For the next few weeks I will be taking a break from blogging. I will still post my fortnightly Friday’s Finds but I will focus my writing on some offline projects and take some time off to reflect. In the meantime, if you are craving something to read, there are over 3,000 posts on this site.

Check out my book reviews and synopses to add to your own reading lists.

These topics may be of interest:




See you after my blog hiatus 🙂

PS: Happy Canada Day!

“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I think wrong, and free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”
—John Diefenbaker, Prime Minister of Canada, in 1960, while referring to the Canadian Bill of Rights


friday’s paradoxes

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

@vtg2 — “I’m beginning to think ‘hindsight is 2020’ was some kind of message from a future time traveler that we all misunderstood.”

@ComplexWales“I had a teacher who filled the bell in Drama Hall with foam. As more students arrived, they simply joined in & it sometimes lasted a whole day. A few teachers kicked off but got nowhere. The headmaster didn’t believe in separating children by their date of manufacture.”

The Clothesline Paradox — I was reminded of this recently by Andrew Jacobs

“It’s called the “Clothesline Paradox.” The author, Steve Baer, was talking about alternative energy. The thesis is simple: You put your clothes in the dryer, and the energy you use gets measured and counted. You hang your clothes on the clothesline, and it “disappears” from the economy. It struck me that there are a lot of things that we’re dealing with on the Internet that are subject to the Clothesline Paradox. Value is created, but it’s not measured and counted. It’s captured somewhere else in the economy.”


ITA Jay Cross Award 2020

The Internet Time Alliance Award, in memory of Jay Cross, is presented to a workplace learning professional who has contributed in positive ways to the field of Informal Learning and is reflective of Jay’s lifetime of work.

Recipients champion workplace and social learning practices inside their organization and/or on the wider stage. They share their work in public and often challenge conventional wisdom. The Award is given to professionals who continuously welcome challenges at the cutting edge of their expertise and are convincing and effective advocates of a humanistic approach to workplace learning and performance.

We announce the award on 5 July, Jay’s birthday.

Following his death in November 2015, the partners of the Internet Time Alliance — Jane Hart, Charles Jennings, Clark Quinn, and myself — resolved to continue Jay’s work. Jay Cross was a deep thinker and a man of many talents, never resting on his past accomplishments, and this award is one way to keep pushing our professional fields and industries to find new and better ways to learn and work. (more…)

bad moves

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

Lyall Taylor “Garry Kasparov once said that one of biggest mistakes chess players make is trying to ‘undo’ a bad move, when in reality, once a bad move is played, it is already a whole new game and an entirely fresh mindset is required.”

Peter Stoyko“I think of sunk-cost as being too invested in a wrong path and reluctant to make a change of course. This is acknowledging a wrong change of course then trying to get back on the old path, which is no longer relevant because the course change sets up new strategic considerations.” (more…)

the new normal of remote work

“Working from home is not an option for every job, but there is clear evidence that it can have major advantages in the right applications and with the right workers. And as we show in this report it also can have a positive impact on the environment.”

So concludes the June 2020 report, Technology at Work v5.0 — The New Normal of Remote Work, published by Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions [Disclosure: Citi is a current client]. The report has many contributors and is focused on what remote work now looks like in view of the ongoing pandemic. Like most companies, Citi has had to adapt to “the new normal of remote work” but is in no hurry to return to the previous work situation.

“We will use data, not dates, to drive decisions: Any decisions about returning to the office will be dependent on data, including local medical data. We are not, nor will we be, focused on hitting specific dates …

One approach won’t fit all: The timing and ways we come back to the office will vary based on location, office setup, resources and medical guidance. For high risk or vulnerable colleagues, we will continue to take extra precautions. For those with family and childcare needs, we will remain flexible.” —Citi HR Operating Committee


smarter networks through better narratives

Leadership in a networked world is making our networks and communities smarter so they are able to make better-informed decisions.

In early 2020 New Brunswick’s Education Minister, Dominic Cardy, worked very hard to make his network smarter.

“When Canada’s chief public health official, Dr. Theresa Tam, was talking about there being no need to “panic,” and raising alarms instead about the internet-wacko fringe targeting Canadians of Chinese descent with racist comments on social media in late January, a little known Progressive Conservative education minister in a small Maritime province was fully panicking. Cardy was preparing to pitch his premier’s top aide on the need to take drastic action to stop a killer virus …

Cardy kept on talking, and over the next few weeks, he and Leger would talk some more, until the premier’s staffer asked him to put together a report on the virus and be prepared to present it at a caucus retreat on Feb. 24 …

“The COVID-19 virus will arrive in New Brunswick and may be already present given the unreliability of tests, the weakness of Canada’s public health response to date and the nature of our open society,” Cardy wrote. “This is not a question of if, but when.”

After his presentation the premier asked Cardy what he would do. “Shut everything down,” was his reply.

Cardy, the canary in a COVID coal mine, initially came under fire from the New Brunswick Medical Society, for pushing measures some physicians perceived as overly drastic steps.” —National Post 2020-05-08


a global human sensemaking platform

The thinking that got us into this mess will not get us out of it. If we are to create a new economic order it has to move beyond civil society, governments, and markets. A quid pro quo between private firms and public authorities will only reinforce the status quo.

“A new economic order requires an explicit quid pro quo between private firms and public authorities. To prosper, firms need a reliable and skilled workforce, good infrastructure, an ecosystem of suppliers and collaborators, easy access to technology, and a sound regime of contracts and property rights. Most of these are provided through public and collective action, which is the government’s side of the bargain.

Governments, in turn, need firms to internalize the various externalities their labor, investment, and innovation decisions produce for their communities and societies. And firms must live up to their side of the bargain – not as a matter of corporate social responsibility, but as part of an explicit regulatory and governance framework.” —Project Syndicate 2020-06-11


evidence and perspective

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

PatrickTanguay — “School pre-covid: Teach them all exactly the same thing, sitting in rows. Prepare them for cubicle + factory work. Post-covid: Sit them at the kitchen table, on the couch, let them learn what they can amidst overworked anxious people, doing Zoom calls. Prepare them for gig work.”

@ChrisCorriganRSS is sweet because is delivers news without triggering chemicals. It works at the pace of ‘newspaper on the doorstep’ compared to the stream of social media.”

@JasonHickel“Capitalism structurally compels us to work and produce beyond society’s actual needs. And the more we produce, the more we have to consume, to mop up overproduction. Consumption becomes a structural imperative — a form of labour in itself. The consumer is not sovereign, but serf.” (more…)

apprendre dans un monde complexe et chaotique

Traduit par Christian Renard

This is a translation of learning in complexity & chaos

La plupart de nos structures de travail sont aujourd’hui conçues pour faire face à des situations compliquées, telles que la construction d’un bâtiment, le lancement d’une campagne ou la conception d’un équipement. Mais, aujourd’hui, nous devons faire face à des problèmes complexes qui ne peuvent pas être résolus de manière standardisée — inégalités, réfugiés, populisme, racisme. Chaque fois que quelqu’un est impliqué dans le contexte mondial de changement climatique, la situation est probablement complexe.

Dans les situations complexes, on s’appuie moins sur des plans et des analyses détaillés et davantage sur une expérimentation continue, associée à une observation et à un suivi attentifs. Nous allons désormais devoir apprendre constamment dans la complexité. (more…)

our wake-up call

On 6 June 1944 the First Canadian Army landed at Normandy. It had never been tested in battle as a formation. The complications of drills in England had been replaced by the complexity of war and the chaos of battle. By the end of August, two brigade commanders and five commanding officers had been removed as they were deemed unsuitable.

“[In Normandy] There still remained, however, that proportion of officers who were not fully competent for their appointments, and whose inadequacy appeared in action and sometimes had serious consequences.” —Breakout at Falaise

How many organizational leaders today are in the same situation as those inadequate officers in the Canadian Army — unfit for the post-invasion reality? (more…)