Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 193 - July 2016


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Gurteen Knowledge Letter: Issue 193 - July 2016


  1. Introduction to the July 2016 Knowledge Letter
  2. Do noise and distractions boost your creativity?
  3. Downoad a copy of Shawn Callahan’s new book Putting Stories to Work for free.
  4. NYC Knowledge Cafe
  5. Blending online and face-to-face conversation
  6. Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 2016
  7. Upcoming Knowledge Events
  8. Subscribing and Unsubscribing
  9. The Gurteen Knowledge Letter

Introduction to the July 2016 Knowledge Letter

I think by now, most of you will realize how much I love good quotations. One of my favorites is from Plutarch:

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."

I have discovered over the years though that many quotations on the web have become corrupted or miss-attributed, and so I was delighted recently to come across this site Quote Investigator.

This is what it says about the above quote from Plutarch. And 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.

Given my views on the lecture and those of others here and here, I love the quote all the more, especially as this was written by Plutarch almost 2,000 years ago!

Do noise and distractions boost your creativity?

When I used to code and had to focus, I needed a quiet room without interruptions but today when I write far more than I code, I find that working in a coffee-shop is more conducive to my thinking and writing.

I have often commented or reflected on this phenomenon and recently tripped over some research that shows that the background noise of a coffee shop may be helping to boost my creativity.

There is even a website Coffitivity that recreates the ambient sounds of a café supposedly to boost your creativity and help you work better. Give it a whirl and see if it works for you - not so sure it does for me - it just gets annoying after a few minutes :-)

But I think there is more to the café environment than just the noise of the background chatter - it's the distractions of people as they come and go that seem to inspire me. Being highly social, I like to take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone - often not for long, but long enough, for my mind, to relax and change state so that when I return to my writing, I see things in a new light. I like to be able to observe and interact with people as and when I choose.

So I thought I would Google to see if there was any research to support the idea that distractions boosted creativity and sure enough there was: Inspired by Distraction; Mind Wandering Facilitates Creative Incubation and here too The Right Distractions Can Boost Creativity.

Though maybe I could find research to support any hypotheses I might have :-)

But seriously, I think there is a great deal in this and I think the distractions of the noise and bustle and social interaction of a Knowledge Café have a positive impact on the conversations and the creativity of the people taking part. There is some research to support this also.

I am always on the lookout for research concerning conversation - do let me know if you are aware of any.

Downoad a copy of Shawn Callahan’s new book Putting Stories to Work for free.

For a very limited time you can download a copy of Shawn Callahan's new book Putting Stories to Work for free with absolutely no strings attached.

This is an amazing offer from Shawn. Get in here quick - I don't know how long the offer will last :-)

Or if you wish, you can buy a paperback version on Amazon. Also, check out the great reviews.

NYC Knowledge Cafe

When I first began to run my regular evening Knowledge Cafés in London back in September 2002, I also started to run them in one or two other locations around the world.

The one in Adelaide, Australia is still running but has metamorphosed into the Adelaide KM Group.

And the one in NYC stopped operating a few years back - well until now - it has been resurrected thanks to Suzanne Roff-Wexler and Sharon Gai.

The next Café is on August 3rd. So if you live in the NYC area - try to get along - I am sure you will have a great evening :-)

There is also a Knowledge Café in Hong Kong run by Maria Leung. It is not one of my Gurteeen Knowledge Cafés and the topics and format are not quite the same but if you like interesting conversations - take a look.

Blending online and face-to-face conversation

I have talked in the past about telepresence and beaming into a Knowledge Café and also looked at some spectacular Kinect based technology were the user is able to see and talk to people inside another room via an interactive 3D display.

I have yet to experiment with any of this technology myself but I just spotted that Etienne and Beverly Wenger-Trayner having been doing some very interesting work in blending online and face-to-face conversation.

And none of this is using expensive or exotic technology, just everyday stuff such as laptops, smartphones, Skype and Whatsapp.

Take a look, you may well be able to use some of these ideas in your own workshops and get-togethers.

Gurteen Knowledge Tweets: July 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.

Hong Kong Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) Award 2016
August 2016, Hong Kong, China

Knowledge Management Australia 2016
02 - 04 Aug 2016, Melbourne, Australia

17th European Conference on Knowledge Management
01 - 02 Sep 2016, Belfast, Ireland

13th International Conference on Intellectual Capital, Knowledge Management & Organisational Learning
14 - 15 Oct 2016, New York, United States

8th International Conference on Innovation and Knowledge Management in Asia Pacific (IKMAP 2016)
23 - 24 Oct 2016, Kobe, Japan

KM World 2016
14 - 17 Nov 2016, Washington DC, United States

KM Asia 2016
23 - 24 Nov 2016, Hong Kong, China

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

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

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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