Unified communication, this is not!

In this world of increasingly diverse communication, our conversations are becoming scattered across channels.

A few channels in a few minutes

Yesterday, my ex-partner sent me a¬†text (SMS) message which approximated to: “Will you please reply to my email about …?”.

A few minutes later, she sent me another: “Actually, it might have been a voicemail“.

So I telephoned her and said: “Actually, it was a text message!”

Funny, or not?

On one level, we can dismiss this as being part of our funny old world.

But as the number of channels increases, it is not so funny when an important conversation breaks down because messages are being sent and expected on multiple disparate channels.

We like differently

It is a very simple idea: we like differently. And a wide range of consequences flow from it.

You and I like different things. Also you and I like or dislike the same things for different reasons and to a different extent.

A significant hurdle to understanding this is the difficulty we frequently have in accepting that other people have different perspectives from which they view the same things as we view.

Yet, we know that we all have different experiences and capabilities, and different hopes and fears; so is it a surprise that we have different criteria by which we observe, assess and evaluate anything? This is the basis for variety and diversity. It is also fundamental to trade and commerce; if everyone’s valuation of an item is the same, then there is no basis for trading it.

So if we have any blind spots which hide differences between our valuations, these can have wide ranging consequences for our ability to cooperate and interoperate. They limit our capacity to assist each other and to enable each other to contribute as effectively as we might.

Our existence would be extremely limited if we all liked the same.

Organising for innovation

Aspects and characteristics

It is unlikely that anyone doubts that the ability of an organisation to innovate is strongly dependent on the nature of that organisation. Its nature can be described by various characteristics (including cultural, behavioural and structural¬†characteristics) and by several aspects (including the static and dynamic aspects) of those characteristics.¬† Continue reading “Organising for innovation”

Welcome, all you Like Minds!

Welcome to Exeter in Devon, all of you who are attending the Like Minds conference this week (Thursday and Friday, October 28 and 29).

The success of the Like Minds conference is a great credit to the organisers, the speakers, the sponsors, the local community and, of course, the participants. With each conference, there has been an increase in its scale, duration, diversity and ambition. Continue reading “Welcome, all you Like Minds!”

Sell the opportunity

Treat every problem as an opportunity, we are told. At first sight it is an attractive idea, but further investigation reveals that it is a little too glib. Problems and opportunities are similar but different things; in a sense they are the opposite of one another.

Edward de Bono, I think it was, who captured the difference as follows. Presumably, in general, we do things because we can see the benefit of doing them. A problem exists when we can see the benefit of doing something, but we do not yet know how to do it. An opportunity exists in the opposite situation: when there are things that we know how to do, but we have not yet seen the benefit of doing them. Continue reading “Sell the opportunity”

Helping other people to get what you want

“We are not a cruise ship. We are an explorer ship!”

This is one of the key messages in the passenger briefing on the ships of the Hurtigruten service which runs daily northbound and southbound along the coast of Norway. For nearly 500 passengers recently boarded at Bergen, almost all of them on a cruise going well north of the Arctic Circle and many of them cruising back again, over a total of 12 days, this message is an interesting form of: “I have bad news and I have good news”! Continue reading “Helping other people to get what you want”

Meeting Ann Holman

Innovation was a theme on Friday morning, when I had the pleasure of meeting Ann Holman in person. What an energetic and forward thinker she is!

We’d already conversed briefly by electronic means, and so we arranged to meet IRL (In Real Life), as others have termed it. Ann had already tweeted, although at the time I had not seen her message, that drinking coffee at the Innovation Centre, Exeter University, was an important ancillary benefit of meeting me there! So we know one source of fuel for her thinking; and our meeting place was one element of the “innovation” theme. Continue reading “Meeting Ann Holman”

Liking LikeMinds 2010

A global local conference

How often does a great conference on an emerging subject attract local, national and global participants to a quiet corner of the UK? Not often, I suspect.

Nevertheless last Friday, 2010 February 26, it happened again at LikeMinds 2010! The first time it happened was in 2009 on October 16th. Back in February 2009, two people met having got to know each other using Twitter, the popular social media tool/service. Scott Gould is a Devon-based web and experience designer. Trey Pennington is an American social media and business consultant. They met in Exeter and set the date for a half-day event which became LikeMinds 09. A local conference centre was the venue. People came from far and wide to became part of the inaugural gathering. Afterwards, they knew that they’d started something and felt the need to repeat it.

This time, just over four months later. More came to LikeMinds 2010, in the same relatively small venue. The same loyal bunch of social media specialists came back and brought more with them. There was more buzz and activity. This time, it lasted a full day and was followed by a business-oriented summit event at a prestigious location.

It was good to be there. It was good to meet new people. It was good to get a real sense of what is going on in human social communication. And all of this in my local city of Exeter, Devon, England.

There is more to come on this conference! But to give you a flavour, here is the talk by Chris Brogan … after I’d had lunch with him!

And, I am sure, more LikeMinds conferences to come.

It’s about relationships!

Shift of emphasis

After a long drawn-out build-up, lasting decades, it feels to me that we are finally tipping over into a new era of models for systems. Whether thinking about communities of people, about business processes or about social networks, the shift of emphasis is at last now leaning away from “things” and towards the “relationships” between those things.

It is tempting to say: “It’s about relationships, stupid!” (pace James Carville). Continue reading “It’s about relationships!”