Themes and insights from SHiFT
Back home. Some SHiFT impressions that will stay:
Very convincing optimism of Euan Semple regarding the power of bottom-up processes in business settings that eventually will change organisations as we know them. Although I feel like being on the same ship thinking about long-term effects, I can't avoid thinking of practicalities on the way there – this is something that came back over conversations with many others around SHiFT.
- Lack of compatibility with current cultural norms -->
- "old" culture that shapes participants, difficulties with risk- and responsibility-taking behaviours at personal level (see also: Mediated)
- management resistance (especially middle-management)
- Need to change organisational structures and processes. Euan said that "quiet revolution" will eventually happen when current bottom-up processes reach tipping point - wonder if we will deal with "revolution" or "evolution" scenarios.
- Technology upscaling problem - you may start experimenting with wikis and blogs at "do it yourself" server without a budget and formal support, but if the whole thing works it would have to "professionalise" to scale up (probably meaning relying on paid software, involving IT department, getting helpdesk, etc.). My experiences are that once you go beyond early adopters to majority you can't rely on "do it yourself" technology any more (happy to hear any specific arguments if you believe that I'm wrong :).
- Creating a space for "globally distributed near instant person to person communication" doesn't always means totally thought-free self-organisation. What seems to hide behind the success stories is the role and specific approaches of people who initiate and support the change (position and reputation in an organisation, insider knowledge of organisational culture that allows choosing ways that are likely to work, experience in facilitating change and self-organisation, specific tricks to make things work, etc...).
Discussions with Beverly Trayner and Stephanie Booth about helping unprepared participants to get involved with a community technology
- Attitudes: not being used to decentralised, participant-driven ways of communication - need for someone in the beginning to "start filling the page", not expecting everyone "jumping into it" immediately, but designing strategies of involvement
- Fear of making mistakes (especially strong in some cultures, e.g. in Portugal according to Beverly) as a barrier - making own mistakes to give an example (although the culture could be too strong that you as a facilitator may start fear to make mistakes yourself)
- Lack of technology skills - slow introduction, preferably with private sync support (ideally f2f, otherwise IM/Skype/phone)
Communicating concepts through comics by Kevin Cheng (slides and related reading) – thinking of all those little drawings in my presentations that people seem to like to much :)
Extended thinking on design:
Blogging SWOT by Monica Andre and Margarida Cardoso - will be back on that soon.
Talking with Suw on choices and ethics of handling digital information (following her talk about ORG).
The image of earthquake coming from David Galipeau.
Talking about balance with Martin.
Side observations - feeling of discrimination by the Mac majority (can't they just accept that there are people who pray other gods?), talks about consulting rates and too much sweet pastries I couldn't resist :)