Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 183 - September 2015


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 183 - September 2015


  1. Introduction to the September 2015 Knowledge Letter
  2. My blook (no that's not a typo)
  3. Paul Sloane has a great way of initiating creative conversations
  4. How do we transform the world for the better?
  5. Evernote is a great writing and thinking tool
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2015
  7. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  8. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  9. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the September 2015 Knowledge Letter

You know my passion for Randomised Coffee Trials. Well take a look at this.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies won HR Zone's ‘International Project of the Year' award at this year's Employee Engagement Awards for a fascinating initiative called Random Coffee Trials (RCTs) which aim to create a sense of unity and cohesion across global boundaries.

RCTs introduced volunteers and staff to a new colleague from a different country each month for a video chat to talk about their work with the IFRC.

Shaun Hazeldine, Michael Soto well done!

My blook (no that's not a typo)

At long last I am writing a book. Well not quite. It is a blook - a cross between a blog, a website and an on-line book.

Why like this? Well I realised I could never sit down and write a book in one go. I wanted to release it in revisions - I guess a little bit like a software app. I wanted it to be multimedia, with photos, video and with multiple ways to navigate it via categories and tags. Also, for each page or post to be stand-alone and to be short enough for each to be read in less than 5 minutes to make it easy to browse.

I wanted it be responsive and to be readable on a range of devices without any need to modify the code.

I also needed the ability to write it in small pieces and to add to it at will and to continually restructure it as I went, as it evolved. But more than anything else I wanted feedback as I wrote it.

The best platform I could find for the job was Wordpress and with the help of a small number of plugins and some minor tweaks to the code I have a platform that is not perfect but does the job. The subject? Well its is about Conversational Leadership and my Knowledge Cafe. But it has turned out to be great thinking and research tool and so I am not so sure what is going to eventually emerge. Already I am straying off my original topic in many areas but I see at as a good thing and its why I am taking this blook approach.

I don't foresee ever completing it - just continually updating and improving it as my ideas develop. At the moment it is hidden from search engines and so you need the URL to find it. but I have started to open it up to a small number of people.

Let me know if you are interested in taking a peak but the pledge you make is to give me some critical early feedback. :-)

Paul Sloane has a great way of initiating creative conversations

I love this idea from Paul Soane's latest newsletter.
One of the exercises on my Creative Leadership workshop runs like this.

People in pairs have short conversations. In the first conversation one person makes a suggestion for something new that could be done for customers (say). The second person replies with an objection. They start their sentence, 'Yes but ...' The first person then rebuts the objection with another sentence starting, 'Yes but ...' They carry on, ensuring that every sentence starts with the words, 'Yes but ...'

After a couple of minutes they stop and then begin a second conversation. One person starts with a suggestion for something new that could be done for employees (say). The second person adds to the idea with a sentence beginning, 'Yes and ...' The first person responds with a sentence starting, 'Yes and ...' and so it goes on.

The results are instructive. Typically the first conversation spirals down into an argument with no agreement. The second conversation goes to all sorts of creative and unusual places. It is fun and leads to interesting ideas.

I then ask the delegates which conversation type is more common in their organization. It is always the 'Yes but ...'.

Credit: Paul Sloane

You can sign up for his free newsletter on the home page of his website destination innovation

How do we transform the world for the better?

Four quotations that are churning around my mind as I dwell on the problems of the world, transformation and what it takes to achieve it.
For both the rich and the poor, life is dominated by an ever growing current of problems, most of which seem to have no real and lasting solution.

Clearly we have not touched the deeper causes of our troubles.

It is the main point of this book that the ultimate source of all these problems is in thought itself, the very thing of which our civilization is most proud, and therefore the one thing that is "hidden" because of our failure seriously to engage with its actual working in our own lives and in individual life of the society.

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.

My belief is that the way we create conversations that overcome the fragmented nature of our communities is what creates an alternative future.

This can be a difficult stance to take for we have a deeply held belief that the way to make a difference in the world is to define problems and needs and then recommend actions to solve those needs.

We are all problem solvers, action oriented and results minded. It is illegal in this culture to leave a meeting without a to-do list.

We want measurable outcomes and we want them now.

What is hard to grasp is that it is this very mindset which prevents anything fundamental from changing.

We cannot problem solve our way into fundamental change, or transformation.

This is not an argument against problem solving; it is an intention to shift the context and language within which problem solving takes place.

Authentic transformation is about a shift in context and a shift in language and conversation. It is about changing our idea of what constitutes action.

Credit: Peter Block
So what is it they we need to change about our thinking or mindset that will help us transform the world for the better?

Are there a few key leverage points that would have a dramatic impact? Is there one that stands out?
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

There are so many people in the world trying to do good but then why are we making such poor progress?

Evernote is a great writing and thinking tool

If you have not tried out Evernote yet - give it a whirl. It's an amazing app. I do all my writing in it these days but I also use it as a thinking tool to capture and pull my fragmentary thoughts together.

It synchronises my notes and articles between my laptop, iPad and iPhone. I do serious writing on my laptop. I tend to proof read and reflect on my iPad and while waiting for my wife at the station or travelling into London on the train I use my iPhone for both reading and minor editing. I just love to able to read, write and edit like this any time, any place.

And I can work off-line and it syncs via the web later when I'm connected to the Internet. I love the ability to create different notebooks - a bit like categories and its great also to be able to tag items.

But what I think is the coolest feature of all is the Evernote Web Clipper. This allows me to capture webpages straight into Evernote. There are various options but if I capture a page as a "simplified article" - its strips out all the ads, all the menus, all the side bars - pretty much all the junk and leaves me with nice clean text.

I tend to use it mainly to capture a blog post or an article. In this way as I read through the item later I can strike through the paragraphs that I feel are junk and highlight the good stuff. Then a few weeks later when I come to read it again I can focus my reading on the critical text. Oh and I can mail stuff into the database too - so I also use it to capture ideas and fragmentary thoughts that I can dwell on and pull together later.

Take a look, it has many more features I have not mentioned, I think you will love it.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2015

Here are some of my more popular recent tweets. Take a look, if you are not a Tweeter, you will get a good idea of how I use it by browsing the list of micro-posts.

If you like the Tweets then subscribe to my Tweet stream.

Upcoming Knowledge Events

Here are some of the major KM events taking place around the world in the coming months and ones in which I am actively involved. You will find a full list on my website where you can also subscribe to both regional e-mail alerts and RSS feeds which will keep you informed of new and upcoming events.

Redefining Leadership in the Knowledge Economy
12 - 13 Oct 2015, Geneva, United States
Katrina Pugh, Linda Stoddart and Larry Prusak will be presenting at this event.

Global Conference for Training & Development
19 - 21 Oct 2015, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
I will be giving a talk and running a Knowledge Cafe workshop at this conference.

20th Knowledge Management Tracks
28 - 29 Oct 2015, Milano, Italy
I will be running a Knowledge Cafe worskhop at this conference.

KM World 2015
02 - 05 Nov 2015, Washington DC, United States

Knowledge and Information Systems for Knowledge Management (ICKM2015)
04 - 06 Nov 2015, Osaka, Japan

12th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning
05 - 06 Nov 2015, Bangkok, Thailand

KM Asia 2015
18 - 19 Nov 2015, Hong Kong, China
I will be giving talk on Conversational Leadership at this conference.

Knowledge Sciences Symposium Western NY 2015
Postponed to 2016, St. Bonaventure, NY, United States
Unfortunately this conference has been postponed to 2016

KM Iran 2016
23 - 24 Feb 2016, Tehran, Iran

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

You may subscribe to this newsletter on my website. Or if you no longer wish to receive this newsletter or if you wish to modify your e-mail address or make other changes to your membership profile then please go to this page on my website.

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

The Gurteen Knowledge-Letter is a free monthly e-mail based KM newsletter for knowledge workers. Its purpose is to help you better manage your knowledge and to stimulate thought and interest in such subjects as Knowledge Management, Learning, Creativity and the effective use of Internet technology. Archive copies are held on-line where you can register to receive the newsletter.

It is sponsored by the Henley Forum of the Henley Business School, Oxfordshire, England.

You may copy, reprint or forward all or part of this newsletter to friends, colleagues or customers, so long as any use is not for resale or profit and I am attributed. And if you have any queries please contact me.

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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