Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 198 - December 2016


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 198 - December 2016


  1. Introduction to the December 2016 Knowledge Letter
  2. Have you tried out Randomised Coffee Trials yet?
  3. What makes a powerful question?
  4. Take a look at Nancy Dixon's Blogs
  5. Four great ownership questions from Peter Block
  6. Freedom of speech is more than just a value
  7. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: December 2016
  8. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  9. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  10. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the December 2016 Knowledge Letter

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have had a wonderful time. And I'd like to wish you a very happy and prosperous new year and another opportunity to help make our world a better place.

Have you tried out Randomised Coffee Trials yet?

I have recently added a post to my blook on Randomised Coffee Trials. It is an updated version of one that I have on my website. I plan to refine and keep the blook version updated.

What is a Randomised Coffee Trial?

A Randomised Coffee Trial or RCT for short is a rather fancy name for an incredibly simple but powerful idea.

RCTs are used to connect people in an organization at random and give them time to meet to have a coffee and talk about whatever they wish.

They are a simple, low-cost way of enabling people to talk with others who they might not otherwise meet. To learn from each other, build relationships, break down organizational silos and build community.

Hundreds of organizations across public, private and voluntary sectors have introduced RCTs in the last few years, including recently the British NHS.

Give them a whirl - I think you will be delighted with the results.

What makes a powerful question?

A big thank you to everyone who has given me feedback on "What makes a powerful question?" Your comments have been tremendously helpful in provoking my thoughts on the subject.

You can see the comments/discussion on the Gurteen Knowledge Community group on Linkedin.

I am still looking for input from anyone who would like to add further to the discussion. But note, I realize now that I was not entirely clear in my question :-)

Rather than ask "What makes a powerful question?", I meant to ask "In triggering a conversation to explore an issue - what makes a powerful question?"

How would one design or wordsmith such a question? What are its attributes?

Take a look at Nancy Dixon's Blogs

There are only a handful of people whose blog posts I never wish to miss. Dave Snowden is one and Nancy Dixon is another.

You will find Nancy's main blog Conversation Matters here but she is also blogging on Linkedin now.

Nancy produces so much good practical material, for example, see her latest post 4 Great Ways to Conduct Peer Assists: Transferring Knowledge Effectively.

Four great ownership questions from Peter Block

I run two interactive sessions at KM Asia in Hong Kong just before Christmas.
09:45 - 10:00 Connection before content
Consider yourselves as much an owner and co-creator of the conference experience as the Chair, speakers and facilitators. This ice-breaker session is driven by four 'ownership' questions from Peter Block. The most revealing of which is: To what extent are you prepared to take responsibility for the learning and engagement of others at this event?'
"We must establish a personal connection with each other. Connection before content. Without relatedness, no work can occur." (Peter Block)
14:00 - 15:00 Are challenging questions more powerful than answers? Knowledge management (KM) is a challenging discipline given that it deals with the complex adaptive nature of human social systems. We are walking on a trampoline. Each step reconfigures the path ahead. There are no prescriptive solutions. In this dynamic session, you will have conversations with many different people, while standing and moving around the room.
The first session, at the start of day one, I particularly liked and I have run it several times now at conferences. You can learn more here Peter Block's four ownership questions and get access to the slides that I used - please feel free to download them and adapt them for your own use.

How many people at a conference or a workshop truly engage with the day and consider they are as much an owner and co-creator of the experience as the chairperson, speakers, and facilitators? And how many are happy just to sit there, entranced, passively listening, and doing as they are told?

The four questions help reframe peoples' mindsets from a passive stance to a more interactive, engaging one.

Freedom of speech is more than just a value

You may be familiar with the controversy going on in Canada over the views of Prof. Jordan B. Peterson at the University of Toronto. If you are not then here is an except from Wikipedia that summarises the issue.
On 27 September 2016, Peterson released the first part of a three-part lecture video series on political correctness.

In the video, he objects to the Canadian government's Bill C-16, which proposes to outlaw harassment and discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.

His objection to the bill did not concern the LGBT discrimination legal debate, but rather the freedom of speech implications of C-16's other amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, regarding their accommodation language.

Furthermore, he argued that the new amendments paired with section 46.3 of the Ontario Human Rights Code would make it possible for "employers and organizations to be subject to punishment under the code if any employee or associate says anything that can be construed as 'directly or indirectly' offensive."

Peterson further argues that it is necessary for people to recognize the importance of free speech and particularly free speech on college campuses.

Go take a look at all the videos, his teaching ones, the debates, the media interviews, the protests. It makes compelling viewing, both the issue, his personality and passion and the vehemence of those ranged against him.

But regardless of your own views on the human rights issue watch this video of a debate held at the University of Toronto on Free Speech, Political Correctness and Bill C-16.

What captured my attention was his stream of consciousness description and defence of free speech (15:43 to 16:58) which I have transcribed below.
And so we need to start talking and listening.

And when you talk it doesn't mean you're right.

It doesn't mean you're correct. Right?

It means you're trying to articulate and formulate your thoughts like the boneheaded moron that you are.

And you are going to stumble around idiotically because what the hell do you know.

You are full of biases, and you're ignorant, and you can't speak very well, and you're over emotional.

And you know you've got just problems that you can hardly even imagine that are interfering with your ability to state something clear.

And so what you do is you do your best to see what you mean.

And then you listen to other people tell you why you're a blithering idiot.

And hopefully, you can correct yourself to some degree as a consequence of listening to them.

And you see that is what free speech is about.

Because it isn't just that people can organize themselves and their societies by thinking.

You can't do that because there is only one of you.

What you have to do is you have to articulate your thoughts in a public forum.

So that other people can attack you and hopefully in a corrective manner.

And then you wanna, you know, step back a little bit.

And think okay you know I was a little arrogant there, and a little over emotional there and I didn't get that quite right, and maybe I am outright biased on that front.

And you want to correct what you say because then you correct how are you are and then you can correct how you act in life.

And then you correct your society.

And the degree to which we limit freedom of expression we put all of that at risk.

Later in his introduction (17:51 to 18:24) he makes the point that freedom of speech is not just another value but the mechanism by which we keep our psyches and our societies organised.

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.

I can understand the need for limitations such as hate speech legislation but it is a fine balance and like Prof. Peterson, to my mind we need to be extraordinary careful not to undermine the freedom of speech. It is one of the reasons I am so passionate about the role of dialogue in our lives.

Thanks to David Creelman for pointing me to this controversy.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: December 2016

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

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

Upcoming Knowledge Events

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

Asian Knowledge Forum 2017
12 - 13 Jan 2017, Hong Kong, China

KM Legal Europe 2017
18 - 19 Jan 2017, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Advancing your OD practice
24 - 25 Jan 2017, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

IntraTeam Event Copenhagen 2017
28 Feb - 02 Mar 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark

Henley Forum Annual Conference 2017
01 - 02 Mar 2017, Henley on Thames, United Kingdom

The Wheels of Knowledge Management
07 - 09 Mar 2017, Melbourne and Canberra, Australia

The AIIM Conference 2017
14 - 16 Mar 2017, Orlando, FL, United States

9th European Conference on Intellectual Capital
06 - 07 Apr 2017, Lisbon, Portugal

5th International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2017
26 - 27 Apr 2017, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

12th International Conference on e-Learning
01 - 02 Jun 2017, Orlando, United States

KM UK 2017
14 - 15 Jun 2017, London, United Kingdom

KM Conference 2017
21 - 24 Jun 2017, Novo Mesto, Slovenia

4th European Conference on Social Media
03 - 04 Jul 2017, Vilnius, Lithuania

18th European Conference on Knowledge Management
07 - 08 Sep 2017, Barcelona, Spain

12th European Conference On Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2017
21 - 22 Sep 2017, Paris, France

Subscribing and Unsubscribing

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

The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

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

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

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

Gurteen Knowledge
Fleet, United Kingdom

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

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