Archive for January, 2012

Supporting the Anti-SOPA Blackout Day

January 18th, 2012

Virtual Knowledge Cafe on Social Artistry

January 17th, 2012

I’m very pleased to be co-hosting a Virtual Knowledge Cafe on Social Artistry with Michele Martin.

Over the past several months I’ve being piecing together strands of insights and learning about where I am as a practitioner within the social media/business landscape. I came across writings about social artistry and discovered how others are pondering similar questions.

Michele Martin, a blogger I’ve being following for some time, also was attracted to this emerging  area of working and learning called “social artistry’ . We both felt that organizing an online space for broadening the dialogue and learning more about the skills of social artistry might be of interest to others.

Michele has posted the announcement and invitation to participate in our online cafe on her website.

Here is Michele’s announcement in its entirety.

Announcing: The Virtual Knowledge Cafe on Social Artistry

Brent MacKinnon and I are organizing a 9-week Knowledge Cafe that we plan to run online, starting February 20, 2012.

It’s open to anyone who’s interested in learning with us about the skills and talents of social artists and who wants to explore how social artistry might fit into their professional practice.

We’ll be adapting David Gurteen’s Knowledge Cafe model and Bo Gyllenpalm’s Virtual Knowledge Cafe as a learning framework.

A few things you should know:

  • There will be no instructors, no learning objectives and no formal curriculum. The group will work together to decide on the topics we want to explore, based on our interests and passions. Each of us will take the lead in directing the learning through the questions we ask and the knowledge and resources we share. If you are looking for a formal course in social artistry, we are NOT the group for you.
  • We are building this plane while it’s flying. We will be providing an online “home” for the Cafe and some basic structural framework, but the content and practices we develop will evolve as we go through the process. We think this is an exciting, interesting way to learn about a topic like this, but it can also be a little challenging for people who are used to more “polished” products and structured learning. If you participate in the Cafe, be ready for some messiness.
  • We have no idea of the outcomes for the Cafe. We’re hoping that the Cafe can be the start of a Community of Practice for people who are interested in social artistry. We’re thinking there’s a possibility that through the Cafe we might identify some cool projects or ideas to work on together. But we really have no way of knowing what will result from the Cafe. And we’re OK with that. If you join us, you will need to be OK with that too.

This is an experiment in using some of the tools and techniques of social artistry to learn about social artistry. As with all experiments, it has the potential to be a rousing success or an abysmal failure. But either way, we will learn something from it.

If you’re interested, check out our course invitation here and sign up here.

Here’s to learning together!

Related Posts:

Creating My 2012 Business Position Statement: A gyroscope to support my highest aspirations and keep me balanced,

Coming Home as a Node in the Network

Left Brain – Right Brain photo by Invisible Heartstrings



Creating my 2012 Business Position Statement: A gyroscope to support my highest aspirations and keep me balanced

January 4th, 2012

To mark the start of the New Year, I’ve being thinking intently about the year ahead and how I might clarify my work ethos or personal vision of what I do. I decided to create a position statement or some sort of tag line to describe who I am and what I stand for as a professional in my consulting sector.

My first approach was to create a few New Year’s resolutions to help me get started. I soon realized that New Year’s resolutions weren’t going to get me my position statement. I knew that I wanted much more than a few pithy promises to improve. Rather, I wanted a concise business position statement that would guide my work and help me stay focused on my core business goals. Having worked in my youth as a hard rock miner I likened my task to drilling and blasting high grade mineral deposits. I would extract the richest minerals, process  the  high grade ore into a few key words and then use these selected words to represent what I stand for as a consultant in my field.

I gained inspiration for this task from a book I enjoyed this past year. It was called Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds and Actions by Guy Kawasaki. One of Guy’s recommendations is to set a three to ten word (maximum) slogan that defines or stakes out your position in your field of work. He suggests that your slogan not be a syrupy    marketing promise, full of ego and claiming to be the best in the business. Rather, it should be a carefully thought out position statement totally owned and created by you.          Ideally he recommends you use action words that are concise, honest reflections of what you do and what you stand for as a professional.

So I took up Guy’s challenge to create a brief slogan that would capture the essence of my work and learning identity. After much reflection and testing, I created my own four word position statement. It was then that I began to understand why Guy recommended this exercise.  These four words, taken either together or individually, contain an energy that’s uniquely personal to me and that dynamically supports my highest aspirations. The words are like a gyroscope keeping me upright and balanced, while embracing the uncertainty       of our emerging complex, networked world. The following image and description explain why the words I chose are meaningful to me. Each word can stand on its own or be part of a synergistic flow, with each word complementing and supporting the others.


Listen– This means that in my work and learning, I aspire to be fully present in my interactions and attentive to both what is said and unsaid. I show up and listen deeply so that   I can better understand the results sought by individuals and organizations. I maintain a curious mind in my interactions, asking questions that bring out important details regarding: the issues at hand. I play back what I hear, in order to ensure that I understand what is being said and that together we are creating a shared understanding for moving forward in our dialogue.

Engage – When I engage, I aspire to share my knowledge, feelings, reactions and ideas openly, without self-judgement or hesitation. I endeavour to approach people with an attitude of respect and equality of business stature, regardless of differences in power, influence or wealth. I engage each person with an attitude of curiosity, exploration of shared purpose, and the excitement of creating solutions together.

To emphasize why I feel the word engage is so important, I’ve added a video on engagement from Luis Suarez’s website. Luis is the Knowledge Manager, Community Builder & Social Computing Evangelist in the IBM Software Group division and a highly respected blogger, read by many around the world.  This video emphasizes the importance and value of engagement as a critical factor in determining business success, and supports my choice of engagement as one of the key words in my position statement.

Encourage – My role is to help people and organizations re-learn or continue learning, so that they can create continuous improvement in their practice and experience business success. I strive to promote positive change within organizations so that goals and targets can be met. I support self-directed learning and principles for working smarter                     (See Internet Time Alliance for an overview). My role is to encourage a learning culture within organizations and support the creation of a workspace where the natural creativity of both the workers and the organization flourish.

Energise – My passion is to work with people and organizations so that they are more successful and productive. I believe the building blocks for surviving in our networked, always on world are social learning, collaboration and innovation, amplified by social media tools. I invest my passion and constructive energy in all facets of my work and as a   result, experience increased vitality, spirit and resilience in both myself and those with whom I work.

Summary – I see my four word position statement as a dynamic force that supports my highest aspirations to be a productive network learner and worker who listens deeply, engages openly, provides encouragement, and passionately fosters constructive energy in all facets of my life and work.

As I was creating my position statement, I found myself practising a form of alchemy, transforming my list of words into a clearer vision of myself as a worker and learner.   Throughout the year, I will endeavour to make these words come alive, guiding, energising and focusing me as I pursue my personal and business goals.

My Challenge to You – This exercise has been an inspiring, self-motivating personal experience for me, so much so that I’m extending the challenge to you. As you develop your own 2012 personal and business success plan, why not start by creating your own position statement? Try developing a concise, honest, three to ten word reflection of what you do and what you stand for as a professional, and briefly summarizing why. I would be pleased to hear how you make out with this process. And I invite you to post your position statement and comments on my blog or to send it to me and, with your permission, I’ll gladly post it on my site.  I look forward to your sharing the process of creating your own personal gyroscope to support your highest aspirations and to keep you upright and balanced throughout 2012.

How to use Employee Engagement to boost your businessExplania