Curiouser and curiouser!

 31 March 2004

11:08:12 AM     : Mono media interview with a multi media legend

Marc Canter's .txt interview.
GREAT interview by Richard McManus.

Richard McManus and I worked for a week editing this interview of me

It's a really good interview and I'll be pointing to it - from now on - so I don't have to repeat myself over and over again.

Please feel free to read this, point to this and have fun with this interview.

:-)

[Marc's Voice]

Very good interview indeed. But where's the video? Where's the audio? I want to hear Marc sing! ";->" [Paolo Valdemarin: Paolo's Weblog]

Amen to that!

10:57:55 AM     : When just getting the car back is not enough!

Road rage? Tickets? Disrepectful kids? Carjackers?

You need the Trunk Monkey :-)

 30 March 2004

4:57:35 PM     : RIP: Alistair Cooke

Legendary broadcaster Alistair Cooke dies [Salon.com]

Listening to him, it was hard to believe he was 95. Incredible!

2:52:14 PM     : Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration’s Public Statements on Iraq

237 misleading statements about the threat posed by Iraq that were made by President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Secretary Powell, and National Security Advisor Rice. These statements were made in 125 separate appearances, consisting of 40 speeches, 26 press conferences and briefings, 53 interviews, 4 written statements, and 2 congressional testimonies. Most of the statements in the database were misleading because they expressed certainty where none existed or failed to acknowledge the doubts of intelligence officials. Ten of the statements were simply false.

Source: Karen Kwiatkowski/LewRockwell.com

You may also want to take a look at the congressional report this is drawn from. A note about the report itself:

This Iraq on the Record database contains statements made by the five officials that were misleading at the time they were made. The database does not include statements that appear in hindsight to be erroneous but were accurate reflections of the views of intelligence officials at the time they were made. The entire database is accessible to members of Congress and the public at this location.

2:37:55 PM     : Getting golden conduct out of leaden instincts

Great article by Butler Shafer Utopia and Reality:

If you seek perfection, my advice is to study mathematics. Otherwise, as the study of economics suggests, learn to evaluate options on the basis of comparative advantages. But, in doing so, be certain you are considering all the costs and benefits of your actions; the long-term as well as the short-term; the psychological and spiritual as well as the material. Do you endorse political programs because you truly consider them more beneficial than non-political ones, or have you simply failed to account for many of the costs of such programs, costs which their authors prefer to keep hidden from your calculations?

...

The diamond may serve as a useful metaphor for the design of social systems grounded in the connected, horizontally-based strength of their members, rather than in vertical power structures. The Amish – who have no coercive political organization and who embrace the private ownership of property – know what we have long since forgotten: politics divides us and, in so doing, weakens our social connectedness. Political systems set group against group, engendering a distrust of everyone except, of course, political leaders. By such means, the networks that would otherwise connect us to one another as we pursue our various self-interests, become cleaved.

...

Those who persist in trying to breathe life into dead horses are the real utopians. The political structuring of society has long been grounded in pie-in-the-sky fantasies that power-hungry men and women can make us better than we are; that ever-more sophisticated weapons of death and destruction can bring peace to the world; and that, in the words of Herbert Spencer, there is a "political alchemy by which you can get golden conduct out of leaden instincts." As our formal world continues to disintegrate before us, it is time that we abandon the utopian fictions in which we are conditioned and face the stark reality that whatever future we have will be decided by the content of our thinking. Because only you and I are in control of – and, thus, responsible for – our thinking, only you and I are capable of bringing order to our world.

2:05:41 PM     : Tax and waste

Florida is a battleground state in the US presidential election this fall. Lots of Bush-Cheney ads on the radio on the drive here from Orlando. They paint Kerry as a taxer. They have an ad with a supposed Bostoner (he makes fun of his own accent) talking about how Kerry likes to tax, tax, tax. Made me think I should move to Florida until November, so I can vote for Kerry in the fall in a place where my vote means something. Bush makes me totally sick. Bush decided to create a huge deficit. Kind of like a tax. [Scripting News]

As I understand it, a very actual tax. Just not till after the election.

As far as I known there are 3 kinds of government borrowing:

  1. Borrowing to cover capital investment
  2. Borrowing to cover day-to-day spending
  3. Borrowing to waste on overseas adventurism
The first kind can be good because the investments hopefully lead to a growth in the economy which leads to higher tax revenues. The other kinds are bad because they do not increase the capacity of the economy. In all cases you have to pay back the principal but also fund the interest charges on what you've borrowed.

So, if you're pissing that borrowed cash away on bombing foreign countries and filling the pockets of your friends in the oil & arms industries... well likely you'll be the kind of person that will find a way to avoid the taxes anyway.

Have a nice day!

1:50:35 PM     : Support your local file-sharers

Kazaa and co. 'not cause of music biz woes' say Profs. Statistical analysis supports file-sharers [The Register]

I have not bought a CD in over 6 months. It will be interesting to see whether the recording industry can respond to this or whether they will ignore, or spin it..

7:48:18 AM     : Enterprise Instant Messenger real

New Osterman Survey Shows Enterprise IM Use Growing. A recent survey my Osetrman Research shows continued acceptance of instant messaging inthe enterprise, according to Demir Barlas at Line56.com. "With a sample space of 195 employees, the survey found that 44 percent are currently using IM "for business applications,"... [Get Real]

An interesting and encouraging sign.

 29 March 2004

9:19:49 AM     : A slice of the day

Two killed in powerful Brazil storm
Congolese government fights coup attempt
Taiwan opposition agrees to meet president
New Hamas leader calls Bush "the enemy"
Two foreign guards killed in Iraq
Senate Democrats take stand on judges
Israel's state attorney: Indict Sharon
Rumsfeld discounts criticism of Bush
Iraqi minister escapes assassination
U.S.-led coalition shuts down Iraqi paper
Panel presses for Rice's public testimony

Source: Salon

 27 March 2004

10:47:10 AM     : "I don't remember"

Thought provoking piece, from the Future of Freedom Foundation, about the use of "I don't remember" as a way of avoiding the truth (good or bad) and about how it is being used now by members of the Bush administration.

 26 March 2004

2:46:46 PM     : Happy Birthday

Paolo's blog is 2 years old today :-)

10:17:00 AM     : Techno-fetishist or Fluffy-bunny?

Attended David Gurteen's Knowledge Café last night. The theme for the night was: Techno-fetishist or fluffy bunny which are you?

If that sounds a little weird it may help to know that these are Dave Snowdens archetypes for those who, on the one hand, believe that knowledge management is a purely technical problem and, on the other, believe it's all about the people.

What made tonights event a little different from normal was the number of new people there. I think for the first time over half of the people were attending their first café. David decided to start with 15 minutes of speed networking (Find someone you don't know, then you each have 60 seconds to tell the other person about yourself). I have to say I groaned inwardly (It had been a long day and this sounded like hard work) at the thought. Nevertheless it turned out to be quite good fun although my voice didn't hold up too well.

There followed 40 minutes of good discussion about the role of technology in KM. Some good observations from around the room, I can't remember most of them but a few that struck me:

  • You can have an organisation without technology, but you can't have an organisation without people. People are the key and technology is an enabler.
  • How you see yourself (techie vs. fluffy) is only one aspect of, as it is also important how others see you. Someone made the observation that a number of his team of KM workers were seen around the organisation as techies even though (mostly being from a journalistic background) they were the fluffiest people you could wish to meet.
  • Design is important in building knowledge systems. Consider how good a job companies like Amazon and Ebay have been.
  • Technology is a good way of holding information and allowing it to be sifted and, in due course, preserved when it meets the criteria of being Hallmark Knowledge.
  • You can make people use a new finance system. You can't make people use a KM system. Incentive systems often provoke the wrong behaviour (what happens when the incentive stops). You need to involve people from early stages and get buy in. I would ask the question: What's in it for me?
  • Do people see what they have as knowledge? They won't share what they feel is not valuable. This has to be addressed.

I think there was definitely a fluffy bunny conscensus in the room at the end of the day. So there is hope for us yet!

We all excused ourselves to the pub to finish the evening.

Thanks to Alison Leahy of Universities UK for providing a great venue, coffee and directions to the pub!

1:03:29 AM     : If you worry whether you can make a difference

The Consultant's Trial - Do your clients drive you mad? Does the world depress you? Roger Harrison's View. Jon Husband has posted a remarkable story by Roger Harrison on the pressures of being an OD consultant. This is for you if you are concerned about being codependent, if you worry whether you can make a difference, if your... [Robert Paterson's Weblog]

I found Roger Harrisons story very moving. Worth reading.

 24 March 2004

7:54:02 AM     : Boil me slowly

I've just realised I'm a frog.

In a pan of water

Is it me or is it getter warmer in here?

 23 March 2004

10:01:12 PM     : Seeking opinions: IdeaFisher & Project Kickstart

Has anyone out there used IdeaFisher? I'm doing a lot of marketing and idea-centric work at the moment. I saw a quick demo of it in action today and i'm pretty tempted. However i've been here before, so I'm keen to see if anyone else has a read on it.

Also Project Kickstart looks like a pretty cool tool for someone like me who needs project discipline but finds that MS Project frightens me more than it assists me. Anyone have any views?

 22 March 2004

10:17:26 PM     : Change me, if you dare

The Corporation - Documentary - My own review. Well I finally saw the Corporation myself last night. I had earlier posted a review from a early reviewer but feel compelled to add my own words today. But first a snip from the major review - "The Corporation will... [Robert Paterson's Weblog]

I really hope that the BBC notice this film and broadcast it here. I'd love to see it. I'll risk being changed forever!

9:42:03 PM     : Pride of ownership is AWOL from software

Don Norman is my hero!.

Don Norman: Emotional Design [ETCON2004]. [Full title: Emotional Design: The Principles] Don Norman used to be known as a critic of unusable things but now, he says, he has changed. He has transformed himself into an advocate for pleasurable, enjoyable products. Beauty is good, says Norman. Successful products should a pleasure to use, and convey a positive sense of self, of accomplishment, and pride of ownership. In this keynote address, Norman shares work from his latest book, Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things. Do you believe it? Is there really more to life than whether something works well? Does you car really drive better after you have washed and polished it? Listen in. This was a keynote presentation at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference held in San Diego, California, February 12, 2004. Recording courtesy of O'Reilly & Associates and IT Conversations. A complete transcript of this and other keynote sessions is available on the IT Conversations web site. [Internet Archive]

Don Norman is one of the few people I really look up to today.

His visions picks up right where mine leaves off.  We're a perfect complement to each other.

Here we are debating at PopTech 2002 together.

[Marc's Voice]

I have so many good products where I wish the authors had internalized the idea

Successful products should a pleasure to use, and convey a positive sense of self, of accomplishment, and pride of ownership.
a little better. I'm certainly going to reflect on it more myself.

9:26:34 PM     : A walk on the wet side

Such a small step. I have just come back from a wonderful walk in the countryside round my home. It is a beautiful spring morning but with gusty wind and heavy showers falling in between patches of wonderful clear sunlight - the kind you... [The Obvious?]

Hmmm... I went out for a walk this afternoon. I walked to Tooting Bec common in bright sunshine. As I reached the open spaces of the common it began to rain, hard. It didn't rain for too long though, and instead we got several minutes of fierce hale. That stung a bit. Finally the sun came back out to bake me into a steaming mess. Oh and I got lost trying to take a short cut home. 4.6km round trip. It was fun :)

9:13:54 PM     : Yikes

I clearly talk about Bush/WarOnTerror far too much. This blog is meant to be about new approaches to Knowledge Management through weblogs, topic maps and good conversation. AdSense tells a different story! (Although I wonder if it is weighing my archives, I'm sure I've talked about KM than Bush over the last 1374 posts.)

 17 March 2004

11:49:34 AM     : It is not caving in to the bees to stop poking a stick into their hive.

I've just read a very powerful article by Lew Rockwell which is the first article I've read that resonates with how I feel about this whole pre-9/11, post-9/11, Iraq War, American Empire, Madrid, Terrorism mess we've gotten ourselves into.

After the bombing, Spaniards didn't shout: "They hate us because we are good!" or "Spain is Number One!" or otherwise pledge their religious devotion to the consolidated Spanish state. Not at all. Instead, they said: that jerk at the top brought this on, because he sold out the nation to appease the Bush administration. There was no Spanish Patriot Act, no creation of a Department of Homeland Security. Instead, there was a wave of good sense which amounted to the following: let's stop making these people mad by invading and occupying their country.
...
Americans have somehow come to believe that all acts of terrorism must result in a bigger government. As a result, we have just come to accept the idea that the government will get away with ever more violations of our liberties. In the Spanish case, however, the terror act may result in diminishing government power. This is wholly justified, just as bee stings should teach a person not to agitate them without reason. It is not caving in to the bees to stop poking a stick into their hive.
...

Why didn't Americans respond similarly after 9-11? The intellectual elites of both parties and all approved political ideologies agreed to impose a taboo in the days following the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. That taboo was against discussing the events outside the vacuum of that one day. We were all supposed to pretend that the United States government was 100% pure and innocent and had never done anything to anyone.

Incredibly, this was a plausible scenario to many Americans, who had no clue that the US was directly responsible for perhaps a million plus deaths of children in Iraq with its sanctions policies (according to the UN – but say it's half that for the sake of argument; it makes no difference). Americans are also famously ignorant of Islamic concerns about Infidels With Guns running around in Mecca.

 16 March 2004

9:34:23 AM     : Another desktop search dud

OnFolio.

Jeremy Allaire just blogged a new product - called OnFolio.

It helps you keep track of on-line blah blah blah.  I have a few questions first:

  • If it's about on-line blah blah blah - then why do I have to download anything?
  • Whatever happened to RIAs? 
  • Whatever happened to the new generation of apps and servcies that reside in the browser?
  • Have these folks ever heard of Laszlo?  Has Jeremy (who's firm - General Catalyst have an investment in Laszlo) ever told OnFolio about Laszlo?

I'm just not into trial versions of downlaoded software anymore.  That's oh so 90's.

Today there's no excuse why folks can't provide basic functionality, with limited capacity or features (for instance) for FREE - and then AFTER you've provided me with some value - I'd consider giving you some money.

But get the order straight:

  1. - no downloads - get Laszlo
  2. - deliver value
  3. - then I consider paying.....
[Marc's Voice]

I'm a little more forgiving than Marc about the choice of building a desktop application. But I would pickup and echo his point 2 because we've seen this tool before. I've played with it for a few minutes and 2 questions leap out at me:

  • What on earth possessed them to integrated so closely with IE? I hate IE and never use it. Straight away this product alienates me. Don't you care about other browser users?
  • Is it anything more than a fancy bookmarks application? How does it add value to my research? How do I make links between items? How do I track what has changed? Where are the clever value-adds? The reports feature is nice, but only if I'm prepared to invest time in building the collections. I see nothing to compel me to make that investment.

In short this appears to be YAICDSP (Yet Another Ill Conceived Desktop Search Product). Frankly, despite the neglect it has been shown, Personal Brain remains a vastly superior organiser. And some dedicated users have created an XML export option which could be used to duplicate OnFolio's meagre publishing abilities.

9:11:42 AM     :

You cannot step twice into the same river.
~ Heraclitus, circa 540 BC

 15 March 2004

3:47:40 PM     : New Bush: Now 20% more loathsome than other brands

Going negative. He's the father of the modern attack ad, and he's behind the Bush campaign's new wave of anti-Kerry spots. Alex Castellanos is known as vicious, irresponsible -- and effective. [Salon.com]

It seems that the words repulsive and Bush are to be forever intertwined for me...

10:40:11 AM     : JDO: A persistent topic

For JDO, the Time Is Now. "Without a dominant proprietary solution and with EJB in disarray, the software industry has a significant vacuum in the Java persistence solution market. Many are looking to the next best standard. With the Java Data Objects (JDO) 2.0 specification... [sockdrawer.org]

My friend Paul pointed this out to me this morning. Good timing as we are looking into Java databases at the moment.

12:48:19 AM     : Dave Snowden: Cynefin dynamics

The following is a ~500 word summary of my notes from Dave Snowdens talk on the Cynefin framework and Dynamics (~2800 words). Please note that this is my interpretation of Daves words and any errors, omissions, falsehoods or downright lies are down to me, not Dave.

Also note that, due to personal circumstances, Dave was not able to be present in person. Instead he did the full hour and a half talk via phone. I thought he gave a great performance under difficult circumstances and I was very grateful that he made this effort. Thank you Dave!

  • After the party an After Action Review is used to evaluate performance of children & adults, leading to the creation of a "party best practice" database. Breathe a sigh of relief when one of them works and try to stabilize the pattern. Then head upstairs to disrupt the negative pattern forming around your 14 year old daughter and a bottle of vodka.
  • In Method B the focus is less on total design (input/output) control.
  • At the heart of the distinction: Systems of order and of unorder.
  • When you look backwards everything makes perfect sense but there was no way, at the time, of predicting that particular outcome. What happens is that 'patterns of interaction' stabilize and you can then understand how this occurred.
  • Structured methods from business schools and management systems do not cope. Instead an approach based upon complexity theory (boundaries & attractors) is required.
  • Ordered systems: The aspects of organisation that are highly structured and where things repeat.
  • Shift towards heuristics expressed as value alignment.
  • Order emerges as the result of the interaction of agents.
  • Additionally multiple collective identities can be held in sequence or in parallel leading to a 3rd level of complexity.
  • Neurophysics & cognitive science tell us that we actually make decisions based upon complex patterns.
  • Great leader comes in and pulls all the network controls into themselves, tightening to shift the problem back into the visible ordered space, e.g.
  • Oscillation between anarchy & control which is the common method of crisis management.
  • Boundaries (negative, repel) Brittle -- any rigid, when it breaks it breaks catastrophically with no recovery Elastic - middle Permeable -- crossed all the time but people know they've crossed them The more you constrain the less adaptable you have.
  • Whilst the model may be new they have never had a problem with the concept when applied to a real problem.
  • There is a critical distinction between hidden order and complex unorder. 9-11 was hidden order: we didn't join the dots. There are so many orders of magnitude difference in considering a problem of 1 pattern among 27 and 1 pattern among 3.4 trillian.
  • Do peoples personalities fit naturally into a domain?
  • Most innovation occurs under the age of 17 and over the age of 50. If the context shifts we are capable of changing. Personality can also act as a pattern entrainer.
  • UN peace keepers need permeable boundaries/rules, to be guided by underlying principles. In a riot situation officers delegate to NCO's. Officers understand strategy; NCO's understand tactics and execution.
  • It's informal systems allow it to survive, to make the formal systems work. The problem is that people designing the formal processes do not see this. Apparent conformity validates their model/view leading them to believe it is working and put in even more processes!
  • Think about yourself as a bundle of identities.

12:18:32 AM     : 3rd Gurteen Knowledge Conference on Organisational Complexity

I've finally gotten round to editing my notes from the 3rd Gurteen Knowledge Conference on Organisational Complexity. This was held on the 5th March so apologies that it's taken me this long to come up with the goods.

In the end I had about 30 pages of rough notes which I am working up into 4 postings, 1 for each session. Tonight I shall be posting the first piece correspoding to Dave Snowdens presentation on the Cynefin framework and dynamics.

I have also put up a selection of photographs to give a flavour of the event.

 14 March 2004

2:26:15 PM     : A little light reading

Papers I read on the plane home yesterday:

Rickard is doing a lot of thinking (& acting) in the Aspect Oriented Programming (AOP) field. I think it's pretty exciting and fully expect AOP to be as mainstream, in 3-5 years, as OOP is today. I'm playing with Dynaop which is a very low impact AOP solution for Java written by "Crazy Bob". It's a great package and laughably easy to get started with.

Sense making is I guess one of my key themes these days. My work has taken me from the mainstream of KM (i.e. document management) into the world of organisational complexity, deep collaboration, wicked problems, patterns in information and making sense of it all. In particular this paper introduced me to Issue Based Information Systems (IBIS) and how they affect tools & approaches.

12:32:13 PM     : So I don't have to look it up again.

Gordon's Gin advert. Birds & the Bees by Patrick Dawes.

12:09:21 PM     : Fifty words:that find me, and in the darkness...

Here are my current 50-words from my Ecademy Profile:

Fifty Words: london, poker, cats, INTP, music, powershot a70, thunderstorms, italy, wine, reading, books, kurt vonnegut, comedy, tony hancock, film, maltese falcon, laughter, learning, research, challenge, caring, win-win, search for meaning, pragmatic, writing, games, collaboration, complexity, aspects, hi-tech, degree, director, knowledge, strategy, early adopter, km, knowledge management, entrepreneur, innovator, software, networking, java, topic maps, values, weblogs, knowledge organisation, rss, politics, libertarian, open minded, listening, leadership
It was an interesting exercise coming up with this list.

10:47:26 AM     : Turning costs into profits

I'm scouting Ecademy and LinkedIn and just came across Larry who works for a company that sounds very interesting:

Whilst most companies who take away redundant computer equipment charge you for it, Larry's company actually gives you a percentage of the profit they make on the sale. They turn a cost into a profit. That sounds like a brilliant idea to me. I wonder if it works as well as it sounds.

 10 March 2004

10:21:47 PM     : Quantum Marbles pt. 1

Paolo and I were just playing with my new digital camera when suddenly this happened:

 08 March 2004

9:07:40 AM     : "our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over."

Fulfilled prophecy. I wrote a while back (the Nader letter that penty of people wrote to me about but Eric didn't like) with a link to The Onion's article in 2001 jokingly predicting how George W Bush would function as US president. Just to show how unsettlingly prescient it was, Dan Chak has republished it complete with links to the actual events. Read and be afraid. [via Dave Orchard] [WebMink]

 07 March 2004

1:20:46 PM     : No interest

President Bush: Don't use my husband as your mascot. A 9/11 widow's open letter to Bush about his new ad campaign. [Salon.com]

I'm trying not to post about US politics these days. It's not my country and I'm afraid I come across as whiny, preachy, and repetitive.

Nevertheless what I've seen about the recent Bush 9/11 based campaigning is pretty gross and utterly contemptible. I'm not sure if he's actually wrapped himself in the flag yet but it can only be a matter ot time.

I find it depressing to consider that a large chunk of America is probably going to willingly swallow this horse pill, that they seem to think it's in their best interest to have Bush in charge.

The same argument could be applied here, there, and everywhere. I certainly don't think Blair == Bush, but I can't, in conscience, vote for Blairs Labour party. I'll have to come up with another option.

I'm looking for a movement that asks people to consider what is in their own long term best interests. I feel sure that if more people were to consider this we could begin to make some progress.

12:54:50 PM     : Radio Userland comment spam begins?

Is this:

GOOD website for ours!Thank you very much! human growth hormone • 3/6/04; 7:31:54 PM
the start of automated spamming of Radio Userland comments? This morning I notice two of them on very old posts of mine from nearly 2 years ago. This would be very bad news as Userland offer no tools for managing comments.

 04 March 2004

8:30:40 PM     : Saving the world one conversation at a time

Just had a great Skype call with Dave Pollard. This is the first time I've talked to Dave - I was motivated to get in touch with him after reading a post he made on the AOK-Knet list - but I hope it won't be the last.

Dave was very engaging and, as you would expect if you've ever read his blog, interesting. He knows KM and presented me with some viewpoints that I find personally challenging. He's made me question some of my assumptions about where KM is (or should be) going and what I see as the future. As hard as that is, I'm grateful :-)

7:27:47 AM     : Don't grow a beard JRobb

An amalgam of transnational terrorism and crime is the dark underbelly of the second superpower.  If so, how big is its economy?  Estimates are that transnational crime and terrorist organizations generate between $1.5 and $2 trillion a year from their activities.  Could terrorists co-opt a large percentage of this economy as a tax?  If so, 20% would yield $400 billion, which is about equal to the US defense budget.  What is unclear is the growth rate of this economy.  I suspect that given globalization and the distraction caused by terrorism, it is growing at a rate an order of magnitude greater than the global economy. [John Robb's Weblog]

JRobb sure is a scary person to be subscribed to these days.

7:23:18 AM     : It didn't

Google Goes Atom.

Google spurns RSS for rising blog format | CNET News.com. I typically don't pay much attention to the syndication standards wars but this is kind of interesting. Google has gone with the Atom standard instead of RSS for syndication on its Blogger network. Existing Blogger Pro users with RSS feeds can keep them but all other Blogger customers will only be able to deploy Atom feeds.

[High Context]

Sigh

When Atom (ne Echo) was first proposed I said:

"If it means an end to the madness, I'm for it."

It didn't.

 03 March 2004

9:13:46 PM     : 3rd Gurteen Knowledge Conference on Managing Organisational Complexity

Spent today at David Gurteen's 3rd Knowledge Conference on Managing Organisational Complexity. It was a great day and I took lots of notes and photos (to the extent that I annoyed most everyone!) Sadly Dave Snowden was not able to attend in person due to personal circumstances, however we got virtual Snowden which was still very good. Today certainly added a new layer to my thinking and i'm going to be percolating all this stuff for days and weeks to come.

Right now I'm up to my ears in a market research exercise for K-Collector so expect blogged notes & photos probably Friday.

Plus I got to meet Ian Glendinning of Psybertron which was cool.

 02 March 2004

4:26:49 PM     : I respectfully disagree

The Nation on Ro. The Nation has a great piece on Ro Khanna's race for Congress. [Lessig Blog]

I enjoyed watched the video clips of Ro in action at the debates. It's refreshing to see someone offer respect whilst still disagreeing on an intelligent point.

9:29:47 AM     : Easy Wiki integration

Whatever happened to the Wiki API?

8:23:12 AM     : Static crosscutting

Static crosscutting rocks!. As outlined in this article, static crosscutting can be a powerful tool when designing a complex system, especially as it in my experience enables incredible levels of reuse.[Random thoughts]

Static crosscutting does look like a powerful way to add functionality to solutions without introducing potentially harmful dependencies. This will need some more thinking about.

8:08:22 AM     : Building collaborative culture

Collaborative Business Culture.

In a collaborative business culture, people work effectively together as a community, guided by a common purpose. Trust is swift and open and honest discussions are the way of working together. In this culture, members respect each other, value their differences and are open to the ideas of each other. Members listen to each other and believe that strength, resilience and progress come from the diversity of people working together rather than the monolith of the corporate ego.

These communities often share a common vision, one that is not always shared with business leaders. However, it is important for business leaders to support this new knowledge-led culture where conversations are for sharing and learning, and working is about doing things better next time. Without the support of business leaders, even the best technologies will not allow for a collaborative culture.

So how do we shape this culture - after all, we cannot create a new culture overnight. All that business can do, therefore, is provide the necessary tools and infrastructure to support this new way of working.

We can start by ensuring that there is a commitment from the top that permits the changes in the business environment that will allow this new culture to flourish. Such commitments will also need to include the provision of an infrastructure, a collaborative tool and a place for people to discuss, meet and get-together in person or in a virtual way. We identify business communities that share a common goal and assure support for a community leader and facilitator, providing ongoing commitment and interest in those common goals. This process is repeated and over again with other communities, and waiting as other new communities form spontaneously. This process also needs to be supported by learning in three key areas; becoming a community leader and facilitator, working with collaborative tools and building a community case.

[Torben Anderson: Alpha Virtual Working and Collaboration]

Something I am thinking about, more and more often, is the organisational tools to help K-Collector customers make the leap from a technology solution to a business solution. Experience has taught us that it's not enough to simply give them funky software and expect them to know what to do next.

Here is the beginnings of advice to collaboration/community software purchasers:

  • Try to understand, as far as possible, what you expect from online communities. If possible, be aware of existing communities (both formal and informal) operating in your business, their structure, and their value.
  • Communities are like flower beds -- nobody wants to see them until they bloom. Try to find natural community leaders, people motivated to make the community a success and who will hold things together (after the initial flurry of interest is over) until the community actually delivers for it's membership.
  • Learn/Find tools to recognize new and important communities emerging in your business. Have a model for recycling communities and letting them die with dignity.
  • Learn to get the best out of the tools. Pick a tool which will help grow the kind of communities that you want to build (not all tools are equal). Make sure you pick a vendor you trust and who you think are on a similar trajectory to you. Are they responsive? Do they understand what you're doing?
  • Human encouragement is your best weapon.
  • Expect change.

More, much more, in due course...