Tool Kit for Filtering News & Taking Civic Action

February 5th, 2017

truthometer-190x300I’m learning how to filter news and just about any information or media I come across (online, print, video).

I think improving your filtering skills has become critical. We are getting flooded by fake news, disinformation and propaganda.

It is becoming more apparent (at least to me) that with the arrival of Trump politics citizens need to take more responsibility for figuring out where information is coming from and what are the verifiable elements in news stories.

Here is a post that has given me a guide for improving my news filtering skills.

Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy tookit for a “post-truth” world

We were guaranteed a free press,  We were not guaranteed a neutral or a true press. We can celebrate the journalistic freedom to publish without interference from the state.  We can also celebrate our freedom to share multiple stories through multiple lenses.

But it has always been up to the reader or viewer to make the reliability and credibility decisions.  It is up to the reader or viewer to negotiate truth.

Media Literacy, social learning, Workplace-Network Learning

Civic Innovation – the Internet of Cities

February 4th, 2017

As I wade through the many articles and opinion pieces on what is happening around the world with our economy and the future of work, I came across this post by Dylan Hendricks. The Near-Term Future of Democracy and Civic Innovation: The Internet of Cities

I thought Mr. Hendricks framing of the problem as a failure of our governance structures was spot on.  He makes a case for the Internet of Cities and gives us a series of steps that can help cities stabilize and move through the turbulence. There is much to consider in this post. His assessment provides new rays of light that hold promise.

Dylan Hendricks is the Director of the Ten-Year Forecast at the Institute for the Future. Speaker and researcher on mythology, the future, and the mythology of the future.

The Problem:

It’s becoming clear that global governance bodies like the UN and WTO are failing to stabilize and maintain the post-WWII geopolitical order. Global growth has stagnated.Multinationals acquire each other at unprecedented rates as nations compete for their largess. Conflict is brewing around the world, manifesting in frequent bursts of civil unrest and factional warfare. All this, and climate change and political upheaval have fomented the worst migrant crisis in modern history.

Most national governments now face an existential battle on two fronts: protecting themselves from their own disgruntled populations, and defending against foreign governments vying for power in the next wave of global dominance. It’s as though we’re in one big Mexican standoff between every country and religion and tribe in the world, all pointing guns at each other while we wait for the next big shoe to drop. That’s how Russia, though economically beleaguered and globally isolated, has found itself so powerful suddenly — it’s a good time to be a chaos agent.

The problem, of course, is that this current class of platforms have broken free of national constraints by riding the commercial infrastructure of multinational corporations. This isn’t in itself a problem, but where these private ventures have been phenomenally successful in developing compelling experiences and technologies, they’re neither incentivized nor equipped to navigate the social contracts that governments and the public have hammered out over centuries of hard-earned progress. Airbnb provides an incredible service to its customers and a novel revenue stream to its providers, but it disrupts low-income housing as much as it does traditional hotel chains. Another way of saying this: these platforms have already become too important to be managed entirely by individual companies.

The Solution, Step 2: Enter the 21st century city-state.

Residents in Austin, Texas and Barcelona, Spain have already discovered what happens when local regulations push Uber out of the local market: a dozen equivalent services emerge to fill the void. With their relatively self-contained infrastructure, populations and industries, cities might represent the ideal scale for governance and policy in the wild west that is the twenty-first century global economy.

Cities, of course, have always played the role of cultural catalyst during times of historic transition. Democracy was birthed through the powerful city states of ancient Greece, and Baghdad once sparked a golden age of science and art that spread across medieval Arabia. Today, individual cities like Sao Paulo and London provide the economic engines that power entire countries.

More importantly, real democratic work can likely get done in cities in a way that is currently impossible in the western climate of cold civil war. While national divides are complex, the easiest predictor of whether somebody voted Democrat or Republican in the 2016 American election wasn’t whether they were white or educated, but whether they lived in a city or not. In the Brexit vote, 75% of Londoners voted to stay in the EU against the will of a thin majority elsewhere in the country. Like it or not, residents of cities currently agree a lot more on the fundamentals than the entire populations of nations do.

And unlike nations, cities are inherently governable. They are large enough to implement meaningful system-wide policies, and small enough that residents can reasonably influence those policies through council hearings, mayoral elections, and local protest. And while only one-in-five Americans trust the federal government to make the right decisions, nearly three-quarters trust their local and city governments. Cities like New York and San Francisco have already pledged to use the many means at their disposal to protect against unwanted federal policies during the Trump administration.

social learning, Workplace-Network Learning

A Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy

June 25th, 2016

PGRI’m into the first chapter of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy and it is shaking me to my core. (Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols)

On a quick scan of this book, I was blown away by the historical research and deep understanding of the evolution of our economy and the world of work. I recognized right away that it was an important book that will deepen my understanding of the intersection of the new network economy, disappearing jobs,and the role of government, education and private sector.

Most importantly I felt that this book will help me make sense of  the challenges that lay ahead for young people entering the 21st century workplace.


Below are few excerpts that I think give a very small flavour of the book.

An example given early in the book (still reading it) refers to the bankruptcy of Kodak. In 1988 this company employed 145,000 workers. Instagram was a company that empowered people to use instantaneous photo sharing tools on their smart phones. It had 13 million customers and employed 13 people. Instagram was bought by Facebook. The total employment at Facebook in March 2015 was 10,082, only 7% of Kodak’s employment figures.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 – Into the Maelstrom

Most reform proposals are dismissed as impractical and relegated to the nether-world of the loony Left, before they can even see the light of day.

The reason for this is clear: The United States is not a democracy, if by democracy we mean a government by the people, and for the people. That is the big lie of the official discourse. If anything it is a “citizenless” democracy, an oxymoron if there ever was one. The only voice that ever matters in American politics, the voice that shuts down every other, is that of the wealthy few for whom creative destruction is a business practice rather than a threat.

The book underscores the need for imparting new skills to young people. The world has permanently shifted to the network era and a digitally connected, always on world. For the most part, we (global society) are out of step and far behind in terms of preparing young workers for this new world of work. I’m excited by the realistic picture this book is presenting while pointing out possible ways to address the profound changes in our political and economic systems.

I will add more posts on the themes presented in this book. I will also integrate some of the ideas into any work I do with organizations around 21 st century workplace.

Workplace-Network Learning

Professional Ecosystem – Controlling & Self Directing Your Career

May 11th, 2016

Jane Hart, in her Learning in the Modern Social Workplace website has envisioned a new framework for articulating (understanding) how individuals can become more efficient on their job and take greater control over their careers.

In a constantly shifting landscape where jobs and organizations are constantly changing and often times disappearing, workers are developing their own eco system for managing their careers.

I like her evolving perspective on the 21st century workplace because it makes sense on so many levels. The professional eco system (PES) framework is unique for each worker and controlled by each worker. the framework connects strongly with Harold Jarche’s Professional Knowledge Mastery (PKM) process.

In Jane’s post she describes the shift of responsibility for improved workplace performance on to the workers and away from management. The days of personal learning management systems controlled by a department that dictates what workers need to learn on the job is over.

Jane’s full post is titled The Future of Work and Learning 1: – The Professional Ecosystem.

Essentially, I was describing a Professional Ecosystem (PES) – a set of organisational and personal, interconnecting and interacting elements – content, people, software, services, apps, etc – that helps an individual

  • do their job
  • solve performance problems
  • communicate and collaborate with others
  • self-improve (for their existing work and/or future career), as well as
  • keep up to date with what is happening in their industry or profession so that they remain relevant and marketable.


Collaboration in the Workplace, Workplace-Network Learning

Work is No Longer a Destination

May 1st, 2016

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organisations embraced the full, empowering potential of technology & encouraged an open, collaborative & flexible working culture. Thanks to RSA Animates for this very cool presentation.

I’m connecting with people in my networks on the subject of improving worker and organizational performance. It’s a subject I’ve immersed myself in over the past few years. I’ve also participated in many online and inperson learning experiences on workplace change and the role of workers in the 21st century network economy.

Over the last years I’ve considered launching this workshop series however other priorities put my plans on hold. As well, I wan’t totally ready on a personal level. I was going through many  major changes in my life and my energy to take on this plan just wasn’t present. I feel that I’m am much more organized and ready to step more into the public realm and share more with my networks, individuals and organizations.

My early background is youth development & mental health, community development, youth employment and adult education. These sectors face a barrage of complex problems affecting their communities and service recipients. Since 2009, I’ve being providing consulting services related to online web communications, online communities of practice and social media utilization for improved performance for workers and organizations. Over the past four years I’ve focused on in network learning for organizations and workers.

My workshops will be based on Jane Hart’s Modern Workplace Learning and Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Mastery framework.  My goal is to help helping workers and organizations be more efficient and purposeful in the 21st century workplace and network economy. As Jay Cross from the Internet Time Alliance so famously quoted “seize the day”.

Collaboration in the Workplace, PKM, Workplace-Network Learning

Letting go of Control

December 30th, 2015

In this video, Harold Jarche explains his Personal Knowledge Mastery or PKM framework. The video is succinct and gives a solid context for understanding  the importance of PKM for personal and professional development.

For organizations, the challenge will be for management to adopt a new mindset that reduces even eliminates control of how their employees connect, learn and share in and outside the organization.

Harold’s post opens up the issue of democracy in the workplace. Organizations are formed using a hierarchical (top down) control model. In the emerging network era workplace, transparency and trust are the drivers for survival of the organization.


Network Learning Era

December 14th, 2015

Our work and business environment is more complex than ever. Communication (digital) technologies, automation and  outsourcing practices are all aspects of living in the network era.

We work, play, consume and communicate in an always on, networked world.

There are myriad reports and research reports that describe how we (organizations and workers) are in a transition from the knowledge/information era to the network learning era.

In the network era, how well you connect, create and collaborate with others determines your value. Soft skills of empathy, creativity, sharing and sensitivity are the foundation for success. Technology skills and tools just help you along the way.

Embracing a continuous learning mindset is a prerequisite for learning workers and organizations. More than ever we need to strengthen our ability to learn how to work with others more effectively and organizations need to learn how to open up their hierarchical silos and tap into the creative and innovative capabilities of their staff.



Modern Workplace Learning – Workshops for Non-Profits

December 8th, 2015


Jane Hart has developed a body of work that she refers to as Modern Workplace Learning (MWL). Harold Jarche has become internationally respected for his writing on the digital network era and its impact on the workplace. Harold’s framework is called Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) or the “seek-sense-share framework. I’ve taken online workshops with both Harold and Jane and I’m a member of the Modern Workplace Learning Association.

Workshop Series: Modern Workplace Learning

Using both Harold and Jane’s “frameworks”,  I’m creating a workshop program targeting the nonprofit sector.  The primary goal is to introduce the guiding principles and practices of the MWL and PKM frameworks. I believe nonprofits as change agent organizations are obligated to support workplace learning because it leads to improved performance and engagement outcomes for their constituents and for themselves.

Constituents served by nonprofits need workers who can guide and support them in using continuous learning skills to help meet their health and livelihood needs. In this way consumers of nonprofit services will have improved skills and opportunities to manage their life in the digital network era.

In my lengthy experience in the nonprofit sector, I’ve not seen an organized framework approach that supports workplace learning. What I’ve experienced is intermittent supervision and yearly performance reviews as the standard approach to ensure job requirements are met. Those processes have little to do with workplace learning.

The skills and mindsets integral to modern workplace learning can be practiced and learned. They will be a significant components of my workshop program.. I also believe that MWL and PKM frameworks, once integrated into nonprofit worker’s repertoire will lead to the development of new services that will enhance user’s (the public/community) capacity to meet the challenges of employment and health in the digital network era.

In the business and corporate world, workplace learning is the role of the Learning & Development (L&D) department. Like other industrial age institutions, L & D is becoming extinct as workers can and do manage their own learning and professional development. The L&D industry is slowly letting go of their control of the workplace learning environment with the recognition that their traditional training programs are unwelcome and ineffective.

By default, nonprofit workers use their own devices to connect and learn, however there is little evidence of nonprofit practitioners working within and supported by a continuous learning framework. Also, I’ve not seen leaders within organizations using a structured approach that supports workplace or organizational learning.

Poverty, addictions, homelessness and mental health are complex problems. More than ever, these social problems require a continuous learning mindset of practitioners. Nonprofit practitioners, most of whom are steeped in humanistic values and hired for their engagement and counselling skills will need to move from a knowledge worker mindset to a learning worker mindset.

My modern workplace learning workshops will introduce workers and organizations to a structured (or personally constructed framework) approach for increasing performance and engagement results. In the spirit of working out loud, I will be sharing more about my workshop building process over the coming months.


PKM, Workplace-Network Learning

Canadian Youth Unemployment Crisis – a generating solutions project

November 2nd, 2015


For the past year and half, I worked closely with two other colleagues on an online project that attempted to develop an informal social network dedicated to the worldwide crisis of youth unemployment. The informal network would be comprised of individuals concerned about the permanent transformation of jobs and the workplace and how that transformation was exacerbating the youth employment crisis in Canada and around the world.

I use Harold Jarche’s image to illustrate how we were attempting to connect knowledge flows between people concerned about youth unemployment in the 21st century workplace.

We called our initiative Youth Profit. Our goal was to develop a learning, sharing and action network that would stimulate conversation that in turn could lead to solutions to youth unemployment crisis in Canada. Initially we had a global approach but then narrowed our focus just to Canada.

In our cause, we were especially motivated knowing that youth at the fringes of society are most vulnerable from the volatile and rapid changes happening in the workplace. Evidence was everywhere that robotics, globalization and digital technologies were causing a rapid transformation to our workplace. Jobs are permanently lost and eliminated. Young people would pay the greatest price unless solutions could be found.

Kick starting solutions – we bit off more than we could chew!

Using our Youth Profit website, we posted research findings and successful projects from around the world. We assumed this knowledge might attract the individuals we needed to kickstart innovative solutions to youth unemployment. Finding the right ingredients to attract visitors and potential contributors was proving to be very difficult.

Eventually we realized that creating a global network that could share, learn and possibly find new solutions to youth employment was too broad (and complex) a task. We decided to change our catchment area to Canada and narrow our scope to the failure of the Canadian Youth Job Strategy to create jobs and relevant training experiences for unemployed youth. We also recognized that there is a systemic failure in Canada for the education, nonprofit, government and private sector to work collectively and collaboratively on youth unemployment.

Despite the lack of cross sector cooperation, we believed that individual leaders from the non-profit, business, education and government sectors might put aside their silo behaviour and see  the wisdom of cross sector collective problem solving on youth unemployment.

Using our online sharing platform we attempted to stimulate discussion and action on youth unemployment and training. We wanted to connect with individuals who understood the crisis in youth unemployment in Canada and who would welcome an opportunity to share their insights and contribute to collective solutions.

Unfortunately, we ran out of time and energy needed to connect with sector leaders. The work was beyond our capacity and we had concentrate on our families and earning an income. We chose to end our sweat equity work after our third attempt to secure start up funding was not successful.

What I learned

I believe that our goal of initiating large scale systemic changes to the youth employment training sector was very ambitious but naive. The three of us had a loose network across Canada that we could tap into however those network connections were not strong enough to initiate cross sector, informal discussions about the permanently changed workplace and potential solutions to youth unemployment.

Here are a few thoughts on what I think we accomplished.

  • We created an online repository of knowledge featuring projects and countries that were succeeding with policies and practice. (research, successful projects, countries with progressive policies etc.)
  • We provided assessment and commentary on issues related to youth employment and training;
  • We field tested a interactive online platform that could lead to informal collective creation of practical solutions to the world wide youth unemployment crisis.
  • I learned that a systemic approach involving education, non profit, government and private sector individuals is very difficult. It is fraught with pitfalls, mind fields and rigid silo thinking.
  • I learned that working with individuals as opposed to large systems offers more opportunities to succeed.
  • I learned that there is potential for this project to succeed providing there is willingness for cross sector collaboration  that spawns communities of practice which would in turn give birth to new projects that address youth unemployment.
  • I learned that informal sharing in an online network requires trust and time.
  • I learned that had we invested more time and energy with key people early in the process we may have succeed with Youth Profit. (see resource links below re. Trust)

I see this initiative as “on the shelf” but not forgotten. I’m now focusing on working more on the individual organization and practitioner level rather than trying to engage high level systemic sectors. I’ll be doing this through workshops and consulting services with Social Media Tools for Work and Learning.

Further Reading – Post Job Economy & Network Solutions

Harold Jarche’s post The Future is Jobless describes the shift to a post job economy.

We show that over the past 40 years, structural change within the labor market has revealed itself during downturns and recoveries. The arrival of robotics, computing, and information technology has allowed for a large-scale automation of routine tasks. This has meant that the elimination of middle-wage jobs during recessions has not been accompanied by the return of such jobs afterward. This is true of both blue-collar jobs, like those in production occupations, and white-collar jobs in office and administrative support occupations. Thus, the disappearance of job opportunities in routine occupations is leading to jobless recoveries. – Third Way: Jobless recoveries


An Age of Experimentation – Harold Jarche 2015 – 05 – 05

Most routine, standardized work will be automated, as we enter The Second Machine Age. Any process that can be analyzed and mapped is the raw material for a machine, whether it be a computer or a robot. Cashiers, bank tellers, managers, and lawyers are some of the vocations that have been automated. In the near future, taxi drivers, analysts, and researchers will join them.

Enterprise Knowledge Sharing Requires Trusted Relationships – Harold Jarche, Posted ; filed under Work.

In order to take action and make decisions, we need access to the best information we can get. A network that is constantly creating content to share, and having conversations around it, can make better decisions. This is the business value of social networks. But it is all based on trust, for without trust, there is no sharing. Realizing the business value of enterprise social networks takes not just time, but also active and effective knowledge sharing.

What is your organization doing to foster trusted relationships in the workplace?




PKM, Workplace-Network Learning ,

Workshop Development

September 23rd, 2015

I’m organizing a workshop that encompasses Harold Jarche’s (and others) framework  for working in the 21st century.

The core of this framework addresses the need for workers and organizations to drop their industrial age mindsets about work and align themselves with the skills needed to thrive in the 21st century creative and networked economy.

It’s taken me a long time to think though and make personal sense of the massive changes that are occurring in the workplace and learning environment.

This workshop is my opportunity to present a critically important mechanism for that can guide workers and organizations in their development as 21st Century workers and organizations.

My workshop audience is primarily non profit sector workers and organizations. This includes workers and organizations from these sectors: Employment Training; Housing; Poverty; Health; Consumer Survivor; Education; Outreach; Settlement; Community Development ….and more…

The introduction slides for my workshop are something that I’ve struggled with but lately I’m feeling like I’m on  the right track. In  that spirit, I am testing out a few of  my workshop slides by publishing them. In  this way I get a deeper feel for how they sound and how best to present this framework.

Workshop Title

Becoming a 21st Century Network Learning Worker/Organization

Workshop Goals:

This workshop presents a framework for you and or your organization to construct a set of lifelong network learning skills such as:

  1. Discovering a greater sense of meaning and purpose in your work.
  2. Taking greater control and ownership of your professional and career development skills.
  3. Creating opportunities for you to Increase your creativity, innovation and networking abilities thereby adding value to any organization you work in now or in the future.

PKM, Workplace-Network Learning