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Welcome to the Gurteen Knowledge Log for 2017-2018. See the side panel for other years.

In this blog I write about items of interest that I have found on the web, experiences or insights that I think you will find useful mainly but not strictly limited to the area of Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning.

Like the rest of my site - it an eclectic mix.

If you like the blog you may wish to subscribe to my newsletter where I collate my best blog posts from the month plus other material and distribute it my email monthly.

Or you may subscribe to the RSS feed for this blog here: RSS feed for Gurteen Knowledge Log

Wednesday 24 July 2019

11:46 GDTPermanent link to #Do you have the capacity to hold a good conversation?# Do you have the capacity to hold a good conversation? - Comments

In preparing for our Conversational Leadership workshop, Nancy Dixon, John Hovell and I keep coming back to the question "What is real conversation?" or "What makes a good conversation?" and the more we converse about it - the richer the picture that emerges.

In two blog posts by Dave Pollard, he lists seven conversational capacities or skills that he considers prerequisites to a good conversation,including things like "the capacity to think critically" or "the capacity to be curious". Recall the frustration of trying to have a conversation with someone who could not argue critically or whose arguments had no coherence.

I've taken Dave's list and I am expanding on it here: conversational capacities.

It's an interesting list, what do you think is missing? Which is the most important capacity?


Tuesday 23 July 2019

08:54 GDTPermanent link to #Promoting Knowledge Management activities through my website# Promoting Knowledge Management activities through my website - Comments

I am always looking to help promote activities in the KM field. To this end you can:
In each case, the submission is held in a queue until I have checked it out and categorised it. This normally only takes a day or two. If the item is off-topic or I feel it is inappropriate for any other reason I reserve the right to delete it. The service is free.


Monday 22 July 2019

18:47 GDTPermanent link to #Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership July 2019# Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership July 2019 - Comments

I continue to develop my blook on Conversational Leadership by the day.

I have been slowly adding profiles of people who have influenced and continue to influence my work. The profiles include a short one or two line description of the person and a brief description of how I know them. They also include links to Linkedin profiles, blogs, websites etc., along with links to the posts in my blook where their work is referenced.

I have also included, where available, a recent video of the person speaking to give some deeper insight into their work and their personality.

Here are my most recent additions: These profiles are as much for own benefit as they are for my readers. The resource is exceptionally useful as it allows me to follow their work much more closely.

16:49 GDTPermanent link to #Leadership + Conversation = Conversational Leadership# Leadership + Conversation = Conversational Leadership - Comments

These two short videos get to the heart of Conversational Leadership.

Leadership is a practice not a position of authority by Ronald Heifetz

What is the work of leadership? by Patricia Shaw

In summary using Ron's and Patricia's words:

What is leadership?: "If we understand leadership as a practice, as an activity, then it becomes available to anybody, high or low, any place or position."

What is the work of leadership?: "Leadership is about convening conversations that might not otherwise happen."

Conversational Leadership: We are all leaders. We lead through the conversations we convene and in which we engage.

16:46 GDTPermanent link to #Thaler Pekar interviews me on Conversational Leadership# Thaler Pekar interviews me on Conversational Leadership - Comments

Thaler Pekar recently interviewed me about my work on Conversational Leadership. She summed it up like this:

"What do good leaders do in terms of influencing the world or people around them? They do it fundamentally through conversation. Hence this term Conversational Leadership."

You will find the interview here.



11:47 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2019 - Comments

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.

  • Without conversation, work stops https://buff.ly/2lyhk3y #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe #ConversationalWisdom

  • Adaptive Leadership, What Is It Really? The adaptive leader is one who faces complex challenges for which there are no easy answers. https://buff.ly/2JwCngy #Leadership #ConversationalLeadership #AdaptiveLeadership #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement

  • "Conversations that Matter" by @DavePollard https://buff.ly/2Xt0W1K /love Dave's writing on conversation #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership #knowledgemanagement #ConversationalWisdom #Conversation

  • “AT&T's vision of the future, circa 1993” https://buff.ly/2Np1O7P /so much they got right

  • The Importance of Intonation in Conversation - italk Telecom https://buff.ly/2FRpOKH #ConversationalLeadership

  • How to Learn From Experience by @NancyMDixon https://buff.ly/2ld3IKY #KM, #KMers #knowledgemanagement #learning

  • The Untapped Opportunity: Rethinking Learning in the Work Environment | John Hagel https://buff.ly/2GAJ8MD

  • Is your team making bad decisions? The culprit is likely your conversations - Work Life by Atlassian https://buff.ly/2lyhk3y #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe #ConversationalWisdom

  • Be the last to speak. #conversationalleadership #conversationalwisdom https://buff.ly/2PJcjQU

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

11:27 GDTPermanent link to #Upcoming Knowledge Events# Upcoming Knowledge Events - Comments


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.

20th European Conference on Knowledge Management
05 - 06 Sep 2019, lisbon, Portugal

14th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
19 - 20 Sep 2019, Kalamata, Greece

Conversational Leadership Workshop
20 - 22 Sep 2019, Hartley Wintney, United Kingdom

Advancing your OD (Organisation Development) practice
24 - 25 Sep 2019, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

European Conference on the Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
31 Oct - 01 Nov 2019, Oxford, United Kingdom

16th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning 5-6 December 2019, Sydney, Australia
05 - 06 Dec 2019, Sydney, Australia


Wednesday 26 June 2019

15:54 GDTPermanent link to #Leadership is a practice not a position of authority# Leadership is a practice not a position of authority - Comments

I have been thinking and reading about leadership for some years now, especially leadership in the context of Conversational Leadership but only recently learned of the work of Ronald Heifetz at Harvard and discovered that his views on leadership were remarkably similar to mine.

In this video he explains that leadership is a practice not a position of authority and gives some excellent examples.
Distinguishing leadership from authority helps us begin to see that if we understand leadership as a practice, as an activity, then it becomes available to anybody high or low, any place or position simply because they passionately care about some problem situation, about the people in that problem situation and then mobilize people with faith in their capacity to step up to the plate and meet that challenge.




14:25 GDTPermanent link to #The Paradox of Connection# The Paradox of Connection - Comments

We are becoming more connected with each other and less connected with each other at the same time. How do we turn this trend around? This is what John Hagel has to say about the paradox.
We have the ability to connect with more and more people around the world, but our emotions are undermining our ability to make deeper and more fulfilling connections that can help all of us to achieve more of our potential.

There's a vicious cycle under way that continues to erode our ability to make connections that matter – the more fear we feel, the less likely we are to trust others and that leads to a growing sense of isolation which in turn feeds the fear, leading to even less trust and the cycle continues.

While this emotion is understandable, it's preventing us from harnessing the potential that's created by the ability to connect with others more broadly and more deeply.

We need to embrace opportunity-based narratives and the passion of the explorer to turn this around and, for the first time, discover the enormous power that comes from broader and deeper connections.



11:34 GDTPermanent link to #Could “Conversational Leadership” Avert Deeply Troubling Times Ahead?# Could “Conversational Leadership” Avert Deeply Troubling Times Ahead? - Comments

As I hope you know by now Nancy Dixon, John Hovell and I have been working closely together to develop the ideas that underpin Conversational Leadership and are running a three-day workshop on Conversational Leadership in September.

I am finding this collaborative effort of enormous value, John, Nancy and I are different people, with different skill sets and a different focus on the subject of conversation. This diversity has made for some engaging, creative discussions at times, and slowly, we are shaping our thoughts together.

John has recently published this article on Linkedin: Could “Conversational Leadership” Avert Deeply Troubling Times Ahead? which explains Conversational Leadership in a style that is somewhat different from mine, including thoughts and ideas that I have yet to think or write about myself. I love the post, and it has really provoked my thinking. I hope you enjoy it too.
It is through conversation that each of us can partner and understand each other in a deeper, more meaningful way.

We can try to make sense of the complexity and chaos around us through conversation.

Credit: John Hovell


10:33 GDTPermanent link to #Calling all Oracy advocates# Calling all Oracy advocates - Comments

Calling all Oracy advocates in the UK, if you have any evidence as to the impact of oracy in your setting - written or video - please submit it to the Oracy APPG (Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group). The deadline for written evidence is 9th August 2019.
  • Numeracy: the ability to understand and work with numbers.

  • Literacy: the ability to read and write.

  • Oracy: the ability to express oneself in and understand spoken language.

I am so pleased to see the increase in interest in oracy.

10:16 GDTPermanent link to #To have a conversation, you have to be comfortable being human# To have a conversation, you have to be comfortable being human - Comments

I have long been a huge fan of David Weinberger. Read more about him here and watch the video. He is such an amazing thinker. In particular, I love his insights into conversation such as the one below.
To have a conversation, you have to be comfortable being human - acknowledging you don't have all the answers, being eager to learn from someone else and to build new ideas together.

You can only have a conversation if you're not afraid of being wrong. Otherwise, you're not conversing, you're just declaiming, speechifying, or reading what's on the PowerPoints. To converse, you have to be willing to be wrong in front of another person.

Conversations occur between equals. The time your boss's boss asked you at a meeting about your project's deadline was not a conversation. The time you sat with your boss for an hour in the Polynesian-themed bar while on a business trip and you really talked, got past the corporate bullshit, told each other the truth about the dangers ahead, and ended up talking about your kids - that maybe was a conversation.


Can you have these sorts of conversation in your organization?

09:45 GDTPermanent link to #The Henley Forum 2020 Awards# The Henley Forum 2020 Awards - Comments

Just a reminder about the Henley Forum 2020 Awards.

The awards recognise those who are advancing organisational practice. The Henley Forum would like to hear from people who are working to develop dynamic capability though knowledge, learning, change and innovation work. For example, by:
  • enabling knowledge to flow
  • fostering organisational learning
  • facilitating organisational change and development
  • cultivating innovation
  • and collaborating across boundaries.
These prestigious awards will recognise practitioners who are working to advance knowledge, learning and change practice in their organisations, and the people whose thinking has most influenced them. Awards will be presented at The 20th Annual Henley Forum Conference on 05 - 06 February 2020. You can apply here.

09:33 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2019 - Comments

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.

  • The 20th World Knowledge Forum in Seoul in September this year has an interesting theme: Knowledge Revolution 5.0: Perspicacity Towards Prosperity for All. @wkforum https://buff.ly/2FuJaF0

  • Sustainability is not enough: we need regenerative cultures by @DrDCWahl https://buff.ly/2IEQMGQ

  • The surprising benefits of talking to strangers https://buff.ly/2F4Ac1d #ConversationalLeadership

  • Collective leadership with power symmetry: Lessons from Aboriginal prehistory Karl-Erik Sveiby https://buff.ly/2ZdjdRH #leadership #Communityship

  • Here are the top 5 predictions by AI expert, Neil Jacobstein, regarding AI breakthroughs in the next 5 years https://t.co/3vv49vXxXD

  • How computing's first 'killer app' changed everything https://buff.ly/2EFNjFY

    The scientific mind does not so much provide the right answers as ask the right questions. Claude Levi-Strauss https://buff.ly/2WDexTK #ConversationalLeadership

  • Be the last to speak. #conversationalleadership #conversationalwisdom https://buff.ly/2PJcjQU

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


Wednesday 29 May 2019

16:24 GDTPermanent link to #Accountability vs. responsibility# Accountability vs. responsibility - Comments

I love this description of the difference between accountability and responsibility by Seth Godin.
Accountability is done to you. It's done by the industrial system, by those that want to create blame.

Responsibility is done by you. It's voluntary. You can take as much of it as you want.

Credit: Seth Godin

It reminds my what I say about the difference in my blook on Conversational Leadership.
We can only choose to take responsibility for something. No one else can assign responsibility to us.

We take responsibility but are held accountable.


16:18 GDTPermanent link to #KM Summit 2019, London# KM Summit 2019, London - Comments

It is still not too late to join the annual Ark Group KM Summit 2019 next week on 4 - 5 June, at the Cumberland Hotel in London.

I will be giving a talk on Conversational Leadership in the plenary towards the end of the second day. Here is a short video interview with me.



15:59 GDTPermanent link to #Conversation Day# Conversation Day - Comments

Conversation Day started in New York City in 2013 as a celebration of the joys and power of great conversation, sponsored by the non-profit volunteer organization Conversations New York (CNY), founded and directed by Ronald Gross, co-chair of the University Seminar on Innovation at Columbia University .

On Saturday, June 8, Ron will be hosting Conversation Day 2019 in New York.

Worldwide, the event is celebrated annually on the second Saturday in June in over 20 cities including New York, London, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, Lagos, Bangalore, Kuala Lumpur, and Riyadh.

Unfortunately, I only have the details for the New York event. and the London event which I will be joining. I hope to see one or two of you there.


Sunday 26 May 2019

18:32 GDTPermanent link to #Speak last# Speak last - Comments

If you wish to genuinely know the opinions of others and what they are thinking then ask them and listen to them before you express your views.

Speak last.

I find Simon Sinek's presentation style on this topic a little too slick for my liking although his message is spot on.


"Speak last" is one of the habits of conversational leaders.

17:33 GDTPermanent link to #Turn your death by PowerPoint talk into a conversational one.# Turn your death by PowerPoint talk into a conversational one. - Comments

Most conferences are a series of PowerPoint talks interspersed by the occasional panel discussion.

The audience gets a little time to ask questions, and they get absolutely no time to reflect or interact with each other besides in the coffee breaks or over lunch.

Not allowing time for conversation is a missed opportunity for conference delegates to engage with the contents of the conference and learn from each other.

It is a missed chance for the delegates to become participants rather than an audience. It need not be this way

If you are a speaker, it so easy to turn a traditional talk into a conversational talk. Here's how.


Saturday 25 May 2019

20:58 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: May 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: May 2019 - Comments

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.

  • We need far more "non-policy people" in the policymaking process - here's why https://buff.ly/2BxlONp #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership

  • “Sometimes a stranger—not a friend or a loved one—can significantly improve our day, providing comfort or helping to broaden our perspective” https://buff.ly/2Vu6gG3 #ConversationalLeadership

  • “Why Dialogue is at the heart of Knowledge Management” by @nickknoco https://buff.ly/2LIDWel #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe

  • Management by talking about by @nickknoco https://buff.ly/TdyYBz #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe /amazed not to see the Knowledge Café on this list of KM conversational processes.

  • How do you identify valuable #knowledge in your organisation? We know its one of our best resources but it can hard to know what is really valuable. The KIA Research 6 from #henleyforum helps us to fill this gap #knowledgesharing #KM #OD https://t.co/FhZjFSMYf5 https://t.co/DeMtSKcLr7

  • Be the last to speak. #conversationalleadership #conversationalwisdom https://buff.ly/2PJcjQU

  • Want to take part in Conversation Day on Saturday 8 June? Just sign up. https://t.co/O23qkSj6qK

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


Sunday 28 April 2019

18:51 GDTPermanent link to #The true complexity of the world outstrips our ability to fully explain it# The true complexity of the world outstrips our ability to fully explain it - Comments

I have long been an admirer and follower of the work and thinking of David Weinberger ever since he was one of the authors of The ClueTrain Manifesto in 1999.

He still never fails to have an impact on me in his writing. Recently he wrote a Medium article entitled Machine Learning Widens the Gap Between Knowledge and Understanding.

It's a ten minute read but here is the jist.
We humans have long been under the impression that if we can just understand the immutable laws of how things happen, we'll be able to perfectly predict, plan for, and manage the future.

We have, therefore, made it our business to know how things happen by discovering the laws and models that govern our world.

Given how imperfect our knowledge has always been, this assumption has rested upon a deeper one.

Our unstated contract with the universe has been that if we work hard enough and think clearly enough, the universe will yield its secrets, for the universe is knowable, and thus, at least, somewhat pliable to our will.

But now that our new tools, especially machine learning and the internet, are bringing home to us the immensity of the data and information around us, we're beginning to accept that the true complexity of the world far outstrips the laws and models we devise to explain it.

Our newly capacious machines can get closer to understanding it than we can, and they, as machines, don't really understand anything at all.


David goes on to give some good examples, the bottom line, however, us that AI can discover relationships between things in the world that we humans will never be able to, given the size and complexity of the data, even though the AI software has no understanding of the world. In David's words:

"We need to give up our insistence on always understanding our world and how things happen in it."

A new world is dawning,

14:58 GDTPermanent link to #Comfy Café or outcome-driven classroom?# Comfy Café or outcome-driven classroom? - Comments

If you are a lecturer, teacher or trainer of any description then you may be interested in this blog post by Jakob Werdelin on Co-Creative Conversation deconstructed: Comfy Café or outcome-driven classroom?.

Jakob took part in one of my London Knowledge Cafés in February and was inspired to adapt the Café format to an educational setting by creating "Co-Creative Conversations".

Jakob ran a trial at the University of Roehampton Business School that I gather was a great success and he now has a free public event coming up in May in Brimingham in the UK: Empowering KS2-5 learners through Participatory Budgeting.

I have long thought that the Knowledge Café has a strong role to play in Education and you can find a few examples I have documented in my blook. I am hoping Jakob's work and that of others will help inspire more educationalists to take the role of conversation in education more seriously. It's great to see some the work in schools on oracy for example.

14:12 GDTPermanent link to #KM Summit 2019, London# KM Summit 2019, London - Comments

The annual Ark Group KM Summit 2019 is coming up on 4 - 5 June, at the Cumberland Hotel in London. They have an excellent agenda with two streams, one for Legal KM and the other for the Corporate/Charity/Public sector.

I am looking forward to giving a talk on the rationale behind Conversational Leadership in the plenary towards the end of the second day. Nick Stone, the conference producer did a short video interview with me a few weeks back where I briefly described what Conversational Leadership was all about. It is only six minutes long and if you see it through to the end, you will get a good idea of what Conversational Leadership is all about and why I think it is so, so important.

Come along on the 4 - 5 June and learn more.



12:29 GDTPermanent link to #IBM Project Debater# IBM Project Debater - Comments

If you have yet to watch it - take a look at this debate with IBM's Project Debator.
Experience a live debate between the first AI system to debate humans on complex topics, Project Debater, and a top human debater. During a twenty minute debate on a complex topic, Project Debater will digest massive texts, construct a well-structured speech, deliver it with clarity and purpose, and rebut its opponent.


The human debator is the clear winner but the computer does an amazing job given it doesn't "understand" a thing it is talking about LOL.

Imagine, a few years time, and you are dictating an article/essay or blog post on a topic into your smartphone and you can have a "conversation" with an app based on this technology thats advises and corrects you in real time. Kinda like Grammarly on steroids!



12:28 GDTPermanent link to #Conversational Leadership Workshop# Conversational Leadership Workshop - Comments

Nancy Dixon, John Hovell and I are running a 3-day residential workshop on Conversational Leadership in the UK this autumn. You will find full details here.

We have an amazing venue - the Elevetham - a Victorian Gothic Mansion set in an estate of 4,000 acres in the Hampshire countryside and a history dating back to the 11th century.

We are also very excited about the content as John, Nancy and I bring diverse perspectives and skills to the 3-days.

We have kept the price exceedingly low to make it easy for you to participate - the early bird price (expires May 1st) only just covers our cost.

Do take a look and get in touch with me, if you have any questions.


Friday 26 April 2019

13:24 GDTPermanent link to #Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership April 2019# Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership April 2019 - Comments

I continue to develop my blook on Conversational Leadership by the day. What I like about it compared with a conventional book other than what I have written here is that is evolving to be so much more than a book.

I can add so much in the way of structure and additional resources. In fact, it is starting to look a little more like my gurteen.com site.

I have recently added the following resources: This is as much for own benefit as it is for my readers. The people resource is exceptionally useful as it allows me to follow their work more closely.

12:19 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2019 - Comments

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.

  • Wanna change the world? Have a conversation. https://buff.ly/2HIpakq

  • Co-Creative Conversation deconstructed: Comfy Café or outcome-driven classroom? https://buff.ly/2Pv49eN #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership

  • Sentenced to read - the teens who sprayed racist graffiti https://buff.ly/2GabnAo /What a powerful "punishment"

  • Powerful questions are those that, in the answering, evoke a choice for accountability and commitment. -- Peter Block https://buff.ly/2IEEjnb #KM #ConversationalLeadership #ConversationalWisdom

  • Children and the Importance of face-to-face conversation https://buff.ly/2UJ3c8h #ConversationalLeadership #ConversationalWisdom

  • “The more team members directly interact with each other face-to-face, and the more they trust other team members, the more creative and of higher quality the result of their teamwork is.” https://buff.ly/2GqQHWq #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership

  • The Creative Power of Meeting Eyeball to Eyeball https://buff.ly/2GqQHWq #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe

  • We as a society have been conducting a play-deprivation experiment with our children. The results are in. Play deprivation is bad for children - it promotes anxiety, depression, suicide, narcissism, and loss of creativity. It's time to end the experiment https://t.co/EhZ1IqIDP6

  • Using Intrinsic Motivators to Drive Standards and Innovation in Knowledge Management | LinkedIn https://buff.ly/2K2aGyu #KM #KMers

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

12:06 GDTPermanent link to #The Henley Forum 2020 Awards# The Henley Forum 2020 Awards - Comments

The Henley Forum 2020 Awards recognise those who are advancing organisational practice. We want to hear from people who are working to develop dynamic capability though knowledge, learning, change and innovation work. For example, by:
  • enabling knowledge to flow
  • fostering organisational learning
  • facilitating organisational change and development
  • cultivating innovation
  • and collaborating across boundaries.
These prestigious awards will recognise practitioners who are working to advance knowledge, learning and change practice in their organisations, and the people whose thinking has most influenced them. Awards will be presented at The 20th Annual Henley Forum Conference on 05-06 February 2020. You can apply here.


Friday 29 March 2019

19:25 GMTPermanent link to #KM Summit 2019, London# KM Summit 2019, London - Comments

The annual Ark Group KM Summit 2019 is coming up on 4 - 5 June, at the Cumberland Hotel in London. They have an excellent agenda with two streams, one for Legal KM and the other for the Corporate/Charity/Public sector.

I am looking forward to giving a talk on the rationale behind Conversational Leadership in the plenary towards the end of the second day.

I hope to see some of you there.

19:22 GMTPermanent link to #Coffee in the City# Coffee in the City - Comments

I walked past Lloyd's of London one evening last week on the way to meet my wife for dinner in the CIty and a little later passed where it all started in a coffee house over 300 years ago.

Today Lloyd's is the world's leading market for specialist insurance.

Amazing to think if it wasn't for coffee and 17th and 18th century London coffee houses that the City of London Financial Centre might not exist today.


19:22 GMTPermanent link to #Stammtisch bus seats# Stammtisch bus seats - Comments

I was talking with a client the other day who was helping to plan an internal conference for employees from all over the world, many of whom would not know each other, and we were brainstorming how she might get them to connect and talk with each other more.

I suggested stammtisch tables at the conference but that was not viable but then the idea came to mind of "stammtisch seats" on the coaches that were going to ferry them from their hotels to dinner in the evenings.

The idea was simple, not everyone on a trip would want to sit next to a stranger and have a conversation - they would rather sit with someone they knew - so why not label some of the pairs of seats on the bus as stammtisch seats: "Sit here, if you wish to talk to a someone you don't know."

We both thought it was a great idea but the powers that be did not agree it did not happen, so I am sharing the idea with you here in the hope that one day soon I hear from one of you that you have tried it out and just how well it worked.

19:21 GMTPermanent link to #He had his conversation in the world# He had his conversation in the world - Comments


A little while back I came across an online etymology dictionary and was fascinated to learn the roots and the evolution of the word "conversation".

conversation (n.)
mid-14c., "place where one lives or dwells," also "general course of actions or habits, manner of conducting oneself in the world," both senses now obsolete; from Old French conversacion "behavior, life, way of life, monastic life," and directly from Latin conversationem (nominative conversatio) "frequent use, frequent abode in a place, intercourse, conversation," noun of action from past-participle stem of conversari "to live, dwell, live with, keep company with," passive voice of conversare "to turn about, turn about with."

It seems to me that this obsolete meaning fits well with the concept of Conversational Leadership. You might say that Conversational Leadership is about how "we conduct ourselves in the world" or maybe "how we interact with the world."

Anyway, I had forgotten all about this old usage until the other day I was walking in London from Charing Cross to the City, along Fleet Street and visited some of the many churches along the way. I love the quiet and peacefulness of old churches amid the hustle and bustle of modern-day London.

I sat at a pew in a church called St Dunstan-in-the-West for a while contemplating life and as came to leave, I decided to read one or two memorial plaques on the wall. The photo is the first one I read - a sad story of a young man drowned in the Rhone in 1848 near Geneva and there were the words: "He had his conversation in the world". That old 14th century meaning was still in use almost 200 years ago.


Thursday 28 March 2019

18:12 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2019 - Comments

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.

  • “For society to change, we all have to start making small changes. Get out and talk to other people. Change your travel habits. Read more and different literature. Take some to sit and reflect. It sounds simple ... but keeping at it will be the hard part.” https://buff.ly/2W9Ozr0

  • Wanna change the world? Have a conversation. https://buff.ly/2HIpakq

  • Word of Mouth - Listen and learn: how to make better conversation - BBC Sounds https://buff.ly/2W9Iyut #ConversationalLeadership #TalkingRevolution #KM #KMers

  • Clarify Your Uncertainty and Talk | Steps & Leaps https://buff.ly/2pWsTyb

  • No More Managers. Everyone Leads https://buff.ly/2W18CYD #ConversationalLeadership

  • "Agree to Disagree is a project born out of the conviction that people of differing political viewpoints should be able to have a respectful discussion and learn about one another's beliefs.” https://buff.ly/2VZENHV #ConversationalLeadership

  • LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says the biggest skills gap in the US is not coding and that perhaps the popular bootcamps of tomorrow will be those that can teach us how to have a conversation. https://buff.ly/2AcLX3s #ConversationalLeadership

  • Are we having the conversation we need to be having? https://buff.ly/2tnjOT8 #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership /John Hovell @klowey22 and Priya Farish talk with me about Conversational Leadership

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


Thursday 28 February 2019

12:01 GMTPermanent link to #What are the unintended consequences of what you are doing right now?# What are the unintended consequences of what you are doing right now? - Comments

I was recently asked, along with others, to comment on a regional digital transformation strategy. Now, this is an area in which I have no real expertise and the other experts gave some fascinating input to the discussion.

I kept my feedback simple:
Several people have mentioned this already and that is the need for vastly improved cyber-security, data protection and regulation in its broadest sense.

Digital transformation is creating a hyper-connected, massively complex digital economy.

A complex system by its very nature is impossible to understand fully. It is volatile and unpredictable.

This brings unprecedented risk and in my opinion, should be foremost in our minds as we race at times blindly into the future.

There are always unintended consequences of innovation especially in complex systems.

I often wonder if the pioneers of the industrial revolution, ever, for one minute considered the unintended consequences of the burning of fossil fuels or to what extent the founders of the Internet considered the long term security threat.

A conversation we should have every day: "What are the likely unintended consequences of what we are doing?" The consequences are not always obvious, but they are frequently not so deep that a good conversation won't reveal many of them.

11:03 GMTPermanent link to #How do we to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures?# How do we to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures? - Comments

I love writing. I love quotations. I love serendipity. And I love it when they all come together.

In writing my blook, I am continually updating posts, often with quotations that I have tripped over while browsing the web, researching some topic or another.

Recently, I was thinking about love and evil and my mind went back to the work of Scott Peck, and so I went to my Gurteen Knowledge website as I knew I had some material there on the subject.

I was right; here was Scotts definition of love. But as I scrolled down, I found more quotes I had clipped over 15 years ago and had long forgotten about including a quote on community that was perfect for the introductory post to my emerging chapter on Community.

Here is the quote, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. So how do you think we can transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures? Is it needed? Is it possible? Personally, I think it is the key to our future and that we start by "talking with each other more".

We know the rules of community; we know the healing effect of community in terms of individual lives.

If we could somehow find a way across the bridge of our knowledge, would not these same rules have a healing effect upon our world?

We human beings have often been referred to as social animals. But we are not yet community creatures.

We are impelled to relate with each other for our survival.

But we do not yet relate with the inclusivity, realism, self-awareness, vulnerability, commitment, openness, freedom, equality, and love of genuine community.

It is clearly no longer enough to be simply social animals, babbling together at cocktail parties and brawling with each other in business and over boundaries.

It is our task - our essential, central, crucial task - to transform ourselves from mere social creatures into community creatures.

It is the only way that human evolution will be able to proceed.

Credit: The Different Drum, M. Scottt Peck


08:26 GMTPermanent link to #Are we having the conversation we need to be having?# Are we having the conversation we need to be having? - Comments

If you are a podcast fan, you may enjoy this one Are we having the conversation we need to be having? where John Hovell and Priya Farish talk with me about Conversational Leadership and we explore what it takes to have a real conversation.

You will find 14 other fascinating podcasts there too.




Wednesday 27 February 2019

17:35 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2019 - Comments

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.

  • The most effective form of sustainable leadership is developed through effective and meaningful informal discussions (i.e., conversations) with others, which help them develop their thinking and new insight.” https://buff.ly/2GZiPAF #ConversationalLeadership #leadership

  • A leader is not necessarily a senior person in the organization, nor is it a hierarchical position, it is a decision people at any level of the organization make to start impacting the people around them. https://buff.ly/2GZiPAF #ConversationalLeadership #leadership

  • 7 Differences between complex and complicated | More Beyond https://buff.ly/2Xd6gai #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership #KnowledgeCafe #complexity

  • The Talking Revolution is an initiative to improve the quality of human connection worldwide. It's a revolution that anyone can initiate, whoever and wherever they are. https://buff.ly/2BMyiAB #TalkingRevolution #ConversationalLeadership

  • The only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2BKcg1k

  • The Untapped Power Of Smiling https://buff.ly/2Gwa69q /smile more, live longer? #Smile

  • Are we having the conversation we need to be having? https://buff.ly/2tnjOT8 #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership /John Hovell @klowey22 and Priya Farish talk with me about Conversational Leadership

  • This is not bad education. This is anti-education. Don't write what you don't believe, or you will come to believe it. https://t.co/jSYTQzGLge

  • When did you last connect with someone so deeply that it changed your life, changed your mind, shifted your perspective, grew your world? https://buff.ly/2EuVVvX #ConversationalLeadership /Has it ever happened?

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

12:05 GMTPermanent link to #Could you have saved Rotterdam from destruction?# Could you have saved Rotterdam from destruction? - Comments

I recently wrote a post in my blook Knowledge is not power. This little hypothetical story by Arie de Geus from his1999 book The Living Company:Growth sums up the concept in an intriguing manner.

Imagine that it is 1920 and you have somehow been granted absolute power to predict the future. You happen to visit the mayor of Rotterdam and, during that time, you describe in vivid detail what is going to happen to his town over the next 25 years.

Thus, in an otherwise perfectly normal working day, the mayor hears about the advent of the Weimar Republic, hyperinflation, the 1929 stock exchange crash, the Great Depression that followed, the rise of Nazism in Germany with its (for Rotterdam) damaging economic policy of autarchy, the outbreak of the second world war, the carpet bombing of the town's city centre and, finally, the systematic destruction of the town's port installation during the calamitous winter of 1945.

The mayor listens to this information placidly. He gives every sign of believing you. And then he asks, “If you were in my shoes, hearing all of this, amid all the other opinions and facts that reach me during the course of my day, what would you reasonably expect me to do about this information?“

What is it reasonable to expect the mayor to do? When I ask this question in discussion groups, we always reach the same answer: there is nothing the mayor can be expected to do. Even if he gives your prediction a higher degree of credibility than most of the other information which reached him, he would have neither the courage nor the powers of persuasion to take the far-reaching decision that is required by such a prediction.

The future cannot be predicted. But, even if it could, we would not dare to act on the prediction.


Now suppose a time traveller returned to the present day from 2120 and told us in graphic detail what was to become of the world as a consequence of global warming. We already have a pretty good idea of the consequences but now we know for sure. Would it make any difference whatsoever?

Even with perfect knowledge. Even if we could accurately predict the future, more often than not, we do not have the ability to act on that knowledge.

Knowledge is not power. The self-motivation and the ability to act on knowledge and to influence and work with people (especially those in authority) is power.

How do we each improve our agency to act? This is the question that consumes my thinking right now.


Sunday 27 January 2019

15:47 GMTPermanent link to #Find a Chatty Café near you# Find a Chatty Café near you - Comments

I wrote recently about stammtisch tables - "tables for conversation with those sitting near you whether you know them or not" and someone replied to tell me about the Chatty Café scheme.

Sit at a Chatter & Natter table

A Chatter & Natter table is where customers can sit if they are happy to talk to other customers.

We are looking for supermarket cafes, community cafes, large and small cafes to get involved so that just maybe we can make the Chatter & Natter table a part of everyday café culture.

A Chatter & Natter table brings people together and everyone is invited! If you're on your own, in a couple, with a friend, if you're a carer why not sit there with who you care for, mums and babies, dads and babies, grandparents and babies, young people, older people and anyone in between!

When you are deciding where to sit, look for the Chatter & Natter table and sit there! Stay for five minutes while you have your drink or longer. It's not about making friends, just having good old fashioned human interaction!

Credit: Chatty Café

A stammtisch table with a more catchy name! What a great idea! So good in fact that Costa Coffee has taken it up.

While on the topic of conversations with strangers in public places - my good friend Alan Stewart is doing some great work in Adelaide, Australia with his Conversare Events. We need more of these social initiatives.


Saturday 26 January 2019

20:28 GMTPermanent link to #How culture drove human evolution# How culture drove human evolution - Comments

Every so often I come across a fascinating article or blog post that has a major impact on how I see the world. This is one such article - an interview with Joseph Henrich, an anthropologist and Professor of Psychology and Economics.

Part of his program of research is to convince people that they should stop distinguishing cultural and biological evolution as separate and we need to think of it all as biological evolution. He has begun to pursue the idea that he calls the cultural brain hypothesis -- that the real driver in the expansion of human brains was a growing cumulative body of cultural information.

An example he gives is of fire and cooking. This is what he says:
Fire and cooking have been important selection pressures, but what often gets overlooked in understanding fire and cooking is that they're culturally transmitted -- we're terrible at making fires actually. We have no innate fire-making ability.

But once you got this idea for cooking and making fires to be culturally transmitted, then it created a whole new selection pressure that made our stomachs smaller, our teeth smaller, our gapes or holdings of our mouth smaller, it altered the length of our intestines. It had a whole bunch of downstream effects.

Fascinating, slowly but surely, we are making better sense of how we evolved to be what we are today. I'd love to come back in 100,000 years time and see how evolution has further shaped us - of course if the human race has not long become extinct!

17:18 GMTPermanent link to #The importance of the freedom of speech# The importance of the freedom of speech - Comments

It is just over 2 years ago that I wrote about Jordan Peterson and his passionate defence of the freedom of speech. In those 2 years, he has managed to establish himself firmly as a controversial figure.

Since then I have added a video of his stream of consciousness description and defense of "free speech" and the transcript to my blook in a post on freedom of speech.

Go take a look, what ever you think of him (there are highly polarised views) what he says about freedom of speech I think is so important.

I love the way above that he describes how free speech works – a sort of “group thinking out loud” in pursuit of a better understanding of the world and ourselves - a major part of what KM and Conversational Leadership are all about.

17:01 GMTPermanent link to #Crowds within crowd outperform Crowds within crowd outperform 'wisdom of the crowd' - Comments

You will no doubt have heard of the “wisdom of crowds” in which individuals in a crowd are privately asked to give an answer to a question, such as how many jelly beans are in a jar and that when the answers are averaged together, the answer given by the crowd is generally better than for any given individual.

Well, this paper Aggregated knowledge from a small number of debates outperforms the wisdom of large crowds explores alternative methods and suggests an improved process.

By dividing the crowd into small groups of five, and having the five small groups discuss the question come to a consensus, that is then averaged produces better results than the average produced by the large crowd.

To my mind, the research lends support to the idea that the Knowledge Café can make an effective collective sensemaking tool, though there is clearly a big divide between estimating the number of jelly beans in a jar and coming up with an effective response to a complex business or social problem.

15:37 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2019# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2019 - Comments

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.

    “When was the last transformative conversation you had?” https://buff.ly/2EuVVvX #ConversationalLeadership

    Why Tone (of Voice) Matters - ConversationSpace https://buff.ly/2QP4nfM #ConversationalLeadership

    Stephen Hawking short video: For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk. We learned to listen. https://buff.ly/2QGItet #ConversationalLeadership

    Work is interaction - @EskoKilpi https://buff.ly/2KgoMIN #ConversationalLeadership

    Strengthening the conversational skills of leaders is the first step to enabling organisations to thrive, say Sara Hope and Chloe Walton https://buff.ly/2D0kVgZ #ConversationalLeadership

    StoryMaking & StoryShaping in a Divided World https://buff.ly/2LyuLI4 #ConversationalLeadership

  • The notion that our lives succeed or fail on conversation one at a time is at once commonsensical and revolutionary. - Ken Blanchard https://buff.ly/2QgRsYK #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership

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


Friday 25 January 2019

11:30 GMTPermanent link to #Henley Forum Annual Conference 06 - 07 March 2019# Henley Forum Annual Conference 06 - 07 March 2019 - Comments

This year's Henley Forum Annual Conference (it's the 19th!) takes place 06 - 07 March 2019 at Henley Business School Amplifying our practice: leading the way with knowledge.

I usually attend this conference every year and will be there again this year. To my mind, it is the best KM conference by far, both in terms of speakers, content and interactivity. The location on the banks of the river Thames is also hard to beat.

You don't need to be a member of the forum to attend. If you are interested in joining contact Marina Hart - her details are on the webpage linked to above.

If you are not familiar with the Henley Forum and the amazing research work that they do - go take a look at their Knowledge in Action Leaflets - 38 x three or four page downloadable reports on a wide range of topics from "Improving conversations to enable effective knowledge sharing" to "Embedding change".


Thursday 27 December 2018

15:44 GMTPermanent link to #Extremism is so easy# Extremism is so easy - Comments

I have long thought that many people who take extreme positions with a passion on an issue do so as it is far easier than to take a nuanced one.

It is so much easier to defend an extreme position. Things afr black and white. It's a lazy option.

In my random travels through the web, I have stumbled across two well known but very different people who hold a similar opinion.
The opinions that are held with passion and are always those for which no good ground exists

Credit: Bertrand Russell
Extremism is so easy. You've got your position, and that's it. It doesn't take much thought.

Credit: Clint Eastwood


15:38 GMTPermanent link to #Christmas Books# Christmas Books - Comments

If you have received a book token for Christmas and are looking for an interesting book to purchase then take a look at my Conversational Leadership Books page in my blook.

The book I have been reading over Christmas is this one "Humble Leadership: The power of relationships, openness and trust" by Edgar Schein and his son Peter Schein.

I particularly like their four levels of relationship tough I think I may like to add one or two more levels.
  • Level Minus 1: Total impersonal domination and coercion
  • Level 1: Transactional role and rule-based supervision, service, and most forms of the "professional" helping relationships
  • Level 2: Personal cooperative, trusting relationships as in friendships and in effective teams
  • Level 3: Emotionally intimate total mutual commitments
It has also stimulated my thinking about "conversational levels".

And one other new book that I am just starting to get into "The Talking Revolution: How Creative Conversation Can Change The World" by Peter Osborn and Eddy Canfor-Dumas which has a lot of overlap with my thinking on Conversational Leadership.

13:58 GMTPermanent link to #Stammtisch table at the RSA# Stammtisch table at the RSA - Comments

Several years ago I was working in the library of the RSA in London and fell into conversation with two people at the same table.

We had to whisper, as after all this was a library, but we got to talking about the fact that although many people used the RSA library and bar and other facilities there was no easy way to meet people and strike up a conversation if you were there on your own.

I talked about some of my conference ideas such as wearing a badge that said “talk to me” or even creating special tables where people could sit with the expectation of talking to strangers. And we discussed what a great idea it would be if the RSA had something like this.

It was then that one of my new acquaintances told me about the German concept of Stammtisch.

I had never heard about it before but when he explained the concept I immediately fell in love with the idea. A Stammtisch is a table in a pub or restaurant reserved for regular customers or alternatively outside of Germany a table reserved for people who would like to meet to practice their German.

I liked the idea of bending the concept a little further and creating tables in bars, cafes and large conferences etc where people can sit if they wish to have conversations with strangers. Many people need a little bit of an excuse to start up a conversation and this would provide it but maybe it needs a new label – a “knowledge table” or “conversation table”.

That was in 2007 when I talked to several people at the RSA about the idea but nothing came of it, so imagine my delight today in 2018 when I see they have created a Stammtisch table their new Rawthmells coffeehouse.

12:48 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: December 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: December 2018 - Comments

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.

  • Who said “We Shape Our Tools, and Thereafter Our Tools Shape Us" Marshall McLuhan? Winston Churchill? Robert Flaherty? Emerson Brown? John Culkin? William J. Mitchell? Anonymous?” https://buff.ly/2UGxAfR

  • Spiritset: the essence of who we are & what ultimately makes us human. Deep within us, we each have a unique identity that struggles for expression & growth. It's what ultimately defines us & our deepest needs. @jhagel https://buff.ly/2RUCxQD #ConversationalLeadership

  • Generative conversations are based on the premise that the way people see and respond to the world is determined by out-of-awareness cognitive structures that may be identified and addressed during everyday conversations. https://buff.ly/2RGfwk7 #ConversationalLeadership

  • Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried. Tim O'Reilly https://t.co/NIo60QIGsz

  • The notion that our lives succeed or fail on conversation one at a time is at once commonsensical and revolutionary. - Ken Blanchard https://buff.ly/2QgRsYK #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership

  • How you talk to your child changes their brain https://buff.ly/2JsR1Um #ConversationalLeadership

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


Friday 30 November 2018

12:40 GMTPermanent link to #An amazing hi-tech Knowledge Café# An amazing hi-tech Knowledge Café - Comments

Many of you will be familiar with my face-to-face Knowledge Cafés and know that I also run them virtually using the Zoom video conferencing platform.

On November 28th I did something a little different and somewhat more challenging, I ran a Future Café for Paul Nunesdea at Visual Collab 2018 - a hybrid Café where some participants were in a room face-to-face (the RSA in London) and others were remote on their laptops running Zoom. They could have been anywhere in the world but were in Canada, US, Italy, Finland, Belgium and Portugal.

The event was not as difficult as it sounds as we had two large interactive touch screens in the room plus some high-tech microphones and video cameras courtesy of Jon Knight of Ascentae.

I hosted the room at the RSA and my good friend John Hovell hosted the Zoom room from Washington DC.

As if this were not enough, we are also used some innovative software Nureva Span Workspace from Nureva to allow participants (both local and remote) to capture ideas and insights on virtual post-it notes that they posted to a virtual wall in the room (one of the big screens) from their smartphones. This was really quick and easy to do.

It was a bit of an experiment but it worked exceptionally well and we learnt a great deal about how to do it better next time. I am sure this type of interactivity for large globally distributed organizations has got to be a wave of the future.

You can watch a short video clip here to get a feel for the set up or take a look at these photos posted on Facebook.

I plan to fully document the process including how the technology all hang together and share it in my blook at some point.




Friday 30 November 2018

11:29 GMTPermanent link to #Amazon book reviews often tell me a lot# Amazon book reviews often tell me a lot - Comments

When looking at Amazon book revews, I find it just as useful to read the one-star ratings as to look at the five-star ones. There is nearly always a perspective I have missed.

The rating distribution is also of interest.

A book with nothing but five-stars is probably good even if the author did get all his or her friends to rate it.

A book with mainly 1-star ratings is probably bad.

But a book with a polarized distribution of stars - lots of five-stars and one-stars - is probably the most interesting, people love it or hate it.

Why? Sometimes it is obvious if the topic is on politics or religion but often it is not - the author has something controversial to say. This many well be a really good read!


Monday 26 November 2018

17:37 GMTPermanent link to #Knowledge is NOT power# Knowledge is NOT power - Comments

You can have perfect knowledge but
  1. ignore it
  2. not accept it as true
  3. not understand it
  4. be biased against it
  5. not appreciate its relevance
  6. be too busy to act on it
  7. not have the political skills to influence or persuade senior management to take you seriously
  8. not have the budget or other resources to put the knowledge into action
  9. not have the leadership skills to act
  10. not have the collaborative skills to work with other people
Knowledge is not power. The self-motivation and the ability to act on knowledge and to influence and work with people (especially those in authority) is power.


17:21 GMTPermanent link to #I love to banter# I love to banter - Comments

I do love gentle banter.
Banter is an art form - a conversational game. It requires a degree of skill and sensitivity. The fact that you are bantering needs to be understood by both parties. Played sensitively, it can help build and strengthen relationships. Played poorly it can be destructive. Play it with care.

I say a little more about banter and have two short video examples in a post in my blook.

16:27 GMTPermanent link to #Have more conversations in your head# Have more conversations in your head - Comments

I'm not so sure I would call this a real conversation but let me share with you a little game I often play in my head. I usually play it when I am driving on a long journey, and sometimes when I cannot sleep at night or when I know I am not going to be interrupted.

I interview myself on a topic; usually, one of interest, e.g. Conversational Leadership or one for a bit of fun, say my views on Trump or Brexit.

I pretend that the interview is in real-time say on stage or the radio and I am being interviewed by a tough, maybe highly skeptical, even aggressive interviewer. I am as hard on myself as I can be. I don't allow myself, to start again, and if I talk myself down a one-way alley, I have to talk my way out of it. I put the pressure on myself!

It's interesting to reflect as to what's goes on in my head when I do this.

In response to a question, I draw fragments of knowledge from deep in my mind and form them together in some structured away and express them through speech in real-time.

At the same time, I'm listening to what I'm saying and looking for the flaws in my logic.

Also in parallel, I am thinking of questions and responses that I'm going to verbalize through the mouth of my phantom interviewer.

It's quite amazing that the human mind can do all of this at the same time!

I also have two variant's of this that are a little kinder on myself, first I make it a conversation rather than an interview and second I pretend I am giving a speech on a topic. No preparation, I launch right into it.

Try it, its a great way of testing out how informed you are on a topic on which you hold strong opinions


Monday 26 November 2018

11:11 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2018 - Comments

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.

  • “Much development and humanitarian thinking and practice is still trapped in a paradigm of predictable, linear causality and maintained by mindsets that seek accountability through top-down command and control. ” https://buff.ly/2qZkMDG

  • We now face the uncomfortable reality that truth, fact, statistics and “expert” views are losing currency in decision-making and democratic choices, being replaced by assertions that “feel right” but have no basis in fact ... https://buff.ly/2DNnsgh #BridgingDivides

  • “How often do you talk to someone who has completely different views? Switzerland has ventured into a social experiment this month: People with different opinions met on blind dates. An algorithm chose the pairs. ” https://buff.ly/2S2rEf4 HT @klowey22 #ConversationalLeadership

  • In a world of unprecedented accelerating change there is an eminent need to improve our decision making capability. Effective decision making of our leaders is paramount to be able to address current global challenges. https://buff.ly/2RPCK72 #ConversationalLeadership

  • “A team does not learn from reading a document about what some other team has done.” @nancymdixons https://buff.ly/2zMsDst #KM #KMers#KnowledgeManagement

  • “A document in a repository is not knowledge any more than a book on a shelf is knowledge. Knowledge is created and resides in the minds of human beings.” @nancymdixon https://buff.ly/2zMsDst #KM #KMers#KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership

  • Towards the idea that complexity IS a theory of change https://buff.ly/2QtRcSa #ConversationalLeadership #complexity #km#kmers

  • How you talk to your child changes their brain https://buff.ly/2JsR1Um #ConversationalLeadership

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


Monday 26 November 2018

11:32 GMTPermanent link to #Six Ways Leaders Kill Conversation# Six Ways Leaders Kill Conversation - Comments

Nancy Dixon recently posted a blog post entitled "Six Ways Leaders Kill Conversation". Take a look at the post and go the Gurteen Knowledge Community Forum and add the ways that you have seen managers (I won't call them leaders) manage to kill conversations!

I feel this is a really important topic as most of us one way or another frequently manage to close down conversations before they have even got started! We need to learn how to sustain conversations and not kill them.


Monday 29 October 2018

11:42 GMTPermanent link to #Writing about people we don Writing about people we don't totally agree with - Comments

In last month's newsletter I talked about Elon Musk and made reference to Prof. Jordan Peterson. I received two emails in response.

The first email said "Given Elon Musk's recent behaviour, I'm rather surprised to find him featured here!"

And the second, "Really disheartened that you would include a reference to Jordan Peterson, who has been accused of sexually misconduct. Have you heard him speak about women? He's atrocious. And his failure to acknowledge students who eschew binary pronouns? Disrespectful, to say the least." They then unsubscribed from my newsletter.

This was my reply to the second email.

A big thanks for your email,

It is giving me a massive amount of food for thought. Especially as I received this email the same day.

"Given Elon Musk's recent behaviour, I'm rather surprised to find him featured here!"

I have a particular way of looking at the world that I am going to try to write about at some point.

I have watched many of Jordan's videos and have read his new book, also read a lot of heated "fights" on discussion forums between people who love him and people who hate him.

He is a controversial figure indeed.

I personally think he is acting in good faith and that he has a lot of deep insights into what it means to be human. I think he is also often misunderstood.

Like all of us, he has his "demons" and I don't think he is always right. But interestingly - he admits that. He is trying to make better sense of the world and is a passionate believer in free speech.

https://conversational-leadership.net/freedom-of-speech/

I think we need to listen to and engage with such people - even if we do not like what they have to say at times. This is how we make progress in the world.

Once again a big thanks for provoking my thinking on this. David

I am sure not everyone will agree with me :-)

11:32 GMTPermanent link to #Everyone beleives they Everyone beleives they're the good guy - Comments

In the this video by former CIA undercover officer Amaryllis Fox, she points out two simple truths that she thinks her work has taught her:



Everybody believes they are the good guy.

and

The only real way to disarm your enemy is to listen to them.

It's a strange human phenomena but everyone believes they're the good guy or maybe not so strange as we get to learn more about what it means to be human.

I am sure both American republicans and democrats think they are they are the "good guys".

So do UK Brexiteers and remainers.

And, everyone else across the "human divides" of gender, sexuality, religion, politics, race and more.

We need to take Amaryllis's advice and start talking with each other, listening to each other and understanding each other better, rather then seeing each other as enemies.

10:51 GMTPermanent link to #Introduction to BS ISO 30401 Knowledge Management Standard# Introduction to BS ISO 30401 Knowledge Management Standard - Comments

On 8th October a webinar was given by the BSI (British Standard Institute) to introduce BS ISO 30401 - the new Knowledge Management Standard.

Personally, I am not a big believer in the value of the standard (but I am happy to be proved wrong). I do like the fact though that it is principle based and not prescriptive.

But take a look and draw your own conclusions. You can watch a recording of the webinar here.


Sunday 28 October 2018

12:49 GMTPermanent link to #Henley Forum: Accelerating Innovation# Henley Forum: Accelerating Innovation - Comments

The Henley Forum has a meeting coming up on Wednesday 28th November 2018 - Accelerating innovation. It's a members' only event but there are a few guest places available at £175 + VAT.

This is a great learning opportunity at a low price to experience the Henley Forum.

There is also a 2-day workshop next year - Advancing your OD practice 22 – 23 January 2019 open to non-members.

And a date for your calendar - the Henley Forum Annual Conference takes place 06 - 07 March 2019 Amplifying our practice: leading the way with knowledge. The conference is also open to non-members.

If you are interested in participating contact Marina Hart - her details are on the above webpages.


Saturday 27 October 2018

20:47 GDTPermanent link to #Where does progress come from in the world?# Where does progress come from in the world? - Comments

Where does most of the progress come from in the world?

I always remember back in my corporate days that the people I admired the most for their creativity were the "geeks" - often in faded jeans, t-shirts and their bicycle leaning against the wall in their office. They were not the folks in fancy business attire.

Sure this is a generalization but I recall the feeling well, so when I came across this passage in a 1993 book Microcosm by George Gilder it resonated soundly with me - I love it :-)

The United States did not enter the microcosm through the portals of the Ivy League, with Brooks Brothers suits, gentleman Cs, and warbling society wives. Few people who think they are already in can summon the energies to break in.

From immigrants and outcasts, street toughs and science wonks, nerds and boffins, the bearded and the beer-bellied, the tacky and the upright, and sometimes weird, the born again and born yesterday, with Adam's apples bobbing, psyches throbbing, and acne galore, the fraternity of the pizza breakfast, the Ferrari dream, the silicon truth, the midnight modem, and the seventy-hour week,

from dirt farms and redneck shanties, trailer parks and Levittowns, in a rainbow parade of all colors and wavelengths, of the hyperneat and the sty high, the crewcut and khaki, the ponytailed and punk, accented

from Britain and Madras, from Israel and Malaya, from Paris and Parris Island, from Iowa and Havana, from Brooklyn and Boise and Belgrade and Vienna and Vietnam, from the coarse fanaticism and desperation, ambition and hunger, genius and sweat of the outsider, the downtrodden, the banished, and the bullied

come most of the progress in the world and in Silicon Valley.


I think it is even truer today than 30 years ago!


Friday 26 October 2018

17:49 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: October 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: October 2018 - Comments

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.

  • A strategic conversation is one that has the potential to influence the future direction of an organization. #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2SftsCw

  • Knowledge is the capacity for effective action. There is no capacity for effective action in a database. Credit: Peter Senge #ConversationalLeadership #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement https://buff.ly/2S9Ytrn

  • Our brains rapidly and automatically process opinions we agree with as if they are facts https://buff.ly/2J6s5kb

  • “My-side bias” makes it difficult for us to see the logic in arguments we disagree with https://t.co/19pEfsAWDd

  • The Case Against Rewards and Praise: A Conversation with Alfie Kohn @alfiekohn https://buff.ly/2ICQr6g #education #PunishedByRewards #AlfieKohn

  • Knowledge is not power. The will and the ability to act on knowledge and to influence people and events is power. #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2Seyj79

    The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity. Tom Peters #Culture #Engagement

  • Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity https://buff.ly/2BTthc3 #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership

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


Wednesday 26 September 2018

08:14 GDTPermanent link to #Future Café: the future of visual collaboration tools# Future Café: the future of visual collaboration tools - Comments

One of the challenges I have in seeing the Knowledge Café more widely adopted is conveying its power as a "group thinking" or "group sensemaking" tool and how it can be adapted for a wide variety of purposes.

To this in end, in my blook on Conversational Leadership, I have two chapters, the first describes the various Café applications and the second is a collection of stories of how the Café has been or is being used in practice.

What I consider to be one of the more powerful of the applications is the Future Café - a Café that is intentionally designed to explore trends and issues that shape, influence or in some way impact the future.

It is not very often that I get to run such a Café at a public event but on the 28th November in central London I am facilitating a Future Café at the Visual Collab 2018 event that will look at the future of Interactive Flat Panel Displays as visual collaboration tools and their application in team work.

It's not confirmed yet, but I hope to use some innovative ideation software to capture the thoughts and ideas of the Future Café participants in a way that minimally interferes with the dynamics of the conversations (a key Knowledge Café principle).

If the event is of interest and you would like to experience a Future Café then you can learn more and register here.


Tuesday 25 September 2018

11:18 GDTPermanent link to #The Henley Forum Listening Project# The Henley Forum Listening Project - Comments

The Henley Forum is researching Knowledgeable Practice for the next 10 years. They wish to understand how knowledge, learning and change practice might develop over the next 10 years. They are asking practitioners two key questions:
  • What key qualities and skills have you relied on in doing your best work?
  • What qualities and skills do you believe will be most useful and important for practitioners over the next 10 years?
They have created a questionnaire to solicit some input. Please it would help tremendously, if you would complete the questionaire.

In return, if you include your contact details, you will receive a summary of the report.

11:06 GDTPermanent link to #Would you like to learn how to design and run a Knowledge Café?# Would you like to learn how to design and run a Knowledge Café? - Comments

Would you like to learn how to design and run a Knowledge Café and how they can be applied?

I'll be giving a Knowledge Café masterclass at CILIP in central London on Thursday 1st November 2018.

The thing to note about my Knowledge Cafés is that they are more than just about sharing knowledge and building relationships.

They can be applied in a wide variety of ways and at their best are a powerful sense-making tool. Here are some real-life stories to help you better understand the versatility and the power of the Café.

Take a look, I think you might be surprised.

You can find more information and can register here.


Monday 24 September 2018

16:11 GDTPermanent link to #It may sound corny but love is the answer# It may sound corny but love is the answer - Comments

It may seem corny, but love is the answer.

I have long thought that to help cure many of the ills in the world that all we needed to do was "to care more." To care more about each other and to care more about our planet.

To say that "love is the answer" seemed a little too twee especially in a business context.

However, since I discovered that Elon Musk using the phrase in a recent interview with Joe Rogan I am having second thoughts - maybe "love is the answer" conveys the message far more effectively.

Here is a clip from the interview where Elon and Joe talk about the future of humanity and "love is the answer."


And here is the full interview (beware 2 1/2hrs long but well worth the time)


Joe comments at the end of the clip "How do you fix that - do you have a love machine you are working on?" Elon laughs and suggests you should spend more time with your friends and less on social media.

However, it has got to be far more than that - how do we learn "to care more" or "love humanity more"? If "love is the answer" what do we need to do? I have some thoughts of my own, but I'll leave you with that question for now. It would make a good Knowledge Café question!

Moreover, if you take the time to watch the full interview, step back and observe the "conversation," Joe is a skilled interviewer and draws Elon out and gives him space to talk without interruption - tolerating long silences at times.


Sunday 23 September 2018

16:21 GDTPermanent link to #We are what we think about all day long# We are what we think about all day long - Comments

A man is what he thinks about all day long.


This is one of my favourite quotes.

When I find my mind wandering to trivial matters or worrying over things I have no power to control, I think of this quote and consciously change what I am thinking about to something of value. The more I do it, the better I get at it.

Oh, by the way, I am sure this applies to women too. Annoying that quotes from even a few years ago are sexist but I think it would be wrong not to use the original words.


Saturday 22 September 2018

13:33 GDTPermanent link to #Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership September 2018# Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership September 2018 - Comments

I have made a number modifications and additions to my blook over the last month. One key new feature is the ability to see the most frequently visited pages.

The three most popular pages of my blook over the last 30 days were:
It's not so much that these pages are the more interesting but that Google gives them a high ranking.

These two new Sales Café stories may also be of interest:

13:26 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September2018 - Comments

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.

  • A big difference maker is when participants in a network (or an organization, for that matter) embrace new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing. https://buff.ly/2o0J13f #ConversationalLeadership

  • Thought is not just reflecting whatever is there, but on the basis of what is known from the past, it helps to create the impression of what is there. It selects; it abstracts; and in doing this, it chooses certain aspects, which then attract our attention. – #DavidBohm

  • Jordan Peterson: Overcome anxiety: Articulate your rationale by journaling to lessen your doubts https://buff.ly/2Mdhsx6 /interesting - watch the video

  • The Knowledge Café: Preparing graduates for the real world https://buff.ly/2x07bj1 #KnowledgeCafe #ConversationalLeadership

  • Dilbert thinks Brainstorming ineffective but he still enjoys them! https://buff.ly/2MUs892 #KM #KMers #KnowledgeManagement

  • Happy birthday Knowledge Café: It all began 16 years ago today on Sept 5th, 2002 at the Strand Palace Hotel in central London. Just a stone's throw from Trafalgar Square. https://buff.ly/2MPmiWE #KM #KMers#KnowledgeCafe #KnowledgeManagement #ConversationalLeadership

  • Shared meaning does not mean that people see things the same way but understand each other's perspectives well enough to accept them #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2wDvsLx

  • Coffeehouse Conversations in Vienna, where strangers are paired for two hours of intense conversation. https://buff.ly/2Q1aBKj #ConversationalLeadership #BigTalk #TheodoreZeldin

  • “School initiates young people into a world where everything can be measured, including their imaginations, and, indeed, man himself.” Ivan Illich https://buff.ly/2wAUfjr #education #learning

  • Mark Pagel: How language transformed humanity https://buff.ly/2BTthc3 #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership

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


Wednesday 29 August 2018

11:07 GDTPermanent link to #Ever wondered about how to run a Knowledge Café?# Ever wondered about how to run a Knowledge Café? - Comments

Ever wondered about how to run a Knowledge Café and how they can be applied?

I'll be running a Knowledge Café masterclass at CILIP in central London on Thursday 1st November 2018.

The thing to note about Knowledge Cafés is that they are more than just about sharing knowledge.

They can be applied in a wide variety of ways. Here are some real-life stories/applications.

Take a look, I think you will be surprised.

10:22 GDTPermanent link to #Reframing questions: from an individualistic perspective to a community one# Reframing questions: from an individualistic perspective to a community one - Comments

I recently added this post on Reframing Question to my blook on Conversational Leadership.

The post was inspired by a good friend of mine Charles Savage, who pointed out that some questions I had put together to initiate Big Talk conversations were mainly from an “individualistic” perspective and few were from a "community" one.

He also made this keen insight.

We've built an economy focused on inspiring/motivating the self-interest of individuals, rather than one where we co-create one another in deeper conversations.



10:18 GDTPermanent link to #Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up# Don’t ask kids what they want to be when they grow up - Comments

Don't ask kids what they want to be when they grow up but what problems do they want to solve.

This changes the conversation from who do I want to work for, to what do I need to learn to be able to do that.

What problems do you want to solve?


10:12 GDTPermanent link to #Saving Face, Losing Face# Saving Face, Losing Face - Comments

In my travels to SE & East Asia one of the things that has always interested me is the concept of saving face and losing face - something you need to be very aware of when working in the region.

In researching the concept, to better understand it for my blook, I found these three articles that make a fascinating read about "face" and the differences between Western and Asian cultures.
Deeply rooted in the Chinese concept of face are conceptualizations of a competent person in Chinese society: one who defines and puts self in relation to others and who cultivates morality so that his or her conduct will not lose others' face.

This contrasts with the American cultural definition of a person who is expected to be independent, self- reliant, and successful.

The end result is that a Chinese person is expected to be relationally or communally conscious whereas an American person is expected to be self-conscious.



09:36 GDTPermanent link to #Henley Forum: Absorbing complex change# Henley Forum: Absorbing complex change - Comments

The Henley Forum has a meeting coming up on Thursday 27 September 2018 - Absorbing complex change. It's a members' only event but there are a few guest places available at £175 + VAT.

This is a great learning opportunity at a low price to experience the Henley Forum. If you are interested in participating contact Marina Hart - her details are on the above webpage.

09:06 GDTPermanent link to #If you can believe in a flat earth you can believe in anything!# If you can believe in a flat earth you can believe in anything! - Comments

This is rather interesting article about the percentage of young people who are not so sure if the earth is flat or not: Do People Really Think Earth Might Be Flat?

Despite conflicting statistics, one line that jumps out:
Firm belief in a flat Earth was rare, with less than a 2 percent acceptance rate in all age groups
Seems to me, if you can believe in a possibility of a flat earth then you can believe in anything. What does that tell us about human nature?


Thursday 23 August 2018

10:59 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: August 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: August 2018 - Comments

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.

  • The new business dynamics of a hyperconnected world https://buff.ly/2JJkKHi

  • Just 66 percent of millennials firmly believe that the Earth is round. https://buff.ly/2Lmqurn /if you can believe in a flat earth you can believe in anything!

  • Episode 1, How to Disagree: A Beginner's Guide to Having Better Arguments - BBC Radio 4 https://buff.ly/2wfGR3a #ConversationalLeadership

  • Small Talk, Big Talk and Meaningful Conversation https://buff.ly/2KKN2kX #ConversationalLeadership

  • What I have tried to suggest is that we will never capture reality in any set of words or concepts. It will always be a case of analogy, of a description that's sufficiently similar to actuality so that we will understand something. – #DavidBohm

  • The Cognitive Biases Tricking Your Brain https://buff.ly/2KqHE6H

  • Have you thought about how your conversations impact your work? Some advice on how to have better and more effective conversations: http://ow.ly/mWj030lc3Cj #ConversationalWisdom #Leadership

  • KMs secret sauce: How to solve the knowledge sharing problem? Encourage more face-to-face interaction, more direct conversation. Keep it simple and keep it between two humans. https://buff.ly/2MczGjj #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership

  • Knowledge is not power. The will and the ability to act on knowledge and to influence people and events is power. #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2t68Y3Y

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

10:09 GDTPermanent link to #Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership August 2018# Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership August 2018 - Comments

A big thanks to everyone who given me feedback on my blook on Conversational Leadership this last month.

I work on it every day and have added a lot more structure to it over the last few weeks. There are now pages dedicated to books, videos, quotes ans people and these pages over time will be exstensivey cross-linked.

You can get a good idea of the modifications on my recent changes page.


Thursday 26 July 2018

17:28 GDTPermanent link to #A profile of Dave Snowden by Stan Garfield# A profile of Dave Snowden by Stan Garfield - Comments

Dave is a self-described “proud curmudgeon and pragmatic cynic” and the founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge. I think without any doubt, he is the most influential thought-leader in the KM world.

He has had a massive influence on me and whenever I am struggling with an issue - I think to myself "What would Dave's views be on this?" I will often google the issue and find he has some very strong opinions on the subject in question. I don't always agree with him but he really causes me to think deeply about the topic.

Whether you are familiar with his thinking or not go take a look at this profile of Dave's work David Snowden: Profiles in Knowledge recently created by Stan Garfield. A lot of interesting material.


Wednesday 25 July 2018

10:00 GDTPermanent link to #Conversational leadership and the Power of Conversation Video# Conversational leadership and the Power of Conversation Video - Comments

In June, I gave a talk on “Conversational leadership and the Power of Conversation” at the European Commission's Knowledge Week In Brussels.

You can now watch the full talk on the home page of my blook.

Note the session was 56 minutes long but I stop my talk at 26:20 to allow the audience to have a conversation and after 7 minutes I start to take questions at 33:20. Q&A lasts 23 minutes. So 50:50, about 25 minutes for my talk and 30 minutes for conversation and Q&A.

I call this a conversational talk. I wish more speakers would adopt a similar format.

In this talk, however, I wish I had given more time over to conversation and less to Q&A as I think Q&A is not really interaction and it is in the conversation where the real value lies.

Oh and I dont like lecterns either but in this case there were no lapel mikes and I was forced to stand still.



09:40 GDTPermanent link to #Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies Events# Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies Events - Comments

The Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies (known as the Henley Forum) has a meeting coming up on Thursday 27 September 2018 - Absorbing complex change. It's a members' only event but there are a few guest places available at £175 + VAT. This is a great learning opportunity at a low price and a chance to experience the Henley Forum.

There is also a 2-day workshop next year - Advancing your OD practice 22 – 23 January 2019 open to non-members.

And a date for your calendar - the Henley Forum Annual Conference takes place 06 - 07 March 2019 "Amplifying our practice: leading the way with knowledge, learning and change". The conference is also open to non-members.

If you are interested in any of these events contact Marina Hart - her details are on the above webpages.

The Henley Business School campus is on the banks of the River Thames near Henley-on-Thames. I always love going there as it is delightful any time of the year.


09:32 GDTPermanent link to #Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block (2nd Edition)# Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block (2nd Edition) - Comments

One of the books that has influenced me the most over the last few years is Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block.

He has just published the 2nd edition and if you would like to get some idea of what it is about take a look at this excerpt adapted from the "Welcome" chapter in the book.

In the midst of the growing awareness of and innovation in thinking about the need to build community, the dominant practices about how to engage people, civically and organizationally, remain essentially unchanged.

Building community and belonging is going to be our most powerful strategy for ending the displacement and isolation that plagues so many aspects of our world.

The work is to seek in our communities a wider and deeper sense of emotional ownership and communal ownership. It means fostering among all of a community's citizens a sense of ownership and accountability, both in our relationships and what we actually control.

Credit: Peter Block
Peter Block - Change the Conversation, Change the Culture



Tuesday 24 July 2018

11:02 GDTPermanent link to #Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership July 2018# Updates to my blook on Conversational Leadership July 2018 - Comments

A big thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on my Knowledge Café principles last month. They are greatly improved. Thank you.

The seven principles are listed below.
And during the month, I have added one major new feature: a list of over 50 books on the power of conversation or that relate in some way to Conversational Leadership (most of them I own). Each book has its own page with a brief description pulled in from Amazon. Let me know any I have missed or that you think I should add.

10:54 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2018 - Comments

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.

  • The new business dynamics of a hyperconnected world https://buff.ly/2JJkKHi

  • William Isaacs: Conversations that change the world https://buff.ly/2qqb3sl #KnowledgeCafe #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership #dialogue

  • We have made debating all about winning https://buff.ly/2m9ozfg #ConversationalLeadership

  • Dissenters seem like a pain. But principled troublemakers who challenge prevailing groupthink create more space for all https://buff.ly/2KIjkP2 #ConversationalLeadership

  • Reviving the Dying Art of Meaningful Conversation https://buff.ly/2KPse0I #ConversationalLeadership

  • The Knowledge Cafe principles are at the heart of the Cafe. In a Knowledge Cafe, conversation is King. #KnowledgeCafe #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2majt2l

  • It's not clear whether quality conversations actually make people happier, or if happier people are more likely to have quality conversations. https://buff.ly/2L5TXXa #ConversationalLeadership HT @klowey22

  • How best to bump: Designing spaces to encourage conversation https://buff.ly/2KXvaEu #ConversationalLeadership #KM #KMers

  • How might leaders be meaningfully attentive in order to bridge the requirements both to deliver and to care in the contemporary workplace? https://buff.ly/2MZSLVB /short write up of a recent London Knowledge Cafe by Mark Cole. #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership #KnowedgeCafe

  • Julian Treasure explains how to speak so that people want to listen https://buff.ly/2G7skys #ConversationalLeadership

  • Jim McCann talks about his book "Talk is (Not) Cheap" and the Art of Conversational Leadership https://buff.ly/2u2Mukd #ConversationalLeadership

  • Knowledge is not power. The will and the ability to act on knowledge and to influence people and events is power. #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2t68Y3Y

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


Thursday 28 June 2018

12:36 GDTPermanent link to #Future Proofing the Organisation - Nadim Habib at Social Now 2018# Future Proofing the Organisation - Nadim Habib at Social Now 2018 - Comments

I spoke at Social Now 2018 in Lisbon back in May and the keynote speaker at the event was Nadim Habib who talked about Future Proofing the Organisation. An excellent talk - well worth watching.




Tuesday 26 June 2018

14:57 GDTPermanent link to #My blook and Knowledge Café principles# My blook and Knowledge Café principles - Comments

I have done a huge amount of work on my blook on Conversational Leadership this last 6 - 8 weeks.

I have vastly improved the internal navigation (scroll down to the end of any page and you will see) - though still not totally happy with it. And am getting pretty good at hacking code in Wordpress (once a programmer, always a programmer!). Anything I wish to do, I google and if I can't find a plugin I can find the code and with a few tweaks it is working.

One of the main chapters I have been working on is the Knowledge Café Principles. I have long had these documented but never to my satisfaction. They are much better now. I think I am happy with the seven principles I have defined and hope to clean up their descriptions and finalise them over the next few weeks. But take a look at them below in the meantime.

The strength of the Café rests on these few critical principles that to a large degree differentiate the Knowledge Café process from other conversational methods.

11:10 GDTPermanent link to #How to quickly and easily capture ideas# How to quickly and easily capture ideas - Comments

I was asked recently how I capture ideas during a conversation without unduly interrupting the flow of the conversation.

At conferences, workshops and knowledge cafes I keep a small 4 x 2 card and pen in my shirt pocket. During a conversation to avoid taking lengthy notes and disrupting the flow of the conversation I write just a word or two on the card to remind me of an idea or insight I have had.

Immediately after the conversation if possible, I expand these one word notes by dictating the full idea into my iPhone.

I use an app called Captio to quickly and easily capture my dictation and translate it into text. Captio then automatically emails this note into another app - Evernote where I can categorise and tag it and where is easily searchable. Evernote is cross-platform so I can also access it from my laptop and iPad.

These notes then later get incorporated into blog posts or my blook or just pop up serendipitously every so often to remind of something I feel important.

The Captio/Evernote combination is also an ideal way for capturing ideas almost any time day or night. I pick up my phone, I open Captio with one click, click on record, dictate the idea, click send and I am done. Why not straight into Evernote? Captio is just that little bit faster.

10:43 GDTPermanent link to #All the talks and interviews from KA Connect 2018 are available online.
# All the talks and interviews from KA Connect 2018 are available online. - Comments

All of the talks and interviews from KA Connect 2018 are available online.

10:42 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2018 - Comments

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.

  • Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses. Margaret Millar http://bit.ly/2MoawO1

  • Knowledge is not power. The will and the ability to act on knowledge and to influence people and events is power. #KM #KMers #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2t68Y3Y

  • Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, ‘What else could this mean?'” ― Shannon L. Alder

  • "ability to truly listen (and not just hear) is the foundation of having a conversation, building trust, influencing others, resolving conflicts, driving your vision, building relationships, implementing change and learning." - http://qaspire.com/2016/07/18/leadership-and-the-art-of-effective-listening/ #sketchnote #listening

  • The ten principles of digital work http://bit.ly/2LbEXXp Esko Kilpi keynote at #Arctic15

  • A respectful workplace culture is better than a "nice" one says @jonahsachs Too much niceness can lead to conformity and inequality. We need to make it safe for people to think in unsafe (unconventional) ways https://work.qz.com/1260571/at-work-a-respectful-culture-is-better-than-a-nice-one/ … Thanks @Haypsych

  • Nick Milton @nickknoco asks "Will AI replace KM?" https://buff.ly/2J2ZmB2 #KM #KMers #AI

  • Learning to Live in a Hyper-Connected World https://buff.ly/2IXaaRm

  • How to be a great leader in a complex world https://buff.ly/2HdviNG #ComplexWorld #ConversationalLeadership #leadership

  • Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. – Stephen Hawking https://buff.ly/2kpxuZ9 #ConversationalLeadership

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


Wednesday 30 May 2018

10:41 GDTPermanent link to #We live in a hyperconnected, socio-technical world
# We live in a hyperconnected, socio-technical world - Comments

As I write my blook on Conversational Leadership, I find myself capturing fragments of ideas that I know will get refined and fit in somewhere in due course.

Here is one such fragment:

We are not separate from the world.

We are integrally connected.

We are each a node of one huge global network.

It is as if we are all attached by a large number of elastic bands to a multitude of other nodes: people, things, places, and history.

We live in a hyper-connected, socio-technical world.

Every node pulls on us, and we, in turn, pull on everything else.

It is this dynamic network that shapes us and determines our behaviour far more than any conscious, rational decisions.



Monday 28 May 2018

15:48 GDTPermanent link to #Flip charts and butcher paper get in the way of the conversation# Flip charts and butcher paper get in the way of the conversation - Comments

One of the fundamental principles of the Knowledge Café is that anything that gets in the way of the free flow of the conversation is a bad thing and should be eliminated.

Another principle is that everyone is equal.

Flip charts and butcher paper on tables contravene both of these principles, and in general in a Knowledge Café, you should avoid their use.

Take a look here if you would like to learn more on my rationale for this. Comments and feedback will be greatly appreciated.

12:27 GDTPermanent link to #Cognitive Edge and Code Genesys to Combine Operations# Cognitive Edge and Code Genesys to Combine Operations - Comments

You may not have heard that Cognitive Edge and Code Genesys have announced a merger of their business operations.

The new company will be known as Cognitive Edge. Ajay Reddy of Code Genesys will be CEO of the merged company and Dave Snowden, cofounder of the original Cognitive Edge, will be Chief Scientific Officer. See the press release.

I have been a huge admirer of Dave's work now for more years than I care to remember and wish him all the best in this new venture.

And it's good to see Dave taking part in a World Café in Zurich in September.

11:59 GDTPermanent link to #Henley Forum: Advanced Course in KM# Henley Forum: Advanced Course in KM - Comments

The Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies (known as the Henley Forum) has an Advanced Course in KM coming up on 10 – 11 July 2018 run by Chris Collision. It is open to non-members. If you are interested contact Marina Hart - her details are on the webpage.

They also have one of their regular Henley Forum meetings on 27 June 2018, which non-members can attend as guests and get a taste of the Forum.

The Henley Business School campus on the banks of the River Thames is delightful any time of the year but in the summer is quite beautiful.

11:38 GDTPermanent link to #Knowledge Management Matters: Creativity and Innovation# Knowledge Management Matters: Creativity and Innovation - Comments

I mentioned a month or two back a new book Knowledge Management Matters: By Practitioners for Practitioners written by a number of well known KM practitioners and edited by John and JoAnn Girard.

The book is free and you can download it from here.

John Girard tells me that about 1000 people have downloaded a copy of the book already and that they are in the process of developing a series of companion videos, the first of which is now available on YouTube.

For those of you who know John, you are in for a treat, he has shaved off his beard :-)


Thursday 26 April 2018

11:26 GDTPermanent link to #Is conversation action?# Is conversation action? - Comments

I am often asked how to turn conversation into action.

It's a crazy question as conversation is action. Let me justify that.

It is evident that conversation does not change the physical world.

Conversation, however, changes the wiring of our brains. It transforms our minds.

It changes what we think about, and it shapes how we think.

Conversation creates the conditions, in which actions and changes we would like to see in the world become possible.

And yes of course we can waste a lot of time talking about stuff of no consequence but we waste even more time doing stuff of no consequence.

Looked at in this light, conversation is probably one of the most potent forms of action we can take.

So stop running around doing things and sit down and have a conversation.

08:46 GDTPermanent link to #Speech is already not as free as you might think# Speech is already not as free as you might think - Comments

I have written about freedom of speech in the past see Freedom of speech is more than just a value and continue to research and develop my thoughts for my blook - particularly in the context of the current discussions on hate speech and fake news.

Just how free should we be to express our opinions - however hateful or harmful?

Germany, for example, has a controversial new law that tries to control online hate speech: Free speech vs. censorship in Germany that many think goes too far. Hate speech is free speech

What I have found interesting though is that even in the US with its First Amendment, speech isn't as free as you might think: What Type of Speech Is Not Protected by the First Amendment?

The list of limitations is long including libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, public security, and perjury.

Like most things in life there are few absolutes Things are nuanced including freedom of speech.

Lest we go to far in limiting freedom of speech keep in mind Prof. Jordan Peterson's passionate defence of free speech.




Wednesday 25 April 2018

14:16 GDTPermanent link to #The Future of Management Is Teal# The Future of Management Is Teal - Comments

A big thanks to Silvia Bombard for telling me abut the work of Frederic Laloux. I googled him and found this article: The Future of Management Is Teal: Organizations are moving forward along an evolutionary spectrum, toward self-management, wholeness, and a deeper sense of purpose.

He tells the fascinating story of the evolution of the organization (human collaboration) starting 10,000 years ago. He gives each phase of the evolution a colour: red, amber, orange, green and teal. It is well worth a read and helps put today's collaborative efforts into some sort of perspective and explains where he thinks we are heading with a number of examples of what he considers to be teal organizations.

One passage jumped out at me:
In just two and a half centuries, these breakthroughs have generated unprecedented levels of prosperity, added decades to human life expectancy, and dramatically reduced famine and plague in the industrialized world.

But as the Orange paradigm grew dominant, it also encouraged short-term thinking, corporate greed, overconsumption, and the reckless exploitation of the planet's resources and ecosystems. Increasingly, whether we are powerful leaders or low-ranking employees, we feel that this paradigm isn't sustainable.

The heartless and soulless rat race of Orange organizations has us yearning for more.


I think this sums up nicely, the advances we have made and the associated but unintended consequences.

11:54 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2018 - Comments

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.

  • Organisations are linguistic structures built out of words and maintained by conversations. https://buff.ly/2F3b2gx #ConversationalLeadership

  • Conversational Leadership: 3 Steps to Improve Conversations | KMInstitute https://buff.ly/2Jcelo6 #ConversationalLeadership

  • Ralph Stacey: Complexity and Paradoxes https://buff.ly/2qKSBrW #complexity #ConversationalLeadership

  • “The First Amendment does not protect all types of speech.” https://buff.ly/2JX81lE /the list of exceptions is actually quite extensive #ConversationalLeadership

  • You Don't Just Need One Leadership Voice — You Need Many https://buff.ly/2JTLwOg #ConversationalLeadership

  • Short video: What are complex adaptive systems? - Stockholm Resilience Centre https://buff.ly/2JcFw2X / a really good, simple 3 minute introduction to complex adaptive systems

  • If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking. https://buff.ly/uoY6eN #FreedomOfSpeech

  • Maybe we've been putting the wrong focus on KM. Maybe KM is not about increasing production or saving dollars. Maybe it is about creating the kind of culture where we would all like to work. @nancymdixon https://buff.ly/2tyOOSZ #KM #KMers /Spot on in my opinion Nancy :-)

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

11:54 GDTPermanent link to #Receive a quotation by e-mail on a day of the week of your choosing# Receive a quotation by e-mail on a day of the week of your choosing - Comments

I love quotations. This one is a favourite:
I do not accept any absolute formulas for living.

No preconceived code can see ahead to everything that can happen in a man's life.

As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change.

So I think we should live with this constant discovery.

We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living.

We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience.


Click here to receive a quotation by e-mail on a day of the week of your choosing



Tuesday 27 March 2018

09:55 GDTPermanent link to #Resolve issues face-to-face whenever you can - not by email# Resolve issues face-to-face whenever you can - not by email - Comments

Let me share a true story.

A friend of mine was told by their manager never to resolve problems face-to-face but to do it by an exchange of emails and to copy him so that there was an audit trail. Then if anything went wrong, it was obvious who was to blame.

Sometime later, my friend noticed that the sales manager had made an incorrect entry in the new CRM database. It was a relatively trivial mistake.

Usually, he would have just walked around to the manager's desk explained to him the problem and resolved it in a short conversation. But following his manager's orders, he sent an email to the sales manager pointing out the mistake and explaining that he needed to correct it.

The IT manager misinterpreted the tone of the email and felt he was being criticised and being treated like a child. He responded emotionally and of course copied my friends boss and also copied another level up the hierarchy.

The whole issue took a face-to-face meeting to resolve between my friend, his boss, his boss's boss and the sales manager. It was resolved but at the expense of the relationship between my friend and the sales manager. Things were never quite the same again between them.

Although I have slightly changed the details, this is a real story and not an unusual one.

If you have the choice, always resolve issues face-to-face, not by email. It's the human way to do things.

08:46 GDTPermanent link to #Zoom Café: How can experts share and innovate across different disciplines?# Zoom Café: How can experts share and innovate across different disciplines? - Comments

My good friend John Hovell is running Knowledge Cafés in Washington DC. Some of these are face-to-face and others are online using Zoom.

The next Café coming up is an online Zoom one on Tuesday 3rd April 11:00am - 12:30pm EST. The topic: "How can experts share and innovate across different disciplines?"

Clearly what is great about online Zoom Cafés is that you do not need to be in Washington DC to take part. So where ever you are in the world, if the time zone works for you do sign up and join the Café.

I will be there too which will be fun for me as I usually host such events - not take part as a participant. So I can relax and enjoy the conversations.

If you cannot make this Zoom Café but would like to be kept informed of other virtual Cafés - please sign up to my Zoom mailing list.


Monday 26 March 2018

20:28 GDTPermanent link to #Social Now 2018 - The Social Intranet Conference# Social Now 2018 - The Social Intranet Conference - Comments

On 16 -18 May 2018 I will be in Lisbon, Portugal for Ana Neves' Social Now 2018:Getting Results From Enterprise Social Tools Conference where I will be giving a talk and facilitating a Knowledge Café masterclass.

It is not any old conference, Ana has designed something unique. Take a look and see what you think.

20:28 GDTPermanent link to #Social Now 2018:Getting Results From Enterprise Social Tools# Social Now 2018:Getting Results From Enterprise Social Tools - Comments

On 16 & 17 May 2018 I will be in Lisbon, Portugal for Ana Neves' Social Now 2018:Getting Results From Enterprise Social Tools Conference where I will be giving a talk and facilitating a masterclass.

On the Thursday, my talk is titled "Improving Online Conversation and Knowledge Sharing".

Deep and meaningful online conversations don't come naturally. This is especially true across cultural divides. Based on my experience of facilitating face-to-face conversations around the world, I plan to look at some of the human barriers to conversation and knowledge sharing such as deference to authority, fear of loss of face, and humility. I will then go on to look at some of the technology barriers and to explore some ideas to improve the results of online exchanges: both through good tactical decisions and small improvements in the design of digital tools.

On the Friday, I will be running a masterclass on how to design, convene and facilitate Knowledge Cafés.

In our increasingly complex, fast paced, rapidly changing, ambiguous world, no single leader or individual can know everything or be smart enough alone to address the challenges that face us. One of best ways to make sense of an issue or challenge and ultimately make better decisions is to bring a diversity of people together for a conversation in a Knowledge Café.

But of course I am not the only speaker or masterclass leader. Take a look at the agenda where you will find great speaker/facilitators like Paul Corney, Eric Hunter and James Dellow to name only three.

Strangely, I have never visited Lisbon before but everyone tells me but what a beautiful city it is so given the conference is Thurs/Fri I plan to stay the weekend to make the most of the trip. Why don't you do the same? :-)

12:31 GDTPermanent link to #The Enlightenment Coffeehouses# The Enlightenment Coffeehouses - Comments

The London coffeehouses of the 17th & 18th centuries were the engines of creation that helped drive the Enlightenment – the European intellectual movement of the time that emphasized reason and individualism rather than tradition.

Modern-day coffee shops such as the likes of Starbucks, Costa Coffee, and Caffè Nero have their roots in these old coffeehouses but they were quite unlike the establishments we know and love today.

In 1652 Pasqua Rosée, a Greek opened the first coffee stall in the churchyard of St Michael's Cornhill in the City of London and the rest is history as they say but what a fascinating story - one I have been researching these last few years.

I'd love to see the return of those old coffeehouses. Not for the vile coffee of the day but for the real face-to-face conversation.

I'd love to walk into a Starbucks and sit down next to a total stranger and yell out “Your Servant Sir what news from Tripoli?”


10:11 GDTPermanent link to #Knowledge Management Matters: By Practitioners for Practitioners# Knowledge Management Matters: By Practitioners for Practitioners - Comments

Some of the top thought leaders in KM have been brought together by John and JoAnn Girard to create a very practical book on KM. See the description below. You can purchase a hardcopy from Amazon or download a free e-version.

Knowledge Management Matters: By Practitioners for Practitioners

Knowledge Management Matters: Words of Wisdom from Leading Practitioners is a collection of works penned by an amazing and diverse group of thought leaders. Each of these trailblazers has generously shared their knowledge with a view to helping you and your organization succeed in the knowledge environment. The tips, tactics, and techniques they suggest are time-tested and proven concepts that will help you achieve your organizational objectives. Their collective works are based on decades of experiences with real-world organizations. This is not a book of untested theories that might work, but rather a compilation of genuine words of wisdom from experienced KM practitioners who know knowledge management.

Knowledge Management Matters starts with a brief overview of the evolution of knowledge management. Building on this historical foundation, we launch a wide-ranging exploration of the domain. Throughout the book are excellent examples of what works, what doesn't, and some thought-provoking teases about the future. The authors offer great advice on a variety of subjects including storytelling, big data, creativity & innovation, leading communities, knowledge assets, co-creation, catering for a transient workforce and so much more.

The Practitioners
  • Stephanie Barnes, Director of Doing Things Differently at Art of Innovation
  • Shawn Callahan, Founder of Anecdote
  • Paul Corney, Founder of knowledge et al
  • Nancy M. Dixon, Author of Common Knowledge, HBSP
  • Stan Garfield, Knowledge Management Author, Speaker, and Community Leader
  • Anthony J. Rhem, President/Principal Consultant of A.J. Rhem & Associates, Inc.
  • Arthur Shelley, Founder of Intelligent Answers
  • Douglas Weidner, Chairman & Chief Instructor of KM Institute
  • Ron Young, Founder of Knowledge Associates International
The Editors

John Girard holds the Peyton Anderson Endowed Chair at Middle Georgia State University's School of IT. JoAnn Girard is the founder and managing partner of Sagology, a firm that focuses on connecting people with people to collaborate, learn, and share knowledge.

Amazon PurchaseBarnes&Noble PurchaseAmazon KindleFree iBookFree PDF




Sunday 25 March 2018

21:44 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2018 - Comments

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.

  • Want to Dramatically Improve Your Work Life? Start Having Radically Candid Conversations https://buff.ly/2pyqwDu #ConversationalLeadership

  • We still don't appreciate that work is communication: we live and work in a network of conversations http://bit.ly/2FrToIm

  • Ditching Performance Reviews for Authentic Conversations https://buff.ly/2zWhm7K #ConversationalLeadership /It's about time this was the norm.

  • Human ingenuity has created a world that the mind cannot master. Have we finally reached our limits? https://buff.ly/2u087VN #complexity

  • The Incredible Thing We Do During Conversations https://buff.ly/2GnlRw0 #ConversationalLeadership

  • Knowledge Management Matters: a new free e-book by @johngirard @MPuzzlePiece @ShawnCallahan @PaulJCorney @nancymdixon @stangarfield @tonyrhem @Metaphorage @KMInstitute @ronyoung #KM #KMers https://buff.ly/2Grwz4Z

  • Let's spend more time listening to what really matters: listening to our partners, to our children, to our friends, to our patients, to our employees, to our managers, to ourselves, and especially to our bodies. @Mintzberg141 #ListenMore https://buff.ly/2Fr0ahD

  • Maybe we've been putting the wrong focus on KM. Maybe KM is not about increasing production or saving dollars. Maybe it is about creating the kind of culture where we would all like to work. @nancymdixon https://buff.ly/2tyOOSZ #KM #KMers /Spot on in my opinion Nancy :-)

  • Blog Post: Career, Community and Cause - the three things people want out of work http://bit.ly/2GQJps9

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


Wednesday 28 February 2018

11:12 GMTPermanent link to #Career, Community and Cause - the three things people want out of work# Career, Community and Cause - the three things people want out of work - Comments

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review based on some people analytics research at Facebook, people want three things out of work.
Career is about work: having a job that provides autonomy, allows you to use your strengths, and promotes your learning and development. It's at the heart of intrinsic motivation.

Community is about people: feeling respected, cared about, and recognized by others. It drives our sense of connection and belongingness.

Cause is about purpose: feeling that you make a meaningful impact, identifying with the organization's mission, and believing that it does some good in the world. It's a source of pride.


The results are maybe not too surprising but the item that jumped out at me was community as I have been trying to document just what it community means in my blook. It is still work in progress to some degree and I'd love any feedback you may have.

10:07 GMTPermanent link to #Dave Snowden: A succinct overview of his groundbreaking work# Dave Snowden: A succinct overview of his groundbreaking work - Comments

Dave Snowden is an prodigious and extraordinary thinker and I guess best known as the developer of the Cynefin framework - a decision making tool. I love his blog and read every post. He has had a profound influence on my thinking.

Next year, I hope to see his long awaited book published but in the mean time if you are looking for a succinct introduction to his work take a look at these takeouts (by Sonja Blignaut) and video from a TedX talk he gave in November 2017.

It's an 18 minute summary of the key aspects of his work and a wonderful resource for anyone looking for a succinct introduction.

09:40 GMTPermanent link to #The Scientific Method for Kids# The Scientific Method for Kids - Comments

There are many subjects that everyone should be taught in school but I think one of the most important things that children need to learn is how to make sense of the world and thus they need to learn about the scientific method. They need never be scientists if that is not their calling but they simply need to understand how science works.

Science is not a collection of facts; it is a way of viewing and studying the world. Teaching the scientific method for kids does not expect them to reason as miniature adults, but kids can use a simplified version of the scientific method to explore their world.
  1. Ask a question.
  2. Learn as much as you can about it.
  3. Come up with a hypothesis (a possible answer/solution).
  4. Do experiments to test what you believe.
  5. What did you find out?
  6. Tell others what you learned.



Tuesday 27 February 2018

16:05 GMTPermanent link to #The Listening Project: intimate conversations between friends or relatives# The Listening Project: intimate conversations between friends or relatives - Comments

The BBCs listening project is a fascinating one.

Since 2012 the BBC have been collecting intimate conversations between friends or relatives, to build a unique picture of our lives today. They have collected over a thousand so far, and most are being broadcast on BBC radio and are being archived by the British Library to preserve them for future generations.

Go listen here. Each conversation is only a few minutes long.

The project was inspired by StoryCorps, an initiative set up in the United States. Their mission is “to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives”. The conversations are stored at the Library of Congress.

Here are two wonderful tasters for you, the first from the BBC Mother and daughter Ama and Jan talk about Racism on the Rise and a delightful mother and daughter conversation from StoryCorps I love your more than a unicorn and I really love unicorns.

15:51 GMTPermanent link to #Will the future economy be a knowledge economy or a human economy?# Will the future economy be a knowledge economy or a human economy? - Comments

There is opinion that the Knowledge Economy does not exist or is a myth. Or that maybe it should be termed the Information or Digital Economy.

People are also increasingly talking about the Human Economy or the Caring Economy.

I personally think in terms of the Human Economy - as it is broader than just caring. The concept is a simple one.

As technology develops, especially AI, there are going to be less and less traditional jobs. The machines are going to take them. We can see the impact already.

The jobs that will be left will be the "human ones" - the jobs ONLY human beings can do - the "caring jobs"- the jobs that require human warmth, touch and empathy, nursing, healthcare, education etc and of course other work that only humans can do such as entertainment, the arts and sport.

These will be the only jobs available to the vast majority of "young people" with or without skills or a University degree.

There will still be a Knowledge Economy but it will be for the few - the people who program and tend the computing machines and digital infrastructure.

Jack Ma has some interesting views on education.

Will the future economy be Knowledge based or Human based and what are the questions we should be asking?



13:58 GMTPermanent link to #Jonathan Norman interviews me about Conversational Leadership# Jonathan Norman interviews me about Conversational Leadership - Comments

If you have 15 minutes and would like to learn a little about Conversational Leadership then take a look at this short video interview that Jonathan Norman of the Major Projects Knowledge Hub held with me recently.


You will find my blook on Conversational Leadership here.


Monday 26 February 2018

11:56 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2018 - Comments

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.

  • “Community is about people: feeling respected, cared about, and recognized by others. It drives our sense of connection and belongingness.” https://buff.ly/2CzsKXM /interesting research at Facebook as to what people want from work. Career, Community and Purpose.

  • Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx /Just love Groucho Marx!

  • The two views of “labor as a resource” and “engaged workers” are incompatible @nancymdixon https://buff.ly/2CsvGVU #KM #KMers#EmployeeEngagement

  • The Listening Project: a partnership between BBC Radio 4, BBC local and national radio stations, and the British Library: Capturing the nation in conversation. #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2o4aJwl

  • “How to Save Face and Not Cause Someone to Lose Face” https://buff.ly/2ESvJx0 /A really good article on the mainly Asian concept of "face"

  • The biggest assumption that humans make is that everyone sees life the way we do https://buff.ly/2nICbiO

  • Difficult Conversations: 9 Common Mistakes https://buff.ly/2BQE3dL

    Why "knowledge sharing" cannot replace "knowledge management" https://buff.ly/2EdHLRy

  • Free Book to download" “Knowledge Productivity in the Public Sector” https://buff.ly/2lGekP2 #KM #KMers

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


Monday 29 January 2018

10:15 GMTPermanent link to #You You'll be surprised at the strongest predictor of how long you will live - Comments

I will be 70 years old later this year and would love to make it to 100. I thought that mainly meant some good genes, eating well, exercising and a huge dose of luck.

Yes of course, those things matter. But I was amazed to see the top two predictors of a long life in this TED talk by psychologist Susan Pinker:
  1. frequent face-to-face interactions
  2. close personal relationships

So I may be in with a chance!

It's also another good reason for us all to talk more face-to-face, build strong relationships and community.

You can find the full talk here on TED.



09:51 GMTPermanent link to #If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking. - Comments

I love quotations and you can find a huge selection on my website. You can also subscribe to receive one at random each a week or day if you wish.

Many of them have a connection in some way. Here are two of my favourites, separated by over 400 years.

There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.


If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.


There is psychological phenomenon called groupthink that makes "thinking alike" more likely in a group discussion.

09:44 GMTPermanent link to #I am sorry I don I am sorry I don't know enough to have an opinion on that - Comments

I have long thought that in our modern day culture it is almost illegal not to have an opinion on an issue regardless of whether we know anything about it or not.

Confident ignorant people argue with equally confident ignorant people. We all do it.

In the UK for example, how much does any one of us really know about the impact of a complex issue such Brexit - but we all have strongly held opinions.

I've long been meaning to write about this but Omid Safi has beaten me to it in this article The Wisdom of Saying “I Don't Know”

09:30 GMTPermanent link to #We need more dialogue and a little less debate# We need more dialogue and a little less debate - Comments

One of the many posts I have in mind for my blook is to compare debate with dialogue.

We often say we need to debate something - especially in the political world - when what we really need is a dialogue.

Dialogue is collaborative: two or more sides work together toward a common understanding while debate is oppositional: two sides oppose each other and attempt to prove each other wrong.

In dialogue, finding common ground is the goal while in debate, winning is the goal.

In dialogue, one listens to the other side(s) in order to understand, find meaning and find agreement while in debate, one listens to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments.

Dialogue enlarges and possibly changes a participants point of view while debate affirms a participant's own point of view.


To resolve issues and make decisions, we need both debate and dialogue. One is not intrinsically better then the other - they serve different purposes. But we have a strong tendency to enter into debate and even argument when we should be doing is having a dialogue.

09:13 GMTPermanent link to #Knowledge Management Communities# Knowledge Management Communities - Comments

Stan Garfield has put together a truly comprehensive list of Knowledge Management Communities.


Monday 29 January 2018

10:38 GMTPermanent link to #Meetings serve two purposes – the second too often gets overlooked# Meetings serve two purposes – the second too often gets overlooked - Comments

Most meetings or conversations have a preplanned outcome. It may be to explore an issue, to make a decision or to solve a problem.

But there is always a second subliminal purpose which we often overlook.

That purpose is to engage each other, improve relationships and foster a sense of community.

I have written more about this idea in my blook.

A big thanks to Peter Block for bringing this insight to my attention.


Saturday 27 January 2018

12:33 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2018# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2018 - Comments

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.

  • Why "knowledge sharing" cannot replace "knowledge management" https://buff.ly/2EdHLRy

  • Why Conversations Across Ideological Lines Fail #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2nbJu2q

  • What kills most innovation isn't a lack of ideas, it's a lack of relationships | Game-Changer https://buff.ly/2DYcQID

  • How to Have an Honest Conversation About Your Business Strategy https://buff.ly/2DW7Xjz #ConversationalLeadership

  • Healthy organizations exhibit a sense of respecting, trusting, caring, and inspiring, not to mention listening. -- https://t.co/B7YotNk7Jj

  • What Makes a Community? -- BuzzMachine @jeffjarvis https://buff.ly/2FJKiDn

  • Non-verbal signals play a role in communication but they are not more important than the words. #ConversationalLeadership https://buff.ly/2EOTZ1Y

  • Volume 15 Issue 4 of the Electronic Journal of Knowledge Management has now been published. EJKM is an open access journal and you can read, download and print the papers from here https://buff.ly/2CMxWZ2 #KM #KMers #EJKM

  • When all is said and done, nothing beats human relationships, dialogue, discourse, dialectic and discussion. Turn off our e-devices, close the books and have a chat. https://buff.ly/2EqfmX5

  • James Dyson: Listen. Create an open environment where everyone's involved and appreciated. If you don't put people down for making a silly suggestion, you can get great ideas. A lot of great new ideas come from silly suggestions or wrong suggestions. https://buff.ly/2m36Plu

  • Free Book to download" “Knowledge Productivity in the Public Sector” https://buff.ly/2lGekP2 #KM #KMers

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


Friday 29 December 2017

12:49 GMTPermanent link to #The correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting# The correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting - Comments

Whether it is our educational systems or the presentations we give at conferences, we focus far too much on filling people's heads with content. It is not an effective way of teaching. We need to inspire people to learn for themselves, not attempt to fill their heads with stuff.

Plutarch understood this, almost 2,000 years ago when he said:
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.

You are probably familiar with this quotation but actually it is a popular contraction of what he really said, here is a translation of the original text in context.
The correct analogy for the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting -- no more -- and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth.

Suppose someone were to go and ask his neighbors for fire and find a substantial blaze there, and just stay there continually warming himself: that is no different from someone who goes to someone else to get to some of his rationality, and fails to realize that he ought to ignite his own flame, his own intellect, but is happy to sit entranced by the lecture, and the words trigger only associative thinking and bring, as it were, only a flush to his cheeks and a glow to his limbs; but he has not dispelled or dispersed, in the warm light of philosophy, the internal dank gloom of his mind.


I rather like the original.

12:32 GMTPermanent link to #What is the difference between responsibility and accountability?# What is the difference between responsibility and accountability? - Comments

In writing my blook on Conversational Leadership, I often find myself researching and defining the meaning of words or concepts and their nuances.

For example, we use the words responsibility and accountability loosely in everyday language, but what is the difference?

This is my best attempt so far in answering that question. But in summary:

We can only choose to take responsibility for something. No one else can assign responsibility to us.

We take responsibility but are held accountable.

Any feedback you may have is most welcome.

10:18 GMTPermanent link to #Getting your head around the Cynefin Framework# Getting your head around the Cynefin Framework - Comments

Some years ago,when I first started to learn about Dave Snowden's Cynefin Framework, it took me a little while to wrap my head around it as there were never any good examples given of the different types of problems associated with each domain.

If you have the same problem, take a look at this excellent article The Cynefin framework: applying an understanding of complexity to medicine. You don't have to understand too much about medical practice to make sense of it and it really does bring the Cynefin model to life and demonstrate its usefulness in thinking about problems and decision making.

In our increasingly complex world, I think everyone should have a grasp of the Cynefin framework. So, take a look if you are not familiar with it or wish to understand it better.

PS. If you are a game player, you may find this explanation more readable.


Thursday 28 December 2017

12:13 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: December 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: December 2017 - Comments

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.


Tuesday 28 November 2017

10:47 GMTPermanent link to #Saudi Vision 2030# Saudi Vision 2030 - Comments

I've just spent a few days in Riyadh where I gave a talk and run a Knowledge Café as part of a KM Forum entitled "Knowledge Management Utilization in Realizing Saudi Vision 2030" organized by the Naseej Academy.
Saudi Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism.

My talk was about how KM could be used strategically to help achieve the vision and the question that initiated the Knowledge Café "Given that even the experts do not have a good track record of predicting the future, and strategic plans often fail to deliver fully on their promises, how can KM help us better formulate and execute strategy?"

It was good day and I was delighted with the extent to which the participants engaged with the Knowledge Café and saw it's potential.

The Saudi Vision for 2030 is ambitious as it is impressive. Take a look at this PDF for some of the detail.

I truly wish them all the best in transforming their country and society.

10:32 GMTPermanent link to #Dubai Knowledge Summit 2017# Dubai Knowledge Summit 2017 - Comments

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) recently organized and held the fourth annual Knowledge Summit in Dubai. Here are a few videos that you may find of interest from the Summit.




Monday 27 November 2017

17:17 GMTPermanent link to #PowerPoint is still poisoning us# PowerPoint is still poisoning us - Comments

It's a while since I last talked about what I call conversational conferences - February 2013 to be exact.

I am now starting to pull some of that old material into my blook and updating it.

I do wish conference organizers would make their events more participatory - making conference conversational is not the full answer but is a simple enough, low cost step.



17:02 GMTPermanent link to #Is Sophia, the robot harmless?# Is Sophia, the robot harmless? - Comments

I hope you have not missed all the fuss about a robot called Sophia that was granted Saudi Arabian citizenship recently and all the media razzmatazz around it.

A bit of harmless fun you might think or is it harmless?

Harmless enough, if you understand that Sophia, although a fantastic bit of technology is not that smart. It is somewhat like Apple's Siri combined with some sophisticated puppetry plus the ability to recite preprogrammed scripts. No intelligence there at all.

But if you don't understand this, Sophia is misleading you (and even scaring you) into believing that general artificial intelligence is far more advanced than it is.

There are many articles on the web about Sophia but what concerns me is that so few of them explain or even seem to understand how Sophia works. This article however, does explain a little: Inside the mechanical brain of the world's first robot citizen.

But I cannot find any articles other than this one that get to the heart of this issue and that sum up my feelings on the matter: Humanoid robot Sophia is a sad hoax that harms AI research. I think we need to take artificial intelligence a little more seriously.

16:27 GMTPermanent link to #Connecting and synchronizing minds# Connecting and synchronizing minds - Comments

I happened to notice that the theme for Expo 2020 Dubai was Connecting Minds and I was drawn to the metaphor of connecting minds.

So I googled a little and found a fascinating neuroscience research paper - Speaker-listener neural coupling underlies successful communication. See Good connection really does lead to mind meld for a less technical overview and note the excerpt below (my emphasis in bold).

They found that speaking and listening used common rather than separate neural subsystems inside each brain.

Even more striking was an overlap between the brains of speaker and listener.

When post-scan interviews found that stories had resonated, scans showed a complex interplay of neural call and response, as if language were a wire between test subjects' brains.


It seems good conversation really does connect minds.

16:19 GMTPermanent link to #Should you take a vote before a discussion?# Should you take a vote before a discussion? - Comments

Two opposite points of view here.

David Marquet thinks its a good idea to take a vote before you start to take a decision making discussion.

While Michael Roberto disagrees.

I quite like the idea of voting early but share Michael's concerns. What do you think?


Monday 20 November 2017

16:43 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: November 2017 - Comments

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.


Thursday 26 October 2017

09:57 GDTPermanent link to #Zoom World Values Day Knowledge Café# Zoom World Values Day Knowledge Café - Comments

My virtual Zoom World Values Day Café went off exceptionally well.

117 people registered from 25 countries but there is always a large drop-off and in the end I had 47 people from 16 countries - still a good turnout. The countries were: Australia, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Martinique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Romania, Switzerland,Trinidad and Tobago,Tunisia, Turkey,UK and USA.

We had some in-depth conversation for 2 hours triggered by two short talks from Charles Fowler and Alan Williams and the question "What could be done to bring values to life?"

Sorry Asia-Pacific, this was out of your time-zone but I will make up for it!

What really amazes me about these virtual Cafés is just how well they work. This one worked a treat. First, I wasn't aware of anyone who had connection problems - Zoom worked flawlessly. But it is not just the technology - the small group break-out conversations work well too. This is what one of the participants said in the final whole group conversation.
This is only my second knowledge cafe and I'm still really struck by the quality of the conversation that I can have with people that I've never met before in some other part of the world through an online medium.

And I just wanted to say that and I found it really meaningful. It's like I don't think it would have been more meaningful if they would have been right here in the office.

I'm real surprised by just how much I enjoyed it and how impactful it is.

I never thought, before Zoom, that we could get so close to the quality of face-to-face conversations through an on-line medium.



08:58 GDTPermanent link to #Disregard Others!# Disregard Others! - Comments

My good friend David Pottinger and I both started our career's as physicists but I am sure he was a far better physicist than I ever was. I could never really handle the maths.

So it was fascinating to see this article he recently posted on his blog titled Feynman's Breakthrough about Richard Feynman - the well known American theoretical physicist.

It is a lovely little story, well written and with an important message if we are struggling to be creative - "Disregard Others!"

08:56 GDTPermanent link to #Upcoming Henley Forum Events# Upcoming Henley Forum Events - Comments

If you are based in the UK or fancy a trip to the beautiful Thames valley countryside then take a look at these upcoming events at Henley Business School.

Although they are primarily for members of the Henley Forum, a few guest places are always available. Contact Marina Hart at the Henley Business School if you are interested.




Wednesday 25 October 2017

14:19 GDTPermanent link to #An interview with Ana Neves about my work# An interview with Ana Neves about my work - Comments

Ana Neves of KMOL recently interviewed me by email about my work with Conversational Leadership and the Knowledge Café.

You can find the article written in Portuguese on her website and here on Linkedin in English:

It's a litte lengthy but I hope you find it useful and get to understand a little better why I think conversation is so important - not only in business but at a personal level and society at large.

14:09 GDTPermanent link to #Some Knowledge Café Stories# Some Knowledge Café Stories - Comments

I am starting to pull together in my blook quite a few good stories about how the Knowledge Café is being applied or has been run by different organizations.

Here are three that are almost finished and are directly accessible but you will find more in the Conversational Stories chapter in various stages of development.


Tuesday 24 October 2017

14:44 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: October 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: October 2017 - Comments

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.


Tuesday 26 September 2017

15:24 GDTPermanent link to #Do you believe or do you want to know?# Do you believe or do you want to know? - Comments

Could this be the root cause of so much of the trouble in the world?
There are two different types of people in the world: Those who want to know, and those who want to believe.



13:11 GDTPermanent link to #Peter Block on small group working# Peter Block on small group working - Comments

In reseaching for my blook on Conversational Leadership, I came across these words of wisdom in this short 90 second video clip from Peter Block about small group working.
  • How do I get every voice in the room?
  • How do I get people in the room who cross social distance levels?
  • How do I get people in the room who aren't like-minded?
  • How do we structure our time together?

As he concludes, all the methodologies he mentions are moronically simple. To which I might add, so why are they so often ignored?




Monday 25 September 2017

16:29 GDTPermanent link to #To turn on a dime for a dime# To turn on a dime for a dime - Comments

I gave a talk and ran a Knowledge Café at a recent Large-Scale Scrum Conference in London and had the pleasure of meeting Craig Larman, the co-creator of LeSS (Large-Scale Scrum) with his colleague Bas Vodde.

A few things Craig said stuck in my mind. First:
What gets measured gets gamed.

Credit: Craig Larman

I have long been critical of measures because they are too easily gamed and I only wish I had come up with this catchy way of expressing it myself as an alternative to "What gets measured gets done."

A second quote from Craig was:
To turn on a dime for a dime.

Credit: Craig Larman

This was said in the context of adaptive capacity - a key goal of Agile software development. So in other words "to quickly change direction at a low cost".

It reminded me of this quote that is so often miss-attributed to Darwin:
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.


Though this statement is more accurate:
It is not the most intellectual or the strongest of species that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.


In our rapidly changing, unpredictable world, the ability "to turn on a dime for a dime" is fundamental to personal, organizational or societal survival.

In order to adapt, we need to better understand the changes taking place and to act accordingly. We can only do this through open conversation and collective sensemaking. Hence our "conversational capacity" - our ability to hold strategic conversations is key.

13:26 GDTPermanent link to #Are vague Ideas sometimes better than firm ones?# Are vague Ideas sometimes better than firm ones? - Comments

I rather like this thought about ideas from Pablo Picasso.

We don't necessarily need a clear, crisp, sharp idea or vision. A hazy one, a sense of vague direction may sometimes be better as we are then more likely to explore along the journey and make serendipitous discoveries.

Maybe vague ideas are at the heart of being creative.

You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.



12:04 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: September 2017 - Comments

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.


Monday 28 August 2017

18:57 GDTPermanent link to #The RSA has plans for a 21st century enlightenment coffeehouse# The RSA has plans for a 21st century enlightenment coffeehouse - Comments

Given the metaphor that underpins my Knowledge Cafés I have long been interested in and written about the Enlightenment Coffeehouses of 17th and 18th Century London.

Out of the coffeehouses came a number of institutions that exist to this day such as the London Stock Exchange, Lloyds of London. The auction houses Sotheby's and Christie's also have their origins in coffeehouses.

Another was the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) which was established in a coffeehouse in 1754 by a group of people who came together with a shared vision for a better tomorrow.

I am a member of the RSA have long thought and even suggested that they should turn part of their London premises into a coffeehouse in the tradition of those long lost coffeehouses.

I doubt that I had anything to do with it but that is just what they have decided to do - to create a 21st century enlightenment coffeehouse. I am so looking forward to it.

17:48 GDTPermanent link to #Was James Damore acting in good faith and does it matter?# Was James Damore acting in good faith and does it matter? - Comments

I am sure many of you are by now familiar with the Google memo controversy where a Google software engineer James Damore was fired for a memo that questioned Google's diversity policies. If you have not read the memo you will find it here.

The memo has caused a heated online debate with people fiercely arguing in support of James Damore or against him.

To me, the issue is not who is right or wrong, it is "Was James Damore acting in good faith, was he genuinely trying to open up a conversation or was he expressing misogynist views?"

I have read the memo and watched several interviews with him and I believe he was sincere in his motives.

If you are not familiar with the controversy and wish to form your own opinion here is some interesting reading.

Two arguments against James Damore:
Two supporting him:
and a short video interview (many more on YouTube): Fired Engineer James Damore: I Feel Google Betrayed Me

There is a lot of argument going on but very little constructive discussion - this is the best I could find: Ask A Female Engineer: Thoughts on the Google Memo.

So what do you make of it? Was he acting in good faith? If he was expressing misogynist views, should he have been fired? And even if he was acting in good faith, should he still have been fired?

Want to know what others think? Take a look at this poll: Poll: Google was wrong to fire engineer over diversity memo

A final thought, what is the real question we should be asking here?

15:51 GDTPermanent link to #How to disagree and what you can How to disagree and what you can't say - Comments

A beautiful piece here by Paul Graham on How to disagree where he attempts to create a disagreement hierarchy of six different levels from "name calling" to "refuting the central point".

His bottom line is "don't be mean" and his rationale is that it makes people happier. I don't think howver that this is the main argument. You are more likely to convince people of your point by being "less mean" and moving higher up the hierarchy in you conversational style.

If you enjoyed the above article, I think you will enjoy this one too What you cant say. This comment about Galileo particularly set me chuckling:

"If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking."

Thanks to James Damore (yes the guy who wrote the Google memo) for pointing me to both of these articles via his twitter stream. (You can understand why both articles resonate with him.)

This all makes interesting and relevant fodder for my blook on Conversational Leadership. And it is at the heart of what Knowledge Management should be all about - "making better sense of the world".

15:07 GDTPermanent link to #What is rationality?# What is rationality? - Comments

In researching for my blook on Conversational Leadership I come across some fascinating people, doing some great work. Julia Galef is my latest find. On her Twitter feed she says she is "A SF-based writer & speaker focused on reasoning, judgment, and the future of humanity." So you can see why I am drawn to her work.

One of the many things she has done is to create a number of short video blogs on YouTube where she shares some of her thoughts and ideas.

Here is one on What is rationality? from 6 years ago and a more recent one on the good faith principle.

Good faith is central to holding real conversations. In human interactions, good faith is the intent to be sincere, to be fair, open, and honest, regardless of the outcome of the interaction. Without good faith, a conversation can never be a real one.






Friday 25 August 2017

14:28 GDTPermanent link to #Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin's Junto Club and Franklin Circles - Comments

Last month, I wrote about Benjamin Franklin's Junto Club. This idea has really grabbed my attention and I have written a substantial description for my blook.

Franklin's Junto Club was about self-development and improving his local community.

What I like about the Junto Club concept is that anyone can start their own modern day Junto.

You can decide on your community and select, twelve or so members from diverse backgrounds.

I think the focus should be on community improvement not on personal development as individual learning comes naturally from taking part in the Junto.

So what community are you part of that you would like to improve? It could be your local community as in the case of Franklin, or any other community you care about and to which you belong.

This includes the organization for which you work. The Junto Club is not a community of practice but a form of community of innovation.

The other thing to do is to review Franklin's 24 questions and four assertions and update them so that they are more suited to the present day and your chosen community.

Interestingly, having spent some time thinking about modern day Junto Clubs or even Junto Cafés (a cross between the Junto and the Knowledge Café) I came across Franklin Circles - another form of modern day Junto focused on societal improvement.

Let me know if you feel inspired to form your own Junto Club or Franklin Circle.


11:31 GDTPermanent link to #Zooming around the world to Singapore and Sydney# Zooming around the world to Singapore and Sydney - Comments

I have run two more Zoom virtual Knowledge Café this month - one for the Singapore time zone and another for the Sydney time zone, made a few mistakes, learnt a lot and becoming more adept in designing and running them.

Planning now to run a Café for Dubai. I will also be running one as part of World Values Day. Here I am going to be a little bit more ambitious - all my virtual Cafés so far have been for less than 20 people but for the World Values Day I am going to shoot for 100 participants. A little bit of a risk but I'll learn a lot and hopefully it will attract people from many different countries. More on both these Cafés soon.

If you would like to be the first to hear about my Zoom events, please sign-up to my Virtual Café mailing list.


11:19 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: August 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: August 2017 - Comments

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.

  • Building a “Speaking Up” Culture in Teams @nancymdixon https://buff.ly/2xv6nQZ #KM #KMers #GurteenTalk

  • How do you tell who is arguing in "good faith" and who is not? @juliagalef https://buff.ly/2wAaUW1 #GurteenTalk

  • Meet the group reviving the fine art of conversation @Heather_Bourke https://buff.ly/2wHyEH3

  • A great quick intro to the Cynefin model..making sense of complexity https://t.co/XbzteFWspK

  • Enlightenment Coffeehouses: During the Age of Enlightenment coffeehouses became the centre of innovation @theRSAorg https://buff.ly/2xlcAiq

  • Prof Jordan Peterson @jordanbpeterson interviews James Damore @Fired4Truth on his #googlememo on Diversity https://buff.ly/2uAt1GP

  • An oldie but goldie from Patrick Lambe @plambeSG (aka Prof. Gervaise Germaine) https://buff.ly/2vN9XZn /I can't stop laughing #KM #KMers

  • Henley Forum have a limited number of guest places for this event at £175+VAT. Contact http://buff.ly/2uAOOi8 #KM

  • IFLA KM @IFLA_KM Newsletter June 2017 http://buff.ly/2uwiKw9 #KM #KMers #IFLAKM #KnowledgeManagement

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


Saturday 29 July 2017

14:22 GDTPermanent link to #Conversational Spaces# Conversational Spaces - Comments

My blook on Conversational Leadership continues to grow and take shape.

Content tagged with a "*" is freely readable but if you wish to access the blook in its entirety please request access and I will I will grant it,

If you wish to take a look at just the latest material visit the Recent Updates page.

One recent addition - is a new chapter on Conversational Space. It is still rather bare but includes a substantial post on the Enlightenment Coffeehouses of 17th and 18th century London, and more rudimentary posts on Stammtisch Tables, the Dewaniya, the Salons of France, the Viennese coffee houses and of course the Junto Club. I have more conversational spaces to add and much more to write about them - both the specific spaces themselves and more generally what makes a good conversation space, their purpose and benefits.

If you have any conversation spaces specific to your culture such as the Kuwaiti Dewaniya - I would love to hear about them,



Thursday 27 July 2017

17:58 GDTPermanent link to #Zooming around# Zooming around - Comments

I ran another Zoom virtual Knowledge Café a few days ago. Yet again it went exceptionally well and I had some great feedback.

I also joined a KMI KM workshop in Washington DC with John Hovell and give a short talk/conversation on Conversational Leadership via the Zoom platform and it worked a treat! It is the second one John and I have done together and I think John may have cracked how to do the Q&A session by passing an iPhone around the room also with Zoom loaded.

If you would like to be the first to hear about my Zoom events, please sign-up to my Virtual Café mailing list.


17:08 GDTPermanent link to #Is everything well, even though it is a mess?# Is everything well, even though it is a mess? - Comments

A book that has had a huge influnce on me is Awareness by Anthony de Mello.

Here is a quote from the opening chapter.
You know, all mystics - Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion - are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.

So what do you make of the idea that "all is well?"

When I reflect on the reality of the world in an everyday way then it is hard to see that "all is well" but deep down I understand what de Mello means.

Somewhere else in his book "Awareness" he says that "problems only exist in the human mind". If we look at the universe in its totality and from a perspective of its evolutionary history then its hard to see that it could be any different.

So maybe in a strange sort of way "all is well". That thought though should not stop us from striving to make it a better place!

But I think I know what Tony would have said "Don't try to change it - it will change of its own accord".

Quite a paradox indeed!


16:37 GDTPermanent link to #Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin's Junto Club led to the birth of the first US Public Library in 1731 - Comments

I was driving into town recently and switched on the car radio and caught the last few minutes of BBC Radio 4 programme called Making History and was gobsmacked at my serendipitous discovery of a so-called "Conversation Society" founded in 1727!

I have downloaded the audio and clipped out the key passage and uploaded to YouTube - it is only two minutes long. (I am sure the BBC won't mind.)

I googled around to find more information on the Conversation Society that is mentioned. It was called the Junto Club. More information here on the Benjamin Franklin History website and here on Wikipedia

So Benjamin Franklin was convening a Book Discussion Café (well not really but it's a nice fantasy) back in 1727 that morphed into the Library Company of Philadelphia - the first public library in the US in 1731.

I love the thought that they bought books to inspire their conversations and that this book collection was the foundation of the public library.

An absolutely amazing story!

Why not start your own Junto Club. It has some very KM like features. All you need to do is update Benjamin Franklin's 24 questions into modern day English and a business environment - and you have it!


11:48 GDTPermanent link to #Embedding Change: delivering value from knowledge and learning# Embedding Change: delivering value from knowledge and learning - Comments

The Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies (known as the Henley Forum) is a members-only forum but some of its events are open to the public.

They have a 1 day event coming up on 27th September at their Henley Campus - Embedding Change: delivering value from knowledge and learning and have a limited number of guest places available at £175+VAT. Contact for further details if you are interested.

I will be there as a participant. Do come along if you are based in the UK. It should be an engaging day. It is a reasonable cost. It's a great campus. And you get to experience the Henley Forum too.



Wednesday 26 July 2017

17:10 GDTPermanent link to #Promoting Knowledge Management activities through my website# Promoting Knowledge Management activities through my website - Comments

I am always looking to help promote activities in the KM field. To this end you can:

In each case, the submission is held in a queue until I have checked it out and categorised it. This normally only takes a day or two. If the item is off topic or I feel it is inappropriate for any other reason I reserve the right to delete it. The service is free.

16:17 GDTPermanent link to #Two Recent Podcast Interviews with me# Two Recent Podcast Interviews with me - Comments

It's not very often I get interviewed for a podcast but here are two recent ones that may interest you.



15:44 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2017 - Comments

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.


Wednesday 28 June 2017

15:29 GDTPermanent link to #Future Cyberwars# Future Cyberwars - Comments

This last week or so I have read two disturbing articles.
What concerns me is not the politics, but the increasing ability for anyone to conduct cyberwarfare. It could be a nation-state, a terrorist organization, or a 13 year old from their bedroom.

It is the Internet, the web and the computerization of our world that has made this sophisticated cyberwarfare possible.

It is a serious threat.

Which is more serious, attacks on infrastructure or on sources of information? Personally, I think it is that later and is the more difficult to defend against.

10:44 GDTPermanent link to #How to run your first Knowledge Café# How to run your first Knowledge Café - Comments


I am often asked how to get started designing and running Knowledge Cafés.

Given that the outcomes of the Knowledge Café are sometimes seen as “soft” by more hard-nosed, business focused managers, and by those working under time pressure, you may have difficulty convincing people of their value, and so it is essential to think carefully about how to get started.

I suggest you do not try to run a Knowledge Café with the sole purpose of convening some “interesting conversations.”

What you have in the Café is a powerful business tool, so when you see opportunities to use the Café for a real business purpose then seize the opportunity.

Offer the Café as a response to an issue – maybe don't even call it a Café and do not try to “sell it” in a traditional way.

A Café should always have a strong business purpose.

If you are a manager, then you should not have too much of a problem as you have the authority and power to do new things, but even if you are lower down the organizational hierarchy and do not manage people, then it is still possible.

Taka look here at some suggestions I am putting together for my blook on Conversational Leadership.


09:42 GDTPermanent link to #The future starts in 14 seconds.# The future starts in 14 seconds. - Comments

On May 17 it was 21 years since Leif Edvinsson inaugurated the Skandia Future Center.

To celebrate the event Leif has collected some volunteering 12 voices, into a free of charge on-line booklet Forward Future Center 3.0.

This booklet is about some of the global experiences from more than 20 years of prototyping since the start of Skandia Future Center in Sweden in 1996. It has been followed since by many others both in Europe and Asia, especially Japan, with its Future Center Alliance Japan.

When does the Future start? According to some research from Japan it starts in about 14 seconds. Are you ready?


09:09 GDTPermanent link to #A Practical KM Companion# A Practical KM Companion - Comments

My good KM friends Patricia Eng and Paul Corney have recently published a book Navigating the Minefield - A Practical KM Companion.

Patricia, very kindly gave me a copy at KM UK a few weeks ago. It is an excellent little book packed full of short stories about various KM programs - in fact 19 of them including ones from Airbus, ARUP, Cadbury Schweppes, Hewlett Packard (HP), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, (CIAT), Lloyds Register Marine, NASA, MPM PETRONAS, U.K. National Health Service Digital, and the U.S. Army.

In it, they examine and analyze these diverse KM programs, using quotes, insights, and stories to show why these programs were successful and how they improved both knowledge capture and knowledge flow in their respective organizations.

Take a look, I'd highly recommend it.


08:52 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: June 2017 - Comments

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.


Wednesday 28 June 2017

08:44 GDTPermanent link to #The Myth of the Flat Earth# The Myth of the Flat Earth - Comments

I have talked a little about myths recently and seem to keep stumbling over them.

I am really starting to question everything I ever been taught! For example, I was taught that people during the Middle Ages in Europe thought that the Earth was flat and not spherical.

Well it turns out, it's another big, fat myth as explained here in Wikipedia and again here. It seems that since the third century BC, few educated people in the western world have believed the earth to be flat - expect of course members of societies such as the Flat Earth Society.


Tuesday 27 June 2017

16:07 GDTPermanent link to #Artificial intelligence must be possible. But I don Artificial intelligence must be possible. But I don't think just yet. - Comments

I have a confession to make, unlike many of my colleagues, I'm an AGI (artificial general intelligence) sceptic :-)

The prevailing logic seems to be that as we build more and more powerful processors that have a similar compute capacity to the human brain or similar massive connectivity that consciousness will simply emerge. "Experts" predict AGI will happen in the next 25 - 50 years.

I believe this is wishful thinking. We could connect a quadrillion or more iPhones and consciousness is not just going to emerge!

Today, we don't have a clue how the mind works or the nature of consciousness and until we do any prediction of when AGI might happen is just a wild guess.

I am sure we will crack it one day - just not in any of our lifetimes. That's my best guess :-)

But then I am no expert - here are David Deutch’s views.

And another sceptical view point from Jessica Conditt.


Thursday 25 May 2017

11:40 GDTPermanent link to #Zoom virtual Knowledge Café update# Zoom virtual Knowledge Café update - Comments

I have talked in the past about Zoom and it's potential to host virtual Knowledge Cafés.

Having run a few small experiments, I run a fully fledged virtual Café at the end of April with 20 participants from 6 different countries.

There is no doubt in my mind now just how effective a platform Zoom is and I'll be running many more virtual Cafés and events in the future.

If you would like to be kept informed about them, please sign-up to my Virtual Café mailing list.

11:32 GDTPermanent link to #Henley Forum: Join in June# Henley Forum: Join in June - Comments

I have been a friend of the Henley Forum for Organisational Learning and Knowledge Strategies (known as the Henley Forum) ever since its inception back in 2000 and frequently take part in its events.

It is an exceptionally good forum and I would highly recommend it. The events are mainly for members-only but some are open to the public. Take a look -- you may be interested in becoming a member or attending some of the public events.

Here are a few of the activities coming up later in the year:
  • Building connections -- a members-only event on 27th June.

  • Advanced Knowledge Management -- a 2-day course on 12-13 July open to both members and non-members.

  • Research projects (members only)

    • Engaging with and working through complexity – a practical take on a tricky problem, starts 26th June
    • Overcoming myopia, seeing and believing in the virtues of difference – Research Summit, 20th July
    • Energising new ways of working – Research Summit, 2nd November

You can find a list of all upcoming events here.

09:14 GDTPermanent link to #Yet another myth: 70% of organizational change initiatives fail# Yet another myth: 70% of organizational change initiatives fail - Comments

I recently pointed out that although the Hawthorne Effect was real - the research that it was based on was flawed - yet we still call it the Hawthorne Effect. So in some ways it is a bit of a myth.

And then there was the Mehrabian Myth that 55% of the message is conveyed by our body language, 38% is conveyed by the tone of our voice and only 7% is conveyed by our actual words.

But I have now tripped over yet another widespread myth that 70% of organizational change initiatives fail.

I am as guilty as the next in "falling" for all three of these myths in past. It makes me wonder how many more common management concepts and practices we take for granted. Jack Martin Leith lists some more on his Debunking Unit website.

A resolution to myself "Question everything!"


Wednesday 24 May 2017

12:33 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: May 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: May 2017 - Comments

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.

12:10 GDTPermanent link to #Worcestershire Innovation Knowledge Café# Worcestershire Innovation Knowledge Café - Comments

I facilitated a Knowledge Café a month or so ago in my home town of Worcester for WINN (Worcestershire Innovation) on the topic "What are life's big questions that require innovation as an answer?"

It was an excellent evening and they captured its essence quite nicely in this little video.



If you are concerned with what the future may hold - why not run a Future Café to explore the trends and issues that are shaping, influencing and distrupting our world and your organization. One of the great things about the Knowledge Café method is that it is so easy to adapt and to run to fulfil a wide variety purposes.

09:16 GDTPermanent link to #The Knowledge Café as a Research Technique# The Knowledge Café as a Research Technique - Comments

I have come to learn over the last 15 years that the Knowledge Café is more a state of mind than it is a fixed process. It is a way of viewing the world through a conversational lens. It is about looking at any organizational process or activity and asking:
How can I apply the Knowledge Café philosophy and principles to make this task more effective by making it more conversational and engaging?
You can adapt the Knowledge Café for a variety of purposes.

I particularly like this application by Shawren Singh at the University of South Africa that describes how the Knowledge Café can be adapted to refine a theoretical conjecture..

It has also been used in Academia as an innovative teaching strategy.

How do you think you might adapt it?


Wednesday 26 April 2017

11:29 GDTPermanent link to #Thinking together: contra-conversations# Thinking together: contra-conversations - Comments

We all have our beliefs.

Some held firmly; some held not so tightly. Some true, some false. Some we are prepared to change. For others, we are prepared to die.

One of my firmly held beliefs is that if we are going to create a better world, then each and every one of us needs to figure out which of our beliefs are true and which are false. We should be forever questioning everything.

We need to understand better how the world works and the nature of what it means to be human, especially how we think and make decisions. We do this through conversation - by thinking together.

I recognize that many people do not fully hold this belief. They believe that some things are preordained; that they are the way they are; that some things should just not be questioned. Even beliefs such as these are worth talking about, however difficult that might be.

Let's look at an example of different beliefs:

I believe in climate change. Some people don't. I would like to persuade them that climate change is a reality. And they would like to persuade me that I am wrong.

I am open to being proved wrong, and as long as they are open to changing their minds too, I am happy to have a conversation with them. But I don't want a debate. I don't want to argue. Such interactions usually only entrench each other's beliefs.

I would like to have a conversation where we can "think together" and leverage our different views on the subject to gain a better understanding.

I am always looking for ways in which we can do this. Here is one nascent idea.

For the purpose of the discussion, I would like to swap places with the other person. I'd like to "argue" against climate change while they "argue" for it. Wouldn't that be a revolution in how we hold conversations and think together?

I wonder, could I adapt the Knowledge Café process to have such contra-conversations?

11:17 GDTPermanent link to #Decisions Are Emotional, Not Logical# Decisions Are Emotional, Not Logical - Comments

If a big part of Knowledge Management is about improving decision making then we should take more notice of fascinating research such as this:

This isn't about liberal verses conservative thinking. It is about how we all think and make decisions. None of us are logical in our thinking and there are clearly many deep emotional influences.

There are no simple answers but here are some ideas how to change false beliefs: How to debunk false beliefs without having it backfire.

And take a look here - the list of our cognitive biases is an extensive one. In this graphic, they are organized into four categories: biases that arise from too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act quickly, and the limits of memory.

And download the free The Debunking Handbook


Tuesday 25 April 2017

16:58 GDTPermanent link to #Empowering conversation in the workplace# Empowering conversation in the workplace - Comments

Conversation is not a nice-to-have but a critical competence of a 21st-century organisation. But often we take it for granted and fail to capitalise on the power of conversation to drive performance, transfer learning, build relationships, make better decisions, innovate and more!

On May 11th, I will be taking part in a 1-day workshop on Empowering conversation in the workplace, organized by the Henley Forum

Dr Sharon Varney will start the day by warming people up to the theme and I will follow with a Knowledge Café -- using conversation to help you explore how to empower conversation in your own organisation.

Fiona Hiscocks and Jim Scopes from Sparknow will then consider the issue of "speaking up" – empowering more difficult conversations.

And finally, Vicky Short and Monica Danese-Perrin from Lloyds Banking Group will share how they put people at the heart of their work in embedding Knowledge Management into a fast paced Financial Services organisation that is in the midst of a large scale digital transformation.

Although this is a members' event, a few guest places are available. Contact Marina Hart at the Henley Business School if you are interested.

15:59 GDTPermanent link to #The Mehrabian Myth - another persistent myth# The Mehrabian Myth - another persistent myth - Comments

Recently, I pointed out that although the Hawthorne Effect was real - the research that it was based on was flawed - yet we still call it the Hawthorne Effect. So in some ways it is a bit of a myth.

Here is another persistent myth - the Mehrabian Myth.

I would be surprised if you have not heard the statement, often in a training course or at a conference that when we communicate:
  • 55% of the message is conveyed by our body language
  • 38% is conveyed by the tone of our voice
  • and only 7% is conveyed by our actual words
Well, it's just NOT true. It is a misinterpretation of some research conducted by Albert Mehrabian in 1967.

The research is discussed at length here but this little video from Creativity Works explains it concisely



15:24 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: April 2017 - Comments

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.


Thursday 30 March 2017

14:23 GDTPermanent link to #Churchill on Democracy# Churchill on Democracy - Comments

I came across two interesting but connected quotes from Winston Churchill recently (or at least I thought I had). Both very relevant in current times.

The best argument against Democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.


Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time ...


Then in doing a little bit of due diligence - something I do far more often today - given our era of "fake news" and "alternative facts", it seems there is no record that Churchill ever made the first statement :-)

But two interesting quotes nevertheless regardless of author.

12:42 GDTPermanent link to #Why we never think alone# Why we never think alone - Comments

I went up to the RSA in London recently to hear a talk "Why we never think alone" by Steven Sloman, a cognitive scientist, .

The talk was to promote his recent book co-authored with Philip Fernbach: The Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone.

And quite a fascinating, thought provoking talk it was too. Here are few clips from the book.

We think we know far more than we actually do.

Humans have built hugely complex societies and technologies, but most of us don't even know how a pen or a toilet works.

How have we achieved so much despite understanding so little? Because whilst individuals know very little, the collective or ‘hive' mind knows a lot.

The key to our intelligence lies in the people and things around us. We're constantly drawing on information and expertise stored outside our heads: in our bodies, our environment, our possessions, and the community with which we interact -- and usually we don't even realize we're doing it.

The fundamentally communal nature of intelligence and knowledge explains why we often assume we know more than we really do, why political opinions and false beliefs are so hard to change, and why individually oriented approaches to education and management frequently fail. Our collaborative minds, on the other hand, enable us to do amazing things.


The video of Stevens talk should be available on the RSA website soon.

I have bought his book and although I have not had time to read it yet, I doubt that he mentions the term Knowledge Management once but I think his work has profound implications for KM.

How do we manage our knowledge when we understand so little but think that we know it all and resist being proved wrong?

And how so we mitigate the fact that we are unknowingly influenced by what everyone else thinks in our close circles?

12:11 GDTPermanent link to #How do we speak truth to power?# How do we speak truth to power? - Comments

You may have come across the phrase "speak truth to power" a lot in the last year and wondered quite what it meant, and it's origin. The Quakers coined the phrase during in the mid-1950s. It was a call for the United States to stand firm against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism.

I think it can take two meanings.

The first meaning is in keeping with the Quaker use and maybe typified by Shari Runner in this Huffington Post article:

Speaking truth to power means believing deeply in what you say and fighting every day to have that heard.

It may not be popular; it means taking a risk, it means standing for something.


But depending on the context, it has a second, less grandiose meaning that I can best describe like this:
“Speak truth to power” means speaking what we believe to be true to someone in authority who might take it as a criticism or be offended and who has the power to punish us in some way.

In writing my blook, I am researching the barriers to what makes a good conversation and being afraid to "speak our minds" is clearly one of the obstacles. There are many reasons why we might be reluctant to "speak up." Fear of authority is one of them.

But I am starting to use the phrase in a slightly different way. Fear comes from the power difference between ourself and the other person. We feel we have less power (perceived or real) than them and so are afraid. But there are many forms of power difference:
  • seniority
  • gender
  • education
  • class
  • articulateness
  • accent
  • nationality
  • race
  • dress
  • financial
to name but a few.

What I am trying to better understand is how we learn to "speak truth to power" in all of these contexts or create conversational environments that make it easier.

I welcome your thoughts :-)

10:22 GDTPermanent link to #The Hawthorne effect: does being watched effect behaviour?# The Hawthorne effect: does being watched effect behaviour? - Comments

The Hawthorne effect is where individuals modify their behavior in response to their awareness of being taken notice of or observed.



You are probably familiar with the Hawthorne effect. It is frequently referenced in management literature.

What you might not know is that the research was flawed and the story is a bit of a myth.

This does not mean that being watched does not affect behaviour - it does - just that the Hawthorne research does not support the idea.

This is what the Economist says in a 2009 article Light Work: Being watched may not affect behaviour.

And here is the original research paper by Steven Levitt and John List: The Hawthorne effect is a myth.

Thanks to David Creelman for pointing me to this research.


Wednesday 29 March 2017

15:44 GDTPermanent link to #The Knowledge Café as a metaphor# The Knowledge Café as a metaphor - Comments

I am often asked how the Knowledge Café got it's name.

Well, it is not just a name for a conversational method to bring people together in conversation but a metaphor for that process. Let me explain.

The term "café," frequently written as "cafe" without the e-acute accent, comes from the French and means "coffee."

And of course, a café is a small restaurant which mostly serves coffee, tea, other drinks and an assortment of snacks. But cafés are far more than places to eat and drink.

They are places where people, usually friends and sometimes strangers, meet in pairs or small groups to have informal conversations and to socialize. They are also places to read books, magazines, and newspapers.

Many cafés have comfy, easy chairs or sofas or small nooks where people can relax, chat in comfort and chill a little.

Today, many people use them to access the Internet through their laptops or smartphones, sometimes to browse the web, other times to work but frequently to chat with other people on Facebook or Whatsapp.

In short, cafés are hospitable, social places where people go to connect, to have conversations, face-to-face or virtual and to read.

In some ways, the coffee and food are secondary, though conversation is always enhanced while eating and drinking together.

Cafés have a long and distinguished history as places of creativity and innovation where people meet to talk and exchange information going back to the Enlightenment Coffeehouses (or penny universities as they were sometimes known) of 17th and 18th century London.

And "knowledge"? It is through conversation that we learn and develop our personal knowledge.

So the term "Knowledge Café" makes a great metaphor for the types of conversation you might have in a café.

10:17 GDTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: March 2017 - Comments

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.


Thursday 23 February 2017

10:31 GMTPermanent link to #I am asking you for permission to continue# I am asking you for permission to continue - Comments

What with Brexit and Trump I have been dismayed this last year by the lack of respect that people, especially politicians show for each other.

Regardless of your politic leanings or views on oil pipelines, I hope you admire the way that Justin Trudeau handles this situation when demonstrators interrupted him recently in a town hall meeting in Winnipeg.

How are we ever going to sort out the problems we face in the world if we can't talk respectfully with each other?

09:54 GMTPermanent link to #Zoom as a platform for virtual Knowledge Cafés# Zoom as a platform for virtual Knowledge Cafés - Comments

I mentioned last month that I was experimenting with a potential virtual Knowledge Café platform - Zoom Meetings.

Well I am delighted to say that the two experiments I ran clearly demonstrated that Zoom was more than up to the task.

Now of course virtual meetings or Cafés can never really match their face-to-face counterparts but Zoom works amazingly well.

I have written up why it is viable and how it works - take a look.

I plan to run a number of Virtual Cafés and Café style webinars starting in March 2017. If you would like to be kept informed about them then please sign-up to my Virtual Café mailing list.

I think Zoom will most likely replace Skype, Google Hangouts and many of the corporate webinar platforms such as Webex and Adobe Connect over the coming few years.

It is my video communication platform of choice.


Wednesday 22 February 2017

12:19 GMTPermanent link to #Non-violent communication: Ed you have a big mouth!# Non-violent communication: Ed you have a big mouth! - Comments

My daughter Sally posted a short item on her blog recently about the verb "to be" and violent communication.

Can we (or should we) ever say that 'something is', if it is not a permanent state of being? In Spanish, for the verb 'to be' we say 'ser' and 'estar'; essence and condition; identity and being; one is often more permanent than the other.

The verb 'to be' in the English language, however, has just one core manifestation.

Does this have the capacity to be most violent in communication?


Sally's use of the term "violent communication" reminded me of the work of Marshall Rosenberg and I Googled to find a YouTube video of him explaining what he meant by the term.

I quickly found this little story - Ed you have a big mouth! which sums it up quite humorously.

It is interesting that it is so difficult to explain why someone annoys you without being critical or judgmental :-)

The way we habitually communicate is violent in nature as Marshall explains more fully here (Sadly he died in 2015.)




Monday 20 February 2017

15:33 GMTPermanent link to #Exploring the relationship between space, collaboration and knowledge transfer# Exploring the relationship between space, collaboration and knowledge transfer - Comments

A few years ago Paul Corney asked a number of Knowledge & Information Management (KIM) professionals about the environment in which they worked.

He believes that creating the right environment is one of the core requirements to nurturing a culture where people are willing to share. The results of that questionnaire were shared at a workshop, at the annual KM UK conference and as an open report.

With the growth of the digital workplace and more transient ways of working now is a great time to revisit the topic and Paul is asking for a few minutes of your time to answer just 10 questions which can be found here in this survey.

The survey will close 5pm GMT on Friday 3rd March 2017.

15:01 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: February 2017 - Comments

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.


Monday 30 January 2017

12:35 GMTPermanent link to #Alternative facts are not really facts# Alternative facts are not really facts - Comments

I am sure most of you by now will have heard the phrase alternative facts. This is what Wikipedia says if you are not familiar with the term.

"Alternative facts is a phrase used by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview, in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's false statements about the attendance at Donald Trump's inauguration as President of the United States."

You can see the interview here. It has of course caused quite an uproar and a lot of laughter.

But it is a serious issue as this TEDx talk by Sharyl Attkisson makes plain in explaining how fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests very effectively manipulate and distort media messages.

It has always been the case but these days we need to be extra vigilant especially when republishing material through social media!

And take a look at this parody of the Kellyanne Conway interview if you want to really laugh - especially if you are a lover of the Cats Musical!

Alternative facts are not really facts. They are just facts you made up. Facts are facts!





11:07 GMTPermanent link to #Give people a say# Give people a say - Comments

I think the Knowledge Café is often at its best in organizations when it is used to convene conversations to give people “a say” in topics and issues that are relevant to them and where they can express their opinions freely.

This helps them make better sense of the issues and allows them to appreciate that other people have different perspectives to them. This helps build community.

I received an email in January 2017 from Samira Ahmed in the Group Learning Department of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in which she explains how the Knowledge Management Team has used the Café in this way to great effect.

With her permission, I have posted it in my blook: Knowledge Cafés at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

A big thanks Samira.


Friday 27 January 2017

14:58 GMTPermanent link to #Zoom Meetings: For Virtual Cafés?# Zoom Meetings: For Virtual Cafés? - Comments

I am experimenting with a potential Virtual Knowledge Cafe platform - Zoom Meetings. The experiment is confined to my local time zone right now but if all goes well I will open it up globally. (Download Zoom and connect with me if you wish to play with it.)

If you don't want to read too much - just watch these two videos and you will see why I think it will make a viable platform for Virtual Knowledge Cafes. Ignore the content - just see the format :-)
Now read on if you wish to know a little more. Zoom is a relatively new (January 2013) cloud-based video meeting system. You can read more about the company here.

Why Zoom?

It is inexpensive, easy to use, can handle the requisite number of users for a Knowledge Café. Not only can it be accessed through your Windows or Mac desktops but also through your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. The quality seems good and I am told it is stable.

Critically it has a break-out room capability where the Café host can randomly assign participants to one of several break-out rooms for small group conversations.

I don't know of any other video meeting system that meets all these criteria. (break-out rooms, numbers and cost being key.)

There are two versions of Zoom, a free basic version and a pro version that costs $15 per month. The pro version can host up to 50 participants.

The free version contains many of the key features of the Pro system except meetings are limited to 40 minutes.

So to host a virtual Knowledge Café, only the Café host needs to subscribe to the Pro version of Zoom (to get past the 40 minute limitation). The Café participants need only the free Basic version.

As the Knowledge Café works best for less than 30 participants, 50 participants in not a limitation.

So all in all, it looks a viable technology platform for virtual Knowledge Cafés.

What will be interesting is how the dynamics differ to a face-to-face Café. I'll let you know how it goes.

14:06 GMTPermanent link to #Who should you be talking with?# Who should you be talking with? - Comments

The discussion on "What makes a powerful question?" in the Gurteen Knowledge Community group on Linkedin has pretty much wound down. But take a look if you have not already - there are some really useful insights there.

And take a look at David Griffith's recent post on Do you ignite knowledge wildfires? where he makes the point that Knowledge Management doesn't have to be about the theatre of action. A simple change to the way people ask questions can ignite knowledge wildfires and get everyone in the organisation practising Knowledge Management.

Who should you be talking with in your organization and what are the questions you should be exploring together?

10:51 GMTPermanent link to #Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2017# Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: January 2017 - Comments

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.


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
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Wednesday 21 August 2019
02:37 AM GDT