Thursday, September 30, 2004

The WELL | Pre.vue reader sneak peak offer

Is this pimping one of my home communities? Maybe, but it's a great deal. So here it is:The WELL | Pre.vue reader sneak peak offer:
"Dear Pre.vue reader --

We're pleased to announce that if you wish to join The WELL now, you are eligible for a special rate of just $2 for the first two months of membership.

Just click on the special link on this page, and when it asks who referred you, type in 'special.' There's never been a better time to jump in and get your feet wet!
For those not familiar with The Well, it is a long-lived online community rife with discussions of all stripes. I'm co-host of the Virtual Community Conference (With Jon of PolyCot) and addicted to the Travel and Cooking Conferences. You can tell what rut I'm stuck in. There is also a great Blog Conference and more riches than you can fit into a day.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

RSS Tutorial

When Lee points to a plain language explanation of a technical issue, it's usually a good bet. Check this one out. RSS: why it's important:
"Finding it hard to stay abreast of the latest news and conversations on the Web? You're not alone. The number of sites and people producing content has grown over the years to an unmanageable size. Fortunately, you can now separate the signal from the noise with subscriptions to sites you enjoy and with newsreaders that can filter only the important news you need to get ahead at work. Soon, even portals such as Yahoo will offer this type of service. But there are several good free and paid apps that will do the trick right now."
[via Lee]

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Interested in the AI Online Conference?

It is open till the end of November. By joining, you have access to the videos, the blogs, the conversations, the library of AI resoures. If you are interested in diving into AI, it is worth it.

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One More: A Dialog With Michael & Joan Hoxsey

Authors of, “Finding the Extra-Ordinary Marriage: A Guide to Building Strong, Loving and Compassionate Couple Relationships Using Appreciative Inquiry”

Somehow early on during the Appreciative Inquiry Conference I had the good chance to meet Joan and Michael Hoxsey. It may have been that moment when Joan walked up to the “Virtual Home” area with two other women and I referred to them as her friends. They were her daughters, but it was clear there was a great wellspring of friendship in their relationship. And there were smiles of great humor. As the days passed here, we talked more and enjoyed each other’s’ company. Yesterday Michael and Joan pressed a small book into my hands and said, read this, then lets talk tomorrow.

I read this little gem and we sat down to talk this afternoon. The first five minutes were rapid fire humor which I could hardly do justice to with my notes, but this one bit stuck: “Dick and Jane run, but Mike and Joan get married. Here is the story how they stayed married.”

Nancy: So why did you guys write a book?

(My first challenge – keep track of who was saying what. Joan and Michael often completed each other’s sentences, jumping in with side comments and one liners. Whoa!)

Michael: “We’ve done something similar in past. We took the micro concept of family strengths and enlarged it to encompass any group that contains relationships. Use the family strengths.”

Joan: “The reason for this particular book has much more to do with the effect of AI on us as a couple and as a family.”

Joan was the director of a 0-3 program and was looking for a planning process that was built on strengths as opposed to all the problems these families have. Part of it was out of this work and the family strengths work Michael referred at Univ of Nebraska. “We saw the power of talking people both from a realistic level and strengths. One of the strengths is appreciation.”

(I am giving up referencing who says what… let it flow, baby, let it flow!)

“When Joan discovered Appreciative Inquiry (AI), we found out there was a retreat for couples by Jane Magruder Watkins and Ralph Kelly. “Here’s a good deal: we can do marriage stuff for ourselves and learn AI.”

“Little did we know that between the time we made the decision to go and actually go to the retreat, our youngest child (33 years old) died. He went to bed and did not wake up. We came home from a conference and discovered he had died. It swept our legs out from under us. You are not supposed to bury your children.”

“We are not sure how we managed to get in the car and go to the retreat. We knew we needed something, and at our core there was a resilience that needed to be activated. So we made the trip from Ohio to Virginia. What we discovered through the AI process were all of the strengths that we have had over 40-something years of marriage. They are accessible to us, but we don’t always remember them. It was such a powerful and realistic experience, we decided we wanted to share it with other couples. Not just those in trauma, but if it would work for us in that extreme situation, maybe it would help others. Couples and those in relationships. The power to transform where we are through appreciating one another, respecting one another, being eager to be with one another.”

Michael continues…”So we started keeping appreciative journals. We used to write in journals as a dialog, out of obligation to a community. We grew a lot in that process. With the AI journals, it was different. Each day we consciously remember why we appreciated each other. Not only does it recall that moment, but puts us in the stance of looking for something that we appreciate in the other.” Joan adds, “it is not onerous. The act of appreciating someone else has such power to give other not only to the person appreciated, but the person doing the appreciating. It’s become a looked for, anticipated part of our day.”

Michael caps the comment: “It’s like dessert. We’ve earned it. We haven’t’ made it a huge 7 steps to joy. Just take a note, by writing it down, and take note by observing. “

I asked them what they do next with their journals.

Michael was quick to note “My writing leaves a lot to be desired. Joan has become, she’s my pharmacist. She can read the prescription. Otherwise I have to read it to her. I’m able to read Joan’s. She is a very clear writer. And they are simple exchanges.”

He continued with an example. “One night on our way to Orlando last week we stopped in Forsythe GA about 9pm at night. We’d been driving for 14 hours. I was too tired to write. So for the first time we just did a conversation sharing. I layed on the bed with my eyes closed and she appreciated that I drove and I appreciated that she appreciated me and I knew it every minute of the day. It made my day easier. The rhythm of our day, week, month was disrupted by that failure to write.”

“The key thing,” added Joan, “is that we’ve not made a big deal out of it. So there’s no guilt associated with it. We noticed a dip, but we didn’t feel guilty. But we miss the intimacy that it brings. What often happens is that it sparks long conversations, about where we’ve been, where we want to go, what we’re dreaming about. It has a been very useful way of grieving for our son. Often times he comes in to the conversation, into the appreciations, what he brought in to our lives. Mike may have a time when he’s very visible about his grief. What I’ve discovered is that I appreciate that. I would never have known that 2-3 years ago. To appreciate his grief and losses has been wonderful. I think the same is true for you,” she said, turning to Michael.

All of our eyes were moist.

Michael had another story to share. “I’d like to tell you something that has just happened (he turned to Joan) What the Navy is doing and what we are about. – it is the same thing. I remembered that at diner last night, sitting in restaurant with our two daughters. I was aware that this was the family that we used to talk to people about. Adult parents and adult children, sharing responsibility. I realize that’s what happens in the Navy when the admirals, and ensigns sit down together at the same table, in civilian clothes, and talk about what it means to be a solider. They are accepting shared responsibility for the course of the organization. In the Navy, they are talking about the power that AI releases, when an enlisted person can speak up in the anticipation that it will make a change in the service and not in their status.

Joan smiles, “When we were young, I thought we were in the age of having good children, a whole laundry list of what a good child is. All these ideals. We never got one out of 6 of them like that. What we’ve discovered is what we were really doing was elevating good parents for our grandchildren. That is the reflection we are now seeing. Adult children and adult parents coming to that place of really deep respect for one another.”

Years after you’ve written this book, what stories would you like to hear

Sales in the hundreds of thousands! Laughter
I’d like to hear more of the stories I heard last night from our daughter that she never thought to share with us. She has a very dear friend who has been through really tough separation and diverse. And she has read our book. Her daughter’s friend. She said it was the most helpful thing she’s read about what it is that she wants. I’d like to have lots of people find some way learning how to be respectful, loving and confident in their relationships with one another. Take the risks and weather the storms that relationship and family… all families, to use the everyday language, at risk. When you love somebody you are always at risk of losing them. I would like to know that we have helped some people to have a day or two now and then, when they really appreciated each other an experienced that. And it helped them get through tough stuff. They felt secure enough to support others, in laws, outlaws, children, grocer, bus driver. It is amazing what happens when people see how much you appreciate what the do. Admiral Dave Anderson was outside talking to the porters. He now has that sense of how important the app is. You don’t lose anything. Appreciation is your ROI. The investment is an observation, a little bit of time and some integrity. The return is fantastic

I’d like to look like the picture in our book.

I think we are really fortunate as a family, husband and wife, mother and father, that even though we had this tragedy of losing 33 year old son, we do not in any way have the sense that he left us wanting to know how much he was love. There is no sense of should have said… done… because we were very expressive about that. And by the same token we have no doubt, we even have physical proof in the form of letters that he wrote us that he loved and respected us, thought we were funny, loved his brothers and sisters with all his heart. We’ve been very fortunate to understand and value that. I don’t know where that gift came from. It’s been where we’ve been

It seemed a shame to not share a bit of that. To give people some prospects.

AI was a name for what they were already doing. Had something they had and gave a framework. One of the six strengths. Felt frustrated in this relationship… did I ever really tell you I appreciated you asked Mike? Oh yeah. I don’t think in the 47 years we’ve been married to miss a day to tell me how much you love me, how beautiful I am. It would be a false impression to say AI gave us that. We found a way to intentionally bring forward on a consistent way something we knew inherently, was important. IT moved that one of 6, I had trouble accepting that appreciation was a strength. It wasn’t until I practiced it, tried it out, what happened to me when someone appreciated something I had done. What a ready source of affirmation. How easy it is to find something to appreciate. Give people a chance to be appreciated.

What you are saying Mike is that AI has, in this intentionality, to look for more specifics. While you never missed a day to tell me you loved me and I was beautiful, you were pretty generic about it. AI gave us the gift – I really appreciate it when you have the diner on the table. I have a way of making the bed. Mike thinks its stupid but he does it any day. You have to go around the bed again. IJ: I can’t tell you the first time I discovered he did it my way, “he really DOES love me!” M: If that proves it and diamonds don’t, that’s it!

We’ve been watching for doing the things we love. The story we love is the story about image. We’ve done a lot of this couples stuff. The skills stuff. The nine faces, eneagram, MB, not the Cosmo sec partner quiz! We’re at a active listening workshop. One of these where you have lunch on your own. We’ve gone off campus. I spend the whole lunch hour telling Mike he does not do listening right. I was really… trying to do this in a saccharine cheerful way. Pretty distant on the way back to the campus. Were in a neighborhood. Mike was holder her hand so she would not run away. This car parks and an old woman gets out of the card. A foot shorter than the car. Comes around, opens the door and helps an even older gentleman. He wasn’t her son. They get to the sidewalk, brush themselves off. She brushes him off. They link arms and walk to the Dr. office. Joan had the image, oh my god, there we are down the line. The tenderness with which they treated each other was… it was… I have no notion that that was AI. I took a hold of Mike’s arm and we went back to the workshop. If I stay on this track, our emotions were entirely changed by watching that. That’s the story I most love (J) about what we’re trying to share.

We do have a stake in each other as family, as human beings, all of our relationships. We know when our relationship is strong nothing can phases us. Family is a self healing organization. Paul Pearsal has written about the power of the family

AI has brought it from here (head) to here (heart) to hear (lips). It has helped articulate. And it has given us the most important thing – a support community. Home is where they have to let you in. Take off all of your armor. Relax and be. The expectation are thank god you are home safe. That is home. That’s family.

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Reflections on the AI Online/F2F Bridging Experience

There is still a lot to debrief (and more interviews to share here if they are of interest) and I'm running on a severe sleep deficit myself, but I want to remind myself to post some of the initial observations about trying to bring a rich F2F conference experience to a virtual audience to complement their online interactions. I won't finish now, but here is a start.

  • We can bridge from the online to the F2F by bringing content, pictures, videos, chats, documents and live blogging really well. Participants kept saying they felt like they were with us in Miami. The blogging from 6 of us particularly was well received. I tended to blog verbatim, while others posted summaries or personal reflections. The combination of styles was really a great thing. It is good we decided not to settle on one format. We each brought a different slice online.
  • It is much harder to bridge online to F2F. We provided daily snippets of what was going on online, so people were very aware of it, but they were totally immersed in the F2F. Understandably, they did not seem to have time or inclination to go online. I think this is one of the reality checks if we continue to format F2F conferences in the traditional ways.
  • We could reinvent both forms and find ways to weave them together. This would be very interesting to pursue!
  • Working with great people is SUCH a pleasure. Gabriel Shirly from, Bob Stilger of, Tracy Robinson, Rich Parker, Soren Kaplan, and the 10 volunteer reporters and photographers from AI Consulting were just the best.
There is more. But no more active brain cells for tonight. Remind me to share another day of the next hybrid online/offline/online events I'm working on. Two more starting this week through November! WOo hoo!

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More from AI: A Quick but Lovely Conversation with Rodrigo Loures, Nutrimento

I was sitting in the “Virtual Conference Miami Home Base” reading posts in the online space when a smiling gentleman asked to use one of the computers to check his email. Seeing that he was from Brasil, and I know some Portuguese and love Brasilians, I said hello. Then I saw he was from Nutrimento and I asked if I could interview him as soon as he finished his email. He graciously said yes. I had remembered David Cooperrider mentionting this amazing company in his opening keynotel

Now, you need to know that at 46, I often forget names. I did not happen to notice that the gentleman was none other than the leader of Nutrimento and a great force in the AI community. I got lucky!

We had a wonderful conversation in both English and Portuguese. We’ll see if my translation is adequate! Smile. Blame the bumps on me!

I asked Roderigo to tell me a bit of how he brought and wove AI into Nutrimento, a consumer foods company based in Curitaba, Brasil. Here is what he told me:

In 97 we began, 7 years ago. The response was very good, very fast. We were in a difficult epoch in the industry. There was a great change in the economy, a changed market, and we had to reinvent our company. There were issues with capital and credit. We had to finance this change. Others more experience were in the market were already in the market.

We looked for an asset we could use to help us into new business, a new understanding of the company, a new form of the organization. We made a big change of culture, and a change in technology. We had to get new knowledge areas. We had the idea of transforming the organization into something different than the traditional business. A learning organization.
We needed a form of strategy to do that so we adopted AI.

After the process, we were renewed. We became more profitable. In four years, we grew 6 times over. We built the capacity to keep this alive. We found the changes we needed to make to reposition in the market. (Nutrimento was a business to business company and shifted to direct consumer convenience foods – a major shift!)

This shift required new skills. This movement continues, the people, all the people, continue to apply the methodology. Day by day. We also use the Balanced Scorecard. It fits with AI very well. The scorecard process was built in a shared way. We are using it as a strengths based tool. It translates the strategy of the company -- the strategy that was built in a shared way by the company We chose the indicators. We designed the profit sharing. Profit sharing is becoming usual in Brasil. More now than 4-5 years ago. Ours includes all the people. One of the scorecard core learning area is is appreciative culture.

--- My experience with Brasilian culture 30 years ago was that it was a very social and collaborative culture so I asked if the Brasilian culture helped in the adoption?

Yes, AI fits with Brasilian culture. For instance, when we installed the balanced score card, we did that in 5-6 months and it usually takes 2 years. The same happened when we changed our information platform. From mainframe to AS400 platform. We made the shift in 5-6 months. When we install new tools, like ABC costing, that usually takes 2-3 years and a lot of training, we did it in 6 months. People are very collaborative. The change is fast.

The people of Nutrimento have built a culture that enjoys learning. It has now happened in the organization I now head, the Federacao de Industrias do Parana. It is a business organization. Now I have the power of sponsoring. I can sponsor change in many companies, many institutions at the same time. Because we are doing that, we have success because the Brasilian people accept the AI approach.

I love what I am doing. At that time, when involved with Nutrimental’s transformation, it was a very exciting time, but now, it is even more exciting. The impact is many times larger. To give you an idea, this association has 5000 industries. More than 500,000 people. A big sphere of influence. Technical schools. 100,000 students. Introducing AI in the schools now. Preparing staff, and the structure, the infrastructure. Able to deliver AI services for the whole system.
Working on the idea of disseminating this to many organizations to create community, to facilitate more learning, like Peter Senge writes, we sustain the changes by moving them through the system.

----What’s your dream?

To see most of the human organizations in my area, my place, being learning organizations. And surely the AI process should be one of the key levers For creating and sustaining and continuous evolution.

At a country level, surely if it happens, when it happens and consolidates in Parana, it will spread for the rest of the country. When something works, it spreads quickly. President Lula creates a council of advisors to deal with social and economic development. I am one member. It is a learning council… yes. We had a meeting with AI last year, I suggested and it was adopted in one moment last year, one summit. IN September. President Lula didn’t participate, his minister did. He enjoyed it very much. We created a vision of Brasil. The group meets once a month, looks at the issues the presidents wants consultation on. It’s up to him to accept or not. Not a deliberative consultation. Advisory. Can influence.

----- I asked Rodrigo if he had a message to the folks online.

I think that to develop a new style of leadership, is an imperative for change. And appreciative inquiry one very effective process for allowing the space and opportunity for this kind of leader to emerge. It’s not a matter, it is not enough of a new style of leaders. We also need new kind of organization, a flexible, learning organization. For this purpose also fits very well. Also it needs techniques for management, steering and managing the day to day; and the changes. Again AI has the capability of using the current tools with a new perspective, use them higher purpose.
I think that in my experience, AI works well in these three dimensions: leadership style, organizational development, enlightened management.

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Sue James, Online Mistress of Ceremonies!

Before I share my interview with Sue, it is important to consider she was in Australia during the conference, 18 hours out of synch with the F2F event. Yet Sue hosted EVERY live chat with presenters. I think her average number of hours of sleep never got above 2. She gave her heart and soul to this wild experiement and really did an amazing job.

1. Sue, tell me a little bit about how you came to working with AI? Where did your AI journey begin?
My own AI journey began about 18 months or so ago, when I was browsing in St Luke's Innovative Resources bookshop here in Victoria and came across the Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry. I started reading as much as I could - and indeed, think I've added to the shares I should have in Amazon as a result! :-)

I then had a six week trip to the US last October-November - a self-funded "study tour". During this trip, along with some other things I was doing, I met with a number of wonderful people involved with AI and have remained in contact with them ever since. I also attended PCC's Leap of Faith gathering in Cleveland at the end of my trip - and that has also been a fantastic network with which to be involved, along with AIC, which I joined last February.

Through all of this, I have increasingly incorporated AI in my own work - though not necessarily the full AI process or cycle, certainly the principles and spirit of AI has permeated almost everything I have been doing. As far as I'm concerned, encountering AI felt rather like "coming home" to me - and it has certainly become more a way of being, rather than a tool or technique!

2. What are you personally most looking forward to in the online conference?
I had hoped I might get to Miami - but my budget woudn't stretch to another overseas trip this year. It therefore made sense for me to volunteer for the online conference planning team and help to make this online conference a wonderful and exciting event for everyone - including myself! :-) I am mostly looking forward to learning more about what is happening around the world with AI - much as I did in the BAWB conference last January. For me, it is also very exciting to have this sense of global community - no more so than with our wonderful hosting team. Twenty two volunteers, who have come together from the US, Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, the UK, Australia and New Zealand! That in itself is something that gives me a great thrill, so working with this team is also something I have very much looked forward to from a personal perspective.

3. What are you most paying attention to, as mistress of ceremonies for the online event? How do you see your role unfolding?
My role so far has been to support the team of online hosts, coordinating the hosting timetable and making sure they are comfortable and experienced with the online environment etc. That support role will of course remain a priority for me throughout the conference. I am also acting as moderator for the online chats with presenters, so that is another role for which I've had to prepare - for example learning appropriate chat protocols to manage the conversation with a large number of people online in chat at once. Another thing I am doing is keeping an eye on all the various conversations and topics in the online environment, making links as appropriate, adding relevant items or discussion threads to the library etc. So far I've not done as much of that as I'd like - the hosting coordination has been my first priority of course. However as hosts log on for their later shifts, they'll be more than able to go it themselves, so my support role should diminish. :-) That's when I will be paying even more attention to creating appropriate links and connections between the various elements of the conference environment - particularly as it becomes even more populated with different posts and conversations etc.

4. What would you most like to know about going on in the F2F space.
The things that will be most beneficial to know about the F2F space will no doubt be those that are not being otherwise posted to the online environment. For example, not all the Round Table or Plenary sessions are being added to the online space - so it would be great to have some sense of connection with those "other" sessions that are not automatically included for the online conference. It would also be a wonderful thing if as many of the f2f participants as possible could be encouraged to log on and join in the online discussions - adding their insights and perspectives from the point of view of someone "on the ground" in Miami. :-)

Here is a picture of Sue!

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More from the Appreciative Inquiry Conference - Jane Magruder Watkins

I got home last Thursday from the International Appreciative Inquiry conference and have been zooming a million miles an hour on projects. Still, I wanted to share a few more of the stories I captured at the event.

I caught up with Jane Magruder Watkins during a break of her pre-conference workshop. We chatted over a cup of coffee. Jane is filling the role of F2F Mistress of Ceremonies or "Weaver." I wanted to interview her and her online complement, Sue James in Australia. Here is my conversation with Jane.

1. Jane, tell me a little bit about how you came to working with AI? Where did your AI journey begin?
I have the best story of all. It is kind of a long one. I had been doing work with experiential education in the international development arena. Had done a project with women in Kenya with my organization, the Church Center. The bishops giving me to train. The women say why are you training men, we do the development work. You get a group of women, I’ll find the money to train. 20 women over a period of time through all kinds of training. Began to work out in the villages in indigenous languages.

We began the project by taking 10 Americans over to Kenya who new experiential education and joined 12 Kenyan women who knew Kenya. We spent 2 weeks together getting to be friends, learning about each other, methods, culture, and thinking how to adapt methods to the local culture. We created pilots in four places. Leadership training. We came back together and took the field learnings factored them into the plan, and sent them back out to do it again. Then we wrote a manual. This was such an amazing experience.

I have a very dear friend, a filmmaker. She did Reds, Coming Home, a real Hollywood film person. Doe Mayer walked away from her job and had gone to Zimbabwe to do training films for women. She just pulled up stakes and went. A mutual friend told me she was in Zimbabwe. I contacted and said, I hear you are making films. I don’t have any money, but I’d love to you see this project. She said, if you just get me enough to cover expenses, I’ll do it for you. We cobbled together the money. She found a film company that wanted to train new staff, so the could do it for less than nothing. We put it together the project. She called me about 2 weeks before we were supposed to start. Can you spring for one more airline ticket? Her best friend Mary, an editor, wants to edit the film. She had just finished “Children of a Lesser God.” We ended up with this beautiful film of these women.

Later at a NTL conference in Florida, I was doing a presentation with this little film. David Cooperrider showed up. This was 1984. Maybe 85. He was in the last year of his PhD program. There were only 7 people in the room. At the end of the film, he said, that’s really fabulous. I do have one question. Isn’t it arrogant for Americans to go over there and tell them what to do? I said yes, if we had done that, but if we go with good will they accept you with open arms and you learn from each other. He said he was working with something I might be interested in. An old friend of mine John Carter had been using it up in Canada,. He and Veronica were doing a presentation. So we trot over to hear about AI. First time they had presented their work as the first OD consultants taking the process to the field. I could see instantly the value. I had been helping organizations rearrange deck chairs on Titanic for years. I knew that problem solving wasn’t working. But because of working overseas with other cultures, you have to innovate. People won’t tell you what is wrong. It is culturally inappropriate. A week later, David called me. “I’ve decided I don’t want to do corporate work. I want to focus on global social change orgs. Will you help me?” That was the beginning of our work together in 84. He put together an organization at Case Western, what is now called SIGMA, a free standing organization to take grants etc. He got five students to do a research project. Got them to go out and research 5 global social change organizations using AI. Greenpeace, Physicians Against Nuclear War, ICA, etc. They spent a year. Then we did a large conference at Case Western. All kinds of people came to look at appreciative processes for organizational change, particularly global social change.

Not too long after that Ada Jo Mann – managing partner for AIC called me with a project training NGOs and PVOs. In the process of putting it together they said we needed to get a university involved and we should go talk to Harvard. I said lets go to Case Western and talk to Dave Cooperrider. They picked David. That was the beginning of an 8 year project taking AI all over the world, applying and adapting the process. It was during this time we developed the Four D process along with Global Excellence in Management. So I am one of the old timers David and I consider each other as mentors. We’ve done a lot of good work together, and are fond of each other.

2. What are you personally most looking forward to in the F2F conference?
Lots of things. I’m Really looking forward to David’s opening talk because I think there is a shift in the air and I think he is starting to document it. The global compact work with the UN. The Roadway work. Threads there of what we are seeing. It is not just a willingness to use a different process, but organizations are seeing that this is the way of the world, that the world is shifting. Or we are starting to notice it. I’m really looking forward to what he has to say. I always enjoy and learn from him. He is a wonderful theoretician. He writes in complex language. If you can hear him talk, it is fabulous. You can get it. I’m also noticing the size of this workshop, 10 people. (Jane and Ralph were doing the “Introduction to AI Preconf Workshop during this interview.) We did this two years ago with 70 people in the room. What that says to me that huge numbers of people have done the basics. They are ready for the next level.

3. What are you most paying attention to, as mistress of ceremonies for the online event? How do you see your role unfolding?
I think part of what I hope to do is to have people feel comfortable and welcome. To set a tone of casualness. We are all doing this together. There is no right or wrong way. A grand experiment. The other is just to have fun. I loved the last conference. All my best closest buds. I love working with them and hanging. Looking forward to introducing David.

4. What would you most like to know about going on in the online space?
I _am_ part of the online. (She said that with a big smile.) Since I can’t be online all the time I’d like to know as the weaver, who can represent you here, what questions do you have, what comments, what messages you want to send to the crowd. If you all want to send messages in and it’s too many to read, we’ll read some of them and post the rest of them. If you want to buddy up with someone here at the conference we can make that offer. Maybe the ends of the days have a conversation about the day.

Jane's partner, Ralph, caught this great picture of Jane, hard a work. Ada Jo is in the background!

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Saturday, September 18, 2004

AI Conference: The Set Up

Set up day is winding to a close. I have been trying to capture the stories of people setting up the conference. Here are a few of the stories. If you are engaged, join the online conference! Yes, it has a fee, but I think it is going to be worth it. I would not be spending a week here volunteering otherwise!

Our online kiosk is in the lobby, just outside of the conference organizers’ space. I wandered over to talk with volunteers Anna from Venezuela, Shirantha from Sri Lanka, and Christina from Grand Rapids, MI, along with staffer Elayne from Pegasus. They are diligently putting together the conference bags. Without the conference assistants, there would be no conference. They are stuffing the program, green mountain coffee and coffee cups (they are a sponsor - ­ decaf and regular!), participant list, feedback form and a brochure from Roadway express into bags. 500 of these babies. They are working hard.

Anna’s Story
I was working in Caracas, in the barrio. I wanted to work with conflict resolution with social construction. I wrote to Professor Kenneth Gergen, and he recommended I visit the AI website. I read it -- all the articles, then I saw the conference announcement. My aunt lives near here. Thought this is a big chance. I’m volunteering as a conference assistant.

Shiantha’s Story
It began in 2000 when I was working with Habitat for Humanity. Mac Audell became the technical advisor. He introduced me to AI as a planning, monitoring and evaluation tool. I continued online, only in the sense of study, reading and trying to also make some models of my own. Getting data from others. I was a regular customer of the AI list serv. I have written to the list. Mac wanted me to apply for assistantship and I got it. It is going to be a learning process. I want to take that knowledge back to Sri Lanka as a model for peace and development.

Shiantha is now the Deputy Director of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, 65 members, local and international NGOm involved in peace activities. He is also finishing his masters in Org Management, Thesis on AI.

Christina’s Story
My dad is Jim Ludema. He was kind of in at the beginnings of AI. I did such things as play in Dave Cooperider’s back yard. I grew up around AI. I am a biology major at Calvin College in Grand Rapids. I’m here because I think AI is great and I can apply it even in biology or whatever I do. Interested in public health and epidemeology.

Elayne’s Story
I started with Pegasus as a volunteer, 13 years ago. (She is now a staff member). In my real job, I work for the Innovation Center for Community and Youth Development, out of Takoma Park MD. I train ­ OD, youth development and community building training. Positive youth development organization. We use AI in our work. Nice circles of intersection.

When I asked what they were feeling about the upcoming conference, Shiantha chimed in: “This will be a dream for everyone involved in AI. A dream seeing Cooperrider, working with him for a few days. He being the kind of person who began the movement. Dream of everybody involved in AI to be involved here." Christina picked up on the people vibes, saying “I really enjoyed periodically in the front entry, exclamations of people who had not seen each other in a long time. Happy to be here and get started.”

That is the vibe here ­ excited to see each other, ready to get started!

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Blogging from the AI Conference in Miami

I've arrived in Miami for the Second International Appreciative Inquiry conference. I'll be helping support the bridging between the F2F and the Online conferences. I'll be blogging both to the internal event (register and join us online!) and some here as time allows. Tommorrow is set up day. Now it's time to get some sleep. Woke up waaay too early today to get here (4am!)

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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Marie Jasinki and Educhaos

In a fit of pique I refuse to go back and see if I blogged this already. I love Marie Jasinski. She has that lovely blend of smarts, pragmatism, drama and chutzpah that creates innovation. Seeing that I am currently exploring improvisation, it is no accident that Educhaos: Facilitating the Unpredictable! attracted me.
Educhaos – connecting educational practice with chaos and complexity theory.

It’s that dynamic space between order and disorder where educators embrace contradictions like stability and instability, structure and flexibility, planning and improvisation.

Hear how facilitating web-based role play simulations, eGames and other collaborative strategies have been influenced by chaos and complexity concepts like self-organising systems, emergence, the law of small effects and the edge of chaos, and how these concepts can be applied to the design and facilitation of learning in online environments.

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GoGoGo to this Unique Wiki Based Artifact

Brian Lamb at UBC must be a hoot at conferences. For the rest of us, we get the mirthful artifacts woven into a clever wiki. Check out UBCWiki: GoGoGo. Lamb rifs on remix, learning objects, educhaos, RSS, digital convergence and many more lovely thingamabobs. I think I found this via [Stephen Downes] but I have been messy in my clipping this week. That said, it feels good to me to credit the finder of the link. So I'll keep trying.

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CoPs and International NGO Work

I'm hopscotching across online events and websites this week and there is a lot popping. I am attending iCohere's online CoP event and stumbled across this flash presentation on World Vision's global strategic planning process which includes both distributed and F2F elements blended together. The online component is using iCohere. iCohere founder Soren Kaplan is also interviewed on the Online Community Report. (You can check out the CoP conference as well as it heads into its last day.)

Scrolling around the OCR, there are also other interesting interviews (in
case you aren't subscribed already to the Online Community Report.) Next on my list to read is the Interview with
Jason Lefkowitz, Oceana

Then, over on IFETS, moderated by Bill Williams in a discussion on "Formal online discussions: reflections on process” You can see the base discussion paper here and from there, leap to the email based discussion.

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Monday, September 13, 2004

Propagating a Good Thought via the Blogosphere

McGee's Musingssites John Perry Barlow for ending his email with this great quotation via a posting noticed in Hally's Comment.
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.

-- Thomas Merton

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CEO Bloggers' Club

CEO Bloggers' Club is a blog dedicated to the community of CEOs who blog. Some good stuff there for any organizational leader who is or is thinking about blogging. It looks like it invites its members to "converse" on key topics through the blog. Looks like an interesting experiment to watch on a number of levels.

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Intimacy Gradient and Other Lessons from Architecture

Christopher Allen nails some critical issues in Intimacy Gradient and Other Lessons from Architecture. I am snipping some key parts here, but I strongly encourage everyone to go read the full article, which is also rich with links.
The concept of Intimacy Gradient comes from architect Christopher Alexander, in his book A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. (Oxford University Press, 1977):

Pattern #127 - Intimacy Gradient:

Conflict: Unless the spaces in a building are arranged in a sequence which corresponds to their degrees of privateness, the visits made by strangers, friends, guests, clients, family, will always be a little awkward.

Resolution: Lay out the spaces of a building so that they create a sequence which begins with the entrance and the most public parts of the building, then leads into the slightly more private areas, and finally to the most private domains.
He gives some other great examples, then narrows down to interaction software.
In social software design, there also needs to be an Intimacy Gradient. One of the problems with Wikis is that there is often very little transition between public and intimate, and doing so can be quite jarring.
He points to an interesting study by Krebs and Holley (I need to pursue this one):
That's the main point of Building Sustainable Communities through Network Building by Valdis Krebs and June Holley. When studying a community over time, they suggest a vibrant community is made up of four stages:

1. Scattered Clusters
2. Single Hub-and-Spoke
3. Multi-Hub Small-World Network
4. Core/Periphery

The ideal core/periphery structure affords a densely linked core and a dynamic periphery. One pattern for social software that supports this is an intimacy gradient (privacy/openness), to allow the core some privacy for backchannelling. But this requires ridiculously easy group forming, as the more hardened the space the more hard-nosed its occupants become.
What I notice about this is how it echoes the structure of communities of practice, where this idea of core and periphery is one of the very hearts of a vibrant CoP. It also echoes some classic community literature.

Christopher goes on to write
Part of the solution might come from the architecture world as well -- here are some other Patterns by Christopher Alexander (see the link for Alexander's resolutions for each):
  • Pattern #31 - Promenade: Each subculture needs a center for its public life: a place where you can go to see people, and to be seen.
  • Pattern #61 - Small Public Squares: A town needs public squares; they are the largest, most public rooms, that a town has. but when they are too large, they look and feel deserted.
  • Pattern #69 - Public Outdoor Room: There are very few spots along the streets of modern towns and neighborhoods where people can hang out, comfortably, for hours at a time.
  • Pattern #42 - Sequence of Sitting Spaces: Every corner of a building is a potential sitting space. But each sitting space has different needs for comfort and enclosure according to its position in the intimacy gradient.
  • Pattern #147 - Communal Eating": Without communal eating, no human group can hold together.
  • He concludes:
    We are still breaking ground and exploring new ideas in the world of social software. However, there are already extant fields of study which may give us insight into this new venue. Architecture is one of them. By better understanding ideas of intimacy gradients, pattern language, refuge and prospect, savannas, and defensible spaces, we may gain new understandings of how to build social environments which are attractive and enjoyable to more people.
    Having designed and facilitating in a variety of online interaction environments for the past 8 years, itimacy, privacy, the expansion and contraction of different gradients has been a key part of building the appropriate types of social bonds for a variety of online interaction purposes. Whether it is done with the base configuration of software, with how we deploy the software, or at the most basic, how we choose to act and support agency in the simplist of interaction tools (like one email thread) matters. It is not just the simple exchange of text. It is interesting to see how this is now a much more central concern to designers and implementation folks. Glad to see it.

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    Microsoft Social Computing Group

    Just across the lake lives the Social Computing Group , a neighbor I'm hearing more and more about. You see, it used to be when someone mentioned Microsoft software and social aspects of online interaction, I would start laughing. Most of the smart folk working on that stuff at MS would come and go like a spring bluster over Puget Sound. But lately more and more of my friends and colleagues in the field of online interaction have been coming up to talk to and with this group at MS. And from what they are telling me, something has indeed changed. I'm looking forward to hearing more about blog and wiki interfaces, social applications etc. I'd love to play with some of their prototypes like Wallop mentioned on the page above.

    Here is their mission:
    Our mission in the Social Computing Group is to research and develop software that contributes to compelling and effective social interactions, with a focus on user-centered design processes and rapid prototyping.

    Our work includes the Sapphire project, sharing, mobile applications, trust and reputation, collaboration, and story telling. To facilitate the rapid prototyping, we also have an online lab for running studies to evaluate our social user interfaces."

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    Which Language: Status, humility or strategy?

    Bev Trayner, as always, gets me thinking. Working in many intercultural situations I see the impact of imperfect communication due to language difficulties. I recognize that as a predominantly English-only being, I add to that challenge (I speak rusty Portuguese as well) Beve writes about people who give her advice about her choices of languages:
    "This puts me in a bit of a conundrum when well-meaning Portuguese friends and colleagues urge me to write (informal) e-mails in English, not Portuguese. Writing them in English, they tell me, looks more educated than writing in Portuguese with mistakes. Someone who writes in English maintains their superior position, whereas writing in Portuguese as a second language puts you in an inferior position in relation to people who write it correctly - and you risk not being taken seriously.

    So, do I stick to my principles and enter other people's world's - creatively using their language, but at risk of being looked down on? Or do I stick to the language I know best and maintain my lofty status?"
    In online communication, we have a bit more luxury of time when using asynchronous tools. What should our language strategy be?

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    Sunday, September 12, 2004

    Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice

    Inter-Organizational Communities of Practice by C. van Winkelen
    In this report, we briefly look at the key drivers behind these trends and the main learning that has been gained about how to design and sustain these communities effectively within organizations. We will then move on to some of the additional issues that need to be considered when communities reach across external boundaries to support inter-organizational collaboration.

    The question at the heart of this report is how to gain satisfactory returns from the investments made in forming and supporting communities of practice. Having looked at the practical activities needed to support effective communities, the report ends with a view of the way in which the value they generate can be measured.
    The end has the punchline, though. “A group of participants becomes a community through being a community. It is through interacting and experiencing common events that the community is created. “The emphasis on events, in my experience, is well placed, particularly on distributed CoPs. Events act like a pulse, a heartbeat, that can drive the otherwise diffused attention of folks who rarely, or ever exist in a F2F community. This is key to our upcoming online and F2F workshop in Lisbon. I am becoming a community events evangelist.

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    A Weblog Publishing/Newsletter Hybrid

    I got a call out of the blue the other day from a guy wanting some feedback about the platform beneath H20Notes - community weblog. Their product offers an interesting hybrid of blog and newsletter. There is no RSS feed as they want folks to subscribe, thus forcing the email choice. I like the newsletter/blog combo. I'm not so sure about the lack of RSS. I don't want more in my email box, I want less! But I want access to my blog sources via my newsreader. Dang, I'm already getting set in my blog ways.

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    Thursday, September 09, 2004

    And Now for Something Completely Different

    Amazing Images. I am working waaay too hard this week. Looking at these was the break I needed, along with some music playing. The importance of visual, audio -- I need to keep paying attention to this online.

    [via Orcmid]

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    Tuesday, September 07, 2004

    Reviewing a Conference Blog

    I think I mentioned this site a while back - a conference that actively encouraged blogging as part of the whole experience. Now we can read back and see what they created together. Building Learning Communities 2004:
    "This site serves as a multi-author weblog highlighting sessions, activities and events from the Building Learning Communities 2004 Conference. We are blogging sessions, workshops, meetings, and social gatherings to share our perspectives, ideas, resources and thoughts on the conference.."

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    Monday, September 06, 2004

    Surrealist and other beautiful games

    I have been diving into games and improvisation in my work lately. While browsing last night, I came across [Purse Lip Square Jaw] Surrealist and other beautiful games. I have not joined any of the games, but there are a lot of great ideas here for those who interact online.

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    Automatic Enkoderform - The Little Things that Matter

    Today David Weinberger blogged the Automatic Enkoderform. I like this. Free, easy. Lovely. Am I missing a downside? I am so sick of spam - filtering, sorting, white listing, black listing. Blech.
    "Posting your email address on a website is a sure-fire way to get an Inbox full of unsolicited email advertisements. The Enkoder protects email addresses by converting them into encrypted JavaScript code, hiding them from email-harvesting robots while revealing them to real people."

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    Sunday, September 05, 2004

    Curiosity, Knowledge and Uncertainty

    This is simply a lovely piece from Anne Galloway:
    "I genuinely believe that the pursuit of knowledge is never done. This is, in part, related to my understanding that there is no absolute, determining, objective truth in the world - a position which obligates me to continue asking questions and forces me to acknowledge that no knowledge is neutral or impartial.

    If the best we can offer is subjective, multiple, and partial truths, then learning and understanding requires critical thinking, the questioning of assumptions, self-reflection and self-awareness. In a world that doesn't want to 'waste time' with things other than 'the facts,' it turns out that these inter-related practices are, by far, the hardest ones to teach. And I can't help but to believe they are the most important."

    [via Jim McGee]

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    A Hurricane Blog News has a weblog which looks to be made up of posts from citizens. They are lovely, short slices of life.

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    Wondering Who Reads What Where

    My mother has started blogging, which is so wonderful. She leads a non profit group called San Jose Linus which makes blankets for kids in the hospital. One of the other volunteers helped her set up a blog. (Side comment: who ever said older folks don't use online tools -- well look again. My mom uses a tool that her webmaster set up so she can update the website, she uses Craigslist for getting volunteers and donations and is one of the more prolific email respondents in my email address book. She's cool!)

    When my mom was visiting, she asked me how she would know how many people were visiting her blog. I started telling her about RSS and how people use readers and aggregators so that even if there was a site meter, it probably would not reflect at all the number of people reading.

    So then she asked me, how do I know? How do I know who reads my blog and through what channel.

    I have no freakin idea.

    So I thought I'd ask you, the readers. I'd appreciate it if you would post a comment telling me if you read the actual blog or through a reader. If you are a wise-tech person, how does one have a sense of who is reading and how? Then I'll pass it along to my mom. (I know I should probably figure out how to insert a little poll. I've seen Judith do it, but I have too much work to do today to go learn. So be it!)

    We are all learners.

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    The Ethics of Video Game-Based Simulation

    The E-Learning Queen posts a thoughtful essay on The Ethics of Video Game-Based Simulation. Susan Smith Nash, Ph.D., in her new, tasty blog, shares.
    While video game-based simulation is gaining ground in interactive, multi-user distributed online learning, underlying ethical and philosophical issues remain unaddressed. These are, in some cases, quite troubling, because learner lives can be at stake. In other cases, profound issues dealing with instructional strategies and design are often only tangentially touched upon. This article identifies the ethical issues involved in using simulation in education and training, explores some of the conceptual and philosophical bases, and proposes ways to address the problems and adjust instructional strategies.

    Specifically, this article examines the role of video game-based simulation used to prepare members of the military for combat situations. As opposed to the simulations of the past which focused on driving fast cars and piloting aircraft, the new generation of video game-based simulations focus on player-player interaction, and derive much from first-person shooter games. In contrast with the earlier versions of games, in which the goal was to accumulate enough points to go to different worlds or 'levels,' the new games combine the 'sim' world-building experience, with customizable avatars to reflect the player's constructed persona, weaponry, and team members. Incorporating artificial intelligence, the game allows computer-controlled soldiers the ability to respond to student commands from a matrix of possibilities, each selection weighted via algorithms that build in probabilities and randomness."
    I wonder where there is a nexus of conversations about the ethics of any type of online interaction? I think of my work in 2/3rds countries where I think there are both generative and destructive outcomes of starting and supporting online interaction.

    What is the ethical code of conduct for an online facilitator?

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    Saturday, September 04, 2004

    Great Wiki Article by Brian Lamb

    From EDUCAUSE REVIEW | September/October 2004,�Volume 39, Number 5, thanks to Stephen Downes.
    It’s risky to talk about wikis as if they’re all the same. In practice, the term wiki (derived from the Hawaiian word for “quick”) is applied to a diverse set of systems, features, approaches, and projects. Even dedicated wikiheads engage in perpetual arguments about what constitutes true wikiness. But some fundamental principles (usually) apply.
    • Anyone can change anything. Wikis are quick because the processes of reading and editing are combined. The signature of a wiki is a link at the bottom of the page reading “Edit text of this page” or something similar. Clicking that link produces the page’s hypertext markup, allowing instant revisions. Authoring software, permissions, or passwords are typically not required.
    • Wikis use simplified hypertext markup. Wikis have their own markup language that essentially strips HTML down to its simplest elements. New users need to learn a few formatting tags, but only a few. Most wiki tags significantly streamline and simplify their tasks. For instance, the minimum HTML code needed to create a named hyperlink to EDUCAUSE Review online, EDUCAUSE Review, would be rendered in a wiki within square brackets. The result, [ Review], saves a minimum of twelve keystrokes and is significantly easier to remember. Raw URLs typically require no markup tags at all to be rendered live on a wiki page.
    • WikiPageTitlesAreMashedTogether. Wiki page titles often eschew spaces to allow for quick page creation and automatic, markup-free links between pages within (and sometimes across) wiki systems. Linking to related pages is easy, which promotes promiscuous interlinking among wiki pages.
    • Content is ego-less, time-less, and never finished. Anonymity is not required but is common. With open editing, a page can have multiple contributors, and notions of page “authorship” and “ownership” can be radically altered. Content “cloning” across wikis—sometimes referred to in non-wiki circles as “plagiarism”—is often acceptable. (This attitude toward authorship can make citations for articles such as this one a tricky exercise.) Unlike weblogs, wiki pages are rarely organized by chronology; instead they are organized by context, by links in and links out, and by whatever categories or concepts emerge in the authoring process. And for the most part, wikis are in a constant state of flux. Entries are often unpolished, and creators may deliberately leave gaps open, hoping that somebody else will come along to fill them in.

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    Thursday, September 02, 2004

    Mopsos - Knowledge sharing litteracy

    Martin Dugage does a nice review of Jamie S. Walters' Dismantling a Culture of Knowledge-Hoarding . Walters suggests that knowledge hoarding is a cultural issue. Dugage suggests it is also a practice issue:
    "If people don't share what they know, it's not only because they are better off keeping it to themselves, but also simply because they don't know how to. Knowledge sharing can be an extremely cumbersome and time-consuming process both from the giving and the taking perspective. It needs methods and tools that must be learned at three levels in the company:

    1- at the sponsoring level, top managers must understand how they must walk the talk themselves
    2- at the program governance level, managers must understand the social dynamics of knowledge sharing communities, especially CoPs, be genuinely interested in learning more about social networking technology, and stop focusing exclusively on challenging new ideas with business cases and ROIs
    3- at the giver/taker level, people must adopt new forms of communication and behavior, and sometimes even learn again some basic writing techniques such as the three level writing of journalists (catchy title, summary, and extended text)."
    A pal told me last weekend, culture eats strategy for lunch. This reminds me that practice eats culture for lunch. Or is it that practice embodies culture? I think it's the latter, even though the former sounds cooler. ;-)

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    wordcircle - Free collaborative learning software

    "Welcome to wordcircle, a collaborative learning community for teachers, students and those looking to create and conduct online web courses. Wordcircle is commercial free and available at no cost."
    It is great to see more free software. Working in the NPO/NGO sector, this is critical. Now if I only had more time to test the software. And yes, this lead also came from Stephen. He's on a roll this week.

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    One more from Downes: Principles of Resource Sharing

    Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~:
    "Self-organizing systems occur when local factors at the decision-making level form global systems. We look at them, and assume there must be a hierrchy - that the queen bee or the queen ant is making the decisions. But what is happening is that each member makes decisions independently, and information is shared. This also happens in physics, when there is a form shift, say, from liquid or solid. The 'decisions' are made at the molecular level, and once one molecule shifts, it quickly spreads to all the other molecules.

    In online communities, individuals may feel they don't have that much influence, but one person making a decision may influence a much larger group.

    There are lots of solutions to any given problem. We tend to assume there is one best solution, but - Herbert Simon - there are many solutions, depending on various factors, such as cost, for example.

    Small world networks happen naturally. Watts again. It's a lot of individuals that are hooked together, and there are some hubs. This is the six degrees of separation concept. These networks are 'scale free' - they can grow essentially without limitation. They make resource sharing very effective.

    If you look at online groups, because the membership is so high, there's a pretty good chance that people will have the resource that you want. It's basically 100% - if you have 100 people or more, if the resource exists, you can get it."

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    How Social is Computer Supported Collaborative Learning

    Stephen Downes is blogging from the ITI conference in Logan, Utah. There are some great captures from presentations about the social and technical aspects of distributed learning. I really enjoyed his post about Paul Kirschner's keynote address, "How Social is Computer Supported Collaborative Learning: Do Off-task Interactions Exist?" I would like to know more about how Kirshner defined off task interactions. I tend to see them as productive "affordances." I think he does too, thus he does not classify them as off topic, but I wasn't sure from the notes. Here is a snippet. Read the whole thing.
    "Interaction and community does not occur, either in physical space or online, merely because a space is provided. Rather, what is created a set of affordances - possibilities for interaction - and these need to be understood within a social and cultural context. This social aspect of learning is as important as the cognitive, or content based, aspect, and interactions establishing a social or cultural connection - usually dismissed as off-topic - as as important as interactions having to do with content.
    Another post that I reallly enjoyed was Principles of Resource Sharing by Erin Brewer.
    Self-organizing systems occur when local factors at the decision-making level form global systems. We look at them, and assume there must be a hierrchy - that the queen bee or the queen ant is making the decisions. But what is happening is that each member makes decisions independently, and information is shared. This also happens in physics, when there is a form shift, say, from liquid or solid. The 'decisions' are made at the molecular level, and once one molecule shifts, it quickly spreads to all the other molecules.

    In online communities, individuals may feel they don't have that much influence, but one person making a decision may influence a much larger group.

    There are lots of solutions to any given problem. We tend to assume there is one best solution, but - Herbert Simon - there are many solutions, depending on various factors, such as cost, for example.

    Small world networks happen naturally. Watts again. It's a lot of individuals that are hooked together, and there are some hubs. This is the six degrees of separation concept. These networks are 'scale free' - they can grow essentially without limitation. They make resource sharing very effective.

    If you look at online groups, because the membership is so high, there's a pretty good chance that people will have the resource that you want. It's basically 100% - if you have 100 people or more, if the resource exists, you can get it.
    Small but VERY aggravated note. Blogger keeps losing posts. I worked on this one, hit post and it never loaded. All I was able to recover was the first draft, not the final. This is happening more and more. Time to send email to blogger!

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    APQC's Knowledge Management Blog

    Farida Hasanali is currently focusing on communities of practice. APQC's Knowledge Management Blog. She has talked so far about leadership and community activities. Borrowing a term from IMD professor and researcher Martha Mazinevski, events are a manifestation of a community's heart beat. Farida shares some views -- many of which align with my experience, but I continue to cringe at the assumption that starting F2F is the best way to go. I continue to observe that communities which are primarily distributed do more in the distributed environment if they start there, then get their first impressions validated at a F2F.

    (Edited April 13, 2005 to fix my error assuming Farida was a he. She is a she. I should pay more attention!)

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    Wednesday, September 01, 2004

    Reinvigorate - Time Zone Referrer Map

    I was playing around with Reinvigorate's stats and found this one, looking at the time zone origin of hits on my site today.

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    Appreciative Inquiry Virtual Conference

    Next month I'll be volunteering at the Second International Appreciative Inquiry Conference to help weave together the F2F and online components. I wanted to make sure everyone interested in AI but unable to go to Miami knows about the fabulous virtual conference the AI team has put together.
    Appreciative Inquiry Consulting LLC is committed to making Appreciative Inquiry accessible to people around the globe. We are pleased to invite you to the ONLINE version of our Second International Conference, where you can participate both in real time AND on your own time before, during and after the Miami conference. Designed to integrate with the live conference, the online and face-to-face conferences will be held concurrently and the online doors will remain open after the Miami conference is over.

    Your experience will include:

    • Live chats with on-line hosts, participants and presenters
    • On-demand video and audio streaming of the key plenary sessions(Discovery, Dream, Design, Destiny)
    • On-demand streaming Application Roundtable sessions telling stories of AI in real-world situations
    • Threaded discussions to contribute your perspective on a variety of topics and themes that correspond to the Miami conference agenda and those that emerge from the online dialogue
    • Digital photo galleries of Miami conference events…and the opportunity to share your own photos and drawings
    • Live weblogs from on-site reporters...including the ability for you to share perspectives and ask questions
    • Access to the conference environment for two months—one month prior to the face-to-face event and one month after so you can take full advantage of all the online conference has to offer

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    Junkyard Sports� The Book by Bernie DeKoven

    My online pal Bernie DeKoven (of DeepFun fame) has a new book: Junkyard Sports� The Book:
    "For those familiar with the 'Cooperative Sports' or 'New Games' movements this is not a new message. What is new is the idea of getting participants to design new games that they can then enjoy playing and adapting as they go. The idea of adapting popular sports provides a handy short cut - and appeals to the subversive in us all.
    Because Junkyard Sports encourages players' own creativity, the process described in the opening pages could lead to hundreds of new games. Just in case they don't, you will find that most of the book is dedicated to describing ready-made and ready-to-play games - 77 games in all. These are called 'demonstration' games. This active initiation into Junkyard Sports inspires participants to create and try out their own games."
    More play!

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    Fast Company | Time [Zone] Travelers

    I found this article interesting as it reflects the reality I am seeing
    with my clients and my work. The agility to work globally, interculturally,
    cross platform is a key skill. Online facilitation is part of it -- there
    are little threads all through this article. Take a peek.Time [Zone] Travelers:
    "After a dozen years and five previous Olympic Games, Philipps and Atos understand more about what it takes to succeed as a global business than most companies that boast about being 'borderless enterprises.' Collaborating across time zones, geographical distances, and cultural chasms is second nature to Atos. It's just the air that Philipps and his colleagues breathe. That kind of global fluidity -- rising above the jet lag and language differences to make things happen -- is quickly emerging as an essential (but rare) competitive edge.

    Global all-stars like Atos, GE Healthcare Technologies, and Plantronics, the world's largest maker of telephone headsets, aren't global merely because they're chasing low-cost labor, or even because they're trying to gain entry to new and fast-growing foreign markets. Instead, they're building webs of talent across the world so that they can design better products, solve problems faster, gain more control over manufacturing, and benefit from creative people no matter which countries' passports they carry."

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