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The power of loose ends (2)

The voices below speak well for themselves, so I don’t need to comment much. In response to The power of visible loose ends.

Ton Zijlstra, Making Actionable Sense

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 layed out for the types of things we come up with here.

Dina Mehta, Blogs – turning ideas into actions:

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 of 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.

John Moore, Blogging and collaboration:

I know that via the net I can now tap into some pretty remarkable talents in different parts of the world. This is both exciting and frustrating. Exciting cos I really like these people and love the idea of working with them, frustrating because I’ve yet to discover how best to do it. I’ve seen a lot of putative collaborations fail because they don’t get to some kind of critical mass or level of commitment.

Gary Lawrence Murphy, Pinging the Actionable Senses:

Back to actionable sense and the outcome of the blog-dumps, this, I believe, is an inevitable outcome of all blog-reading. Knowledge is only additive, you cannot remove knowledge, you can only add to it. We read each other’s stories and make an implicit actionable sense in that we are confrontied with a need to assimmilate what they’ve said, or to accommodate it into our world model (which may mean to dismiss it), but we’re still taking a mental action that changes the way we’ve previously thought about the issue.

[…] The loose ends offer me a sense of the possible, a landscape that can go anywhere, a sense of adventure that keeps coaxing me back to explore a little more. I wouldn’t want it tidied up in a tight focused and deadlined bundle because I know, philosophically, to do so would require closing off many of these possibilities, discarding the undiscovered territories. It’s an ongoing story, a story of ideas, a story of what’s needed, what’s possible, a story of senses where there’s no way to end the plotline, no way to limit the cast and no way to cut it off in time for the capping colophon. Unhemmed as it is uneven.

Ton, Making Actionable Sense II

Yes, I too love what Gary calls the landscape of possibilities. In fact I think I’m very much addicted to it. To the feeling of that sudden spark in my head where I feel thoughts and ideas are connected but still just out of reach to be able to put it into words well, but I already sense that it is there.

[…]Nevertheless I do have a feeling that I’m not responsive enough in picking up the thoughts we dream up here in the blogosphere and turn them into action. The blogs reveal emerging patterns, and we can nurture the memes we think important, and block or criticise the ones we think are not.
But I seem to be less succesfull at moving stuff from the complex and un-ordered realm (to adopt some of Dave Snowdens vocabulary) where my addiction is fed, to the more ordered realm of the knowable and practice.

One of the barriers in doing that and that might be turned into an attractor, is the people with whom I try to bring that transition about, from the complex un-ordered to the more ordered knowable. Why would I try to do that with people who never been to the complexity realm, when at the same time I know lots of people who have and are in part neatly listed in my blogroll?

I said to a couple of people on my first Skype round that I wish to be able to get many of us to work together at the same place, but I guess it’s not feasible 🙂 And even if it would be I don’t think it would work well: the power of our joint discoveries comes from “weak-tied” nature of our connections, different backgrounds, different countries and different lives. Still, sometimes I wish to know easy ways to turn weak ties into strong ones, at least for the time needed to develop ideas that worth it.

I don’t think it’s a matter of technology, although finding an easy way to communicate and to work on joint products is important. I guess it’s more of a mindset, thinking that the line between weak and strong ties can not be blurred, that collaboration is for colleagues and blogging is for bloggers, as well as not knowing there to start.

I believe that one thing needed to start is writing about future plans next to past experiences and current thoughts and inviting others to join. The learning webs paper we wrote with Sebastian Fiedler had been triggered by an e-mail inviting for an adventure of writing a paper in a week before the deadline, leveraging the connection and shared context we had through the year of blogging.

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2003/11/30.html#a855; comments are here.

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