Lilia Efimova writes about how her blog mercilessly exposes to her the loose ends and ideas she had over time, and did not find opportunities to do anything with. In the comments Denham Grey says that Wikis help solve this problem because revisiting items is easy and you can let the corpus grow on each iteration or passing by, thus incrementally adding to what you already have.

This is a recognisable thing, how to make sense of all these ideas. Or better: how to make actionable sense of them.

In philosophical technology assessment usually 4 steps are made. First a round of diagnosis and inventory, then analysis, a second round of diagnosis, and then consequences for action. It seems as if most of our blog conversations only cover the first two steps: we diagnose a problem, or come up with an idea, and do some analysing around it. I’m not so sure if Wikis take it any further, because I haven’t got enough experience with Wikis to be able to judge that.

What is left out also contains the sifting of those ideas: which ones are the better ideas. A blog invites you to have lots of ideas, and that is the key to having good ideas. But we’re not good yet I think at taking the gems from that and turn them into action.

In my earlier posting about Networking Fatigue I talked about how after a long period of exploration and discovery (blogging) you need time to digest and broaden the base you work from.

The problem I think is that for both those steps, digesting the results of exploration, and making actionable sense of them, we should bring our co-discoverers, i.e. the bloggers, along for the ride, but by and large still fail to do so.

We together came up with the idea, so why should we not together turn it into action? Current reality is that we try to feed the ideas into our regular workflow, and try to bring our colleagues into it. Most of our organisations however will not yet be laid out for the types of things we come up with here.

So, why not form ad-hoc (virtual) organisations, and create our own value adding networks. Bloggers together putting in proposals for conferences, defining projects etc. I’m not saying this is not being done already by some on some projects, but I am saying that we could be doing it a lot more. We feel like a community, so why not act like one. I think blogging is my first internet experience where there is a real bridge between my internet activities and my life off the net. Let’s broaden that bridge, blur the lines some more. Turn our loosely coupled blogging-get-togethers into small enterprising networks.
And then blog it, so we can see what takes place.

15 reactions on “Making Actionable Sense

  1. Saw this post in my news aggregator Ton – and i felt i have to say that i couldn’t agree with you more and that i would love to see it happen. I had the very same feeling this evening – amazing synchronicity ! I’ve only just returned from a meeting with a company that is more ‘open’ than many others to the idea using social software tools like blogs, both in their intranet and externally. And as i was driving back – i was thinking that how wonderful it would be to be able to brainstorm with other bloggers interested in this area on some of the barriers or stumbling blocks – and work out possible solutions or directions forward. There is much that i can already tap into in terms of the technology involved – but very little that makes me confident about really ‘motivating’ them to start. Aaaaah – i feel a blog post coming up … 🙂

  2. Pinging the Actionable Senses

    John Moore alerts us to Ton Zylstra’s pondings on Lilia’s observation of blog contents and wonders if perhaps there’s a need to nudge the ship of blogdom into modes of making…

  3. “I’m not so sure if Wikis take it any further, because I haven’t got enough experience with Wikis to be able to judge that.”
    Why not ask Mitch Kapor, Sam Ruby, or others who run project wikis?

  4. Blogging and Collaboration

    The Ourhouse Weblog: Blogging and collaboration John Moore, thoughtful as ever, comments on Ton’s post Making Actionable Sense and goes onto to note his own ideas abot collaboration via blogging and the Internet… I know that via the net I…

  5. An interesting conversation about turning ideas into action

    An interesting conversation about using our blogging networks to help each other turn evolving ideas into action

  6. This quandary, how to move from idea to action, or from conversation to realization, comes up in the emergent democracy discussions – at least I’ve been bringing it up. We see the democratic potential of blogs (discussion and debate being essential to democracy) but it’s less clear how how you get from discussion to action, which is necessary for self-government. We have to work out the practices and processes for getting to decisions, messy when many voices are in the mix.

  7. FYI
    Check a dictionary. The word “actionable” refers to something that you can be sued for doing. I recently heard someone in a corporation asking employees for “actionable suggestions”. They were trying to ask for suggestions that included things that could be acted upon to bring real improvement, but unfortunately, according to the dictionary, an “actionable suggestion” is actually a suggestion that you can be sued for making.

  8. Stichting Ergensland

    In 2002 is de Stichting Ergensland opgericht door ir. Bart Daalder. De stichting stelt zich de volgende vragen: Waarvan worden wij gelukkig? Van materieel bezit; van een hoge status; van een omvangrijk sociaal netwerk? Staat het streven naar geluk eige…

  9. Blogs are not the only fruit

    Blogs may have been a word of the year for 2004, but this piece argues that a wider variety of social software tools and group structures will start to gain widespread …

  10. Blognetze zu virtuellen Organisationen

    Ton Zijlstra denkt weiter �ber “Making Actionable Sense” nach und fasst Gedanken, die im Mailwechsel mit Lilia Efimova und mir enstanden sind in einem langen Blogeintrag zusammen. Die gro�e Idee…

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