is a battle between those for whom hierarchy and authority reign supreme and those who believe diverse, distributed and democratic approaches are best.” – the-war-between-authority-and-democracy-happening-now/

“Finally, the very definition of conservatism entails conserving something.  This is not an urgent priority for someone who sees reality as improving.  But, if the world is going to the dogs, then we need to hold on to the more just hierarchy of yesterday.” – what-reality-are-trump-people-living-in/

“The real engine of value in your organisation is the interactions and collaborations in and through the hierarchy. These collaborative relationships are where the work gets done and where the formal hierarchical decisions are shaped, influenced or frustrated.” – the-wirearchy-makes-your-hierarchy-work/

“A hierarchy is a hub-and-spoke network and pure hub-and-spoke network is nothing more than a hierarchy.  Many organizational consultants today make the argument of Hierarchy versus Network — you have to pick one.  But, hierarchies are networks with specific properties!  Hierarchies and networks are on a continuum — they are not separate species! They don’t collide, they meld.” – watson-looks-at-networks.html (more…)

top tools 2016

Jane Hart compiles a list every year of the Top 100 Tools for learning. This is the 10th year! Well done, Jane 🙂

Voting closes on 23 September 2016.

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 much.

Please add yours!


the neo-generalist

A neo-generalist is somewhere between a polymath and a hyperspecialist. One metaphor used by the authors of The Neo-Generalist is ‘frequency hopping’, “wandering, accumulating, sampling, mixing, putting into practice what they learn.” Kenneth Mikkelsen and Richard Martin have written a book that defies the formula of most business and management books. Instead of one or two easily understood ideas, they offer a cornucopia of ideas, perspectives, and opinions. If you just read all the books they mention, you would be much the wiser.

“The jack [of all trades] is a lifelong learner, a trickster who will acquire the skills to navigate multiple domains … It is why this book is called The Neo-Generalist rather than The Neo-Specialist. It is about people who can specialise as the context requires it but whose personal preferences lie in the area of polymathic generalism, where they are able to exercise their curiosity and pursue diverse interests by choice, through the confluence of both preference and context.”


the economy of sharing

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

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause & reflect” – Mark Twain – via @DebraWatkinson

@RalphMercer“Passion distorts reality, common sense enables the status quo, it is the balance between the two we need to strive for.”

Chimpanzees choose cooperation over competition: Study challenges distinctiveness of human cooperation

“It has become a popular claim in the literature that human cooperation is unique. This is especially curious because the best ideas we have about the evolution of cooperation come straight from animal studies. The natural world is full of cooperation, from ants to killer whales. Our study is the first to show that our closest relatives know very well how to discourage competition and freeloading. Cooperation wins!”