I’m at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston at the moment and hopped up bright and early to give a presentation at 8am this morning. I was talking about Social Project Management, but those who’ve seen or read the washing machine presentation will probably find a fair few similarities between this presentation and that old soap box.
As a general overview though, the point of this presentation is that there are other ways to manage projects than ye olde fashioned waterfall methodology. Not to say that waterfall doesn’t have it’s place, but even within that structure, we can be more creative about the way that work within that structure.
In particular, I’m really interested in ways that we can break down monster projects into micro projects and be more iterative in the way that we work, and to work more collaboratively with teams that are made up of multiple disciplines.
As always – would love to hear your thoughts and let me know if there’s a slide needs some more explanation!
So, something that I’ve always been quite fascinated with, is the way that people ‘perform’ themselves in virtual space… consciously or not. It all started by reading some Sherry Turkle while I was at university and has simmered away ever since.
In the ‘olden days’ of social technologies, creating your ‘self’ online involved a fair amount of work. You had to craft your identity out of the lines of text that you shared with others online, on your website or in a MUDs and other places.
These days, however, your online identity is as much about what you *don’t* share, as what you do. There are so many ways and means to communicate your identity with others, that it’s almost simpler to censor those things you don’t *really* want to share. Like, only Twittering when you’re doing something cool or being somewhere exotic. Or only declaring certain favourite books or music or films.
Maybe this is not so different to what we were doing before. It just feels a whole lot easier and, somehow, codified.
What is perhaps a little different are the less intentional profiles we create. I was thinking about this in terms of the attention data that we generate and share – say through sites like Last.FM (I’m sure there are others tho none are springing to mind at this late hour).
So, one minute I’m just listening away to my music and the next I discover that Robbie Williams is my second most listened to artist and I have a quandary… I’m not going to dispute the correctness of the data, but at the same time… the impression that is created by presenting this data to my social network is not one that, to me, gives an accurate portrayal of the kind of music I like to listen to. (I’m *way* cooler than that… really?!)
Trust me? Well… I’m not sure that I would either.
After all, which is more correct – what I tell you I like, or what the statistics say?
Which is more appropriate to the creation of a ‘profile’ or a virtual self?
Guy Parsons also got me thinking about a whole other stream of data that on the surface seems kind of irrelevant – like the groups you leave on Facebook – and how this data is actually really interesting in develop a sense of how your profile is changing over time – not to mention tracking memes as they flow in and out of popularity.
Fascinating stuff, I think. The profile we create when we don’t really mean to at all.
Before I file away (or accidentally lose) my Reboot notebook I thought I’d transcribe a few of the handwritten notes I took whilst listening to some of the presentations I attended. Some of them are my paraphrasing… I’ll put quote marks around those that I’m fairly confident are verbatim quotes.
(Note that the number of notes taken… or whether in fact any notes were taken at all, is not proportional to the interestingness of the talk. I didn’t take any notes on Matt Webb’s talk and very few on Johnny Moore’s and they were both particularly interesting :)
Further note – these people said many more interesting things than what I noted down… in fact… it’s quite possible that some of the most interesting ones didn’t get noted down because I was too busy listening to what they were saying :)
We should be more interested in artificial emotion than artificial intelligence
Emotion is governed by meaning and value, which makes it more efficient than a computer (less heat coming off the tops of our heads!)
Emotions are more efficient than intelligence
People will accept losing money to ensure fairness. We don’t want to lose money to a computer tho’, as we know it is not vulnerable to the idea of fairness.
The gift economy is about to dominate the market economy [I wrote this down and put a big question marke next to it because Tor didn't go on to explain where this gift economy was coming from... have I been missing out on an avalanche of gifts lately or something? Anyone know more about this?]
Roszak 1979 Person/Planet – the needs of the planet are the same as the needs of the individual. If one is in crisis, so is the other.
Flow – we are like flames, or riveres, or flows of things. We are not ‘things’. We are a system.
90% of the atoms in your body are replaced every year
Permanent reincarnation – the matter changes all the time but we retain our identity. (Like digital media – never lose the information).
Dare, Share, Care —> Attention —> Sex, Jobs, Recognition
‘Sex is the origin of all that is noble’
The killer app for Civilization 2.0 is links.
Albert Einstein – ‘Remember your humanity and forget the rest’
A legion of men may look like a machine, but it is built on an intense social unit (a tent of 8 men who live together for about 20 years) and nodal leadership (the centurians).
We are most hapy in a group of approximately 7 or 8.
Twitter is like being ‘in the tent’
Kids who do well are kids who learn 300 words by 2yrs old. They learn via conversation and need to have heard 50 million words by 2 yrears. They need to hear conversation to get an ideal development trajectory.
Experiment where you have a baby and a mother, and you put them in two different rooms with a video link. The mother does what mothers do… mirrors the baby’s talk and actions back – baby is fine. Add in a 2 second time delay. Baby freaks out.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m an enthusiast of online social networking (well, ok… offline social networking too, but I find online particularly interesting). It’s something that I’ve invested probably hundreds of hours of time in, just participating – creating profiles, making friends, maintaining contacts, sharing information.
But, why do this?
I’ve always found online social networking to be both emotionally and intellectually rewarding, but I’ve never quite understand my compulsion to stay connected in this way, and *why* it felt so valuable. Traditionally, the behaviours associated with building and maintaining a social network online would be considered frivolous and unproductive. Something you do when you probably should be doing *real* work.
In the last few weeks I’ve come to understand that it is a whole lot more than that.
Last week at Reboot, Stowe Boyd was sharing his ideas about ‘Flow – a new consciousness for a web of traffic’. Stowe was talking about your time being a shared resource. He said ‘It’s important for your network that the network as a whole makes progress’. This is why we should be available and responsive to our network. As such, time that we invest in building our networks and sharing resources within our network is not unproductive time. We are as strong and as knowledgeable and as connected as our networks are. Our networks actually allow us to be more effective, and more productive than we would be if we were more traditionally productive in an isolated way.
‘Productivity is second to connectivity’ as Stowe said.
I’ve just started reading The Play Ethic by Pat Kane where I’ve found Pat using Game Theory to illustrate the same idea. He cites Robert Wright and his book Non-Zero. Wright says that there are two kind of games: zero-sum games (win/lose, like tennis) and non-zero-sum, which are more like an economic exchange or a vibrant community. ‘Non-zero-sum games increase the rewards for all those who commit to participate in the exchange over a long period’.
When I think about social networking in these terms it makes a lot more sense to me, and takes on a whole new level of validity. I participate in social networking online because I reap rewards from it, as do others within my networks. The thing I like about online social networks is that being involved with them is so pleasurable that it’s taken me this long to become consciously aware of this effect.
Compare that to traditional ‘networking’ (I’m picturing a room full of people I don’t know with whom I’m supposed to swap chit chat and business cards in the hope that they’ll call the company I work for and give us work) … I’ll take online any day.
And, from now on, I’ll feel less guilty about time spent Twittering, Flickring blogging, and accepting FaceBook friends. It’s just a new way of being productive.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me