get out of the office

In one of my first projects as a freelancer 17 years ago, I was brought into an existing client relationship with a hospital network. Our team had been contracted to develop an e-learning program for nursing staff. I was able to negotiate a ‘confirmation of the analysis’, as I had not been involved in the design process. I was given two days to interview staff on various wards. As I was not hospital staff I was accompanied by the senior nurse.

We learned a lot during those visits to the wards, and even had some procedures changed on the spot as the senior nurse became aware of some unnecessary redundancies. As a result the e-learning program was cancelled and we developed a few performance support tools and some job aids instead. Training was not the solution to this challenge — getting the right information to trained and experienced nurses was. (more…)

trusted spaces

In my PKM workshops we discuss the differences between communities and networks. This includes the dark sides of communities as well as the constant doubt and outrage on social media. My general advice is to seek diverse perspectives in social networks but to seek more private, trusted communities for deeper conversations and understanding.

I use Twitter to show how to seek new ideas and opinions by selecting who to follow to create human knowledge filters. The list feature on Twitter is useful in following specific topics and fields. Following, or muting, certain hashtags can also refine what you find on Twitter.

The best feature of Twitter is that you do not have to follow people who follow you. The relationship is asymmetric, just like blogging. In addition, you can still set your stream of people you follow to “see latest tweets first” so that the Twitter algorithm does not decide for you. Of course you have to constantly switch to latest tweets, as Twitter prefers to feed its algorithm to you. Twitter is not your friend. You don’t have to be on Twitter, but I still find it a useful platform for teaching about online social networks. There are also, for now, third-party applications for Twitter, like Tweetbot. (more…)

get out to the edges

In March [making sense of our digital world] I wrote that my own understanding of the COVID-19 disease started with centres of networked expertise — WHO, CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada. By September [connecting knowledge] I wrote that I see information from the WHO and CDC as lagging indicators, and no longer my first stop to find out what is happening now.

I should have known better and gone back to some of my earlier understanding of sensemaking in complexity and chaos. These formal organizations are hierarchical and bureaucratic. They have institutional blinders. According to Mark Federman, “Organizations are made too complicated in response to complexity.” That complication blurs our vision.

To understand our current situation we need to move to the edge or find others who are there already. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote — “I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over; on the edge you find things you can’t see from the center.” On the edges the answers may not be clear, but they are less obscured than in the centre.

People on the edge mostly do not work for the likes of WHO, CDC, or PHAC. (more…)

moscow rules

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

“In the past every village had an idiot, and we could all deal with that. Now the internet is allowing idiots to connect and it is normalising idiocy.”@snowded

“Most victims of suicide are men, Most people in jail are men, Most victims of violent crimes are men, Most victims of murder are men, Most victims of police killings are men; Most shamed for mental health is men.”@birgitta

“One of the biggest differences I discovered: poor folks in Germany realise they are poor and mostly vote for parties advocating for poverty relief measures. Poor folks in the US see themselves as ‘temporarily not rich’ and vote for policies benefiting mostly the rich.”@LyssasLounge (more…)

unity, not uniformity

One hundred years ago, management pioneer Mary Parker Follett wrote that “Unity, not uniformity, must be our aim. We attain unity only through variety. Differences must be integrated, not annihilated, not absorbed.” Her words ring true today as we dance between complexity and order. How can we achieve unity through variety and the integration of our differences? We can start by better understanding alignment.

What is workplace alignment? The recently published MirrorMirror white paper states that alignment is “a shared understanding between people” and that alignment leads to engagement, collaboration, and effectiveness.

“Alignment is not people ‘thinking the same thing’, it is compatibility – making room for differences and challenge, new ideas and change.”


put on your dance shoes

(Let’s dance) for fear your grace should fall
(Let’s dance) for fear tonight is all
—David Bowie (1983) Let’s Dance

Creative work is a constant dance between complexity and order, or curiosity and resolve, as Jony Ive explained in his acceptance speech as the first recipient of the Stephen Hawking Fellowship in 2018.

“You see, in the mode of being unreasonable and resolute, you have to solve hard problems. But solving those problems requires new ideas. And so, we’re back to needing ideas and back to having to be open and curious. This is not a shift that occurs once or twice in a multi-year project. I find it happens to me once or twice a day and that frequency of shifting between two such different ways of seeing and thinking is fantastically demanding.” —Jony Ive


permanent value

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

“No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanent value of what he has written. He may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing.”T.S. Eliot

“The first and final thing you have to do in this world is to last it and not be smashed by it.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“To know what you’re going to draw, you have to begin drawing.”
—Pablo Picasso (more…)

What is the Zollman effect?

In a series of three posts, Jonathan Weisberg explains the Zollman effect. Here are some highlights.

What is the Zollman effect?

“More information generally means a better chance at discovering the truth, at least from an individual perspective. But not as a community, Zollman finds, at least not always. Sharing all our information with one another can make us less likely to reach the correct answer to a question we’re all investigating.” (more…)

schooling unbound

“I know not what answer to give you, but this, that Power always Sincerely, conscientiously, de très bon Foi, believes itself Right. Power always thinks it has a great Soul, and vast Views, beyond the Comprehension of the Weak; and that it is doing God Service, when it is violating all his Laws.” —John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

In a 2007 presentation — covered by ICTologyGraham Attwell discussed the future of schooling in view of online personal learning environments, concluding that, “The role for teachers will be mediating, engaging, monitoring, helping, motivating …” He further commented, “Not that assessment is a thing to avoid, but it should be taken outside the learning process. On the other hand, self-assessment is reflection and thus becomes part of the learning process”. Given that many students are learning online these days, these are good ideas to be reconsidered for education, and for training. (more…)

blocking the trackers

It’s hard to stay clean in a dirty world. I have been trying to keep my site clean and not help the surveillance capitalists (e.g. Google, Facebook, etc.) to extract data about visitors to this site. I started by getting rid of Google Analytics. It was actually liberating to no longer focus on vanity metrics. Recently I have made changes like adding plugins to my WordPress site, such as Disable Google Fonts & Disable User Gravatar. But I was still helping the silicon valley ad-tracking business.

So I used a real-time website privacy inspector, Blacklight, to show me what I was missing. (more…)