Blog Post

Creative conversation in an English country pub ...

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 20 August 2002



Creative conversation in an English country pub ...
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Posted DateTuesday 20 August 2002 21:36 GDT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
PeopleDavid Gurteen, David Pottinger , Mark Andrew 
CountryUnited Kingdom

I met this evening with David Pottinger and Mark Andrew of QinetiQ in a local pub - the Crown & Cushion. QinetiQ is based in Farnborough, only a few miles from where I live in Fleet. It is a science and technology organization recently formed from the major part of DERA, the British Government's defense research and development organization.

I had met with David previously a few weeks back and we got on so well that we had decided to meet again and this time he had invited Mark along. Both David and Mark receive my knowledge-letter which is how we made contact. Mark was forwarded it by a colleague when he was working in Australia and in turn he had forward it to David. I just love the way my knowledge-letter works as a networking tool for me.

David and I get on as we are of a similar generation and both have a background in Physics and so we can relate to other on scientific issues - not detailed physics stuff but more the history and philosophy of science and a general scientific world view.

QinetiQ is primarily an R&D organization and are trying to leverage their vast technical expertise in the commercial world. Hence David's and Mark's interest in KM.

Our meetings have not had any specific objectives in mind but were simply to have a conversation around the subject of KM and share thoughts, ideas and insights. This evening we kept coming back to creativity and the fact that so often in our organizational lives we try to control meetings to the extent that they are no longer creative. We talked about the fact that a lot of the real insights and decisions take place at the periphery of meetings - before they start, after they have finished, in the corridors or at the coffee machine.

We also discussed the fact that we had talked so much during the evening but had not captured any of it explicitly ... apart from my taking the odd note in a little red note book I always carry around with me ... how best do you capture the output of a creative conversation without destroying the spontaneity of the conversation itself. This blog is a poor attempt to do that a little later in the evening! So what else did we talk about ...

  • Bill Gates and the concept of Bill Capital ... the importance and effective use of key people's time in an organization - especially the creative ones ...
  • The Mythical Man-Month- the book by Fred Brooks of IBM and some of his insights into Project Management;project management ...
  • Belbin and team roles and the impact of different personality types on creativity in projects ...
  • How large successful companies like Digital are no longer around but Mark pointed out that maybe that's a good thing ... companies are born, they grow, they die but their legacy lives on in their people who leave (or are forced to leave) and who move on to bigger things or start new companies of their own ...
  • Mark talked about an ex Army guy he knew who was great at facilitating unstructured, creative meetings and the concept of rapid prototyping of ideas in meetings ...
  • David pondered how you stop someone going down a path you do not want them to go in a meeting without creating simmering resentment ...
  • And I had what I at least thought was the great idea of modifying the traditional PDCA learning cycle of plan-do-check-act to PDBA plan-do-blog-act

Anyway I'm not to sure I have captured anything of real significance here but it should form a few seeds of thought for our next meeting.

As we left the pub, there was a group playing in the Mead Hall alongside - we stopped and stood at the door to listen - they were good - and I realized that I had not seen a live group play for years Seems its a regular Tuesday event - so I plan to return ...

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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