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…)

the hustle economy – review

More of us are working in a gig economy, where creativity is valued but job stability is rare. In The Hustle Economy, 25 creative people provide advice on how to survive and succeed. They come from various walks of life, though it is definitely a US-centric perspective. I did not agree with all the writers, but there is definitely something to learn for anyone. Overall, the essays get you to think and add perspectives you may not have considered. I would recommend this book for anyone considering going out on their own as a writer, artist, creator, or entrepreneur. The sub-title is “transforming your creativity into a career”, which aptly describes the book.

For me, the best part of the book are Jessica Hagy’s illustrations, based on her well known index card style from ThisIsIndexed. I would suggest that Jessica take some of her drawings from this book and create a business card series for all those hustlers of the new economy, as Hugh MacLeod has done at with inspiration by gapingvoid. (more…)

“modelling is the best way to teach”

When we teach through modelling behaviour, the learner is in control, whereas teaching by shaping behaviour means the teacher is in control. In Western society, shaping has been the dominant mode for a very long time. But in other societies, it has not been the norm. For instance, Dr. Clare Brant was the first Aboriginal psychiatrist in Canada and a professor of Psychiatry at University of Western Ontario. In 1982 he presented Mi’kmaq Ethics & Principles, which included an examination of the differences in teaching between native and non-native cultures.

Now the Teaching; Shaping Vs. Modelling

‘This is a more technical kind of thing. The white people use this method of teaching their children – it’s called ‘shaping’. Whereas the Indians use ‘modelling’. Shaping is B.F. Skinner’s ‘Operant Conditioning’, if you want to look into that one. Say a white person is teaching a white kid how to dress – he uses the shaping method, one way being “rewarding successive approximations” of the behaviour he wants. Some are really complicated; for instance, if a white woman wants to teach her kid how to dress, she puts his sock on halfway and encourages him to pull it up, finishes dressing him and says he’s a good boy having done that much. The next day he learns to pull the whole sock on, then the other sock. Now that process takes about six weeks. But the white mother who does not have all that much to do can take that time to do that sort of thing every morning to teach her kid how to dress. So in this group that we ran, with these young Native people in London, we started to sniff this out, and there is nothing random about this, as a matter of fact. I asked Mary, a Native person, how she taught her kid to dress and she said, “I didn’t, he just did it.” And I said, “Well, what do you mean?” It came to me that she did it until he was four or five years old, and then one day when the kid felt competent, he took over and did it himself. He did it then ever after, unless he was sick or regressed in some way.’


friday’s finds #270

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

@kurt_vonnegut: “I am a humanist, which means, in part, that I have tried to behave decently without any expectation of reward or punishment after I’m dead.”

“He who would travel happily must travel light.” – Antoine de St. Exupery – via @WorldBikeGirl

@umairh: The Infantilization Economy – via @osakasaul

“Infantilization Apps are probably going to make us less capable of changing the world for the better … The planet’s melting down, the economy’s stuck, the young are toast. And the Infantilization Economy is going to make it less possible for us to change it. Not just by making 80 percent of us neoservants. But also by making 20 twenty percent of us overgrown babies. Who, like all babies, cry for the Gigantic Nanny Machine when the monsters come — instead of bravely venturing into the darkness to fend them off.

The Gigantic Nanny Machine won’t save the world. We can’t call on-demand TaskRabbits to fix climate change, economic stagnation, social decay, lost generations. We can’t call an Uber to drive the globe into a better future.”


enabling enterprise social networks

Mark Britz says that, “your organization already has an enterprise social network (hint, it’s people not technology). A platform just exposes it.” But it’s not not about the tools either, as in many cases the medium changes the message. When the AgileBits team found they were using Slack for everything, it became overwhelming, much as email and its inevitable inbox overload, is common in too many organizations.

“Slack was simply too good for us to resist and as a result we preferred using it over all the other tools at our disposal … All of these interactions would happen in Slack, despite there being many other tools that are better suited. Tools like bug trackers and wikis would allow answers to be preserved so future questions wouldn’t even have to be asked but they weren’t as fun.

We all knew how great it would be to have a repository of knowledge for people to find their answers, but Slack was simply too good at providing the quick fix we all needed. Copying these answers from Slack to a permanent location didn’t release the same endorphins provided by Slack, so it seldom happened.” – Curing Our Slack Addiction