Friday, June 30, 2006 nancy white talk 17 july (london) nancy white talk 17 july (london)

So are you in London? Want to chew the fat on online communities? Join me as I visit with the lovely eMint folks on Monday, July 17th. Watch Robin's Blog for the details.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Beth's Liveblogs from Games for Change

I'm flying, so no comment here other than to check out the post from Beth Kanter at the Games for Change conference: Beth's Blog: Youth Connection Session at Games 4 Change Conference.

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Drupal Camp Seattle

Originally uploaded by bmann.
I was at Drupal Camp Seattle yesterday to steep myself in Drupal. (If it is going to be said like Druple, why not spell it that way?) It was a great day with very generous sharing of knowledge from folks like Gregory Heller from CivicSpace Labs and Boris Mann of Bryght. I had to cut out at 5 and miss the free appetizer-beer-fest at the Elysium Brewery on Seattle's Capital Hill because work and cousin arriving at airport. I'm sad. I'm sad I need to stay at home and work today, but I wanted to express my thanks. In the next few posts I'll share my messy, verbatim notes for others who are at the early learner stage with Drupal.

Thanks to the organizers and sponsors; CivicSpace Labs, Bryght and Rain City Studios. It was a gift to the community.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Anecdote, Conversation and Knowledge Stew

Shawn Callahan is taking a look at the book, Conversation: A History of a Declining Art by Stephen Miller, which Steve Denning doesn't like. Shawn writes:

(Steve) Denning, presumably based on Miller’s book, makes a number of useful observations about good conversation which are worth remembering when we sit down next to our next friendly chat.

  • an open-minded exploration of multiple viewpoints makes for a good conversation
  • a single-minded attempt to destroy others’ ideas kills conversations
  • good conversations include amusing banter
  • conversation works best among equals
  • conversations have been a rare phenomenon

This is a timely topic for me because in one hour I will be recording a podcast with Patrick Lambe, Nancy White, Matthew Moore and Kaye Vivian where we plan to have a series of informal conversations on knowledge management related topics. I’ll let you know how we go.

Did you catch that last bit? Yes, I'm going to be taking part in a possibly regular pod cast. Oh, My, Gosh. Plug your ears! We've christened it "Knowledge Stew." Hopefully that is not the same as "seven layer casserole." (And if you don't know what that means, leave me a comment and I'll tell 'ya!)

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Synchronous Discussion in Online Courses: A Pedagogical Strategy for Taming the Chat Beast

Craig Smith offers a cogent article in the recent edition of Innovate, Innovate - Synchronous Discussion in Online Courses: A Pedagogical Strategy for Taming the Chat Beast. Smith calls his protocol "Virtual Class Chatiquette." It is very familiar and is a variant of what I learned from long time AOL chat hosts Sue Boettcher and Eva Shaderovsky in 1997. It is interesting to see this latest reinvention and building upon time-tested online facilitation techniques. I wonder if the folks in education looked at places like the early AOL where chat was the core of the community.

I appreciate Smith's approach that lets the participants act upon the turn taking codes rather than relying upon the facilitator. That is an improvement on the method I've used for years. Whenever we can spread control mechanisms through the group, particularly groups that interact over time, it's a good thing!

Check out the references for the paper - some interesting stuff for those using text chat in the online classroom or any other task oriented setting.

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Barry Wellman's Writings on Community

Via Ed Vielmetti's delicious links comes this gold mine of writing from Barry Wellman. For the uninitiated, Wellman has been an early and consistent thinker and writer on online communities, the digital divide and a ton of other cyber-related issues. It is great to have all his writing linked on one page. Thank you, Barry!

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Thinking Through my Fingers

For years now I have talked about my online life as being "thinking through my fingers." My online conversations with my "imaginary friends" have unleashed thinking that I could never have done without them. The process of writing triggers deeper insights.

So imagine my delight in finding this quote on the top of Torill Mortensen's blog:
'writing to me is simply thinking through my fingers.' ~ Isaac Asimov"


Monday, June 26, 2006

British Council Case Study on Wikis on the Intranet

Maish Nichani posted a useful case study, Using Wikis on the Intranet: The British Council Case Study
Wikis are increasingly being used on the intranet to help in collaboration around shared work. However, many case studies only briefly cover the actual work practices that successfully accommodate wikis; the focus is still on the overall reactions of the managers and staff on their use. In this article, I will describe how wikis are used in the Singapore branch of the British Council and highlight the characteristics of the work practices that accommodate them.
The most significant thing for me in this case study is the recognition of organizational culture and how it does or does not support more common wiki practices.
...he carefully pointed out that even though he found use for the wiki inside the British Council, it wouldn’t have taken off if it were not for the ‘culture of negotiation’ that already existed within the organization. It is in this culture of negotiation that people are aware that they don’t know everything; that others know different things; and through dialogue and negotiation, they can together create better things.
For anyone looking at using wikis, this is a useful, practical article with concrete practice suggestions. Thanks, Maish!

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Fifty Ways to Take Notes

When I followed a link from Jeffrey Treem's blog to this article on Fifty Ways to Take Notes, all I could think of was my friend and collaborator, Bev. She will LOVE this list. As we work together remotely from the US and Portugal, we have developed a passel of processes for note taking which is a critical part of our action research processes. It provides the core for client reports, self reflection and the fodder for blog posts and articles.

Of the list of tools that Brian mentioned, I recognized and have used 11 of the applications. Bev pointed me to half of them. She has an amazing practice using that I never would have figured out alone, but have since adopted.

Clearly I was not meant to work in isolation!

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Trendmap for "community of practice"

After googlefighting, I remembered this post that I created a while back but never finished and posted (big surprise!)Trendmap for "community of practice"

Trendmapper was created by Eirik Solheim

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The Learning Retention Myth

I love seeing people dig into "common wisdom" that is often data misused and misapplied. I'm not a data queen, so I need the critical thinking skills of colleagues. Here is a good one on Work-Learning Research:
"People remember 10%, 20%...Oh Really?

We at Work-Learning Research are always curious about how research is used in the learning-and-performance field. We've seen the following graph (in one form or another) in many presentations and documents, and because we wanted to learn more, we did some research. What we discovered scared us, and reflects poorly on our field. Scroll down to learn more."

This is similar to the mythology around verbal and non verbal communication. I blogged about this -- how the original data in a small study on non verbals in communication were taken out of the initial context (dispute). This is not to diss the importance of non verbals, but to put the data in correct context so we can use it usefully, not as another myth that propagates our own habits.

A few more citations:
Let’s Dump the 55%, 38%, 7% Rule* by Herb Oestreich

LINGUIST List 12.1332
Content"/Contributions of Different Modalities

[Via Shawn at Anecdote]

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Amplifying Lilia's hard work

Lilia has been digging out and linking to a ton of papers on weblog research. Since she did all this hard work, it seems sensible to amplify and point to the work. Lots of juicy stuff. Must. Not. Follow. Every. Link. Must Work First!

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Cultural Insights from Dina and Musings on Context

Dina Mehta recently completed a 4 part blog series on Insights on Technology Adoption in India. Four blog posts worth reading not just for the Indian perspective, but the reminder that cultural context matters.

At CTC last week, Jason Fried gave an amusing and interesting (video, windows media) rant about virtual teams. He offered some pieces of pretty concrete advice, but little to no cultural context. His advice, while it may have proven integral to 37 Signal's success, is by no means useful in every context. I could recognize the value of some of the advice in my experience, and I was nodding in recognition. "Collaboration is about communication and not about control." Amen! And in some of the advice I was shaking my head saying, that would not be true in other contexts. Or idealized. Control is not always bad, but bad control is always bad. Am I making sense with this?

I assume Jason was trying to be amusing and play the rebel role he seems to relish. We need attitude and cheek. His talk was engaging and amusing. But his approach also reminded me that we tend to have very ego/cultural/domain centric views of the world and try to assume our practices have meaning and value in other contexts. Our cultural blinders and our arrogance may be amusing, but is it useful? (I'm holding myself accountable for my own arrogance - or at least trying.)

Context rules. Dina's series is a useful reminder.

Postscript --> related post by the Anecdote folks on Perspectives on Problem Solving

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Google Fight - tags and search terms go head to head

Beth is getting even for spreading time wasting-but-potentially-useful sites -- this time Google Fight to compare search terms and tags. I did one of my favorites - Google Fight : online community VS virtual community. Thank goodness Online Community won over Virtual!

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Picasa Web Albums

Following the experiments of Stephen Downes using Picasa Web Albums, I decided to try a batch from my travels last week. Picasa Web Albums

I have enjoyed using Picasa in the past. I have used it since pre-Google ownership days. The web album is easy to use, not particulary visually fun as Flickr, but really easy. The lack of tagging is probably the reason I won't use it in my work, but for personal stuff (especially family stuff) it is a piece of cake.

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CTC 2006: Lipnack and Stamps

CTC Live blogging, Tuesday June 20

Live blogging caveats apply. Note: these notes really need the visuals they shared of their new application

Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps, NetAge

Show and Tell: Collaborating in the Networked Organization

“Only connect” – EM Forster

That’s what comes from the inside. Spirit and heart. Not because we are told to, but collaboration is a basic human urge. We are in a difficult situation right now. We are all, how many of you have an org chart that looks like a tree. The world looks like a network.

We were working on the reinventing government project with Al Gore. Kept talking to me about networks. We can’t solve 21st century problems with 19th century organizations. From the CIA guy. We are in worlds that are described by the left, working on the right (diagram)

How do you go from hierarchy to networked organizations. Now the question is flipped. The hierarchy is a network. The whole foundation of network thinking and science has changed in the last few years. Used to think about static systems that didn’t go very far, strict rigid systems. In natural systems there are hubs, some with many and some with few links.

We invented a tool to fly through organizations to make them transparent. We have ot find a way to bring down the walls and see through. See transparently, I want to see me and how I fit in. All the way up to the global sense of the o… lost power missed a bit

Large organization in a dangerous industry wanted more transparency. They thought their org was 5 levels deep, but was 9 levels. The people at the top can only see down a couple of levels. If someone hands you the org chart, how many boxes are on the chart. 20 – 30 in a 5000 person org. Cannot get it on one page.

Typical way of sending messages down the organization, was because most of the managers were in the middle, so went from a cascade, turned it on its side, now hitting all 800 managers at once.

We assume organizations are pyramids, but they are really diamonds. We need to think about the middle, reach the middle as quickly as possible. Not only as you model an organization, navigate, fly thorugh, you can do some network analysis of the organization itself. Where you expected a slope, you find a curve, a diamond.

Second remarkable thing, coming back to emergence, is if the organization itself is an emergent phenomenon. The average number of reports to a manager 7? More like a power curve. 20% have 15 or more. Very few have 7 or 8. There are no “normal managers.” Barrier, scale free. People moving in and out.

Now demo the tool. Hyperbolic viewer from Xerox Parc. Model the organization. Can change the nodes from org, to positions, the same formal org chart wrapped around a globe to see all positions at once. This is fed by data from SAP system, fed directly in . Positions, reports-to, no extra work involved to use the large scale org map. At each step you can develop metrics. Link to organization, role, personal identity, geo-location à can turn into a series of metrics. Something you know locally, but rarely at an organizational/global basis.

This is just the start as if you were building the ground truth of the organization. Analogize to google maps. The hierarchy represents the terrain. It is about classification, not control. On top you can add all kinds of other links. Turn them off and on. Create networks on top of your organizational maps. Hierarchy is stability. Map other types on top.

Are there hubs in an organization. Will we find them? Are they natural in organization? What is the quantity of spam for each manager? As IT people, when you start think about it, in terms of support, not everyone is the same. The more connected needs different and more complex tools. Not a homogenous set of users.

Knowing where people are, what nations they are in ..

Phone rang and missed the end.

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CTC 2006: Collaborative Workspaces: Making the Transition

Panel: Collaborative Workspaces: Making the Transition.

Live blogging caveats apply. It was interesting – this wasn’t so much about workspaces but work culture!

Jessica Lipnack, moderator, CEO NetAge Inc.

David Wires, the cool lawyer guy

MikeWing, VP Strategic Communications, IBM

Tor Eneroth, Culture Manager, Volvo IT

54 far flung teams surveyed

86% teleconferencing

83% used virtual workspaces

33 Videoconf

50% IM even when banned


  • Finding the individual perspective on how we change to new ways of working.
  • We don’t talk of changing behavior with our spouses. Why with our co workers
  • Iceberg metaphor, 10% above, 90% below. Objective on top, subjective below the water line. We spend 80% of our time above the water. 80% of the problems are beneath the surface. Make the soft things hard.
  • Establish a better understanding of these subjective things, of the values. The individuals/people.
  • Have set up a group of people, cultural ambassadors trained in transformation, cultural transformation, on how to change mindset. 50 tools. Field book, Adapting and aligning to the ambassadors who are thought leaders and facilitators to create critical mass. Change has to happen in the organization, not the head office.
  • Challenge; our “father” is coming into the kitchen saying we need a new behavior of virtual work. A new mindset and way of behaving. Built up the tool with Jessica and Jeff. It is very thin. The key elements. Then train the ambassadors and others. Handbook is appetizer.
  • Curve of transformation. Aware of what we are thinking about. Then understanding, then acceptance. The first, cognitive part. Managers think materials, presentation. Then in the middle, the values shift. Leading that this is good for me. Attitude. Then finally applied and transformation. The essence of training ambassadors on this journey.
  • We think differently. More global in our way of working. Attitude and behavior change.
  • Jessica: Often we start by throwing tools. We think from a technology perspective. It is exciting to start from the human perspective.

Mike Wing, IBM

  • IBM produces a lot of technologies, people on podiums talking about the stuff we create and sell. I’m not going to talk about that. Going to talk about IBM’s trip.
  • Not a perfect example. How do you get people involved? History. Legacy systems. Business and cultural issues.
  • IBMs use in participation in electronic networks. Been living in them for 20 years. VM system in the early 80’s built on the main frame. IT was a remarkable thing. Prof system. Globally distributed form of email, IM, news system, VM fora (newsgroups).
  • Culturally IBMs issue has not been the transition from physical forms of collaboration to online collab. That happened 20 years ago. The issue is the love affair for proprietary robust systems.
  • Shift now to more open, less controlled environments. Started an intranet in the fall of 96 and grew rapidly in usage and trust. Began seeing ratings in the research as the intranet as a trusted, widely used source of communication. Equal to or better than manager and co worker as trusted source of information. Comfort with platform. Self conscious effort to provide truthful, current, useful information even when it was painful.
  • Benefit to IBM was company’s near-death experience in the early 90’s. On the verge of going out of business. That focused attention and open the organization up to a kind of serious questioning, radical experimentation.
  • Scorecard – quarterly earnings time, provided information on how IBM is doing in competitive situations, even when not doing well. CFO’s remarks to street. How each division was doing with respect to targets, all in one place, visible to everyone. Some people didn’t like the idea of being disintermediated from “their people.”
  • Gerstener – guy in charge of Europe was not letting the CEO’s notes out to “his people.” Gerstern said they are IBM’s people, not his. They did not like them going over their heads. Sharing your grades is tough. Started to have a clearer sense of how they were doing. Helped counter the insularity and siloed nature.
  • The killer app is the directory. Useful, credible on – time information. Easier to do technically than culturally.
  • You want to empower individuals, not departments. You want to empower activities and initiatives, not organizational units.
  • You should tackle your biggest problems head on, enterprise wide. Those biggest problems are your friends. It will engage people. This is not just productivity and efficiency. It is a great deal more for that.


  • Long time company who has found ways to tackle the biggest problems using tools and approaches, now David, from the legal profession.

David Wire

  • Toronto trial lawyer for 20 years. Used to have cases with players in the city. Now they are around the world. More information, more complex, requires more digestion. Different systems, languages, customs. Wanted to be faster, better cheaper and be a better lawyer. A winning lawyer
  • To do that had to go out and experiment. Lawyers are just transitioning to technology.
  • Only that which is measured matters.
  • It has to work the first time, it has to be insivislbe and reliable. And secure
  • Professionally, if it don’t work, they will go back to old habits and call it a dumb idea.
  • When it works, it pulls together diverse people where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • When started looking for technology, was on case where client was trying to finance an innovative technology, found a lender that required a huge collateral. The money went into an offshore bank in Dominica. With chat lines, SEC filings, reverse look ups, searches, put together the bits and pieces. Put into a system, then traded with FBI, Treasury. As the information accumulated, found more information. There is both advertant and inadvertent collaboration. You put stuff on net, I’m looking for it. Inadvertent.
  • At the end of the day closed the bank and president of bank went to jail and recovered money for client and helped change offshore banking. Never left Toronto. Winnowed information, traded, and turned a loser case to a winner.
  • Power of information. Had a letter from the president of bank explaining why he had not given back the money. Found it on website. Called to ask for the letter because it was different. Paid $15 bucks. Someone else had to pay 25,000 to find it.
  • Keep the junk out
  • Stale info is archived
  • Make current and make it report out every day on case status
  • Mobilized 150 people to advocate for a policy change, hold law makers accountable by capturing responses and eventually changed legislation. Power of information. The right information focused into a beam, it’s a laser. In my business, I’m looking for lasers.
  • Last war story. Had a client, one of 11 children, parent’s died, property in China and Canda. Kids started fighting will. 4.5 million spent on litigation. It has got to stop. Court ordered mediation. Put all info on website, beneficiaries and lawyers. Had 7 day mediation in Hong Kong with fully informed parties and settled the case. Implemented with the collaborative site. Right information, right people, right time so people can take advice and measure alternatives.
  • Collaborative thinking – having the authority and right information. To the extent you use them, feel free to share it with the people that count. Only that which is measured matters.


  • The success is also a factor of the desire for the outcome. The resolution.
  • Disparity of information was the log jam
  • Which level in the company was most difficult for transformation (for Tor)? Which part of the transformation curve. There are two dimensions of difficulties. We started with the management team. We didn’t know what we were doing, just felt it would be right. Now management is more behind and it is a problem again. Moving target. The cognitive part at bottom, middle attitude, top behavior part. The behavior part is the most difficult. How to connect from c to A to B. The top of the iceberg is the cognitive part.
  • For management buy in, organize their support network before trying to introducing collaborative technologies
  • The business need for working across boarders, that is how it was adapted. Not from the tool perspective.
  • Technology – the nuclear bomb strategy – one has it, everyone else has to have it
  • Technology – tied to bottom line. In some cases, technology can reduce the billable hours of a lawyer. If time is my inventory. Requires changing business model. New billing models. Faster and better, but not giving the whole thing away but prepared to share the savings.
  • Some clients are demanding their lawyers use the tech. You can increase your profits and have revenues go up. Less expensive resources working on the problems.
  • There is something in between a nuclear bond and the competitive market place.
  • Collaboration becomes and issue when human capital issues come to the forefront
  • Watch the external trends that force the use of the tool. What would have happened if notes were open and free in 1985.
  • Stories of readjusting the balance of control and emergence to enable collaboration.
  • IBM worldjams – 2001 – Values Jam. The moment I’d point to is the one described in the intro of the interview. We started the event. The question about position in the org and attitudes. It was like the old IBM was waiting by the phone and we called. Straw man of asking about values developed in a conventional way with a task force. Sam said this had to be done in a more distributed and democratic way. Start the jam. 15-20% that had been there 15+ years and went through the trauma, all the hurt and betrayal came out. There were some senior executives were on IM pinging me and others saying this has to be shut down. Sam, to his credit, said no, let it play out. What happened is other parts of the population came in, looked at this expression and said, “get a life.” It’s a company, not your mother. It has good and bad things. The discussion became more balanced. That moment, some people who thought this is no good. Palmisano didn’t watershed moment.
  • Information is power. Power is authority and authority is money. If you change information distribution you threaten power and authority and you may get shelved.
  • A legacy free, large software company that has embraced concept of small team, collaborative work. As observed, keep hearing about three projects doing the same thing. But management is not providing communication links, like an editor on a collaborative document, that is readable, not just information. That role of management was not happening because of distrust of any kind of control. The benefit of management to provide underpinnings and bigger picture. Any perspective on this?
  • Sounds like a management system with a KM perspective. It was almost exclusively team based. That is not the only locus of information sharing. Look at Open Source and Web 2.0, wisdom of crowds. Maybe we need a different term. Discovering patterns and extracting value from millions of distributed nodes. KM was about control at the team level. That information wanting to be free beyond the team.
  • The Open Source projects that have succeeded has often had benevolent dictator for life. Team based have often been hit or missed. A natural synergy between the benevolent dictator and the wisdom of the crowd.
  • This notion of incentives. In business to be profitable, not just collaborate. Struck by JSB’s presentation about one of the forces driving collaboration is globalization. The need to work in a flexible, loosly coupled way with a network of suppliers. In the redesign of organizations, to what extent does globalization and the extended enterprise, interorganizational, ad hoc teams, etc., really the driving force of the future.
  • Book by Nannery Slaugher, “A New World Order” – emergence of networks across national boundaries of legislators, regulators and lawyers. A new form of global governance that is not top down. Actually making policy, shaping and sharing information, next level down structure of governance and decision making. Happening in many spheres. Web 2.0 is not just about technology but how the world is changing.
  • Tech change happens in spite of management, not because of it. Experience in large corporations as huge ocean freighters dealing with small fast boats aiming for them.
  • Network effect and how do you convince senior management is a good idea. A tool is subversion. Go to the client. Ask for forgiveness, not for permission.
  • Large telecon rolling out a Notes implementation to a sales force. Never had a laptop. Did training and the salesman would give the laptop to his secretary. That delegation of collaboration goes one step below the intended user. Some high level people are not keyboard oriented. Comfortable with voice and phones. Use tech they are comfortable with.
  • You don’t have to define the problem as ‘rolling something out company wide.” Find a small number of zealots can do that. Find the ones who have “drunk the koolaid” who will rope in other people.
  • What is the toughest thing you are finding with collaboration in your organization?
  • Teams of engineers on one side, artists on the other. NASA in the middle. The deadline is firm. Has to get these people to talk to each other on a schedule. Document management everything challenging. They think very differently.
  • When balancing business units have to create a conversational language that works for both, set some guidelines, then introduce collaboration platform. Have couch/counsel/interpreters on sidelines.
  • Study: Can absence make the teams grow stronger. Problemmatic for team leaders till breakthrough. Take the most divergent, pair them and get them working on an intractable problem together. They tended to have breakthrough solutions. Then rotated the pairs.
  • Two years ago, no collab platform, no doc management. All these artifacts all over the place. How much do we take from the old world into the new world?
  • Use a product that allows full text search of all drives, all kinds of data sources.
  • As needed
  • What are the COPs around this area;
  • Lisa Kimball –
  • Howard Rheingold –
  • Collaboration online conversation –
  • Now lots of specialized subsections, camps of interest. Need to keep on pulling these camps together. Like this conference. Keep these conversations going.

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CTC2006: John Seely Brown on Tapping the Global Mind

Usual live blogging caveats apply – even though it takes me days to finally post this!

John Seely Brown - How do you tap the creativity of the Global Mind?
Emerging new organizational structures that allow us to take advantage of what is happening in Asia. Spend most of my time there

I want to start talking about some examples. Start with not a good example, Detroit. How does Detroit tend to work with their supply networks? They almost always choose the supplier based on the component price. ON top of that, they tell the supplier exactly what to do, precise spec. Classic systems engineering. Compare that with Toyota. They almost complete inverts. They never pick a supplier based on price, but on cost. How the hell do they do that?

They create a culture of collaboration. Tell us if you want to modify the designs we ask you to make. Fair amount of negotiation and collaboration in that space.

That is an interesting contradistinction. That is the beginning. Let’s dive into Asia

Detroit has a small number of suppliers. Toyota has 100. Li and Fung’s process networks – 20,000 suppliers. 100 year old apparel company, 2% margin. Look at data. Shocking things. Talking about their employees in China, they make 1 million stick through revenue per employee. Their ROE is 30-50%. Build supply networks all over the world. In 2002, they had suppliers in 37 countries. How do they do this?

They look carefully at who knows how to do something incredibly well. Then they build an interesting, loosely coupled relationship with those companies. Based on long-term relationship, not transactional. Loosely coupled. Toyota is tightly coupled. What is going on here, if Anne Taylor wants a dress, they sit down and negotiate with Li and Fong. He will say a certain kind of yarn will come available in Korea, can be woven in India. Taps the unique skills of that supply change to make a unique product. It is a learning, collaborative architecture with performance measures that allow one supplier in an ecology compare themselves to another ecology and pass things off between networks

Relational – when you get into Victor Fong’s network, he guarantees he will take 30% of your goods but never more than 70%. HE wants you to work with his competitors and learn from them. He can see if your skills are increasing or decreasing. You have a learning architecture, fundamentally collaborative, strung out over thousands of suppliers

Key constructs for process networks – a driver for a new form of open innovation. New types of architectures around loose coupling around nodes, relational and not transactional, time to build up shared meaning and trust, productive friction vs. destructive friction – how we tend to run our supplier networks.

Not just supply chains. Cisco has same structure with their customer networks.

How is this country going to compete is the fact that Thomas Friedman talks about the world being flat. In many ways he is right, but in another ways the world is becoming spikier with unique capabilities. Weave a tapestry a network of those capabilities into an innovation network. You cant to couple to, work with, collaborate with and innovate with those spikes.

How would our IT department support agile connections with 1000s of partners We have trouble loosely connecting to a couple. That game has also changed. In the last 2-3 years understanding fining ways to build loose coupling to string business processes together with new web services. Couple complex biz process across many partners

Deep collaboration goes way beyond coupling business processes. If you look at any kind of organization, it has a formal, authorized part, formal biz process and the emergent part, the social fabric where work gets done, new ideas and groups form. The power is the interaction between the authorized and the emergent. How to weave them together to create a whole new view of how the org works. Ironic that IT has been designed to support the authorized, not the emergent. It may be the emergent where all the ideas come from, the business processes structure the work.

What may be new types of tools to support the emergent, the co-social fabric within a firm and spread out over these vast networks. You can define process networks around formal biz process, but the real catch is how people collaborate with productive friction, creative tension. Current IT doesn’t do a good job supporting

Set of experiments, out of Fuji Xerox’ lab how they collaborate with Tokyo. How is it possible doing this tele/video conferencing, why can ‘t you use that to capture the information that is happening at the same time, go back and review and find ways to utilize the stuff that happened. How do you captures and structure corporate memory that is seamless and adds zero additional work .So suggestion emerge, without adding more work. Seamless information capture, proactive retrieval

Mantra – keep it simple so that nothing can go wrong. The way they did it was pathological. Makes no sense at all. Simply capture. Box sits between my laptop and the projector and capture the RGB stream and work on that stream. Always capture. How do you sit in the middle, capture this stream and how to automatically captures slides, text, audio video, then how do you segment the stream to identify a slide, what is interesting on that slide. Use powerful techniques behind the scenes. Unaware that this is captured and structured for you. Turns out to be easier than we thought. TO parse streams, OCR, can tell what a slide is. That is the system. To take that data collected over multiple years and work on the problem, looking at email, surfing the web, looks at the pages they are surfing. Then start ot abstract, document retrieval – a google looking desktop. If you are looking at these documents, the information from this meeting a year ago may be useful, you own the IP and you may want to build on that first.

This person looking at a new way to store photos. How to build a photo site. Found a year before there had been a talk in Palo Alto on stained glass, a whole new visual interface for representing photos. The system found that, segmented the video and audio streams, said here are the points you want to look at and if this is on the mark, touch the screen, play the related video. I’m never going to review the meeting, but if I can go to the hot spots, I will, and go deeper as needed. Just having this thing run in the background to capture and structure, you begin to have a system that could step forward and recommend things. And you have IP control for a distributed org.

That is one step. Now the whole notion of how close are we going to come to begin there ore better than being there. Moving visual collaboration to immersive collaboration. HP has one version, Polycom has another. Recognition that the single most important thing to make you feel like you are there, have the other person life size, with immediate, direct eye contact. The single most important thing to make a meeting seem natural. How do you solve the parallax problem. How do you figure out a new way, life size figures, new lenses and ways to composite images to appear as if you are looking directly at. Eye Contact Connect. Truly amazing. How do you do this when you have multiple sites around the world. Full life size presence, cameras that switch to the right person. Just beginning to see bandwidth and technologies to solve that problem. To connect the gaze. Powerful social phenomena.

Is it now possible to have a sense of better than being there? It is better in the sense that you have this direct contact, but because we can bring to fore the other technologies, automatic capture, index, parsed, structured and fed into instantaneous pro active retrieval systems. First step.

It does not handle the water cooler phenomenon.

How does this facilitate deeper collaborations across multiple complex partnerships. Enterprise 2.0 has to do with taking everything I said. Take the web 2.0 technologies, variants. How do you start to fold in web 2,.0 social software into and around service related architectures. Web 20 plus video. Composite structure to create something that begins to honor the emergent. The unplanned. The stuff the IT shop has not prepared for. A key property of what we have to think about for collaboration. Thinking about tools that enable new work practices to emerge. The dawn of the emergence of collaboration. How do you do these mashups – if we want something new, to do it ourselves, The practice we want.

Andrew McAfee “Technologists of enterprise 2.,0 are trying not to impose preconceive notions about the work should be categorized or structured. Instead they building tools that let these aspects emerge.”

What is Web 2.0? The next generation of social software beyond IM. I think some people still use email. What is the transformation?

Blogs – taking on new forms
Power of social bookmarking, usually done in an open way. Could be done within a firm or workgroup so you can begin to see what others are thinking about, finding interesting, while minimizing overhead

Tagging. You want to talk about collaboration and see what will happen at 11:15. The sense of folksonomy is taking on a new force. There is no particular reason that you would use the same tags as me. If you get 20 people and look at their tag cloud, that tag becomes closed after 20. After that the chance of a new tag goes down. The collaborative mind starts to converge. Maybe we spend way to much work trying to get precise taxonomies, but instead look at group tag clouds.

The notion of mashups, how can I take this and this to get the work done I want to get done. One of the most impressive mashups was around Katrina. This happened a day after Katrina. FEMA was still trying to figure out something through the authorized. Someone threw up a site. SMS me and I will drop in the information into the map. Map, google earth, tags and became an interesting information resource, updated minute by minute. Emerged fast, unplanned. Key idea is how do you build systems that enable people to build small contributions. The more people make small contri utions, the better the system gets. This fundamental point of view is keep it small but enables more small contributions, the more valuable it becomes. Web 2.0 is a profoundly participatory media. What brings us together. Better ways to participate and collaborate

Three points of view

What are the participatory aps like – blogger, socialtext, flickr, Wikipedia

What are the structural properties – modularity, granularity, microformats

Architectural – the ability to have the document object model like Ajax, remix, plug in, RSS. Notion of loose coupling that starts to emerge.

Beyond there is another layer of things happening. This has to do with Second Life. Caught me by surprise, but the more I engaged and yes I have my own avatar, is this a new type of collaborative experience and participatory media. What does it mean to have your avatar sitting next to another avatar when you are in body in different parts of the world? Strange things start to happen. IN the gaming guides, when you do collaborative work with your avatars in Worlds of Warcraft (WoW), a new type of social dynamic starts to develop. Second life is a massive multiplayer participatory environment. Real economy and exchange market. I’m interested for a different reason. Cory Doctorow’s latest book launched in 2nd life. People coming from all over the world to hear him launch this book. Avatars know each other, channels between them. You can actually take those screens and remix to add a video simulcast. Real screen, avatars sitting around and watching. A dispersec family can watch a movie to together. Be surprised at what starts to happen.

Part of a group at USC for a kids game design competition around diplomacy and cultural exchange. Use the social dynamics of these spaces to have a form of cultural exchange. We had this game competition. In Hollywood we announced the winners of the games. At the same time we did this inside of second life. We had well over 100 people from around the world to be part of the simulcast into the virtual world. Don’t have to worry about rain or parking. In that second virtual auditorium on “Annenberg Island” – now have a corporate HQ where we hold meetings as well.

Examples like this do actually involve new levels of computing powers. We live at an unusual time, living under Moore’s law for 20 years. Claim it just went under a discontinuity. We are going to see a 100 fold leap in computing power. Sony’s playstation with 8 microprocessors on one chip. The catch is we have found ways to comoditize hardware and software, starting with Open Source and web services. Can put together thousands of machines in blades and clusters with almost unlimited computer power, flexibility of the software and architectures. Web 2.0 ideas running on Google and Amazon’s platforms to remix. New type of distributed innovation platform. Amazon had an interesting by Jeff Bezos. To do innovation at Amazon I don’t want anyone to do anything that takes more than 6 months, and a team that is no bigger than can be fed with two big pizza. If it takes more than a two-pizza size team, then something needs to be fixed in the infrastructure.

Finding a s[lit level thing, glob al, commodity based platform, then on that platform, Google has allowed us to do unlimited innovation and collaboration via mash ups. What we can do ourselves now to honor the emergent. Collaboration has to be based on honoring the emergent.


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CTC Mindmaps, Videos, Blogposts and Podcasts

Lars Plougmann shares his mind map notes from CTC 2006. Sweet! Thanks, Lars.

On Collaboration loop, there are videos and podcasts from CTC, including some of the sessions I've taken notes on.

Other folks who blogged the conference include:
Ken Thompson
Annette Kramer
Inside the Cubicle - Jeffrey Treem
Mind this - Lars Plougmann
Stu Downes
Alex Dunne's Flickr Photo Stream
TimeBridge blog
Webinar Blog
Notes Domino Hints and Tips
Eugene Eric Kim
In German News - Detlef Schmuck
Jose Hernandez
Stowe Boyd

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CTC 2006: Generational Shifts

Live blog caveats apply. I do my best to capture as much as possible.

Generational Shifts: Brain Drain and Youth Culture

Stowe Boyd, /message, moderator
John Beck, Author, Got Game
Jim Ware, Executive Producer, Work Design Collaborative,

Stowe: (Missed the front end, data from Pew Internet Project)

75-85% of American's online
Texting huge thing with kids
61% texting
More than half teen internet users go online daily
80 play video games, 50% jump from last year
12-18 embrace - communication, creativity, social interaction
The 12-19 year old age bracket, 30%of those have created or written blogs. The social media revolution that has been adults is now pervading the life of teenagers.
These are the people who are going to be in the workforce. The enterprises represented here.

It is going to be interesting. What are those people going to expect. How are they going to want to work, interact, and communicate. The world of business in 5 years is going to be profoundly different due to the expectations of this new generation.

Jim Ware:
Managing Generational Diversity: A quick look at the changing nature of the workforce

Less about technology, more about people. The work design collaborative is about 5 ;years old, have long held belief that orgs are only effective when we coordinate people, place and technology. Wrestle with questions of changing nature of work, workforce. Take a few minutes to set context.

I'm one of the oldest people in the room. Talk about the other end of the workforce. The aging of America - 1990 to 2025 projection. The age distribution fundamentally shifts older. Baby boomer bulge. There are very different cultures at the top and the bottom (age) of the workforce. Think of Linda's (Stone, previous speaker) comments about CPA. The experience of boomers very different than the younger generation. At the same time there are some interesting commonalities in interests, values and work lifestyles.

Linda's reminder about the ability to hold two contradictory ideas. Fundamental differences and similarities.

Projected percentage change in age groups. 20-29 will grow 10, over 60 will grow by over 30%. Growth in the workforce is in the older age. 30-49 will decline. Over and over again prediction by 2010 we will have a 10 million person talent shortage. The baby boomers are exiting the full time workforce and not enough are coming in to fill the gap. Dave Delong, the Knowledge Drain, about the fact that a lot of people are leaving workforce with knowledge and wisdom. Not literally 10 million jobs gone wanting. Outsourcing, baby boomers are not going to play golf 7 days a work. Working part time. Productivity. But the message is a significant portion of the workforce are not gen x and gen y-ers and won’t be for some time.

Workforce Values and Expectations
Traditional worker and emergent worker profiles. These are to some extent stereotyped

Traditional - tenure, paternalistic management, security, admire, fear
Emergent workers - merit, opportunity, change, promotion based on merit, don't pay attention to org charts and peer management

Spherion's data shows that the number of emergent workers is growing across all age groups. Over 90% of workforce. So -alled youth culture is infiltrating all ages. Semi retired or near retirement that is what they are thinking. The baby boomers have redefined work and life every decade. Retirement is not the right word anymore. The kinds of technologies are exactly what enabled the boomers to work part time and live anywhere. Be world citizens. To not have to commute. Just as important to gray hairs.

The boomers are not going gently into the night. Some retire early and they move beyond golf. They work. Some consult and contract. Some are getting involved in volunteer and charity work. Busier and complex life. Challenge for corporations. As values change, people are in a position to move away from corps and brain drain.

GSA pointed out in 2006 over 50% of fed employees are eligible to retire today. Valuable services they provide. How to retain or support their moving to the community of their choice and continue to work for the agency and tap their knowledge.

What this mean for mgmt. Be prepared for major talent shortages. How to attract and retain old and young people. Lean to manage generational diversity - still are differences. Become a Next-Generation company - accommodate part timers, teleworkers, remote workers, subcontractors. A fluid, flexible ever changing workforce. Use tech to get beyond one size fits all, particularly in HR. More complex set of employment relationships

John Beck
Capturing the Hearts and Minds of the Gamer Generation
"The Kids are Alright"

Results of a study Mitchell Wade and I did. Co-author on book. Coming out again - this was a book published by Harvard Biz press, but bringing it out again with a parental focus in the fall called "The Kids are Alright."

We did a 2500 member survey. Did you grow up playing video games? We wanted to understand business correlation to video games. An unsurprising split. Under 35, under 25 nearly 100%. Over 35, 34% said they grew up playing video games. Arcades, pong. Some folks in their 50's said they did. Correlated to all the other questions in the survey. Trained as sociologist, I have never seen a variable that explained so many attitude differences in a survey as the variable "did you grow up playing video games."

We got reams of data that looked like this -- we had basically the older folks, in blue, under 35 in yellow and the three bars are non/mod/frequent gamers. ON some question, the older answered higher percentage than younger. Trend of frequency of playing games is still going up. When you control for age, their answers to the basic biz attitude questions were the same older and younger. The main variable was growing up playing video games.

Some of the difference here, all statistically significant - 5-25% differences. You see things that suggest possibly in a democratic society and one where attitudes shift over time, as you get a 5-20% shift, you may reach a tipping point where the organizations change. That's the caveat.

Why do these shifts happen. Why is the variable important. Book the "Attention Economy" - sites with video games in them got a lot more attention and kept attention than those that did not. Games are really attention getting. Any kid you have seen play games, who has been diagnosed with ADD can play those games for 3-4 hours straight without looking up. IN a game there is no such thing as CPA. There is rapt attention. My son with Down's can play these games for hours, and good, and beats me. Attention is a big part of this.

The second part is learning. 10% of things we retain of things we see. 30% of what we hear. 70.1% of what we do. Games are interactive. We are doing them.

Finally, the last piece that makes sense is that there is something going on physiologically or neurologically. According to people who study this; our neural pathways in our brain form until our young teens. That's how you can learn a language naturally. That's all about the neural pathways. After you have to relate new knowledge to existing.

When are these games played the most? by kids up to early teens. We found now gender differences in the data. Up to the age 12-13 boys and girls play almost the same games and amount of times. After 13 girls play less and boys like to kill more in games.

Are gamers more competitive? Oh yeah. Almost twice as many say "winning is everything."

Are gamers global in their thinking? Much more global on their thinking, particularly around business issues. Much less likely to favor buying American products. They grew up in Nintendoland. Games and consoles for young kids are Japanese.

I taught a class on online communities at USC. I asked the students, half of whom were Chinese. What was the most important media input in their lives? Music, TV. 60-70 of the Americans cited something Japanese. Chinese students - 100% said something Japanese. Huge, pervasive, global influence.

Are gamers less connected to their companies? They care more than non gamers. Not a huge difference, but it breaks the stereotype.

Are gamers more sociable? Yes, they have a greater percentage than non gamers

I expected a lot of negatives coming into the research. Games are their social play dates. The sibling group of all ages will be in the room and only one kid will have the controller in hand. The controller gets handed from kid to kid. There is this collaboration/competition mix that is really interesting. It is boring to play against someone who is really bad. Kids encourage siblings to get better at the game. Gamers share decision making, connect with the right people to get the right things done quickly. Discuss prior to decisions. Gamers were textbook MBA's, just what Harvard would teach on decision making.

Do gamers come across as self important? Yes, of course they do. They think they are the best in the world. At 20-something they think they are 9% more expert than the 50-somethings. They think if needs to done right, do it myself. Prefer performance based compensation. High self concepts.

Gamers believe more in luck. This is important. A lot more in luck. When I fail, it is because I am unlucky. I can hit the reset button. I can fail, learn and get better. IN every game there is a random generator where you do the fight the same way and sometimes you win and sometimes you loose. They learn to play around that. Figuring out the algorithm behind every game. Main skill they are learning. What's the algorithm and how do I beat it. As you are designing software, performance systems, think about that. They will get it two days after you announce it. If the algorithm leads to stupid results, you will get stupid results. Consider these attitudes are coming and other migrating to them.

Linda- asks John - a game like DOOM was a CPP game and WoW is make meaningful game. Console games are total attention games, but once inside they use their attention inside differently. Marty Seligman, positive psychologists, flow and engagement. There is a kind of resilience that kids develop in these games, no other way we know that resilience and persistence learn to success more than IQ but we did not know how to teach it. But games do it.

A: Simulated world game - striking was the engagement in the course. Spending 2-3 much times in 2 credit course as 4 credit course. A piece of this is the active learning part of it. Largely are multiplayer games? Not necessarily. So much more engaging than traditional education. Tragic we still have people listen to a lecture.

I have taught strategy courses to MBAs. Used to do cases. Now entire course was a war game. Played different roles each week, competitors, customers, and they had to come up with a strategy. Most fulfilling and scariest teaching. No way to predict. Used teaching moments for 10 minutes Engaged. At the end I got personal emails from over 60 of 70 in the class. Usually get 5-6. Completely different learning experience.

Q: what strikes me is you two are at opposite ends of the spectrum. How do you deal with a person who can figure out any device and the other side who can’t turn on their radio. How do you build systems that engage both sides?

I think what Linda said earlier - ease of use and simple, focused devises. Something for designers to pay attention to. There is something about design the technology people have to pay attention to.

Design for quality of life. They figured out how to remove the extraneous Not about checking off features and making them easy to use. Remove features to provide the best experience. Different standard.

Web 2.0 - smaller, more focused apps in response to bloated, over-engineered tools.

Q: There is a conflict here. When I see the controllers - the kids pick them up and naturally learn different games. Is anything contradictory to the comment about simplicity. They manage complexity without manuals and training. We spend half of our time planning training.

A: New Nintendo controller. It looks like a remote control for the TV. Depending on how you move it the character turns. Much more intuitive. Even games are moving that direction.

It goes back to learning abilities in kids. Technology is anything that was invented after you were born. Rest is just part of your life.

People have been saying the next generation is going to change the business culture. The world changes a lot more slowly than we might think it does. Kids will adjust to the realities then enter into. Connectivity is an order of magnitude difference.

When boomers REALLY move out, then there will be a larger change. It takes longer than we think it might.

Q: Concerned we might be paying too much attention to engagement. Engagement might not mean learning. Not sure what the word learning means. If we teach kids about moving around obstacles, does that teach critical thinking. We are finding our science majors are not learning how to critically think. Not sure we are testing true learning.

A: I think that some critical learning can be built into games. Seeing that in training games. With education, younger education. Some much of the ed systems have gone to teaching to a computer read test. If the outcome is computerized, why should not the teaching of those skills be home, game based and save the classroom time spend more time on critical thinking and teaching to the test.

Linda - I spent the first 10 years as an educator. The bottom line is in teaching, at the beginning of those years, I taught k-6 then university. When I teach scientist I would cut up fruits, do experiments during lunch. Increasingly as the all-knowing forces of government decided they knew how to improve education, we had to do 2 minutes of safety, 90 minutes of math, 20 of social studies. TO make sure everything was bullet proof we were given exactly what to do. So boring. They audited us by having people come in. One of the reasons I left teaching. Loved when it was about curiosity, creativity to engage with passion. What was the most profound part of your education, most memorable, thing that mattered most, I had this teacher who was passionate about X, or saw an adult passionate about Z who encouraged me. We don't have that anymore. We are scheduled, minimum learner objectives we tech to. Our values shifted over what a successful product coming out of a school was. We need to reexamine what success is. It is not about games at all, but the values. In an attempt to standardized we have destroyed the passion.

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CTC 2006: Ken Thompson on Bioteaming

On the boat from pier to pier
Ken talking to Annette Kramer (who also blogs about this session.)

Ken Thompson, BioTeaming: Natural Models for Virtual Teams
Thursday morning, Collaborative Technologies Conference, Boston, June 22

Note, live blogging caveats apply - I capture as much as I can and I don't worry about typos, etc. I also want to note it was terrific to meet Ken F2F. He is smart and FUN!

Ken's Slides (useful to make sense of the notes below)

I’m the bumblebee. Most people think of ants, not very friendly. Bumblebees more friendly. Some people have commented that my figure is more like a bumblebee.

This is going to be participative. A little survey to start. Be honest. Put your hand up if you feel the work teams you are involved in regularly fulfill their potential. Put your hand up if the technology you use improves the team work. Your involvement in your work teams is as satisfying as your sports and personal groups.

I’ve worked with teams for 25 years, coached them for 10 and my feelings have been constant disappointment. IT could be me, like Jonah and the whale and I bring those teams downs, or it could be there is something fundamentally wrong with teams. Last three years studying biological teams and have developed 12 things human teams might learn from them.

All of this is on the blog, I’m quite prolific, 350 articles. If you can’t sleep, there is plenty of material.

Why virtual teams need to look to nature, introduce bioteaming, and then experience it. Better than explaining to a Martian how to eat an orange, better to hand him one. Learn from ants, birds and learn how to swarm. Food webs and team networks. Tech teams are tightly bound and ignore their external networks. Sales teams form only loose networks. Have to manage both. My favorite animal, the stickleback. A fish with a tit for tat collaboration strategy. If you are married, you probably use it but play it wrong.

I used to be a software engineer and used to be in terrible teams. Lots of boring stories. Went to blog and pulled out stories.

Freeloading – dead wood colleagues. 80% of staff in UK are not happy with their team members. Parasites that survive off of but don’t contribute to the work. But people won’t tell you directlyu, being British.

Motivation – ¾ people in ICM survey said they would stop working if they won the lottery. Must be real fun in their workplaces

Leadership – American managers no longer see mentoring and coaching as part of their job

Overwork – Fortune Magazine – when vacation is simply a change of work place (did not capture quote – need to pull from the posted slides on the CTC site.)

Ignorance – quote from – It’s amazing how much easier for a team to work together when no one has any idea where they are going.

Virtual teams – much worse. Research it is easier to break a virtual commitment to someone you rarely meet than a physical commitment. That’s why people lie more on the phone than F2F. Can get let down if you don’t meet the people you are working with.

Virtual teams lose their focus easily. 40% of UK web activity non work

Technology – executive managers exaggerate their use of PDAS, only 1 in 7 use them. Research reports conclude that managers of flexible workers need to manage in a different way, but virtual teams are still led by traditional managers.

The science of learning form nature is biomimicry, from the great bios, meaning many life, and mimesis, imitation. Taking nature as a model, looking at the geckos’ fate, looking at Velcro. Nature has had 3.8 billion years to get it’s designs right. They have survived the test of time, so nature is a great place to look, all the bad stuff is gone. It is not a resource to be quarried but something to teach us.

Humankind did not invent team. Nature invented them and we copied them. Social biologist Carl Anderson has ob served four types of teamwork in biological teams.

Doing different things at different times, solo work, team of one. Teams of one are brilliant, but can only do limited things.
Crowd work, doing the same thing at the same time. Ants pushing a rock, in a crowd, singing the same song.
Same thing different time – Group work, partitioned work, workflow
Teamwork – different things at the same times. Division of labor. Allocation of roles
Carl has multiple species examples. We didn’t invent collaboration and teams, we learned it from nature.

A whirlwind tour of biological teams. This could go badly wrong

The cell is a self organizing system, unique porous membrane. Let’s good things in and keeps bad things out. If you look at today’s blog you will see an IBM research article urging self organizing with porous membranes.

The nervous system. All nervous systems are distributed interplay of component. Ants occupy 10% of the biomass. If you go outside anywhere in the world you will see an ant. Tiny intelligence, but their root foraging is better than our best computers

Bees use the dance to communicate. The waggle dance. Once a bee finds honey, it does a clever dance. The orientation of the axis of the dance points to the honey. Then everyone heads out to find it. Different dance for close and far. Waggle dance beer – tried to get them to sponsor my blog and give out beer at conferences.

Termites build mounds that in relationship to their size is three times larger than our tallest skyscrapers with built in temperature relations

Dolphins use acoustic signatures, individual recognition which was thought to be only human. Dolphins recognize individuals.

Wolves – an amazing lady called Temple Grandin who is autistic and she has a book about animal behavior. She suggests that humans and wolves co-evolved. Wolves taught humans how to hunt in packs, before we were not quite as social as we thought we were. “Animals in Translation.”

Geese, we all know geese can fly 50% further by flying in slipstream. When a goose gets sick, two stay with it till the goose gets better or dies.

Songbirds – blue tits taught the whole species how to open milk cartons. Socio propagation to teach the group. Rapid evolution requires learning within the generation. Normally evolution is generational. No giraffe can increase the length of it’s own next. IN teams, can we get learning within the team or does learning only happen with new teams. Learn from the Bluetit

Sticklebacks have a complex system of collaboration. Simple, but effective.

Crocodile bird – the bird cleans the crocodile’s teeth, symbiosis. Evolution has been rewritten by Lynne Margulies who suggested that almost all evolution is triggered by symbiosis. Survival of the best pair. The theory of evolution has been altered in recent years. Teams can be quite lonely places. You have to have someone on your side.

Ecosystems show how different species sometimes compete and collaboration.

Gaia – the mystical believe that the whole world is an alive, complex adaptive system where no one is planning it.

It’s all on the blog. Biomimicry in the area of team dynamics. All free. 350 articles. Not for profit kind of blog as most blogs are. I’ve published a manifesto from Want to create a bio-friendly ecosystem of tools. The blog is a way to create this ecosystem of tools. Many of the tools today could be bio friendly. - you put up your manifesto proposal, people vote on it and if you are selected, it will be published.

The manifesto identified four zones and 12 principles

Leadership zone – every team member is a leader. Not no leader, but everyone is leader in different domains

Connect to self, partners in symbiosis and networks

Execution – bio teams execute by experiment, cooperate tit for tat, swarm and learn fast

Organization – bioteams are sustainable, self organize without constant management interventions. Autopoesis – self organizing networks. A definition of life.

The two lower zones, leadership and connectivity are fundamental. You need to get those in place first. I’m only dabbling in the higher two zones. Bits of theory could turn out to be totally wrong.

What is it like to be an ant? It’s a lot of fun. California company has produced a simulator. I’m going to play it now.

Ants communicate via smell, Pheromones. They leave scent trails. Ants are aggressive creatures. If you give them nuclear weapons, the world would be over in a week. Ants hate other ants, just like us. Ants love brownies. Going to put the simulation on. Write down one thing about their communication process as you watch. Can’t be smell. More abstract, clever stuff. Foraging is a form of swarming. Swarming has a bad reputation as aggressive. When a bee stings it send out a pheromone that signals other bees to sting. That’s attack swarming. The other form is going somewhere. Where no one knows where to go. Foraging is another form of swarming. Animals play quite a bit. Starlings just having some fun. I’ve preplanned this. I’m kind of mean, once the ants found the brownie, I moved the stone. Ants are brilliant at route scheduling. The red trail is an alarm pheromone. The other trails are food trails.

Can you tell me what you have learned about how ants communicate.
• Immediate trail to food
• A woman comes into a room and says to a man, this perfume is only for you. It doesn’t work like that. They are broadcasting, not concerned about precision. One to many.
• All are busy. Every member can broadcast. No reply. Just get the message and do it. Don’t have permission structures. When they see it, they do it.

Key bioteaming Principles
1. Information not orders
2. team intelligence, one to man broadcasting
3. permission is granted, immediate action, no check and approval
4. always on, don’t go into hive for messages, messages go to them
5. symbiosis – transparency and pervasiveness rather than privacy and precision. Over-broadcast and multiple channels. Does the message get trough
6. Swarm, forage for useful material

What does it mean for technology. E-pheromone group messaging systems. Here is what I discovered about a year ago. Pheromone for a team is messaging: IM, text messaging and RSS. It maps so well. Wherever a team member they can broadcast and if needed, receive a reply. A new type of SMS social group tools let you do a helluva lot from your mobile phone, commands to join and leave a group. Some problematic java issues. All come out in the last two months.

Open IM tools, java based solutions like meebo, and when mobile IM becomes predominant on phones without a download. Me being a business man, after I did this research I started to think that there was a business opportunity. I started to build a toolkit for those who wanted swarming in their applications, Swarmteams. Any to many in situ message divider, a plug in for creating swarm applications. Swarm participation by being invited or subscribed. Key the word “join ctc” and you would join that swarm.

Natures teams are peer swarms. In bossiness no one liked that so invented star swarms with owner having more rights, then migrate to peer or hybrid swarms

Interswarm linkages, discretionary bridges between swarms. Bond where a whole bunch of swarms need the same message. Create an ecology of swarms in organization. That is how it is done in sales. Being used in two applications, you can see a number orf swarms, ad hoc collaborations. I asked “who will win the world cup” and people can answer by sms or IM. You decide how you want to subscribe to the swarm and I can send from my phone. That’s in beta, coming out in August

Swarm club. Children don’t want to pay for their messages. May take a commercial message a day, competitions, to allow IM.

That’s enough about swarms and messaging. So what is it like being in a bird flock.

Swarming is sophisticated team behavior by simple team responses. Craig Reynolds, creating boid, showing complex bird flock flying behaviors could be simulated in 3 simple individual member rules.

Don’t collide with each other
Go in the same basic direction
No leader
Stay close together

Zaira developed this simulator. There is a group of bumblebees going around. Slide size, separation and alignment sliders. Increase alignment and they group up. Then there is a leader bee who should not bee there. Reduce separation, then they go around in circles a bit. Then increase cohesion and now they move together in a swarm. Incase flock size and it becomes kind of interesting.

What can bird flocks teach us about virtual team operations? I corrupted the word biod to Biods – virtual team members who consistently and naturally swarm

What if you had 7 automatic behaviors a team member would do in a crisis. What would you like built into every team member

Who thinks humans don’t swarm. Nobody. I went to the world cup match last week. Started constant Mexican weaves. Total collaboration between two opposing teams until Ecuador scored. Then the Mexicans would start the wave, then the Ecuadorians would stop it.

1. Outgoing. Talk to the other team members. The ones you don’t know.
2. Recruit – if you see someone useful to the team hook them on
3. Go –everyone go and forage, find interesting things, build network
4. Ask for help. Give help.
5. Note – keep yourself aware of priorities. Everyday.
6. Investigate –when you see something interesting
7. Collaborate – get working with people, particularly people you don’t know.


Not saying those are the right behaviors. If birds can do it in three, what are the seven you would expect to have in your team.

• Respect, listen to others views
• Devils advocate to see where we are going wrong. Not over attached
• To be present – polite – a protocol for intrusive technologies and how they might be used in a less intrusive sense.

What to bird flocks teach us about virtual team technology

Group messaging, activity tracking and reputation management
You should be able to track the level of messaging between members. No useful outputs are produced without the right amount of signals happening between people. You don’t know what they are talking about but know who is talking to who

Self management through enhanced reputation. Learned from Open Source. Used well reduce management overhead.

Allow team members to rank the value of interactions. If something is perceived as spam, mark it.

What is it like to be a new species entering the food web?
Clustering – team managing their internal and external networks. Software engineering teams are often poor at managing external networks. Other teams don’t manage their internal networks – essential for getting things done. Team social networking software
Teams need to find their niche
Porous membranes – dynamic team boundary. Not according to a plan. Emerge. Grow naturally. Opportunistic

Ecological language, to survive a new species must find it’s niche =- missed some stuff

Relationships between who eats who. Predator. Cats consume mice. A predator for me is competing for customers. Sometimes compete for resources. Should distinguish. Symbiont – birds coordinate with ticks. That’s why you don’t’ stroke ‘em.

What does this teach us about teams. Know position on web…

Marco Inansit at Harvard – the Keystone Advantage

Focus on collective networks
(Lots of stuff I did not catch – see slides0

Three levels of commitment – inner, mid and outside part time experts and hangers on. Every team you identify your place. All are vital.

Jessica Lipnak talks about the three rings. You and they decide where people are and structure communication to reflect that.

Aggregate individuals into composite groups. Use SNA to determine. that analyze vs phone and email connection.

This is a much more important idea than showing structure and org charts. Show the interactions.

Loose boundary systems. Accept our partners have their own systems. Get them into our team with a single log in.

What is it like to be a stickleback. Tit for tat. Concept of win win is too complex for nature. Tit for tat has three rules

1. Never be the first to defect
2. Retaliate only after partner has defected
3. Be prepared to forgive after carrying out just one act of retaliation

Milinksi (1987) showed that stickleback fish work in teams – they continually adjust. For predator inspections. Natures form of collaboration.

The prisoners dilemma (Axelrod) : Tit for tat is the best long term strategy for long term human cooperation. TFT constantly wins over other strategies. Most teams don’t know TFT. They say “I play win win.” But what happens is someone else is not playing Win Win, you get hurt, cynical, stand off and reduce trust. If you start with that style, expect to be betrayed, you will be betrayed.

Win win is not a good strategy because there is no mechanism for checking a non cooperating partner.

MIT games for teaching this, Barry Klopfer

Play on PDAs. (DEMO OF GAME)

Don’t bioteam without addressing the X factor. What makes human teams special. Intelligence, autonomy, motivation and belief. Insects are equally motivated and competent. Humans aren’t
Learned optimism – Seligman. Optimistic teams rebound better from failure. Did research project with software teams to identify top beliefs

Clear accountability
Trusted competency
Give and take
Outcome optimism

A project I’d love to do is to explore this before the project starts as a predictor of outcome.

• Virt teams need tob ecome more like bio teams
• Messaging
• Ability to swarm
• Personal cooperation strategies TFT
• Networking

But remember not everything they do is worth copying. (penguin clip)

Masking in biology, protect from predators. ON net, anonymity, avatars. What about authenticity. Could reputation management handle that anonymity factor. Or does it not even matter with TFT? Key thing about bioteams is they over-communicate. No secrete. Communication is eavesdropped by collaborators and predators. Not precise communication. Can’t always identify the author of the communication. Good evidence of thick communication.

With ants and bees there is not gender like we do, run the risk of stereotype, men and women in collaboration and competition sometimes have different approaches. Haven’t dared go near the M/F but have looked at different cultures. IN science community women are starting to rise due to different mentoring patterns in female centric groups. Different rules. Maybe a symbiosis of the sexes in teams.

What about personality types. I’m on software development. Introversion. The social networking aspect is challenged. Small teams work well, but interactions with other teams, product managers, working with more extroverted cultures. How do you account for that? I don’t think you can make introvert software engineers network. You have to put someone else in the team who acts as a hub to keep them connected to the bigger environment. Challenging teams to keep connected. The other principles can be very strong.

I have another presentation for software teams. One of the areas is getting them focused on different things. Not just on outcomes, but on signals. How do you conceptualize?

We don’t talk in the hallway and offices, but we talk online. Introverted in one environment and open in another. Between IM and a CoP discussion forum – very verbal, but not F2F. Harder to engage.

Certain teams may not lend themselves to bioteaming. Routine, unmotivated, not focused teams. I was seconded to the public sector and it is difficult there. You use individual techniques as they fit.

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Beth's Blog: Nonprofits and Second Life and Other Games

I am resisting diving into another environment, yet another tool -- I need to spend more time in the garden and offline, with people and books. So I'm studiously avoiding a close read of the work Beth Kanter has been doing looking at games, particularly Second Life, in the context of non profit applications. Check it out. Nonprofits and Second Life and Other Games.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

NetSquared Roundtable on Online Community Facilitation

Marshall Kirkpatrick interviewed a wonderful circle of non profit online community facilitators at NetSquared last month and has posted the interviews atFacilitating Online Community: A Roundtable Discussion | NetSquared. I love it that Marshall talked to facilitators from a variety of global settings. Wonderful. Take a read!

[Via Luca Servo]

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Linda Stone at the Collaborative Technologies Conference

Usual live blogging disclaimers - misspells, missed statements and mis-typos! I'm here at the Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston. There is a wiki and I will place these notes in the wiki in a bit.

How many of you know this is the first day of summer? Yeah!

I want to start by checking in on your experience of anytime, anywhere anyplace always on lifestyle. Fun, raise your hand. If true, raise hand. When people talk to me I really pay attention. When people talk to me I pay partial attention to things coming up (phone, blackberry). Be honest! The way I CURRENTLY use computer and technology improves my quality of life? My quality of life is compromised by technology. Technology sets me free. Tech enslaves me.

One of the principles of the marshal art Aikido is that for every profound truth there is an opposite profound truth. IN a noisy world, the world may continue to be noisy, but we year to get to the bottom. To stillness. To meaningful connection. The meeting place of human desire and a new technology. Unix offered Talk almost 30 years before ICQ. The powerful desire to connect and a well timed technology caused thousands to sign up for ICQ. The sweet spot between human desire a new technology

In this 24 seven always on connected world, we pay continuous partial attention. CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION is very different from multitasking. Differentiated by the impulse that motivated them. Multitask p motivated by efficiency. Doing things that require little thought. We might stir soup, talk on phone. At work copy papers and talk. TO make more time for ourselves and be more efficient and productive.

To pay continuous partial attention is to pay attention partially continually. We want to connect and be connected. A node. Scan for opportunity. Be busy, connected is to be alive. To be recognized and to matter. We also pay CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION in an effort not to miss anything. Always on, anywhere, anytime, an artificial sense of constant crisis. Always on high alert when we pay CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. What’s ringing, who is it? What's on my list? Which email address do I need to give you.

In the all time full out golden days of CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. People would enter a meeting and spend the entire time emailing and sending SMS and the attention was anywhere but in the physical environment. To cope, to keep up relationships and responsibilities, we have stretched our personal attention bandwidth. Hundreds of emails, blogs, newsfeeds. To keep a top level item in focus and constantly scan the periphery in case something more important to us emerges. Desire to be a live node on the network. With each opportunity, what can be gained

Evolving over the last 20 years. Is it good or bad? Both. It is an adaptive behavior. Notice I am neither an advocate nor disser of CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. Merely recognizing the dominant attention paradigm of the past 20 years is CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. So many things offer great benefit in small doses and compromise us in large doses. True of CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. IN small doses, fabulous. When it is a lifestyle you have four people in bed. You, your partner and two blackberries.

The context that a more complex, global, tech rich world inspires us to evolve the way we use our attention. Framework of 20 years of shift of attention. At the heart of each socio=-cultural era.

60 years. Will talk about a piece of this. Fairly us centric research. generalizations that are not absolute, but range across various industries. I actually left MSFT to further research this. What I have found is this context tends to inspire a rich dialog and offers chance to look at challenges and opportunities. We operate with a sense of the collective ideal. Some of you may recall the 60s.

1965 - 1985 - Sally Fields, flying nun, fashion from mini skirts to combat fatigues, Apple, MSFT, long hair on men, era of self expression. Marlo Thomas free to be me. The center of gravity was me. Personal productivity. Entrepreneurials flourished and the divorce rate increased. Mom took aerobics. Frozen dinners. Fast food expanding. Children took self improvement classes. All about achieving our full potential and creating opportunities for ourselves.

We multitasked to increase our productivity. Full screen applications on our computers. The collective ideal was value self expression and creativity. Guiding principle and we took it to an extreme and found ourselves yearning for that which was sacrificed. Narcissism and loneliness. Miss connection to others. A sense of being part of something larger. 2005 the er of connecting. The network is the center of gravity. Value communication and comm. techs fl0ourished. Entrepreneurism with alliances. Micro finance models like Grameen phone and bank. We played battleship in the 70s, diplomacy in the 90s and world of warcraft now. Play dates replaced dancing lessons. Our new thing was scanning for opportunity. When Yahoo folks left to start epinions. IN the early days of friendsters, the barroom boast was "I have 3000 friends." Go to party and see people talking on their cell phones. We were everywhere except where we were physically. A 20 something said "I quite every socil network I was on to have dinner with people."
"I finally got off Linked in etc." Why do I want to have a FoFoF asking me for a favor. What kind of connection is that. " Younger people want a strategy for a better life. 24x7 is not feeling so good and want something to feel better besides drugs.

One clever CEO asked employees to disarm all weapons of mass communication at the door of meetings. Another said, we have different types of meeting. If big meeting, info presented, you can do email and sit at the back and do email. If small, decision making meeting, laptops closed.

This always on era has created an artificial state of constant crisis. Adrenalized flight or flight kicks in. Great for chasing tigers, but how many emails are tigers or flies? Key difference between multitasking and CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION. Multitasking did not have the same stress related consequences. While multitasking continues to be a word used to describe our attention when we try and do more than one thing, but it is very different from multitasking in 1965-86

We stopped breathing deeply. We don't sleep as well. Less exercise. Increased use of drugs to sleep, keep us calm. CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION in this era of connect, connect - overwhelm, over-stimulation and a sense of unfulfillment. What to reach for a higher quality of life. Everything in nature that works has a lifestyles. Seasons. Athletes train with cycles which include rest. Always on doesn't reflect this. With no winter, there is no spring.

We use tech to communicate and be communicated to. As we develop social technologies, we take advantage of what the computer does well vs really thoughtful solutions that enrich our lives. That is the challenge to those of you developing technologies. Make tech that enriches our lives.

There are high tech and low tech solutions. Embed basic email courtesy guidelines in the bottom of emails like warm fuzzy legal disclaimers. If you are on the cc line, you don't need to respond. We have powerful technologies, at the same time, we feel increasingly powerless in our lives. Just as we made a shift from productivity to all about me, to connect to network centric, we are now on the edge of the next shift and a new set of opportunities.

We now feel overwhelmed and unfulfilled. Trends start slow then accelerate. Understanding this era will give us clues on how to resonate with clients. 5-7 year bleed between eras. The next set of behaviors are emerging.

We never totally give up what we integrate from past eras. Embrace new thoughts. New desires surface. The beginnings of a road map for innovation in marketing, communication and new products unfold.

We've come to feel overwhelmed, we want protection and protectors. A sense of meaning and belonging. Meaningful connection. We want authenticity, trust, seek out brands, leaders, celebs whose values resonate with ours and serve as trusted voices. Discernment to easily and confidently make choices. Where we shop, eat, buy will reflect our political views. From what do I have to gain to what do I have to lose?

We want ot make the best choices we can in a complex world with so many choices. Trusted authorities, and infomercials (2 billion ) In Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - trusted authorities. George Bush used words of safety more than other candidates. Purpose driven life - the protector spirit - sold 30million copies. Saddleback church grew offering small bible study groups. Fascinating model. New Yorker story by Rick Warren

We want to sort through noise effectively. TIVO, Google. Protect us from an overwhelming web. We want to wear an ipod as much to listen to our music as to protect ourselves from the noise. Want to trust companies. Trust. Safety. Authenticity, Trusted authorities. Uncluttered and clean means quality of life.

Does this product/service/feature/venue enhance my quality of life. Huge networks to meaningful networks. Worlds of Warcraft - "Liz Lawley - it takes a guild to raise a child." Guilds.

Products, services, corporate culture - inclined to resonate with messages of meaning, belonging, leadership, trust. Discernment opportunities vs scan for opportunity. Instead of taking on as many opportunities. Dot coms failed. Choose everything. Something is going to stick. IN new era of protection, discernment and belonging. Back off from endless choices. choosing a focus, adjusting course and heading forward.

To discern which opportunity, we'll characterize our evolution beyond the overwhelm, CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION, always on lifestyle. Quality of life. Think Apple. Think iPod. The iPod team had a strong focus, drive to take away everything that was extraneous. From information workers, to knowledge workers, to become wisdom workers. From multitasking to continuous partial attention and move forward into attention with intention and discernment. Ease of use has been the mantra. It's good, but not good enough. The new mantra, differentiator, opportunity is improves quality of life. Does it help us protect, filter, create a meaningful connection discernment, use our attention well and wisely?

Go back to the 1960s driven by productivity, information. You long for a desire to connect. You move into being a knowledge worker who scans for opportunity using CONTINUOUS PARTIAL ATTENTION until over stimulated and unfulfilled. You move from creating opportunity, to scanning opportunity to discerning for opportunity.

Dee Hock says noise becomes data when it has cognitive pattern. Becomes information when... becomes knowledge when... (Missed it)

Knowledge becomes understanding when becomes related to other knowledge..

Wisdom when informed by purpose, ethics, memories and projection

Create products and service that help us move from becoming knowledge to wisdom workers.


Edit: Sunday, June 25, see Annette Kramer's coverage of Linda's session.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

GiGee's - Artful Living With Technology

My friend and sister GiGee (Girl Geek) Beth Alexander has created a beautiful thing that I just HAVE to share with you. A bejeweled USB leash. I love it. I can't wait until Beth gears up her production.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Northwest Frequent Flyer Gripe

OK, totally off topic.

I was checking my frequent flyer miles on Northwest Airlines and thought, hm, the total qualifying miles seems low, considering I flew from Seattle to NY, to Austin back to Seattle. Only 3,346 miles. That didn't seem right. So I went to the Flying Distance Calculator. Hm, quite a discrepancy. Considering the lower nautical mile figures, NW is crediting me about

NW Says LGA to IAH - 709 miles
Flying Distance Calculator says - 1229

Sea to Newark NW says 1201
Calculator says 2080

Houston to Seattle NW says 937
Calculator says 1626

Now if Northwest raises prices because fuel is going up, yet they are actually flying LESS miles due to some crazy math, something is wrong here. I'm losing 2088 miles (and, with my elite status, another 50% on top of that.)

I can understand bankruptcy. I can understand hard times. I can't understand blatant deception. I think I'm going to go back and look at old statements to see if I can verify that Northwest is shrinking the world in a way that only benefits them and is counter to their claimes.

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First Monday June 2006

Earlier this week I blogged about Nature's experiment in peer review. I just clicked into this month's First Monday June 2006 edition and most of the articles are about open access journals. Lots of good stuff to look at and always worth a blog post to share the news.

This month's table of contents includes all the presentations at the recent First Monday conference. Sadly, not all of them are online. I hope that is only temporary!

olume 11, Number 6 — 5 June 2006

FM10 Openness: Code, Science, and Content:
Selected Papers from the First Monday Conference, 15–17 May 2006

Monday morning, 15 May 2006: Open journals

Tactical memory: The politics of openness in the construction of memory
by Sandra Braman

Open access publishing: A developing country view
by Jennifer I. Papin–Ramcharan and Richard A. Dawe

Accidental open access and the hazards involved: Preliminary experiences on Internet–based publishing in a Peruvian university
by Eduardo Villanueva

The value of openness in an attention economy
by Michael Goldhaber

Libraries, licensing and the challenge of stewardship
by Sharon Farb

Strategies for developing sustainable open access scholarly journals
by David J. Solomon

Effect of open access on African journals funding and sustainability
by Samuel Utulu

Monday afternoon, 15 May 2006: Open communities

Developing and sustaining volunteer–driven content
by Jimmy Wales

Managing risk and opportunity in Creative Commons enterprises
by Andrew Rens

Trust and Wikipedia:The roles of social capitals on participatory knowledge production
by Cathy Ma

Diversity, attention and symmetry in a many–to–many information society
by Philippe Aigrain

Selling the view, not the river
by Prayas Abhinav

The case for open markets in education
by Steve Midgley

Constructing a framework to enable an open source reinvention of journalism
by Leonard Witt

Digitizing more than organizational DNA
by Jonathan Riehl

Tuesday morning, 16 May 2006: Open science

Open science
by Tim Hubbard

FLOSS methods in biotechnology: Data, information and knowledge in context
by Andrea Glorioso

Investigating the “public” in the Public Library of Science: Gifting economics in the Internet community
by Charlotte Tschider

Variants of openness
by Felix Stalder

Openness in communication
by Jon Hoem

Conspicuous contributions: Social esteem in peer communities
by David Neice

Open access as a source for agricultural information for sustainable development in Indonesia
by Widharto

Rational sharing and its limits
by Wai–Yin Ng

Tuesday afternoon, 16 May 2006: On openness

Notions of openness
by Joseph Reagle

The fog of copyleft
by Aaron Krowne and Raymond Puzio

Openness, access to government information and Caribbean governance
by Fay Durrant

Given enough minds...: Bridging the ingenuity gap
by Hassan Masum and Mark Tovey

Aligning the ideals of free software and free knowledge with the South African Freedom Charter
by Bob Jolliffe

Ethical and economic issues surrounding freely available images found on the Web
by Eric Lease Morgan

Wednesday morning, 17 May 2006: Open source

How sustainable business forms around open software, and lessons for other media
by Brian Behlendorf

Patterns of sustained collaborative creativity across open computerization movements
by Walt Scacchi

Analysis of open source principles in diverse collaborative communities
by Jill Coffin

Free access to open content and the role of NGOs in the use and design of free software and open hardware in developing countries
by Vedran Vucic

Profiting from the commons: The open source paradigm in the software industry
by Andrea Bonaccorsi, Monica Merito, Lucia Piscitello, and Cristina Rossi

Creative Commons licenses and open content collaboration: Experience and observations from Creative Commons Taiwan
by Yi–hsuan Lin

Wednesday afternoon, 17 May 2006

Chicago Manifesto on Openness

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What is a blog? The 50 Second Answer

Another fun remix from the Weblog Project - What is a blog? The 50 Seconds Answer. I particularly like the ape.

Remixed by Alessandro Luccardi on Jumpcut.

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Chocomapping and

Veronique Christensen pointed me to Platial, a community oriented mapping site. So of course, I had to make a chocolate map.

Will you help me with my chocolate map? Add your favorite place to buy/eat good chocolate. Particularly dark chocolate. I'm heading to London and Brussels this summer, and Australia in October. Recommendations appreciated. (You may need to hit the zoom out button to embrace the world.)

It is interesting to think about this tool in the context of global communities of practice. I've been spending time with the World Cafe people thinking about how they can support each other. Maps like these, with the event feature it includes, could be really interesting. How can practitioners find each other? How can people find World Cafe events to attend and learn the process from others?

This can also help a community "see" itself via the flags. Lots of possibilities.

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Business Narrative and Blog/Squidoo Crossovers

Shawn has a Squidoo with legs - his lens on Business Narrative is already at LensRank #336. Way to go, Shawn.

Now, for the meat. Check out the links in the "Discovery" section of Shawn's lens. He has linked to some key blog posts from his blog into the Lens. Good idea!

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Monday, June 12, 2006

On Hoarding and Knowledge Sharing

McMaster Daily News: "Co-workers hoard their best ideas; Silence, not sharing, is the norm"

I was intrigued to see this article, shared by a member of the current CPSquare Foundations of Communities of Practice workshop, where I'm a guest this week (online).

Knowledge sharing is lifeblood to me, but I'm afraid I don't always stop and notice the knowledge sharing practices of others. I hope the authors share more of their information (I've seen a bit, but it has not been released) as it is really interesting how they analyzed the relationship between knowledge sharing and not sharing and noted that they are not opposites. There are conditions which influence why we don't share. I think they called them knowledge hording and knowledge hiding.

Anyway, why do you share or not share your knowledge?

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Open Peer Review of Scientific Articles

Over the past 4 years I have provided some online facilitation support to a variety of global scientific collaboration efforts. It was an amazing learning opportunity to see the clash between some of the artifacts of the "culture of science" and the need for boundary crossing collaboration to serve urgent human and planetary (a.k.a. mother nature) needs.

That's why I'm excited every time I seen an innovation that seeks to preserve the best of the scientific culture and move past some of the barriers. The respected international weekly journal of science, Nature, is doing just that with their Peer Review Trial:
"In Nature's peer review trial, lasting for three months, authors can choose to have their submissions posted on a preprint server for open comments, in parallel with the conventional peer review process. Anyone in the field may then post comments, provided they are prepared to identify themselves. Once the usual confidential peer review process is complete, the public 'open peer review' process will be closed. Nature will report on the results after the trial period is over."
One of the barriers I've noticed to knowledge sharing is "publish or perish." The practice of very carefully sharing (or not at all) early data prior to publication has some unintended consequences. It slows down collaboration and potentially, stifles innovation. It creates a competitive scientific market where sometimes we need a collaborative one. The journal peer review process is intended to create rigor and critical thinking so we aren't all shammed by a fakester. But it also create firewalls between information and the public.

So how do we benefit from rigor, collaboration and cooperation?

Nature's experiment with open public peer review looks to test what happens when a private process is made public. This is not the same as ditching the peer review process, but creating transparency and a paralell track of public review.

I'm looking forward to what is learned in this trial for Nature. I'm also looking forward for what it stimulates in the scientific community about the possibilities of openness. To move away from the publish or perish model, or to reimagine it to support cross boundary collaboration where the public good can be served, is a huge change. It would rattle down to the tiny bones of every organization. It would change donor and funding streams. It would change higher education.

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Thinking About "Virtual" Meetings

OK, I don't often use the word "virtual" to connote "online." But because the title of a session I'm co-leading at the Collaborative Technologies Conference in Boston in just over a week carries that name, I'm using it as a matter of consistency. I'm also working on a few posts about meetings that span geography and time.

This first one is about an image I doodled on to try and think about how we choose technologies for distributed meetings. It follows on some images I posted last year on Flickr that are part of the work Etienne Wenger, John Smith and I are doing on technologies for communities.

The picture is an attempt to tell a story about technology selection and adoption from the perspective of the meeting activities a group needs to do. You will need to click on the thumbnail to see it, because it is too big to fit in the blog post space.

In this scenario, we have a global organization that spans 10 time zones and has a practice of small, frequent synchronous meetings supported by ongoing ansynchronous activities. The synchronous is for decision making, reporting on key milestones (particularly those that may require adjustment or impact others' milestones) and team bonding, while the asynchronous is for information sharing, more general reporting and day to day project management.

This idea of meeting changes from "something you stop everything and go to," to a slight codification of the work we to together. Meeting becomes the bits of interaction that keep a team in synch and moving forward. It is, ideally, forward motion itself, not a full stop.

In brainstorming our workshop, Julia Young, Eugene Eric Kim and I thought about F2F meeting practices. One was the quick, stand up meeting. By standing up, people are apt to be more succinct and focused. I am now wondering what the distributed adjunct of a stand up meeting is. A quick IM or VOIP call? The 15 minute synchronous weekly check in?

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Remote conference session with Nancy White | NetSquared

Transcript of chat session I did with the NetSquared remote conference last week atNetSquared. We had the topic of "online facilitation" but we mostly focused on chat facilitation - while we were chatting. Pretty apropos, eh?

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Marshall Kirkpatrick Finds One on International Cultures of Collaboration

Worth a link, as I have not had time to read it, but Marshall blogged about International cultures of collaboration: a MicroSoft/Verizon study
A new survey from Microsoft and Verizon says that web collaboration is making a significant impact on workplace productivity around the world. While both companies have lots of collaboration tools they'd like to sell you, I think the survey they commissioned has some interesting finds to consider.

Check these excerpts from the international comparisons:

"As for the regional differences, American professionals were more likely to enjoy working alone, and prefer to send e-mail rather than calling a person or leaving a voice mail message. They are also more comfortable with audio, video and Web conferencing technologies than people of other regions and tend to multitask the most when on conference calls.

Europeans thrive on teamwork more than their counterparts elsewhere and prefer to interact in real time with other people. They are more likely to feel it is irresponsible not to answer the phone and want people to call them back rather than leave a voice mail message. Professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, more so than anywhere else, want to be in touch constantly during the workday. As a result, they find the phone to be an indispensable tool and prefer instant messaging to e-mail. "

Sounds like something that could behove us all to keep in mind when communicating internationally - but how true are these statements? Robin Good told me in a recent conversation that making statements about all Americans was like making statements about all fish. Personal observations re cultural differences in communication would be more than welcome...

Of all the collaboration technologies that were studied, 3 three were more commonly present in high-performing companies than in low-performing ones: Web conferencing, audio conferencing and meeting-scheduler technologies. Web conferencing was cited by respondents as the most commonly present tool. (High vs. low performance was based on a split for companies based on their performance index, which was derived from items measured in the questionnaire.)

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Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS

Are you a non profit or NGO concerned with the monitoring and evaluation of your work? You might want to check out Monitoring and Evaluation NEWS, edited by Rick Davies in the UK.

Rick, an RSS feed would be SUCH a wonderful thing!


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Human Beings Are Wonderful

And now for a weekend off topic post about the beauty of human creativity and a sense of humor... Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment.

Via Kevin Jones

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Nicole's Gift of Reboot Podcasts

I confess I rarely find time to listen to podcasts and now is no exception, but this gift from Nicole Simon of podcasts from the Reboot Conference in Denmark last week look terrific: Conference podcast for Reboot in Copenhagen.

Thanks, Nicole!

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Chris Bliss - The man has the right last name

Still working too hard to compose a half-cogent blog post, but for a break, go here Chris Bliss - Smart Comedy for the Information Age and click on "Must See Finale."

Trust me.

(Via Eileen Clegg)

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Drupal Camp Seattle Agenda

OK, one more quick one for Drupal folks and the Drupal curious (like me) Drupal Camp Seattle . Here in Seattle, June 28 & 29, just 20 bucks. And FON's can camp at my house (Friends of Nancy). Bring some chocolate...

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Bra Camp and working too hard to blog

Bra Camp
Originally uploaded by cambodia4kidsorg.
I love the NPTech women's movement to have a bra camp for women working in non profit technology. Yeah, sistahs!

As for me, I've been bookmarking links, have a pile of half baked blog posts and too darn much work to do to do a decent post. So consider this just a fleeting wave of the... bra!

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

My Blog Entry for the Young Caucasus Project

In January Katy Pearce created a network of bloggers to join her and a bunch of young women from the Southern Caucasus in a blogging project, Young Caucasus Women. It was easy to say yes after all the wonderful experiences and learnings I had with my colleagues in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in 2000 - 2005.

Today it is my turn to kick off the week by posting on "Community is..." So here is my posting, shared here and on the Young Caucasus Women blog (as soon as I find my login and password. Community must mean you can write to Katy and confess you lost your login!)

Community Is...
... the air I breathe, the food I eat, the songs I hear, the art I experience, the pain I feel, the joy that reverberates through my cells. It is at once everything, but it is also almost impossible to define. So I'll start with a story.

A few years ago I was part of a project with Project Harmony in the Caucasus region. I had the joy of working with the country directors in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, mostly online. Through them, I was connected to their communities in each country - people who in many ways, changed our lives. We had 10 days together each in 2001, 2003, and 2004. The rest of the time our community was made visible through email messages, instant messages and occasional phone calls.

The various projects in the region had goals to use online interaction to serve community needs - some around economic development with small and medium businesses, NGOs, prevention of domestic violence, education, and others focused the diverse and very local needs of communities.

Each of these projects had a thread in common: if we could connect as a community, we could advance our goals. If we amplified our efforts, we could do more than we could alone as individuals.

Time and again, as people were connected, both face to face and online, they marveled at their shared experiences. They shared challenges and all of a sudden did not feel so alone against those challenges. They discovered strengths amongst them to contribute towards their goals.

They listended to each other felt heard.
I am still connected to many of those people, and they have become part of the constellation of communities that make up my life. I owe many learnings and a great deal of friendship to them.

The world can be a messy, challenging place. Few of us can face it alone. Few of us care to experience the joys alone. By connecting into community, we express our humanity and we take steps to make humanity the best it can be. By connecting with each other in community, I believe we are less apt to do harm to each other. In my wildest dreams, I imagine a world where just enough of us know just enough other people so that the threat of war would be unthinkable. I know that is rather naive, but it reflects my belief that we are less apt to ignore the suffering of someone we know.

For me, there are some big questions about community:
  • Community also means finding the balance between our individual selves and the community. What of our individual needs and desires do we offer up for the good of community? What do we preserve for ourselves?
  • How do we contribute and catalyze action in communities?
  • How we keep our communities from becoming instruments of oppression on others? (There is a dark side to communities!)
These are life-long questions. I wonder if I will ever know the answers.

Now, to you!

What is the role of community in your life? What have you been able to do because of your communities that you would not have been able to do otherwise? How do you contribute to your community?

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Knowledge Sharing as if Life Depended on it.

This week was one of those crazy weeks when a typically crazy week got upset by illness in the family that lives a thousand miles away. Figuring things out, getting details, supporting, etc, while juggling work and my family here at home. Chaotic is a word that comes to mind. The other one is knowledge-soaked. All of these activities were charged with the development, sharing and exchange of knowledge.

So here I am, intending to shut off the computer for the night and escape into a novel, when I follow a link on Shawn Callahan's blog to Patrick Lamb's post, If We Can’t Even Describe Knowledge Sharing, How Can We Support It? Of course, it was (partially) about knowledge sharing during health crisis. Kismet, eh? Even more that I am in the thick of working with a number of organizations around this thing we call "knowledge sharing." It surrounds me like a fog. Here is a bit from Patrick's post that struck me as useful and, today, more real than I can express.
"So what did I learn from this about knowledge sharing? A few small but important things:

* Not all sharing is created equal – people share as part of their jobs, for purely altruistic reasons, or for a blend of the two
* Much of our important sharing has formal, well developed conventions and rituals
* Social prejudice can get in the way of knowledge sharing, even if the relevant information is available and known (Mary Douglas has written about the irrational ways societies deal with disease)
* To understand knowledge sharing, we have to look beyond the event to the context: a knowledge sharing event rarely exists in a vaccuum; it’s usually a part of an interlocking network of knowledge sharing events, each of which complements and informs the others
* Knowledge sharing is often highly influenced by urgency, affective and emotional influences, and visible practical needs
* Knowledge sharing can be symmetrical (two way) or asymmetrical (one way) – context dictates which is most appropriate
* Knowledge sharing is not simply about transmit-receive transactions: even when there is a prime receiver in an asymmetric relationship, the receiver can shape and guide the sharing based on what he/she already knows.
Phew! Well said. Now, I am going to shut off this machine.

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Note the Title of this Picture

Originally uploaded by monicaA.
I was struck by Monica's title for this picture: blogs!

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jaron Lanier Quote

In a day with more time for bookmarking than blogging, I pass along a quote worth reading.

"The beauty of the Internet is that it connects people. The value is in the other people. If we start to believe the Internet itself is an entity that has something to say, we're devaluing those people and making ourselves into idiots."

That's the tease. Now read his full essay warning us not to fall in love with false gods. It's one that I'm going to read more than once.

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