PKM in perpetual beta

I recently wrote — from platforms to covenants — that I firmly believe that open protocols connecting small pieces loosely joined is a better framework than any privately owned social media platform. Twitter was just too darned easy for many years. I am now connecting more on Mastodon though I have not mastered all of its functions. Mastodon is an open protocol and anyone can put up a server and connect to what is called the ‘fediverse’, a federated network of hosts using the protocol.

During the past decade I have used Twitter as an aid to learn about social networks on my personal knowledge mastery online workshops. As Twitter continues to not only crash and burn but reinstate accounts that promote hatred, I no longer wish to advocate for any use of the platform. I am still there, for now, as I am connected to so many friends and colleagues. (more…)

revisiting self-determination theory

Self-determination theory states that there are three universal human drivers — autonomy, competence, and relatedness. We need some control over our lives, we want to be good at something, and we want to feel that we can relate to other people. These three drivers are what make us do what we do. Skills are just one aspect of being engaged at work. Even highly competent skilled workers can be disengaged or aimless.

One effect of the network era, and its pervasive digital connections, is that networks are replacing or subverting more traditional hierarchies. Three aspects of this effect are — access to almost unlimited information, the ability for almost anyone to self-publish, and limitless opportunities for ridiculously easy group-forming.

Clay Shirky discussed this third aspect in Here Comes Everybody (2008). (more…)

the knowledge artisan era

An artisan (craftsperson) is a skilled manual worker in a particular craft, using specialized tools and machinery. Artisans were the dominant producers of goods before the Industrial Revolution. ABC Co. are the Artisans of the post-Industrial era, retrieving old world care and attention to detail, but using the latest tools and processes. To ensure that we stay current, we are members of various Open Source Guilds, such as the Drupal development community. —ABC Co. Business Plan 2005 (PDF)

I wrote the ABC Co. business plan for a small company with several years of development experience that had embraced open source software as a way to reduce customer costs, ensure long-term stability of their software, and focus on what they did best — custom development. As Ton Zylstra remarked in 2010, too often skilled workers are treated like replaceable cogs using standard, employer-provided tools. (more…)

voices of the people

On the last Friday of each month I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“Smart people don’t learn because they have too much invested in proving what they know and avoiding being seen as not knowing.”Chris Argyris

Vox populi, vox Dei

An early reference to the expression is in a letter from Alcuin to Charlemagne in 798. The full quotation from Alcuin [of York] reads:

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.

[Translation] And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.


an agile sensemaking framework

Agile sensemaking could be described as how we make sense of complex challenges by interacting with others and sharing knowledge. More diverse and open knowledge flows enable more rapid sensemaking. I discussed the idea of agile sensemaking in 2018 and later created a sensemaking model (framework). This week on Twitter [yes, it’s still there], Ismael Peña-López shared how the framework resonates for him. (more…)

from platforms to covenants

I wrote in agile sensemaking (2018) that radical innovation only comes from networks with large structural holes which are more diverse. This is why social networks cannot also be work teams, or they become echo chambers. Work teams can focus intensely on incremental innovation, to get better at what they already do. Communities of practice, with both strong and weak social ties, then become a bridge on this network continuum, enabling both individual and interactive creativity.

Connecting work teams, communities of practice/interest, and professional social networks ensures that knowledge flows and that people have the information needed to make well-informed decisions, especially when dealing with complexity and chaos. I have noted before that the world has become so complex and interconnected that the individual disciplines developed during The Enlightenment — like medicine — are no longer adequate to help society in our collective sensemaking, especially during global crises. Experts in all disciplines have to get out of their silos and connect in multidisciplinary subject matter networks. A lone expert, or even a lone discipline, is obsolete in the network era. Only cooperative networks will help us make sense of the complex challenges facing us — climate change, environmental degradation, pandemics, war, etc. In today’s world, connections trump expertise. (more…)

culture eats sanity for breakfast

Last year I came across a book — All for Nothing — about the collapse of the German Army in Prussia during the Second World War. It is written from the perspective of a young boy and the characters are mostly civilians. My mother, as a young girl, lived through this.

People in the book for the most part cannot comprehend a Soviet invasion or the defeat of the German Army. These are impossible concepts for them. Everyone in the book sees events from their unique, egocentric bubble. But then people start dying randomly and everyone becomes focused on survival. There are some acts of generosity, especially at the end of the book, but for the most part it’s everyone for themselves. (more…)

Whither Twitter?

To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question.

Certainly everyone has heard of the recent private acquisition of Twitter. Many people say they will leave the platform and some have moved to the federated Mastodon system. I have been on Mastodon since 2016 and it’s nice to see a bit more action there —

I joined Twitter on New Year’s Eve 2007. After a year I realized I was writing a lot but it seemed to just go into the void. In 2009, I started my Friday’s Finds as a way curate some of what I found useful on Twitter and other social media sites. Even if I left Twitter today, I would still have over 400 posts of curated content here. (more…)

time for management to grow up

In 2008, while working with a team of 40 people spread across several times zones, I suggested that we need a distributed work manifesto. This would include the requirement for collaborative documents, a group text chat, a focus on delivering content and not formatting for style, and reserving email for decisions and contracts. We are still not there yet and even during this pandemic managerial forces are trying to put distributed workers back into the office. The reality is that most workers want distributed work, most of the time.

“As companies come under pressure to offer higher compensation to staff and to recruit skilled workers, the national average base salary increase for 2023 is projected at 4.2 per cent, according to a recent survey from consulting firm Eckler Ltd.

A recent survey by productivity software company OSlash about the ‘great disconnect’ between bosses and workers found that 60 per cent of employers said they would offer employees a hybrid work schedule if they declined to return to the office.

Only 20 per cent would let employees go back to full time remote working.

Of the 800 work-from-home employees and 200 business leaders surveyed, nearly 80 per cent of remote workers believe their employers would fire them if they said ‘no’ to a return-to-office mandate.

Meanwhile, 78 per cent of employees surveyed said they would be willing to take a pay cut to continue working from home, with Gen Z respondents being the most willing to do so.”
The Star 2022-10-07


belief perseverance

On the last Friday of each month I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“… complex systems don’t have to be organized top-down, either in the natural or social world. That we tend to assume otherwise probably tells us more about ourselves than the people or phenomena we’re studying.”
—Graber & Wengrow (2021) The Dawn of Everything, p. 515

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”Thomas Paine

@ShaunCoffey“Don’t use culture change initiatives. The only person you can change is yourself. Culture emerges from doing new and different things. Do new things … don’t try to impose a new culture.” (more…)