In the last months I've come across the term Action Research several times. It's something that Dave Snowden of Cynefin put at the center of their activities, and I know Angela Nobre of the Quarere SIG at KnowledgeBoard is passionate about. Denham Grey points to this free course on action research, so we can get a feeling of what it might mean. Hopefully it will help develop my actionable sense-making, by connecting idea-generating and action in to the same workflow.
UPDATE: I've decided to take the on-line course, that will start in February. Julian Elvé has as well. We'll try and work together on this course. Hopefully it will give both of us more drive to complete this course and stick to our time commitments.6 Comments and 1 Trackbacks | Permalink
Making Actionable Sense III
Martin asks the following highly important questions:
Ok we should collaborate, or better we feel we want to, but why exactly should we do that? What are our individual goals? Do they match so much that we can actually be effective together?
Do we have enough overlap to be able to devote a sizeable amount of time and energy , and make it contribute to our work and results now? As with Martin my work is not research or writing, taking part in those are the extras. My current income comes from billeable projects and hours with clients, and that will be all the more demanding if I succeed in becoming an independent advisor.
Nevertheless those are the most obvious types of activities to collaborate on, research and writing, and the ones that open up new ways that will possibly provide income in the future.
Also let's not forget that most of what we are blogging is the frontline of our thinking, and that in it's turn is at the frontline of what is changing in the world.
Knowledge work and thought-leadership are much the same thing, I agree with David Gurteen.
A lot of us are not just early technology adopters, but early social adapters as well: in my view our thinking is already aiming to respond to changes that most people will not see on the horizon for years to come. And that is not because they are stupid and we are so bright, it's just that it so happens that part of our abilities lie there.
Being at the frontline does not generate you business with main stream clients, especially the SME's that form the bulk of them, even worse it might very well be frowned upon as idealistic, unrealistic, and 'just not how the world works'. If it wasn't for my international network of fellow bloggers and colleagues at KnowledgeBoard I by now would probably believe that I was the village idiot with my thoughts on KM, instead of becoming surer and surer that my ideas do hold value but that that value is still largely obscure to the general public and thus to our prospective clients.
So how do we find the overlap in our work we can do together, without taking a chunk out of current income? Either by doing it in spare time or by finding applications that pay now. Presenting subsets of bloggers as networks that collectively offer services might be a way of doing that. Hiring one of us then means hiring the network as a whole. A broad international experienced network that finds it's geographically local outlet in one of the networks individuals.
Several initiatives I'm aware of implicitly or explicitly try to do that.
Personally I think this has potential as it combines the best of the independent single consultant (geared to the problem, not to off the shelf copies of previous solutions, flexible, versatile, agile) and the bigger consultancy organisations (authority by wider reputation, explicit bodies of knowledge e.g. toolkits), and might even turn out to be the basic enterprise model of the future: ad hoc virtual organisations of people from within a wider network, emerging around a specific question or issue, melting back into that wider network after the need has been fulfilled. These types of organisations are intrinsically geared to delivering value, not to merely furthering their own continuity. It's the network that needs to survive and grow to sustain its individual members, the organisations are the blosoms on the tree (or less poetic but more to the point: the mushrooms on the mycelium).
Moving as a network requires some shared set of values (which I think are already partly present in the blogosphere) but it will give your (prospective) clients a better outlook on what to expect from you. Consultants are points of reference for clients, making the network visible gives them the consultants point of reference as well.
Do we have similar goals, probably some of us do, but not all of us, and not all the time. I am pretty sure however that that will not have to be an obstacle, as we are already in our blogs used to all of us having our own agendas. We acknowledge that in our blogging practice, and so it is already part of the built-in traits of our blogging ecosystems. We will have to identify the overlapping goals and build our thematic and ad-hoc organisations around that. We will then become part-time colleagues, and colleagues to others for different other portions of our time, while continuously being part of the larger network.3 Comments and 4 Trackbacks | Permalink
New blog on the block
My partner Elmine has been trying her hand at blogging for a few months now, in Dutch. Now as she is about to start working on her masterthesis, she is switching to English. The blog as of now is called Communigations
Her masterthesis will be about blogs: [...]one part is to describe the weblog as a communicationtool and compare the weblog to other types of communicationtools used on the internet, [...]the other part of my thesis will consist of a philosophical investigation of the weblog. Bringing in themes like on line identity building in the post modern world, and the ideal speech model of Habermas, I look forward to seeing her postings.
The deadline for her work is set at July 5th. Yes, that is when the Blogtalk 2.0 conference will be held in Vienna, where she hopes to be able to present her findings.0 Comments and 1 Trackbacks | Permalink
John Moore points to this very good post by Chris Corrigan on the divide between people who demand immediate showable value from actions, and the ones who concentrate on the process. Where is that value? In the experience in the process, or only in the production, the outcome? The demand for immediate measurable value fits in with the 'everything is causal, so everything must be predictable and controlleable' theme. Chris brings up the complexity of human interaction and says that the cause/prediction approach doesn't cut it there. He's right, and since I've heard Dave Snowden talk and read some of his stuff, I've begun to acquire the vocabulary to explain that difference.
As to causality he compares to stories on how the world was created, as a demonstration of what the difference in perspective is. Worth a read!0 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink
Actionable Sense, An Example
Already last month Gary L. Murphy detailed his outline for a new way to approach the distribution of music, and making the likes of the RIAA superfluous and worthless. Read his proposals in How to slay the RIAA, and The Subscriber Mechanism. All related entries to this are aggregated as well.
It is a good example I think of how ideas put forward in blogs can be turned into action. So I decided to put my money where my mouth is.1 Comments and 0 Trackbacks | Permalink